Satelite Tracking with Linda Ki5LLB

By Linda Beard KI5LLB
During Field Day I was asked to show and talk about my Arrow tracking antenna that works with a satellite tracking program called Orbitron. I like this program better than any of the ones I tried because it offers good details on many of the satellites floating around in space. It was working on my old computer which I noticed didn’t connect to my Apple network very well. I had to keep resetting it for an accurate reading. (Orbitron will be on Apple products in the near future, the programmer is working on writing it and said, “He hopes it would be ready soon.”) Orbitron, as well as my Apple program, GoSatWatch, both showed that when the ISS got close to where we were on Sunday it crossed a little too far out of reach to the west of us on its first pass. On the next pass it was a little too far out of reach to the east of us for me to make a contact on Field Day before 2:00. I want to thank Larry for asking me to hold a short class on how to use my equipment because I enjoyed showing it work and I was encouraged to learn more about what can be done with the program.
However, Sunday night I was reconnecting the old computer back to my home internet connection and I thought I would check to see if Orbitron connected properly and was working. It was, so I watched it while I explored what the program was capable of doing. I had been asked if I could program it ahead in time so I would know what path the ISS would take at any given time and mark the time it would be overhead. I didn’t know the answer. I am happy to report that it can program ahead and I can set a program buzzer notifying that the object is coming into range. Thus permitting preparation time before the satellite passes.
I was busy setting my call sign for my home location and forgot to check on Orbitron. When I looked back to check if I set the call sign correctly I saw that the ISS was heading straight over my home location. At 11:20 Sunday night the ISS went through the center of the star marking Crozet. I had unhooked the Yeasu V-8 handheld radio from Arrow. There was no way for me to get the radio reconnected in time to try to contact the ISS before it passed by me. I could only sit and watch the overpass on the screen. I was really upset for little while which inspired me to set a goal. I promised myself that I would make a connection with the ISS as soon as possible. I quickly reassembled my ISS hunting equipment. It sets poised close by me ready to grab and rush out into the night or day. I will be able to track it in the daylight because I will see the ISS go through the star by my call sign.
All I will need to do in order to locate the ISS any where I am in the daytime will be to mark whatever location I am in at that time. So it will be possible to tract and contact the ISS anytime day or night. Great! ISS you will be my contact soon. It was fun to relearn and learn more about my program and show off my equipment. Thanks for allowing me to have a little part in Field Day.

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