Amature radio and space
Now you may be thinking that amateur radio doesn’t have much to do with space, after
all the international space station is 248 miles high, there is no way ypu can talk that far
on earth, why would it be any different in space?
Their is an lot more than talking to the ISS up their, and surprisingly, a lot higher than
the international space station, their are satellites specifically dedicated to ham radio,
and granted theses are harder to use than any ground based repeater, the results are a
lot more memorable, and a goal for most ham operators.
All the satellites and the ISS use 2-Meters for their radios, nothing different than what
we use here on land – the fact that there are no hills, mountains are for the most part
even any air to contend with, it really is not too hard to use the satellites, although a lot
more calculating, planning, and preparing has to be done to make this journey happen.
You have to find out when the satellite is even going to be overhead, you need to figure
out precisely where to point your antenna and hope you can hear is, is going to be a
crowded mess – but if you manage to get through it will be a part of your ham radio
experiences to not forget. You don’t have to use a lot of power to make it happen, my
first satellite contact was on a wouxun handheld with the rubber antenna, but came with
that where many, many nights that one piece wasn’t perfect, and I heard nothing, but
then, it happened, if only for a few seconds – it still happened and contact was made.
One great radio to do this with would be the wouxun KG-UV8D, with its dual band
capabilities, and low cost, and just the right set of features.
Some ham operators actually bounce their signals off the moon! It’s going to take a
large financial step, but it is definately possible to bounce signals off the moon, and talk
worldwide, pretty crazy though but definately possible.
Although, technically may not be space, we will look at the upper layers of our
atmosphere as space for this. Although VHF radio is not affected by the atmosphere
generally, when you get into the HF range, the different layers of the atmosphere greatly
affect your signal.
In the HF bands the time of day has a vast affect your signals, you signal goes up into
the ionosphere and they it will be absorbed and noisy can hear you, or it can be
bounced back to earth, hundreds if not tosh of miles from you – you never know just
where your signal goes, things like the sunspots on the sun to the weather all have an
effect on your signal, it’s that always changing, never exactly the same stuff with our
signals that are a element of surprise to our segment you from someone you dinette
where not expecting pops out of radio speaker.
By Scott Thayer