[amsat-bb] Rare Grids and Gridpeditions

John Papay john at papays.com
Thu Jul 23 13:01:44 PDT 2009

It's great to see the renewed interest in activating
"rare" grids on the birds.  If you don't have a particular grid
worked and confirmed, it is a "rare" grid.  It is important
for all of us to recognize those who are operating "portable"
in a grid away from their home.  They are only there for a
short period of time so giving them the frequency is the thing
to do.  If you hear a callsign that you have not worked before,
call that person rather than someone you just talked with on
the last pass.  We need to encourage the new people as they are
the future of the amateur space program.  Use the portable
designation if you are operating away from home so others will
know that this might be a new grid.

We have enjoyed a long stretch of AO51 being in the V/U mode on
435.300.  After the end of the month, the bird will be in sunlight
continuously and that will allow higher power and other modes to be
used.  If AO51 is in a non-V/U voice mode, as it was for a 2 week period
not long ago, grid dxpeditions are not going to be worthwhile.  If
you plan a vacation ahead of time, you might find later that the bird
will not be in a v/u voice mode during your trip.

The Operations Team sets the schedule and they do it based upon
requests from the membership for alternate modes.  Personally I think
that there should always be a 435.300/145.92 mode available.  Everyone
who is interested in chasing grids or activating grids away from their home
should email KO4MA and request that V/U voice remain on.  You cannot
plan anything if you don't know if AO51 will be in V/U voice during your
trip.  The schedule is based upon input from the membership and if we
don't make our requests, those that want the bird in other modes (both
transponders) will most likely be served.  The second transponder is fine
for other modes but there are probably some modes that cannot be activated
if V/U voice is to remain on.  Maybe Drew can clarify this for us.

There are some that would say that there are other satellites that can
be used for FM voice.  Very true, however, if you are out there trying
to activate grids, not having AO51 available is a handicap.  You spend a
lot of money to do it and then have 1/3 of your potential air time, on the
best FM satellite up there, not available to you.  It makes no sense.

I'm on L band now and will have S band RX running soon.  I enjoy setting
up for different modes.  But after you work a few stations in those modes,
and fine tune your equipment, there's not much left.  Chasing grids never
ends.  There's always one more to work.

If you are interested in working or activating new grids, please email KO4MA
and request that AO51 always have one V/U voice transponder available.  There
is no guarantee that this will always work, but if there are no emails, it is
likely that there will be more periods of non V/U voice on AO51.

John K8YSE

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