[amsat-bb] my first QSOs of 2010 (UTC time)

Patrick STODDARD (WD9EWK/VA7EWK) amsat-bb at wd9ewk.net
Thu Dec 31 23:40:29 PST 2009


After I finished up at the office this afternoon, I went to my
favorite city park (the park that straddles the DM33xp/DM43ap grid
boundary where I do much of my satellite operating) to work an 
AO-51 pass around 0108 UTC followed by an AO-7 pass around 0207 
UTC.  I thought about trying the cross-mode repeater on AO-51 to 
work CW, but decided to stay on the normal FM repeater.  I worked 
5 different stations from central Mexico to western Canada, and 
heard a couple of others.  The AO-7 pass in the next hour was 

At the start of the pass, I found myself on the transponder and  
made a few CQ calls in SSB.  No responses, but there were a few CW
signals - even above the middle of the passband.  I did not have a 
straight key with me, so I did the next best thing to have something
that would work as a straight key.  I turned off the keyer in my 
FT-817ND, which turned my small Mini-Paddle into a straight key of 
sorts.  The lever that normally sent dahs did nothing, but the lever
for the dits functioned as a straight key.  Now I could work Straight
Key Night for the first time in the 32+ years since I got my first 
ham license... and I'm trying it on a 35-year-old satellite, with a 
paddle-turned-straight key on my portable all-mode satellite station 
(two FT-817NDs, Elk Antennas handheld 2m/70cm log periodic).  

Glenn AA5PK in west Texas found me within a minute of my first CQ
call.  I was able to tap a quick QSO with him, followed by another
QSO with Kerry WC7V in Montana.  Sorry if my CW was tough to copy;
it's been a while since I worked CW without using a keyer, and 
sending it left-handed on a vertical straight key while holding my 
antenna was something I had never tried before.  :-)  I should have
rigged up a camera to either snap some photos or record video while
I did this.  After my QSO with WC7V, about halfway through the pass,
CW signals were spreading out across most of the passband.  I heard 
a couple of SSB signals, and switched back to SSB for the last few 
minutes of the pass.  I worked Larry WA6DIR and Bob W7LRD before 
AO-7 went away.  

This was a fun way to start the new year on the UTC clock, before
going home and watching assorted New Year celebrations on the TV.
QSOs in FM, SSB, and CW; working through two different satellites.
Happy 2010 to all, and 73!

Patrick WD9EWK/VA7EWK 

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