[amsat-bb] Re: Rare Grids and Gridpeditions

Andrew Glasbrenner glasbrenner at mindspring.com
Thu Jul 23 13:43:03 PDT 2009


I certainly understand where you are coming from, although I disagree with 
some of your positions. AO-51 is currently our only satellite with multiple 
modes (other than ISS), our only S band satellite, our only BBS, our only L 
band satellite, etc. Unfortunately our power budget doesn't allow us to run 
every mode we want to at the same time. This problem will only get worse as 
the batteries age. We are already at the point where after this extended 
period of mostly full illumination, we will most likely only be able to run 
one transmitter at any time, and possibly not the S band in eclipse 
at -all-.

The good news is that the full illumination lasts for quite a while, and 
during this period we can support two UHF transmitters at a high power 
level, or one UHF at modest power and the S band transmitter. If we run 
separate S and UHF, the UHF downlink will have to be on 435.150, as the 
435.300 and S transmitters share an audio path.

So...that being said, do not expect us to completely forego L and S just for 
more grid swapping, as fun as it is (I'm at 550 confirmed). Send your 
requests in early for whatever mode you'd like, and we will try to honor 
them. Meanwhile, get your S band downconverters ready for portable ops, your 
817s and 706s working with SatPC32 on a laptop, and be ready to occasionally 
run your grid trips on ALL the satellites. It's a real shame to hear so many 
ops on V/U FM, and so few on V/U and U/V SSB/CW.

Since I try to walk the walk, look for me on the SSB -and- FM birds as G/ 
and OZ/KO4MA over the next 2.5 weeks. I hope to stretch the footprint to 
North America on FO-29 and AO-7 with my little 817 and Arrow setup.

Mode requests should go to ao51-modes at amsat.org, not to me direct.

73, Drew KO4MA

> 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 
> 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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