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How To Attach A Ham Radio Antenna To A Mount For Satellite Tracking? (Answer: Read On!)

Hello all.

I am casting about looking for the hardware and software to be able to do the following. And at 1st glance the Starsense Auto Align Bundle looks promising.

This is what I want to do.

Instead of a scope, I want to attach an antenna to the motorized mount and have it find and trace the LEO (low earth orbit) communication satellites, including the 

ISS (International Space Station). When I have it in view for about 10 minutes, I can contact other ham radio operators around the world. My ham radio is attached to the antenna.

Can this device and software do this ? If not do you have one that could ?

Best regards and thanks,


1 comment

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    Theoretically, yes I think you should be able to do this.  But you'll have to be clever.  I'm pretty sure you can't do it out-of-the-box.  And so far as I know, the main problem/challenge will be getting around the U.S. Government's regulation limiting tracking systems from being able to track fast-moving objects -- such as aircraft and low-orbit (meaning faster) satellites.

    There have been a couple of threads on other forums regarding being able to do this visually with live video cameras on telescopes.  And I saw a video of a scope and mount tracking a SkyLink satellite.  So it can be done.

    As I recall, the way that person got around the tracking speed limit was by using a third-party auto-guide program along with some unorthodox cabling and connections that bypassed the mount's built-in speed limits.  I don't recall the exact name of the software APP, but it was something like SatTrack.  I suggest you do a Google search on satellite tracking.  I'm pretty sure the thread I read was on the Astro-Physics GTO group.  AP makes high-end telescope mounts.  They are compatible with SkySafari, but not StarSense.  StarSense is a proprietary product that only works with most Celestron and certain SkyWatcher mounts.

    And besides, StarSense is basically just a really slick auto-alignment system.  Anything StarSense can do, you can do manually with any decent celestial tracking mount.  StarSense is just faster and often more accurate.  But there are other slick auto-alignment or semi auto-alignment systems that work on most brands and models of mounts.  I'm specifically thinking of QHY's "PoleMaster" system for aligning GEM's.

    Good luck.  I think what you want can be done.  But it'll be a challenge to get all the components working together.


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