Technician: Satellite Tracking Software

Technician: Satellite Tracking Software

Lets turn our gaze skyward for this question from the Technician pool… [T8B03]

Which of the following are provided by satellite tracking programs?

A. Maps showing the real-time position of the satellite track over the earth

B. The time, azimuth, and elevation of the start, maximum altitude, and end of a pass

C. The apparent frequency of the satellite transmission, including effects of Doppler shift

D. All of these answers are correct

Working or even just monitoring satellite radio transmissions can be fun and challenging. It’s also important that you’re armed with all the information you need to listen in and make contact.  There are numerous software programs available for you to use, and they all provide various information on the many satellites up there….  So lets look at the answers and see what we can come up with.

A. Maps showing the real-time position of the satellite track over the earth.  Your software should show you your location on the map, and the location of the satellite(s) overhead, so you can visually determine the passes, when they occur, etc.

B. The time, azimuth, and elevation of the start, maximum altitude, and end of a pass.  You will also need to know the time (of course) when the passes are.  You also need the starting and ending elevation and azimuth, so that you can aim your antenna accordingly, and if possible track the satellite.  The maximum altitude is also useful to know just how far away from you its going to be.

C. The apparent frequency of the satellite transmission, including effects of Doppler shift.  Satellites are moving incredibly fast relative to you.  This causes the radio frequency to “Doppler shift” depending on the speed of the satellite, and whether its moving towards you or away from you.  Think of the sound a train makes as it approaches you.  As it passes you, the sound changes frequency from high to low.  The same thing happens with the radio signals on satellites.  You’ll need to adjust high as it approaches you, and adjust lower as it moves away.

So, it looks like you really need to know all of these parameters to effectively utilize amateur radio satellites.  Your software should show you all of these things.  The correct answer, therefore is:

D. All of these answers are correct

 

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