AMSAT-NA Working the Russian Sputniks

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                     AMSAT-NA Working the Russian Sputniks
   This script from the Houston AMSAT Net was written by AMSAT Area
   Coordinator Bruce Paige, KK5DO. Authorization is given for the use of
   this information over any ham band. Please give credit for the script
   where credit is due.
   Now, on to tonight's topic. Working the Russian Sputniks.
   There are currently 3 Russian satellites in orbit. They are RS 10/11,
   RS 12/13 and RS 15 The RS 10/11 is really two packages mounted on the
   same satellite as is RS 12/13.
   The nice thing about RS-10 is that you uplink on 2 meter side band and
   you listen on 10 meters. That means that most Tech's with HF
   priviledges already have the necessary equipment. RS-10 is in Mode A.
   RS-15 is also a Mode A satellite. However, it's orbit is nearly twice
   the altitude of the other RS satellites making it possible to work
   Europe on most passes. And, the passes last about 30 minutes instead
   of 10-15 minutes.
   Please keep in mind that the power output of RS-15 is quite low. This
   will mean that you have to improve your reception of the signal rather
   than simply increasing your power. If you transmit around 25-35 watts
   that should be just fine for this satellite. The problem is that if
   everyone gets on and sends 100-200 watts to it, all other signals will
   fade and cut out. Please remember that working the satellites (either
   RS, FO or AO) is not who has the most power but who can be heard and
   worked with minimal power.
   To prove this, at Field Day, 1995, the Houston AMSAT group worked all
   modes with no more that 25 watts on any receiver and all HF was QRP.
   It can be done. Even the pacsats were worked with less than 25 watts.
   Now, back to working the RS-10 or RS-15.
   Since you are receiving on 10 meters, you only have to worry about
   your transmit antenna pointing at the satellite. A beam with elevation
   and azimuth rotors is ideal. However there are several people here in
   Houston that are working RS 10/11 from their apartment. Both antennas
   are in the apartment, not outside. They use a long wire to receive the
   10 meters and a vertical to transmit. They normally can work it from
   horizon to about 45 degrees and then on the down side from 45 degrees
   to horizon. If you have a beam, you should be able to work it most of
   the pass.
   So how do we do it? First, tune from the top to the bottom on the 10
   meter band 29.360 to 29.400 and listen to see if you hear anyone else.
   If not, try listening for the robot beacon on 29.403. If you do not
   hear anything you might have stale elements or the propogation is not
   right for your location to hear. Now, if you do hear someone, let's
   try to get ourselves tuned in so we can work this station. Try tuning
   to 29.380 and set your transmit to 145.880. Start transmiting 1-2-3
   and your call sign. As you transmit, turn your receiver up and down
   and see if you can find yourself. All of a sudden, you will hear your
   voice. You have just found your uplink and downlink pair of
   frequencies. Call CQ a few times.
   It is best when working satellites to get into the habit of calling CQ
   and stating what satellite. You should call CQ OSCAR 13 or CQ OSCAR or
   in the case of this satellite, CQ RS10, CQ RS10. The reason for this
   is that you are transmitting on 2 meters. Now just think what would
   happen if some unsuspecting sole happened to be scanning 2 meter side
   band and finds you calling CQ and you are 20 over to him. Although
   this portion of 2 meters is set aside as the OSCAR subband he may not
   know it. He now starts trying to return your CQ and gets really mad
   that you are ignoring him. The other reason is that 145.88 is the
   uplink to RS 10/11 but guess what, it happens to also be the downlink
   to AO-13 and AO-10. Now we might have a major problem. Here you are
   listening on AO-13 and along comes someone calling CQ. You try to talk
   to him and you find out that this guy just won't talk to you. Well, I
   have never found a ham that didn't want to talk to me so I'd be pretty
   mad. If he were calling CQ RS-10 and you were on AO-13 you would know
   immediately that he cannot hear you and you will have to move to
   another part of the AO-13 band because his power will make it
   impossible for you to hear anything.
   Now, lets say, someone comes back to your call. Great start your qso.
   But as you talk, the satellite is moving so you have to follow it with
   your antenna and also you will have to adjust your transmit frequency
   so that you stay with your uplink. You also have to tweak because the
   person you are talking with might be lazy and not tweak his radio and
   he will shift up or down on you.
   This is truly the fun part, trying to work all the knobs, turn the
   antenna, log the qso all while you are talking. Now you know you're
   good. After some practice and a few qso's down the road, it will be
   very easy for you to tune up and talk. At the beginning, it really
   takes some practice. We have all done it and you might say it's like
   riding a bicycle. Once you learn, you never forget. You may forget the
   frequencies and have to look them up but all the principles will be
   The other Russian sputnik is RS-12. This one transmits on 29.41
   through 29.45 and receives on 21.21 through 21.25 (note, this is in
   the Advanced and Extra portion of 15 meters). It is known as mode K.
   Advanced operators can work it from 21.225 through 21.25 and Extras
   can work the entire band.
   We did not mention RS-11 and RS-13. These are riding piggy back on the
   same satellite as RS-10 and RS-12 but are presently turned off.
   Don't forget the newest RS satellite, RS-15. Basically the same
   operating procedure as for RS-10 but has a higher altitude which gives
   a 30 minute pass and covers parts of Europe when over the U.S. It's
   downlink is 29.354 - 29.394 and the uplink is 145.858 - 145.898. The
   beacons can be found at 29.3525 and 29.3987.
   Updated 23 July 1995. Article courtesy of Bruce Paige, KK5DO
   ([email protected]). Feedback to KB5MU.