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

w7lrd@comcast.net w7lrd at comcast.net
Tue Nov 18 14:44:06 PST 2008

Congrats Bryan, be aware this stuff is very habit forming <grin>.
73 Bob W7LRD

"if this were easy, everyone would be doing it"

-------------- Original message -------------- 
From: Bryan Green <bag at mac.com> 

> 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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