[amsat-bb] Re: One year on the birds

Jeff Yanko wb3jfs at cox.net
Thu Dec 31 15:22:30 PST 2009

Hi David and all,

At 9 months and 21 days on the birds I'm a little short of an anniversary, 
however, it is fun and getting better!  I bought most of the equipment in 
2008 with intentions of getting on rather quickly.  Being busy and other 
time consuming projects pushed my "on air time" back each and every week 
until after 2009 arrived.  Still having things pop up now and then I finally 
managed to get on the birds March 10, 2009, my birthday.  After waiting so 
long I deliberately set that date to get on the birds so I could justify it. 
:)  Anyhow, the ISS was running hot and heavy and I figured this would be a 
good chance to try things out.  My first contact was N6RSX, Craig, through 
the ISS repeater.  WOW!  Was I hooked!

In this amount of time I've managed to work 124 grids, 35 states and 4 DXCC 
countries strictly through the FM birds, AO-27, SO-50 and AO-51.  All of the 
people I've worked through the birds, and communicated on the -bb, have been 
helpful and great elmers as well as providers of new grids and states.  All 
of the contacts I've made, and continue to make, are from outside the house 
in the backyard, or on some occasions the front porch for some low westerly 
passes.  Being in Las Vegas, NV, the extreme temperature swings from the 
summers 115 degree days to the winters 50 degree days, and much cooler 
nights, can bring challanges, but doesn't sway me from having fun with the 
birds and other operators associated with them.

David, you bring up a good point about the clipboard and trying to do what 
appears to be 4 things at once.  I've managed to cut down on the fumbling 
around and make things more efficient than when I first started out.  I 
still need to take care of a couple more rough edges and things will be much 
better on my end.  There's always room for improvement. :)

To everybody here on the -bb and AMSAT........Happy New Year!


Jeff  WB3JFS
Las Vegas, NV

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "David Wing" <david at cdwing.com>
To: "'Amsat -bb'" <amsat-bb at amsat.org>
Sent: Wednesday, December 30, 2009 8:42 AM
Subject: [amsat-bb] One year on the birds

> My first contact on satellite was 29-Dec-08 via AO-51 and the QSO was
> appropriately with Clint Bradford, K6LCS.  It is appropriate that it was
> with Clint because Clint is the one that sparked my interest in working
> satellites.  I remember reading about amateur radio satellites in my
> Technician exam preparation book where it was discussing the various forms
> of amateur radio.  I also distinctly remember the impression that the 
> author
> said working satellites was challenging and not easy to do.  Along comes
> Clint to do a demo at one of the PAPA System monthly breakfasts with his
> Arrow II and an HT and showed just how easy it can be.
> At that point I was intrigued enough to put an Arrow II on my Christmas 
> wish
> list and a few days after Christmas, I got myself on AO-51.  I remember 
> that
> first pass seemed very busy but Clint and I had pre-arranged to work it 
> and
> having that successful contact fanned the fire.  The next morning I got up
> early and drove over to a local hill with no trees and buildings so that I
> could work an early morning easterly pass of AO-51.  I easily worked 
> N9AMW,
> K8YSE and K9QHO and I would say that it was that pass that firmly 
> implanted
> the satellite bug because that day I started designing an easy to use log
> sheet to keep track of AOS, Max El, LOS, call signs, etc.
> Trying to hold the antenna, a clipboard/pen and radio while tracking AO-51
> in the sky, making QSOs and logging call signs, times and grid squares 
> must
> have looked pretty comical for the neighbors, but I never even noticed.  I
> added a clipboard lamp, a little digital clock and figured a way to mount
> the antenna and radio on a tripod.  This made things a lot easier but it 
> was
> still a chore to set up.plus now that I was not totally consumed in all I
> had to do, I was noticing neighbors with raised eyebrows as I set-up in 
> the
> driveway.
>>From that early start I graduated to a gable-mounted G-5500 with my Arrow 
> and SatPC32.now I could operate from the comfort and privacy of my indoor
> shack (and yes, there have been many early morning passes worked while in 
> a
> bathrobe).  This past Thanksgiving I finally got a short rooftop tower 
> with
> high gain antennas and polarity switches.  What a world of difference!
> SO-50 is like a whole new satellite!
> After year 1, I have 1500+ QSOs, 130+ unique grid squares and I'm still
> hunting for my last five states.  I've made several friends that I QSO 
> with
> regularly, sometimes multiple times in a day.  I've enjoyed working the 
> new
> birds SO-67 and HO-68, unusual modes like AO-51 SSB/FM and I'm working to
> get my S-Band set-up working and a couple of 70cm helix antennas built and
> put into use (thanks to Mike/K9QHO for the info and encouragement).
> Happy New Year to everyone and hope to work you on the birds sometime!
> 73
> David
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