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Published by Julie & Joe in SARCTRAC Mk2 · 1 November 2020
SARCTRAC Mk2, our second generation Satellite Antenna Rotator Controller and TRACker, was released in October 2020. This forum is about setting up and operating SARCTRAC for portable operation, including:
  • How to modify your tripod and mount SARCTRAC on it
  • How to build your own lift-arm and mount your antenna to it
  • How to mount the SARCTRAC 3D Sensor on your antenna
  • How to set up your radios to work with SARCTRAC
  • How to get started in tracking and operating satellites
  • What radios you use and what satellites you have worked with SARCTRAC
We hope you have a lot of fun with it and we are here to support you. 73, Julie VK3FOWL and Joe VK3YSP.


shaun ei8hcb
06 Dec 2020
this works out of the box well worth getting i was messing about with it i corrupted file my fault I Am sure but support was spot on it would be nice to have ic 7900 ans ic 705 supported thanks joe
Julie and Joe
06 Dec 2020
Hi Shaun,
You expertly demonstrated that it was easy to restore a SARCTRAC backup to fix a corrupted file. Well done!
SARCTRAC uses the latest version of the Hamlib Radio Control Library.
At the moment Hamlib does not support the Icom IC-7900, nor the Icom IC-705, which are relatively new models.
We expect they will be supported in Hamlib version 4.0, but we are not sure when it will be released.
The good news is that SARCTRAC is fully field-upgradable including its libraries and even the operating system.
So it should be no problem to install when Hamlib version 4.0 is released and we have tested it.
Happy tracking and keep in touch.
Kind regards and stay safe,
Julie and Joe
Daryl Hooke
28 Dec 2020
G’day, I’m itching to get my hands on MK2. I have had my first taste of FM satellite ops over the Christmas break and quickly discovered operating a beam hand held is not for me.
Cheers All de VK3AWA
Julie and Joe
28 Dec 2020
Hi Daryl,

Well done on your first satellite QSO! Working FM satellites is easy, especially if you have programmed in 3 Doppler Frequencies (+5kHz, 0kHz and -5kHz) into your VHF/UHF handheld and change channels at the start, middle and end of a pass. Using two handhelds, one for the up-link and one for the down-link is better, as you can hear your own signal from the satellite. If you rig up a PTT headset, you can simplify the audio interface. Pointing a Yagi antenna is not too difficult, either, if you study the satellite pass and have a good sense of direction. And, once you have received a signal, it is easy to peak up the Yagi direction. SSB satellites are a little more difficult, as you have to constantly adjust the frequency, but they are a very rewarding source of contacts. It is good to get some experience, manually tracking satellites, because you learn a lot about the process.

The main reason we developed SARCTRAC was that it was hard for little kids to hold the antenna and point it in the right direction for any length of time. Our original Arduino tracker was an improvement, but it took so much stuff and so long to set it up we often missed a pass. SARCTRAC just works and lets us concentrate on making contacts. We like working from parks and summits. A satellite contact, while portable, is a real buzz. It is now as easy as setting up our tripod, attaching the antenna, connecting SARCTRAC and an FT-817 to a battery and waiting for a pass.
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