ES-Hail2 / QO-100 project

Fellow ham Jan PA0JWZ asked me if I was willing to be his sparring partner for a new hamradio project : he wanted to get up in frequency and go for the ES-Hail2 / QO-100 satelite. 




 Up-converter - AMSAT-DL





The uplink 2.4 Ghz Helix

First prototype by Jan for the TX antenna. A 6 turn Helix for 2.4 Ghz. Jan used black plastic but black most of the time means carbon (bad material for antenna design) and a short microwave test showed the presence of carbon (it got warm). 


But good enough to make construction over the LNB. 



After we replaced the black plastic with white nylon,


it was time to see how well it worked in the field.


With this antenna we made our first over the ES-Hail2 / QO-100 bird. 


Another experiment. Used white PVC tubing and coated the helix with liquid rubber. Stange enough it almost didn't effect the SWR. 


The final design :  4.5 turn helix with a white nylon holder. 


The SWR plot of the antenna in "freespace"taken with a NanoVNA V2. 


As a cover we decided to use a PET jar Jan found on the internet.


 In the final construction the SWR was arount 1.2:1 (forgot to take a screenshot). 

Installation time

On a sunny monday in September it was to finalize the QO-100 uplink / downlink hamradio setup. Meaning get on roof of the house of fellow ham Jan PA0JWZ, installing the AMSAT DL Up-Converter and the satellite dish to the chimney. 

Installation marks the end of 6 months of experiments and a few garden tests. Let's see how it works out in the outdoors.


The final construction of the Helix antenna and the LNB. Yes we are aware that the LNB feedhorn and the TX antenne aren't in the same place. 

How well does it work when LNB feedhorn and TX Ant is not in the same place? When we set the beacon 59+20 in the water val display and key down (cw) our signal on the water val display is 59+10. So strong enough to have a good QSO.


Some final tests to see if we have the bird correctly lined out.


The content of the outdoor up-Converter box. 



Everything tested and ready to use. 


Final photo before we go down.... 


to the shack of Jan PA0JWZ. 


We tested the up- and down-link and we could hear our own signal very well. Also on the WebSDR we had no problem copying our signal. Unfortuantly it wasn't that busy on the bird and I had to go.

Later that day Jan dropped off a few parts and told me that he made a few QSO's on the bird. The only problem he had was a little drift in the RX path. So that could be the LNB of the Adalm Pluto drifting. But with the SDR Console software it is possible compensate for that using the left and right beacon. 

In time we will configure SDR Console to do so. But that's a story for another time. 



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