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Monday, May 18, 2020

Homebrew Az-El Satellite Antennas from the Philippines and Australia



https://nightskyinfocus.com/2020/05/18/diy-satellite-tracker/

DU1AU is way ahead of where I was when I was working with Low Earth Orbit satellites.   I just aimed the antenna about 45 degrees up from the horizon,  and spun it around with a TV rotator with me --not the computer -- as the controllers of the rotator.  In essence I did the AZ manually and completely ignored the EL.  This design moves the antenna in Azimuth and Elevation, and has the computer control the movements via an Arduino.  FB. 

DU1AU points to the work of VK3FOWL and VK3YSP.   Their site has very detailed info on how to build several versions of this kind of Az-El rotator: 

https://www.sarcnet.org/rotator-mk1.html

This Az-El project represents a great opportunity to move beyond hand-held satellite antennas,  and beyond my Az-only manual approach.   It also give us a way to bring some real homebrewing into a part of ham radio that has come to be dominated by commercial equipment. There are some Arduinos and some lines of code, some motors and some metal work.  Great stuff!   



3 comments:

  1. Way back in the early 1990s I got deeply involved in LEO birds. I looked into a commercial AZ-EL rotator and got a BAD case of sticker shock.

    I decided to use vertical ground plane antennas and, most of the time, this system worked just fine.

    At the 2014 AMSAT convention I met a retired USAF "Buff Driver", that would be a B-52 bomber, who had put together a very neat AZ-EL mount that would position Yagi or Quagi antennas. Cost: $300+ which ain't bad.

    I am looking forward to exploring the AZ-EL system from Down Under.

    vy 73 Rich K7SZ

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  2. DU1AU is one of our more resourceful experimenter here with AMSAT Philippines. He does a lot of our amateur satellite demos here in the Philippines also.

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