Today I was able to receive my first true-DSN X-band DX from Bepi-Colombo at a distance of 15.2 million km (around 9.5 million miles) away from Earth!
The squeezed-tube feed was made by Jason Meyers KC2TDS based on a design by Micha? Zawada SQ5KTM :
IMPORTANT UPDATE 1 June 2020: Please see https://www.prutchi.com/2020/06/01/probe-location-for-squeezed-tube-x-band-dsn-feed/ for the correct probe orientation!
The signal was received with the feed mounted on a 1.2m f/d=0.6 offset dish steered by a Yaesu G-5500 az/el rotator:
There is a Kuhne LNA-8000B low-noise amplifier connected directly to the probe, and the amplified signal is sent to the downconverter (LO=8GHz) mounted on the boom.
Downconverted signals (400 – 450 MHz) are received using an AOR AR-5000. The radio’s IF is sampled by a SDR-14 and displayed with SpectraVue.
Tracking of the probe is with PstRotator’s new DSN feature which downloads ephemeris data straight from NASA JPL’s Horizons: