[amsat-bb] Re: Rare Grids and Gridpeditions

John Papay john at papays.com
Fri Jul 24 17:40:07 PDT 2009


I appreciate your comments about what AO-51 can and cannot do.
There is no problem if the v/u mode comes down on 435.150 rather
than 435.300 except for the polarization difference.  Those with
Right Hand Circular Polarization (RHCP) will have a difficult time
hearing the Left hand (LHCP) downlink.  Those with yagi's etc won't
be affected and that includes most of the new people.  A downlink
on 435.150 is better than no UHF Voice downlink at all.

As far as dxpeditioners working ssb birds, most of us can do that.
But who are we going to work? - only the few that have ssb equipment.
The new people starting out are likely to only have a FM handheld
or mobile.  These are the people that will be going for their first
award.  As they progress, they'll start working towards their first
100 grid VUCC award and maybe Worked All States, especially if they
are on the west coast and can work Hawaii on a FM bird.  We cannot
expect everyone to invest in  L and S band equipment to work the
handful of people who operate those modes.  If it weren't for the
people that bought their radios/antennas/converters a long time ago,
even fewer would be operating L/S.

It's a lot harder to work grids now than it was years back.  If you
worked your 550 grids on birds that have the footprint of AO-51,
you're a stellar operator.  These days you have to pull out the stops
to do it and if it weren't for the grid dxpeditioners, it would be
tough to do half that amount.  Without V/U FM, you don't get to
those totals very fast, if ever, on today's birds.

There does need to be a balance between modes and AO-51 is certainly
a versatile satellite that can serve many different interests.  What
we need to keep in mind is that new people are the future of AMSAT.  If
they don't have an FM voice mode, there is no other likely entry point
for them.  And if no one is going out on grid dxpeditions because there
is so little v/u airtime per day, the organization will never grow.
There would be no interest in DXCC if there were no dxpeditions.  I think
that there would be a lot less interest in operating satellites if there
was no VUCC and grid dxpeditions to facilitate working something new on
a regular basis.  Making a contact with the same people over and over
gets old quickly.  Put someone like WD9EWK in Utah, ND9M all over the
eastern US including Delaware, KD8CAO in northeastern Michigan and Drummond
Island, KB0RZD on a 4 corner grid boundary in Missouri and even K8YSE 
in Delaware
for those that missed ND9M, and AO-51 COMES ALIVE.  XE2AT who is
at the top of the VUCC leader board with over 900 grids worked is in
there calling KD8CAO in EN86 and EN76.  There are no pileups on L/S
and the BBS.

That being said, I only ask that configurations that preclude a
FM V/U transponder be kept to a minimum.   We need to do everything we
can to encourage new people to enter the world of satellites and we
need to support those who operate from other grids and give everyone
something to work for.

I will be listening for you on AO-7 et. al.  Have a great trip.  Don't
forget to post your operating schedule on the amsat-bb so we know
when to look for you and what grids you'll be in.

John K8YSE

Date: Thu, 23 Jul 2009 16:43:03 -0400
From: "Andrew Glasbrenner" <glasbrenner at mindspring.com>
Subject: [amsat-bb] Re: Rare Grids and Gridpeditions
To: <amsat-bb at amsat.org>, "John Papay" <john at papays.com>
Message-ID: <58370780F3A14122A8BB648728DFAD90 at Andrewlaptop>
Content-Type: text/plain; format=flowed; charset="iso-8859-1";


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
 > 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

John Papay
john at papays.com

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