The most important part to a radio station is the antennas. You could probably lump in the feedline as well but I think I have that figured out for the moment.
So what antennas do I already have and what do I need.
- 11-element 2m beam (single polarization, currently horizontal) - operational condition
- 24-element 70cm beam (single polarization) - needs minor repairs to get it operational
- M2 2MCP22 2m circular polarized yagi
- M2 436CP42 U/G circular polarized yagi
There really isn't anything wrong with the 2m beam I currently have. But I want to have better. Since I already own it I'll probably just stick with it until I have everything else covered. Why fix it if it isn't broken.
The 70cm side of the house is another story. I don't think my current antenna is appropriate for satellite operations. It is rather large and is going to be difficult to mount, turn, elevate, etc. I'm not sure of what it is worth but I might be able to sell it in order to pay towards a shiny new M2 antenna.
Of course M2 is quite proud of their work. The436CP42 U/G has a price tag of $420 for 16.8dBdc of gain and their 436CP30 is $357 with 14.15dBdc of gain. I'm not exactly sure which one I should look at. With a couple of HEO satellites in process of being launched I wonder what it will take to reach out and touch them reliably. I don't want to have to use a pre-amp to receive the signals coming back to Earth as this sometimes causes more problems.
On the 2m side I'm facing the 2MCP22 at $360 for 12.25dBdc of gain or the 2MCP14 at $245 for 10.2dBdc of gain. Again, I want to be able to reach out and touch a HEO without the use of amplifiers or anything other than my 50-watts out of my TS-790A. Simplicity is best, I feel like.
Now this just covers a Mode B or Mode J system and nothing else. I think the 1.2 GHz and 2.4 GHz is going to be just as important as the 2m and 70cm side of the house but I also think that if I can base my operations in Mode B or Mode J then I can move on up from there.