[amsat-bb] Yes, again, my call was XE2/WD9EWK...

Patrick STODDARD (WD9EWK/VA7EWK) amsat-bb at wd9ewk.net
Mon Feb 23 00:11:30 PST 2009


I had another good day in Mexicali today, before returning home
to Phoenix tomorrow.  I didn't get up early, and missed the 
morning AO-51 passes.  I didn't take my FT-817NDs and related
gear to work FO-29 and VO-52 with me, so I was on the two FM
birds and one pass of the ISS cross-band repeater from the late
morning through the evening.  A good day, adding 44 QSOs on 
6 different passes (1 ISS, 2 SO-50, 3 AO-51) before returning
to California for the night.  I was accompanied by Alex 
XE2BSS/N2IX - a good friend, and for today the driver as we 
went around Mexicali.  

I started with the ISS pass around 1050 local time (1850 UTC).
Unfortunately, I didn't get set up in time, so I missed the 
first half of the pass.  I was able to work 4 stations in a 
couple of minutes on the last half, so it wasn't a complete 
bust.  After lunch and some shopping, I went over to the state 
university ("UABC", Autonomous University of Baja California -
where Alex worked for many years when I first met him) campus 
and parked near a big parking lot for the first of the two 
SO-50 passes around 2237 UTC.  Nine QSOs in a span of 7 minutes.  
I don't know if it's the K5D guys being on FM satellites or maybe 
some are looking for me to pop up on the birds while on this trip,
but it has been nice to see more activity on SO-50 passes over the 
past few days.  

After that pass, and a stop at Starbucks near the UABC campus
(yes, they do exist in Mexico - Mexicali has 3 so far), it was off 
to the "Ciudad Deportiva" sports complex where I worked a couple
of passes on Thursday afternoon.  This is where I worked the 
remaining passes - one on SO-50, plus 3 AO-51 passes.  I had 
planned to only work two AO-51 passes, but there was a third 
pass at 2350-0000 UTC I decided to try.  With maximum elevation 
of only 6 degrees for this pass from Mexicali, I figured I might
get a couple of minutes where I could even hear the satellite.  
Surprise!  I could hear it for about 7 of the 10 minutes, and 
made 7 QSOs in the 2357-2359 UTC window.  A few minutes later, 
SO-50 went by - 7 more QSOs in the log.  I've been using an Elk
Antennas dual-band log periodic as my satellite antenna over
the past few weeks, and it has worked very well.  Especially 
on lower passes, or at the start or end of a pass when the satellite
is very close to the horizon - times I would have difficulty 
hearing the satellite with my Arrow Antennas dual-band Yagi, if
I could even hear anything at all unless the satellite was up

During this time, I had been going around Mexicali with Alex
XE2BSS/N2IX.  We were joined by David XE2DAK in the mid-
afternoon, and we all decided to stay at the sports complex 
to chat while waiting for the best pass of the evening on 
AO-51 - up to over 65 degrees elevation and to the east around
0127 UTC.  This was fun to work.  An orderly pass, and 15 QSOs 
went in the log.  By now the sun was setting, David had to go 
home, but Alex and I decided to stick around to try the last 
AO-51 pass we had for the evening - a 9-degree pass at 0308-0319 

For this pass, Alex and I went up to the top row of bleachers 
overlooking a soccer field.  Although the height of the bleachers
helped with overcoming some trees to the west of the parking lot
at the sports complex, it brought me in clearer view of one of
Mexicali's TV transmitter towers (the same transmitters that were 
causing havoc on SO-50 passes Thursday).  I was only able to make 
2 QSOs near the end of the pass, when I was pointing away from the 
TV transmitter.  I even tried the 145.880/435.150 repeater to see if
that made any difference with the local QRM.  That didn't help 
much.  At least I was able to log some QSOs on that pass, instead
of noting an unsuccessful attempt to work the satellite around that 

With that late AO-51 pass, that wrapped up my XE2/WD9EWK radio 
operating for this weekend.  Between the hamfest, visits to Mexicali
on two days (Thursday and today) plus Wednesday evening after I 
arrrived, and the after-hamfest quickie road trip to the DM22/DM32 
grid boundary on Friday evening, it has been fun.  I'll post more
information, and probably a link to a web page with more photos 
besides those already referenced in earlier messages, once I return
to Phoenix tomorrow.  Sorry if I was not able to work you while I
was out here in DM22-land, and especially if I wasn't able to get
you in the log while across the border.  Provided the security 
situation where I might go in Mexico is good, there will be more
opportunities in the near future to hear me on the birds as 
XE2/WD9EWK.  I'm also hoping for more sunspot activity, so I can
have a good reason to try HF while on trips like this (either with 
my FT-817NDs, or with an IC-703 - but not mobile HF).  

Thanks again to Alex XE2BSS/N2IX for hanging around with me all
day today while I played radio from Mexicali.  It was also nice
to see David XE2DAK, who is the secretary of the local Red Digital 
del Noroeste radio club I visited on Thursday evening.  And thanks
to all the stations that either worked me today and over the past 
few days, along with those who tried but were unsuccessful.  Even
when it was tough to get through on some passes, it has been fun 
to get on from out this area.  I'm sure I will find my way back
here in the not-too-distant future...

Good night, and 73!

Patrick WD9EWK/VA7EWK (also XE2/WD9EWK) - Calexico, California

P.S.: Yes, I am aware that these e-mails I've sent out during my
trip might be a good start for an AMSAT Journal article.  I have 
a ton of photos, audio recordings from the passes I worked, and 
even some video clips from the past few days.  

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