At first, I struggled with setting up the FT-51R for working satellites.  Initially I was setting the uplink on the VHF side and storing the most used satellites in memory; naming them to keep things easy.  I was setting the frequency manually for the downlink and using the knob occasionally to adjust for doppler shift.  This worked, but it had some drawbacks.

Firstly, I had to switch bands to adjust for doppler.  If I forgot to switch back, I would key the transmitter on the UHF band and, well, no one would hear me.  🙂

Secondly, I had to keep a list of the downlink frequencies handy since I did not know how to tune a memory location.  If you switch to VFO mode when a memory is recalled, you end up on the last frequency that the VFO was manually set to.

The solution to both problems is actually quite simple.  The trick is to set up the satellite downlink like you normally would set up a repeater.  Set the frequency manually and store it in a memory location.  Then manually key in the uplink frequency and hold the FM key as if you were going to store a new memory location.  The memory location that you stored the downlink in should be displayed.  Simply press and hold down the PTT and hit FM to store the transmit frequency.  🙂  This is basically configuring the FT-51R for a manual repeater split, crossband in this case.  Simply name the memory location to match the satellite and don’t forget to put in any CTCSS tones if they are needed.  🙂   Hit REV to reverse the tx/rx and verify that the uplink frequency is correct.  If so, you are good to go.

The operation is simple.  Select the memory location and then tag the MR key.  MT will be displayed which allows you to manually tune the receive frequency to make up for doppler.  Adjustments will affect only the downlink and not the uplink, but most people leave the uplink alone and everything works fine.  If you accidentally go crazy on the dial and need to recall the default frequency, simply hit MR key once to recall the memory, and a second time to go back to tuning mode.

Hopefully this will help those who are struggling to use this radio for satellite operation.  There is likely a better way to do it and maybe someone will let me know about it.

Until then, 73s to all.

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