[amsat-bb] Re: First week as a satellite newbie

Bill Ress bill at hsmicrowave.com
Tue Nov 18 09:40:27 PST 2008

Hi Bryan,

Yep - "what a hoot" is appropriate. A hardy welcome to the wonderful 
world of amateur satellites and thanks for sharing your experience with 
us. I know you'll have many, many more fun passes.

With all the fun you're having - have you had a chance to join AMSAT??

Regards...Bill - N6GHz

Bryan Green wrote:
> Greetings, all:
> Bryan KL7CN/W6 here in CM98fn.
> A week ago, the used IC-W32A and Arrow 146/437-10WBP I purchased from  
> N3PKC via QRZ.com arrived. Hurray!
> The very first night I stood in the back yard and waved the antenna  
> above my head in one hand and held the IC-W32A in the other. I heard  
> K6LCS on SO-50, but couldn't quite manage to get things aligned to get  
> them to work.
> The next night I brought the gear to our local Sacramento Java Users  
> Group meeting. It might seem like a funny association, but there have  
> been a couple members of the group who very recently got their radio  
> licenses and I wanted to share the satellite experience with them.
> So, later that night, Marnie KI6SXU and I stood on a darkened street  
> corner between buildings in a business park in Rancho Cordova, and  
> scanned the sky for SO-50 with the Arrow. Late-leaving workers and  
> security guards made double-takes at us as they drove by, but then we  
> heard him! Chris, KG7EZ in DN32! I stuttered through calling him back,  
> and we made contact! Chris was very gracious and encouraging as we  
> elatedly told him that he was our very first satellite contact!
> After the thrill of first contact was done, we packed up the gear and  
> went inside to look up the call sign and grid square -- sure enough,  
> there he was! We spent the next hour looking at Google Maps,  
> AMSAT.org, and QRZ.com. We completely skipped the rest of the meeting!  
> Marnie, who's had her license all of two months, concluded that this  
> was actually fun and that she could imagine herself chasing satellites  
> with her retired grandfather at his middle-of-nowhere cabin in Arizona.
> Since then, I've made 10 more contacts on both AO-51 and SO-50. It  
> took a while to discover the mode schedule for AO-51; it sure started  
> working better after the 17th when mode VU was turned on. I added an  
> old tripod to the mix after watching K7AGE's excellent video tutorials  
> which helps quite a bit. I've heard the ISS on 145.825 Packet but  
> haven't heard anything else from them.
> This is fun. It's inspiring! I keep imagining the science curriculum  
> that could be written around this! I want to show it to my high-school  
> age cousins!
> Of course, I aspire to a lovely ground station with a wonderful  
> computer-controlled high-power VHF/UHF transceiver and a fabulous  
> antenna array mounted on rotors on a tower. But this manual operation  
> makes it fun! I walk around outside on the sidewalk, moving the tripod  
> so it has the best view of the pass. I make a complete fool of myself  
> as I juggle the HT, the notebook with coordinates, the flashlight, and  
> my cellphone to check the time. (Note to self: petition Icom to put a  
> clock chip in their HTs -- obvious?) What a hoot!
> Thanks for listening; I'll hear you on the birds -- I'll be the fellow  
> that sounds like a noob.
> -- bag
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