[amsat-bb] Re: CW is still alive and well

n3tl@bellsouth.net n3tl at bellsouth.net
Tue Jun 9 06:47:27 PDT 2009

Hey Gary,

Thanks for this report. I had a pass of FO-29 on Saturday evening virtually all to myself - or, rather, I didn't hear any other stations, and no one answered my CQ. If you are referring to the pass that came down the east coast from the north a little before 11 p.m., local time, last night, that was the same pass I had no contacts on Saturday evening. I learned later that there was one other station on the pass, and he worked someone in South America as FO-29 moved south. By then, I had switched over to VO-52 and at least had a contact. I thought about trying that pass last night, but didn't because of Saturday night.

One of the primary reasons I have been doing some research/testing on power levels and gear that is acceptable for satellite operation (and posting what I've learned here) is because I sense that many amateurs don't try the satellites because they perceive it to be a game that requires specialized gear that carries a fairly high price tag. Nothing could be further from the truth. Admittedly, I have bought used radios exclusively in setting up my station. That being said, however, my station is capable of working all the available satellites and modes, and it features computer control for Doppler tuning. I have well under $2,000 invested, and my station includes a "spare" radio. That is, I have picked up two used FT-817NDs and a used FT-857D. 

The bottom line is that many hams already have the radio gear they need to work any of the available satellites. They might have to buy or homebrew an antenna, but that's probably about it. That's not much of an expense to add "space radio" to the mix at any station - and add it effectively. I suspect many folks believe they need az/el rotors, computer control, all of that. No ... the don't NEED it. Certainly, those things would be nice to have here at my shack. But I don't have them, and I'm still working all of the satellites effectively enough to have 49 states and four continents in the log and confirmed - and I'm enjoying it immensely.

I hope to hear you on the satellites soon, and I look forward to working you in CW. I've always enjoyed it, and there is something really special to me about using a straight key to work another station in CW over a satellite. That's definitely a "mixed metaphor" of technology - the old and the new - that is amazing. 

73 to all,

Tim - N3TL
-------------- Original message from K8KFJ at aol.com: -------------- 

> I thought I'd check for activity on a late evening FO-29 pass tonight as I 
> hadn't listened for quite sometime. I heard two 9 land stations who had 
> the pass entirely to themselves. They were obviously good friends as one of 
> them indicated his spam filter had probably eaten the other station's 
> email who had sent pictures. They agreed to go to the Land Line after the pass 
> indicating they probably lived fairly close to each other. I did wonder 
> though where everyone else was on tonight's pass. I probably should have 
> tuned around more and may have missed some other QSO's. 
> Anyway, it was great hearing CW being utilized. The doppler however kept 
> me quite busy at that frequency as I'm not using software. Just two ears 
> and a pencil. 
> I've got to cobble something together and get on the air soon. Especially 
> since I know there are some good CW ops such as the two fine gentlemen I 
> heard tonight. 
> 73, Gary -K8KFJ- 
> AMSAT #32574 
> Sat VUCC #125 
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