The Station for the OSCARS

 

COMSATIn 1967 I went to work for COMSAT in Brewster, Washington. This was the first 24 hour per day operating "earth station" in the United States at the time. I was an electronic technician working on all of the systens, including the cryogenics system and a MASER operating at 4.2 degrees Kelvin. This picture of me was taken on a return visit in 2002. The orignal 96' dish is still operating along with over 70 other smaller dish antennas.
Cont RoomThis is part of the control room console. Much of the equipment was from NEC (Nippon Electric Company, Tokyo, Japan)
Dish96This is the back side of the 96' dish antenna. The stairway goes up to the back of the Cassagrainian feed, where one can enter a room large enough to stand up in. All of the pieces of equipment were wrapped in foil just like you see today in satellite systems in space. It was meant for insulation and shielding. We had three 10 KW transmitters operating at 6 Ghz. The receiver systems operated near 4 Ghz. The noise star, Cassopia A, was used to calibrate the receiver.
MeRocketMy early interest in space communications started when I was in High School. Here, I assembled an 8' rocket with an electronic package that won first place at the high school science fair and then went on to win first place at the State science fair at Pacific Lutheran College in 1959. The rocket shell was made from stove pipe.
Sat AntsA pair of circular polarized Cushcraft antennas and a 2.4 Ghz Grid make up the antenna system. Two rotators, an Alliance and a Kenpro, were fastened together for the Az/El control. The 70cm antenna is a Cushcraft 738XB "OSCAR BOOMER. Frequency range is 432-438 Mhz. There are 38 elements and has a gain of 15.5 Dbdc The antenna has a relay system mounted at the feed point which switches from right hand to left hand circular polarization. The 2 meter beam is a cushcraft 22XB and has 22 elements. The forward gain is 22 Dbdc. It also can switch polarization from a switch inside the shack. I have just added a SSB Electronic SP-2000 Low noise amplifier to the 2-Meter downlink. What a difference this has made in signal strength of signals. I will add the 435 Mhz version later.
Note the Bonneville high power lines that run near my QTH. That's another story in itself! Mt. Rainier, seen in the distance, rises 14,000 feet plus.

Sat Ant2Raising the 25' Rhon 25G tower. I used a hinge base, but never again. It is very difficult to raise a tower when hinged at the base because of the force necessary after you get past the 45 degree point.

TS2000The Kenwood TS2000 is an awesome rig for satellite communications and a good backup HF rig. I have worked about 25 states and 12 countries via satellite. It is a lot of fun and challenging to have all "systems" working at peak performance. I have used as little as 5 watts on the VO52 and FO29 birds and made some great contacts.


I operate both the azmuth and elevation rotors manually, which keeps me very busy during contacts.

I have just recently installed "Ham Radio Delux" software on my VIST 64 machine and it works super good. The HRD program has a wonderful satellite tracking map with controls to control the Kenwood TS2000 via it's RS232 port. The HRD also has a page just to control all the radio functions. It also has a great logging program all built-in. It makes it so much easier to operate satellie, alsways being on frequency and automatically correcting for the doppler shift on both receive and transmit frequencies. I highly recomment the software for satellite work. It is a shareware program.

 

 

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