[amsat-bb] Re: WD9EWK's Grid Dxpedition

Patrick STODDARD (WD9EWK/VA7EWK) amsat-bb at wd9ewk.net
Mon Jul 27 10:32:25 PDT 2009

Hi John!

> First off a big thank you for making the effort to activate
> all of those 14 grids.  Rather than heading off to Cancun
> and lying on the beach, you spent your vacation time to give
> all of us something new to work on the satellites.  You make
> it sound so easy, but it is not.  Working from a single spot
> in Delaware cannot be compared to the traveling you did and
> the planning and execution of finding places where you could
> operate on a grid boundary safely and see the sky at the same
> time.  You executed on each pass to everyone's delight.

I really wanted to do some sightseeing, and - as I mentioned in that
e-mail - being able to mix in some radio operating worked out very
well.  I could have stayed in one place for a full day or more, but
then I would have been unable to see as much of Utah as I did.  A
road trip to Mexico was not going to happen this summer.  If things
settle down in that country, I will make another trip in that direction
like I did in February.  There are lots of grids that are waiting to be
worked from, and many of them are not too far from the USA/Mexico

I've been doing this sort of thing off and on over the past 3 years,
and much more of it in the last 18 months or so.  I've gotten very
familiar with Google Earth and especially Google Maps, using those
tools to look at maps and terrain using latitude/longitude instead of
place names or highway names/numbers.  Using that program and
web site along with topographical maps simplify the process of finding
good spots to work satellite passes.

> The QSL chore ahead of you cannot compare to receiving and
> responding to a few qsl cards that come to each of us in the
> mail.  It is time consuming and expensive.  Thank you for the
> all that work that comes AFTER you get home.

You've seen my cards, and what information I try to put on them.
There's enough for someone to use the cards for any number of
awards - or just put them on the wall.  One of these days I might
go to a photo card for my QSLing.  For now, I will probably stick
with the template I use, but possibly throw some information about
the trip in general on the back of all the cards.

> Your operation is an inspiration to all of us to consider working
> from a grid away from home.  Several operators have told me that
> they are planning to do just that.  Some new grids will be showing
> up thanks to the example you set over and over again.  Working
> towards VUCC is something that interests many satellite operators.
> It gives us something to work for every day.

Most of us in North America can drive 60 to 90 minutes to be in a
different grid.  In most of the USA, that other grid would be one in
demand by a noticeable number of satellite operators.  You don't
have to go crazy and try to reach a bunch of grids, as a trip to just
one grid in an unusual place - a rare county or state, interesting
location like the Grand Canyon, Mount Rushmore, etc. come to
mind - might also attract interest.  Posting travel plans here on the
-BB will start the anticipation for the new location being on the air.
Special-event stations working the satellites, regardless of location,
add to the activity.

> It was nice to see my callsign at the top of your list for grids
> worked.  I guess that makes me the "Satellite Hog". not unlike
> the title of "DX Hog" which has also been conferred upon me.  The
> title has pluses and minuses.  Everyone can decide that one for
> themselves.  Speaking from personal experience, we all like to work
> our friends when we are out on an expedition.  It shows that our
> friends are interested in what we are doing and it provides
> us the encouragement to keep doing it.  I hope you feel the same.

With you on virtually every pass I worked, I knew I could turn those
passes into opportunities to get or give information if I could not call
you on the phone or if I couldn't get on the Internet.  If my truck had
broken down in southeastern Utah where the cell phone did not work
and repeaters might not be an option, I could have quickly passed
my location (by highway name/number and/or my latitude and
longitude) and asked you to call the local police or AAA for
assistance.  This was definitely in my mind while in the high desert
around Monument Valley, where there is a whole lot of nothing out
there.  A beautiful place, but not one where you want to have a
vehicle breakdown when it is over 100F/38C on a Sunday afternoon.

> The writeup was so detailed that my head was spinning as I read it.
> It's hard to imagine how you could do this all by yourself out in
> some of the most remote territory in the United States.  Congratulations
> on a very successful grid dxpedition.  I hope to work you on many more.

Eventually I will revamp my web site and put my narratives there.  By
posting them to the -BB, the online archive will preserve copies for others
to read in the future.  By posting all that detail, I am hoping to answer
questions that some may have about where I went and how I operated
from those places.  All those locations can be looked up on a map or
web site, including the latitude/longitude (not just for the grid boundary

As for future grid expeditions I might undertake, there are now 3 grids in
Arizona I have yet to operate from - DM31, DM54, DM55.  DM31 is down
near the Mexican border, and I won't go there in the summertime.  Too
hot!  Maybe next winter.  I am hoping to get to both DM54 and DM55 in
August or early September, definitely before winter hits northern Arizona.
I have already identified a spot that would put me on that grid boundary
without having to be around lots of mountains, and can be done on a
day-trip from Phoenix.

After Arizona, there are other states around Arizona I can visit on road
trips and just getting on the air from wherever I might be on other trips.
I could wait a little while and retrace my path to some of the same grids
I've previously worked from, as those would still be new for someone.  If
I go to the AMSAT Symposium this fall, maybe I can make my own
"pilgrimage" to Delaware and operate from there.  With the 6 new grids
I visited and operated from on last week's trip, I have now operated from
36 different grids via satellite.



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