Contacting amateur radio satellites is always a lot of fun particularly when you only have minimal equipment. Marsha and I decided to work AO-51 during field day but only had basic ham radio gear. Although I have a tracking program I could only use it for the printed information to track progress across the sky manually and used two handheld radio's; ICOM IC-T7H's. Both antennas are homemade.
You rapidly understand what a "one arm paper hanger" must go through! Several things must be taken into consideration simultaneously:
AO-51, echo was the "bird" of choice as it has an easy to hit cross
band repeater on board. As mentioned in the photo, this was the
first team success. I handled the receive antenna and she handled
the transmit. We made two contacts on the first attempt, Seattle
and Arizona. Many of the big gun stations can access this bird
from California and Arizona and reach us here in the PNW. Last
year I heard Alaska on this sat.
Neil Robin, WA7NBF