Long Range Communications using Ham Radios and Satellites
I was tinkering with my Baofeng radio today while doing some research on communications, when I made a discovery. you can do Long Range Communications using handheld Ham Radios and Satellites!
As long as there are satellites orbiting the earth, you can communicate hundreds of miles using a handheld radio (HT). This really expands the abilities of the Baofeng handhelds.
How To Get Started
Here are some simple steps to get you started down the satellite communications path.
Start with a satellite that’s easy to work, SO-50.
SO-50SAUDISAT 1C (or SO-50, Saudi-OSCAR 50) carries a mode J FM amateur repeater experiment operating on 145.850 MHz uplink and 436.795 MHz downlink. The repeater is available to amateurs worldwide as power permits, using a 67.0 Hertz PL tone on the uplink, for on-demand activation. SO-50 also has a 10 minute timer that must be armed before use. Thus, first transmit an initial carrier with a PL tone of 74.4 to arm the timer.
Find out where SO-50 is currently located
Upgrade your Handheld’s Antenna
Your stock antenna probably won’t have the resonance you’ll need to talk to space. You can try the antenna we recommend, but you’re mileage may vary, so please do your research.
For the Baofeng radios or other handhelds that need SMA-Female Connector antennas:
If you’re using the TYT TH-UVF1, or another radio (Icom, Yaesu, but check your manual for verification) that utilizes SMA-Male Connector antennas:
By adding a better and longer antenna, to your handheld, it can greatly increase the transmit/receive range of the radio over the stock rubber-duck antenna.
Do your background research
Here is a website, www.work-sat.com, dedicated to HAM FM communications via Satellite Communications.
They have 2 files that will be very helpful:
- 4 page tutorial on Satellite/HAM communications in PDF format: SAT-08-2015.pdf
- A cheat sheet for programming the Satellite Communications freqs: HT programming for the “easy” FM voice amateur satellites
Baofeng using SO-50 to communicate from Florida to Texas
See how easy it is to do some long range communications using handheld ham radios and satellites. Now we have viable comms that can cover hundreds of miles in an emergency or bug out situation!
Links to help you get up to speed on Budget Ham Radio Gear:
- Budget Ham Radio – Reliable and cheap
- Budget Ham Radio – Part 2: The Prequal
- HAM Radio Communications Gear
- Radio Communication After a Disaster