[amsat-bb] Talking to the Fish

Robert Smith dukenuke at pixi.com
Mon Feb 23 17:47:43 PST 2009

Aloha All


Almost unimaginable, but true; most passes of AO-51 over Hawaii are "silent." The two of us whom are the most frequent AO-51 users call it "talking to the fish," i.e., no respondents. Luckily, low passes to the east often generate a gratifying west coast contact; overhead passes though are locals only.


My first "session" on the mainland was indeed intimidating! When AO-51 came over the horizon, it was not so much quieting as here in Hawaii but rather scores of voices often so intense that for moments at a time the frequency would actually be nulled. QSO's were fast paced and required careful listening. It was an adrenaline rush! Although I am still a "newbie" or sorts, I have worked AO-51 on the mainland a half a dozen times now. Things have not changed. I am always rewarded with numerous contacts, albeit short QSOs, with friendly, professional hams. In fact, I have not had a "bad experience," while working AO-51 on the mainland. I am sure there are incidents but I agree with some previous commentators that seemingly poor operating  procedure typically comes from lack of experience, lack of information, lack of good equipment (esp. downlink) or a combination of the above.  I do not believe during my short history on AO-51 that I have heard anything or anyone that I would consider to be blatantly malicious. As aforementioned in previous submittals, I believe education is the answer.


Yes, AO-51 is busy (on the mainland). During my early phase of satellite life, I almost gave up because I was just talking to the fish!! Fortunately, wh6bie appeared one day. With no disrespect to Kyle however, I do look forward to hearing again,  the voices of the literally hundreds of hams I have had to the pleasure of talking to during my mainland visits. Much more gratifying than talking to the fish!!



robert, NH7WN

Honolulu, HI

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