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Observing >> Variable Star Observing and Radio Astronomy

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Mike Foster

Reged: 10/27/06

Loc: Rolesville, NC
A Different Kind of Radio Astronomy new
      #5881345 - 05/23/13 11:24 PM

I recently earned my HAM radio Technician class license. With Technician privileges the logical choice for a radio is a dual band mobile rig, 2 meter and 70 centimeter. I have become active on these 2 bands but was surprised to find out that it appears as if there is very little crossover between the hobbies locally.

Does any one know if there are any High Frequency radio operators that like to communicate when at the eyepiece or imaging? Is there an HF rig and a General Class license exam in my future?


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Bernie Poskus

Reged: 05/22/10

Loc: Broomfield, Colorado
Re: A Different Kind of Radio Astronomy [Re: Mike Foster]
      #5968412 - 07/13/13 01:20 AM

Mike: I have been a ham radio operator much longer than I've been an astronomer (started astronomy 11 years ago, but have been an active ham since 1968).

In all honesty, I don't do any radio operating at the eyepiece. This is for a variety of reasons.

First, both take a lot of work and concentration. If I'm doing both, I'm likely doing both badly. I'd rather do one at a time well.

Second, with the power levels used for HF communication, there is a chance, though not great, that you would screw up someone's imaging, through RF overload of their device (e.g., their CCD camera). I'm personally not aware of this phenomenon occurring, but I'd hate to find out.

Third, both take a lot of work to set up, and so I don't want to go through that much brain damage. Indeed, the antenna necessary for HF operation will have a sizable footprint, and you'd likely trip over it in the dark.

Contrary to your impression that there is little crossover between the hobbies, I know multiple people that do both.

I strongly recommend you get your general class license. I have never been confined to a Technician license, and would feel very confined if all I could do was exercise Tech privileges. I have an Extra Class license, and my favorite things to do are HF CW operating (occasionally, I do voice via SSB)using either high power or QRP power (i.e., 5 watts), satellite operating, and kit building (I've built an Elecraft K1 and K2) and other electronics experimentation.

If you want to discuss it further, email me offline at

73 de Bernie, KF0QS

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