Satellite Radios

On the AMSAT-BB mailing list in 2004, Darrell Bellerive VA7TO, initiated a series of topics regarding “Rigs for FM Sats including AO-51 (Echo).” A few years ago I was invited to continue the work he started and this page is intended to be the repository for all information discovered.  I intend to utilize the same criteria Darrell used (listed below) in evaluating each radio but if you feel something needs to be modified then, please, say so.

Obviously there is no way I can access every single one of these radios and test them myself so please provide reports on your experiences and send corrections if something is listed in error. Also, please check to make sure the rigs will meet all the criteria when submitting your report.

Criteria:

  1. Must be capable of tuning the satellite sub-bands:
    • 144 to 146 MHz
    • 435 to 438 MHz
  2. Must be capable of transmitting sub-audible or CTCSS tones:
    • SO-50: 67.0 Hz and 74.4 Hz
    • AO-51: 67.0 Hz
    • All rigs on this list will transmit a tone in full duplex mode.
  3. Full duplex. Able to receive during transmission. While not absolutely necessary, full duplex is extremely desirable. All rigs on this list will do full duplex.
  4. Cross band memory storage. The ability to store frequencies from different bands into a memory channel. While not absolutely necessary, it makes tuning for Doppler frequency shifts much easier. All rigs on this list will allow cross band frequencies in memory channels.
  5. Power output from handhelds should be 5 watts. Some handhelds will require 12 volt batteries or external power.

Handhelds:

  • Alinco DJ-G5T
  • Alinco DJ-580T (12V battery pack EPB-28NH works better)
  • Icom IC-24AT (Not sensitive enough on 70 cm)
  • Icom IC-W2A
  • Icom IC-W32
  • Kenwood TH-77
  • Kenwood TH-78
  • Kenwood TH-79(AD) (Mod required to receive satellite sub-band)
  • Kenwood TH-D7 (Voice and digital modes)
  • Kenwood TH-D72
  • Standard C-568
  • Yaesu FT-470
  • Yaesu FT-530
  • Yaesu FT-50R
  • Yaesu FR-51R

Mobiles:

  • Alinco DR605TQ
  • Alinco DR610T
  • Icom IC-2710
  • Icom IC-2720
  • Icom IC-2728H
  • Icom IC-2800
  • Icom IC-3220
  • Kenwood TM-D700A (Voice and digital modes)
  • Kenwood TM-741
  • Kenwood TM-742
  • Kenwood TM-941
  • Kenwood TM-942
  • Kenwood TM-732 (bands do not track)
  • Yaesu FT-847
  • Yaesu FT-5100
  • Yaesu FT-5200
  • Yaesu FT-4700
  • Yaesu FT-8000
  • Yaesu FT-8100
  • Yaesu FT-8500
  • Yaesu FT-8800
  • Yaesu FT-8900
  • Yaesu FTM-350AR

Base:

  • Drake TR-270
  • Icom IC-820
  • Icom IC-821
  • Icom IC-910H
  • Icom IC-970
  • Kenwood TS-790
  • Kenwood TS-2000
  • Yaesu FT-726 (with satellite module)
  • Yaesu FT-736
  • Yaesu FT-847

 

13 Responses to Satellite Radios

  1. PETE DAWES /WA2LPW says:

    ANY NEWER RADIOS THAT MEET YOUR SPEC’S FOR SATELLITE
    WORK.

    PETE

  2. Kevin says:

    Well Pete, I’ve obviously done a poor job at keeping up with the list. I’d planned to stay active on AMSAT-BB but with transitioning out of the Navy and starting a new career I pretty much dropped the ball on everything radio. At the moment there’s just no additional information I can give you. I will however make a commitment to get back on the BB and start pulling updates for the list.

  3. Matt says:

    You should add TS 2000

  4. John Geiger says:

    The TM-V7A will work and does full duplex. I am using currently using one on AO27, SO50, and AO51 with good results. It might not store split frequency memories, but it does have 4 hypermemory locations which are great for setting up for satellite use. Can’t wait to get it on SO67 and HO68
    73s John AA5JG

  5. Brenden says:

    Great site. I’m just getting started with satellites and found it very helpful. I’m currently in Iraq and can use this to communicate with some other friend who are interested in it too.

  6. Brenden says:

    Do you have any additional info on antennas, rotors and tracking programs?

    • Kevin says:

      Brenden, I do have a list of rotor controllers (with links) here on the site…just use the search function and it should come up for you. There are a number of different models but some are not being produced any longer. As for antennas and rotors, I can’t give you much information…I’ve been using a hand held Arrow antenna and I just haven’t done a whole lot of research into anything more permanent due to antenna restrictions. :( As for tracking programs, I like SatPC32 and InstantTrack but there are quite a few others both commercial and open source.

      If you haven’t spent time on the AMSAT website then you should do so. Lots of information there to help you get started. You can also join the AMSAT-BB mailing list where you’ll find a lot of experienced folks who are willing to help.

  7. Kevin says:

    Apologies all but I’m just not able to keep up with AMSAT-BB sufficiently to keep this page as current as it should be. I would ask that as you find things to be added, removed, or fixed to just leave a post here and I’ll update the list above.

  8. Dennis says:

    What about the yaesu ftm-350ar? Anyone tried it?

    • phil says:

      my ftm-350ar / usa model / running v1.6 firmware does v/u and u/v full duplex but not v/v or u/u … the a05 setting (set/audio/a05 sub band mute) needs to be off

  9. Share some more updates.

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