Our first connections via Qatar satellite QO-100

We can finally be heard! As a first collective station in Slovakia, on 12 June 2019 at 16:15 local time and after several hours of preparations and measuring, we established our first connection via the Qatar satellite QO-100.

But let’s start at the beginning. On 9 April 2019, we organised a small workshop for a few friends and showed them how to receive signals from the Qatar satellite QO-100. We promised to stay active in our work through the satellite. However, our plans we thwarted by Miro’s and my work at the faculty. Diploma thesis, the upcoming State’s exams and Miro’s habilitation thesis… During that time, however, Dušan OM3WAK, didn’t hesitate and prepared what was the most necessary for the broadcasting part, an irradiator for 2.4 GHz.

After many discussions and studying many articles on the internet, Dušan decided to build a Helix antenna. It was waiting ready to be used at his home, and he waited for me to have less work commitments so that we could set it up and measure. We didn’t want to risk any subsequent technical problems that we could have caused without a thorough setup on the measuring instruments. That time came yesterday, on 12 June 2019. We asked Janko, OM3WA, for help and used his experience on the microwave bands.

We planned to do it at Janko’s cottage. Dušan OM3WAK, Milan OM8MM, and I, Peter OM8WG, travelled to locator KN08IO – Jabloňov pod Turňou, near Košice. The humid and hot weather (of above 30 °C) made it difficult not only for us but also our equipment. Thank you, Janko, for the cold beer, it was very refreshing.

While Dušan, Janko and Milan were setting up the irradiator, I began to get everything else ready. A tripod, a satellite dish, a computer, an SDR, an SDR Console software and an FT857 together with a transverter from Hristiyan LZ5HP. Right after running the SDR Console software, I found out that my SDR RSP1A wasn’t working. I tried to fix it, but I wasn’t successful. I will have to look at it at home. Dušan also brought his RTL-SDR. After setting the correct position of the dish, we read signals from the satellite beautifully. We used an LNB from Honza, OK2ZAW, from remoteqth.com and works great.

We swapped the LNB with the Helix antenna, together with the LNB by RT, prepared by Dušan. And here we found out that the LNB from this company was unusable. At those high temperatures, it was very unstable and the signals were barely audible. We thought of how to quickly put together the LNB from Honza, OK2ZAW, and Dušan’s Helix. In the end, I suggested that for the reception we use a webSDR and try to establish some connections using this setup.

In just a few minutes, we got three connections. Thank you Števo OM0MS, Lojzo OM3WAN and Jaro OM1II for our first connections. We talked to the guys a little about our setup and said goodbyes after a couple of minutes. Milan, OMM8MM, also made one connection. :) It’s a shame that due to the webSDR, we don’t have a record of our first connection. Towards the end we tried a POTY (Patch of The Year) from Hans, PE1CKK. It works great. Thank you, Peter, OM8ADU, for lending it to us.

Our next step is to prepare a workshop to share our experience with other fellows from Košice and the surrounding area, so that there are many more of us on the satellite. We’ll surely let you know the date on our website and the 145.575 MHz channel in Košice.

Finally, I include a photo album, check it out here.