A couple of setbacks

Computers and radio really don’t mix. I was trying to connect the FT-817 to the shack computer. I plugged the USB cables into the back of the PC, then as I lifted the cables vertical to feed them behind the shelf unit I heard the noise level on 2 metres come up quite clearly. I could probably reduce the noise using clip-on ferrites but any more noise than I already have is unwelcome. I think I might give up the computer altogether and go back to paper logging!

I also proved today that it isn’t possible to work satellites with indoor antennas. Yesterday I tried receiving AO-51 with the 3/4 wave vertical I made, but I got a readable signal for only a few seconds. Today I tried the 6 element Yagi I made a few weeks ago which received signals off the Moon when used outdoors. Pointing it at the satellite from inside the shack I again heard only a few seconds of signal from the satellite. I think there is just too much attenuation at 70cm to use indoor antennas, so satellite operation is out of the question.

I could probably combine the 6-element 70cm and the Moxon 2m antenna to make a portable hand held antenna for satellite use. But whilst it would be an interesting challenge to make a satellite contact using the FT-817 and a hand held antenna out of doors I had really hoped to be able to do it from inside the shack.

Julian Moss, G4ILO, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from Cumbria, England. Contact him at [email protected].

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