My twitter feed is full of radio amateurs from the europe trying all kinds of stuff to talk to the newly launched Es'hail (or QO-100) satellite. What is special about this satellite? It is geostationary, has a planned life of 15 years (if I remember right) and has a footprint stretching from Thailand to Brazil, which opens up a lot of DX'ing possibilities.

My friend Sreejith, VU3TES has already received signals from the satellite. Last Saturday, 13th April, he and his family came over and we setup a 70cm TV dish and used the "Satellite Director" app on Android to point it to the satellite. The LNB, when looked from the dish side, should have the F-connector at the 4 O'clock position. We homebrewed a bias-tee with a half-centemeter 8-turn air core inductance, a decoupling capacitor of 0.01pf at the 12v, and a couple of capacitors to block the DC. This article is a nice one to design the part values. George Smart has designed a PCB for a full-fledged bias-tee as well. The cable is the usual 75 Ohms cable used for cable TV (RG-6?).

On the software side, I don't have a windows box, that most SDR folks use. So, I used openwebrx and a browser, which works well. It is difficult to stop it cleanly without resorting to kill -9 of processes. It is barebones, which I like. Perhaps too barebone.

Transmission on Es'hail looks daunting. Where is the fun if one can buy pluto SDR, a chinese 8W Wifi amplifier and hook it up to a helical antenna or a patch antenna? Except the antenna, parts are just ordered online and connected together. It would be fun if a part like TI CC2500 or one of the Nordic Semiconductor chips can be programmed to generate CW. I am pretty sure if can be done. And I am mostly only interested in CW at this point. So, if I am going to do Tx, that is the path I am going to try first. And if it does not work, I would pursue other ways to generate a 2.4 GHz carrier, which is going to be daunting. I mean, I have trouble generating signals from a 1MHz transistor oscillator, so I don't know how I am going to generate a 2.4 GHz carrier.