Wednesday, 1 February 2017

The Nanfone NF-669 for Amateur Satellite SO-50

I have for a long time been planning to 'have a go at' the SO-50 FM satellite. I have received its downlink on a number of occasions, and my tape measure beams were built specifically with satellite operation in mind.

There are two problems though. First, operation is split band - uplink on 2m and downlink on 70cm. So a dual band radio is needed, which I dont have an amateur version. Then, you have to be able to adjust for Doppler on the downlink.

This is when a modern dual band PMR radio comes into its own. And I have one - the Nanfone NF-669.

This is an odd little Chinese dual band PMR set, with many features that are quite unfathomable via the front panel! The only way to do it is via software

Now, actually finding software that A) works, and B) is in English, has taken several days! But I have it now and as you can see in the above screenshot, I have programmed up 10 channels ready to operate with SO-50.

Channel 1 is programmed to receive at the high end of the Doppler at 436.810, as is Channel 2. The difference, is that on Ch1 (named SO50ON), the uplink frequency also has a CTCSS tone of 74.4Hz, whereas all the other channels have 67.0Hz. This is because the satellite needs a 74.4Hz tone for a few seconds to activate it if it isnt switched on!

Just need a decent pass of the bird now to try it!

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