Satellite Radios

NOTE: This page is no longer being maintained.

On the AMSAT-BB mailing list in 2004, Darrell Bellerive VA7TO, initiated a series of topics regarding “Rigs for FM Sats including AO-51 (Echo).” A few years ago I was invited to continue the work he started and this page is intended to be the repository for all information discovered.  I intend to utilize the same criteria Darrell used (listed below) in evaluating each radio but if you feel something needs to be modified then, please, say so.

Obviously there is no way I can access every single one of these radios and test them myself so please provide reports on your experiences and send corrections if something is listed in error. Also, please check to make sure the rigs will meet all the criteria when submitting your report.


  1. Must be capable of tuning the satellite sub-bands:
    • 144 to 146 MHz
    • 435 to 438 MHz
  2. Must be capable of transmitting sub-audible or CTCSS tones:
    • SO-50: 67.0 Hz and 74.4 Hz
    • AO-51: 67.0 Hz
    • All rigs on this list will transmit a tone in full duplex mode.
  3. Full duplex. Able to receive during transmission. While not absolutely necessary, full duplex is extremely desirable. All rigs on this list will do full duplex.
  4. Cross band memory storage. The ability to store frequencies from different bands into a memory channel. While not absolutely necessary, it makes tuning for Doppler frequency shifts much easier. All rigs on this list will allow cross band frequencies in memory channels.
  5. Power output from handhelds should be 5 watts. Some handhelds will require 12 volt batteries or external power.


  • Alinco DJ-G5T
  • Alinco DJ-580T (12V battery pack EPB-28NH works better)
  • Icom IC-24AT (Not sensitive enough on 70 cm)
  • Icom IC-W2A
  • Icom IC-W32
  • Kenwood TH-77
  • Kenwood TH-78
  • Kenwood TH-79(AD) (Mod required to receive satellite sub-band)
  • Kenwood TH-D7 (Voice and digital modes)
  • Kenwood TH-D72
  • Standard C-568
  • Yaesu FT-470
  • Yaesu FT-530
  • Yaesu FT-50R
  • Yaesu FR-51R


  • Alinco DR605TQ
  • Alinco DR610T
  • Icom IC-2710
  • Icom IC-2720
  • Icom IC-2728H
  • Icom IC-2800
  • Icom IC-3220
  • Kenwood TM-D700A (Voice and digital modes)
  • Kenwood TM-741
  • Kenwood TM-742
  • Kenwood TM-941
  • Kenwood TM-942
  • Kenwood TM-732 (bands do not track)
  • Yaesu FT-847
  • Yaesu FT-5100
  • Yaesu FT-5200
  • Yaesu FT-4700
  • Yaesu FT-8000
  • Yaesu FT-8100
  • Yaesu FT-8500
  • Yaesu FT-8800
  • Yaesu FT-8900
  • Yaesu FTM-350AR


  • Drake TR-270
  • Icom IC-820
  • Icom IC-821
  • Icom IC-910H
  • Icom IC-970
  • Kenwood TS-790
  • Kenwood TS-2000
  • Yaesu FT-726 (with satellite module)
  • Yaesu FT-736
  • Yaesu FT-847


19 responses to “Satellite Radios”

  1. PETE DAWES /WA2LPW Avatar



    1. Steve Secrest Avatar

      I know this is an old thread but nit has some bad information in it that would confuse a new ham trying to get into sat work. First you have listed the IC-W2a and the Kenwood TH-d7 as HTs being able to work the Sats. This is not true if you are using the USA version.. Neither HT is able to transmit below 440Mhz without being modified. Most sats use UHF in the 430 range of frequincies, making the W2A ND th-d7 USELESS without mods. Finding someone to do the mods is not an easy task.

      1. Kevin Avatar

        I went ahead and crossed them out on the list; left them visible to tie back to this message. Thanks for the comment!

      2. Nate Avatar

        This is only partially true. The earlier version of the USA version of the TH-D7 (TH-D7A) could not transmit below 440MHz. The updated version of this radio, the TH-D7A(G) does not have this limitation and can transmit on VHF down to 430MHz.

  2. Kevin Avatar

    Well Pete, I’ve obviously done a poor job at keeping up with the list. I’d planned to stay active on AMSAT-BB but with transitioning out of the Navy and starting a new career I pretty much dropped the ball on everything radio. At the moment there’s just no additional information I can give you. I will however make a commitment to get back on the BB and start pulling updates for the list.

  3. Matt Avatar

    You should add TS 2000

  4. John Geiger Avatar
    John Geiger

    The TM-V7A will work and does full duplex. I am using currently using one on AO27, SO50, and AO51 with good results. It might not store split frequency memories, but it does have 4 hypermemory locations which are great for setting up for satellite use. Can’t wait to get it on SO67 and HO68
    73s John AA5JG

    1. KB4QAA Avatar

      The TM-7A does NOT have have V/U Full Duplex. It has Simultaneous Dual Band Receive. It has only a single antenna port.

  5. Brenden Avatar

    Great site. I’m just getting started with satellites and found it very helpful. I’m currently in Iraq and can use this to communicate with some other friend who are interested in it too.

  6. Brenden Avatar

    Do you have any additional info on antennas, rotors and tracking programs?

    1. Kevin Avatar

      Brenden, I do have a list of rotor controllers (with links) here on the site…just use the search function and it should come up for you. There are a number of different models but some are not being produced any longer. As for antennas and rotors, I can’t give you much information…I’ve been using a hand held Arrow antenna and I just haven’t done a whole lot of research into anything more permanent due to antenna restrictions. 😦 As for tracking programs, I like SatPC32 and InstantTrack but there are quite a few others both commercial and open source.

      If you haven’t spent time on the AMSAT website then you should do so. Lots of information there to help you get started. You can also join the AMSAT-BB mailing list where you’ll find a lot of experienced folks who are willing to help.

  7. Kevin Avatar

    Apologies all but I’m just not able to keep up with AMSAT-BB sufficiently to keep this page as current as it should be. I would ask that as you find things to be added, removed, or fixed to just leave a post here and I’ll update the list above.

  8. Dennis Avatar

    What about the yaesu ftm-350ar? Anyone tried it?

    1. phil Avatar

      my ftm-350ar / usa model / running v1.6 firmware does v/u and u/v full duplex but not v/v or u/u … the a05 setting (set/audio/a05 sub band mute) needs to be off

  9. Jeffery M. Orduna Avatar

    Share some more updates.

  10. Bill Avatar

    What about the new Chinese Reasonable Cost radios for the Pooreth Amongst Us? Wow it would be great if you could use a Chinese radio with an Arrow Antenna, or a homemade one made of coat hangers and PVC, made in the finest Hatchy-Mascratchy Art style!

  11. Clifford Avatar

    In case some are not aware- there are some HT you can FD with using a mono earpiece adapter- 2.5mm male to 3.5mm female (without you will get feedback)
    sure there are others
    also I have an AnyTone mobile AT-5888-UV and it is FD.

  12. David Quick Avatar
    David Quick

    The Kenwood TM-733a makes for a fine FM satellite radio. True full duplex VHF/UHF. I’ve made over 300 contacts via SO-50, AO-85, AO-91, and AO-92 in the past 4 months.

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