I hope to use this site to document the processes of building and operating of a portable EME station.
I’ve been a amateur radio operator for 7 years now and have been about as active as I can be with a full time job a wife and other time commitments (thank god we have no kids). Almost all of my activity has centered around digital modes starting with psk31, RTTY, Olivia, JT65 and a host of others. I’ve also gotten into doing some kit building and home brewing. Building a U3 beacon from QRPLabs, a KN-Q7A from CRKits and a Softrock Ensemble III from Five Dash as well as some of the small pieces and parts that make up a hamshack.
I’ve been trying to decide on a new electronics kit and had nearly decided on a Genesis SDR when something happened. I visited my friend Phil N0KE and worked some meteor scatter. Now most of my experience thus far has been on HF other than accessing the local repeater and a few satellite QSOs. Working meteor scatter was fun (even if we wern’t super successful that night and I started to look for kits that could be used in such an operation. Unfortunately I didn’t have much luck finding a VHF all mode kit and i’m not to the point of being able to design something of my own (especially at these frequencies). Slightly put off by this I started to think about other options and projects.
One way or another I came across the Elecraft K2 again. I’ve always liked the look of the K2 and it seemed like it would be a good size project but I had thought it was a CW only rig and avoided it since I don’t currently operate CW and it’s alot of money for a rig I wouldn’t be able to use. Imagine my surprise when I see that there is an SSB option! Not thinking about meteor scatter I started to consider this as a project. As I looked through the available options I saw one that might as well have been written in neon. A transverter option! I’ll bet you see where this is going.
Some quick back of the envelope math and this was starting to look like a super expensive kit. Not to mention all the other components that would be required so I kind of forced myself to stop thinking about it.
And then Phil struck again…
EME! This was something that has been on my ham radio bucket list. My QTH is in a small town which precludes me from having towers and giant antenna arrays so I though this might be an after retirement in a different QTH sort of situation. I’m not certain if it’s the technical challenge, the vast distances involved or just a life long fascination with space but EME is incredibly interesting to me and always seems to pop up. Long story short when Phil invited me over to work some EME I was incredibly excited.
We worked several stations that night and it was awesome! Phil let me drive and my first EME contact was I3MEK. Italy on 2 meters! It’s safe to say the hook is set now! Thoughts of the K2 started rushing back to me. If I could use that rig and a transverter to work meteor scatter I should be able to throw an amp and an LNA into the (vastly over simplified) equation and be in business right? Well other than the antenna…
What if I had an antenna (or 2) that I could partially disassemble and throw in the truck? I wouldn’t need to put up a tower and I could get away from all the QRM that comes with living in town. The K2 is already a small rig with limited current draw on receive perfect for a mobile operation! This is all starting to come together!
More to come thanks for reading,