[amsat-bb] Re: equal time

n3tl@bellsouth.net n3tl at bellsouth.net
Sun Jun 14 20:17:37 PDT 2009

Thanks Adrian.

JM09 probably isn't possible, which is a shame. But maybe we should try anyway ... hihi.

Sebastian - you shouldn't HAVE to apologize for your station to anyone. That, in many fewer words, was part of what I intended to say.

As for the newcomers - and I don't mean to offend anyone here - but I didn't have an in-person Elmer this time last year when I was just getting into things. Google directed me to the AMSAT site, to the tutorial K6LCS has posted on his site, to the AO-51 operator's guide N1WBV mentioned. Collectively, they "Elmered" me while I was waiting for my Arrow antenna to arrive. Patrick, WD9EWK, also has done a wonderful PDF on operating the FM LEO satellites. I'll gladly send it to anyone who wants to drop me a note off the BB. 

My point here is that, without discounting the role I hope all of us play in helping newcomers straighten their learning curves as much as possible, it's incumbent upon those newcomers to make the effort to learn about satellite operating, too. Before I ever tried pointing the Arrow at the sky, I understood that I shouldn't key the mic unless/until I heard the satellite. I didn't do anything special. I didn't have some secret site to go to, or a veteran satellite operator to personally guide me along here. Heck. I'd never even seen a demo.

The resources I used are available to everyone. Try Googling "Working amateur radio satellites." I just did, and Google says it returned 1.23 million hits for that term. If only one percent of them are truly focused on the search term, that's a LOT of information available to anyone interested in working satellites.

As for what we need in orbit - to respond to the comment Sebastian made at the end of his post - I personally would like to have a chance to try operating a satellite in an AO-7 (or slightly higher) orbit that would be configred like the XW-1 satellite set for launch from China later this year. Here I go ... relying on my memory again ... but I believe the post I read here on the BB described a single-channel FM "repeater" like AO-51; a linear transponder for CW/SSB, and a "flying mailbox." Now THAT would be cool in an orbit high enough to provide the kind o coverage AO-7 does now. That was my first thought when I read the description posted here some months ago.

73 to all,

Tim - N3TL
-------------- Original message from Adrian Engele <aa5uk at yahoo.com>: -------------- 

Tim, N3TL, we worked several times during my trip.( I just saw your post.... I have too have amnesia sometimes ;)I have your QSL cards and you are in my Log from my Trip. I agree with most of what you said but I think you misinterpreted my use of the word "sport". I meant it in the context of working the same stations over and over again, from a fixed station to another fixed station. A satellite in the end it is just a repeater with the added limit of a small working window and the usual Doppler shift. Perhaps we should call it the "art" instead of "sport" of working a satellite. I know you have perfected it very well and I have enjoyed reading many of your posts as I am locationally challenged at home living in an apartment in Chicago. Not conducive to working 
> the birds unfortunately.... 
> I checked QRZ.com and many of the stations I worked had similar setups to mine. Pretty much an HT and small antenna: Arrow or Elk. Also it was never my intent 
> to hog any of the satellites for the duration of my operations. That would not 
> be the spirit of a "True Satelliteer!" (a quote from WB2OQQ) There were many 
> stations who needed EK99 but never managed to get through. I just wanted to make 
> a few stations happy for a new one. I had the option of going full power but I 
> chose not to on the FM birds. Perhaps I should next time. I am already looking 
> forward to my vacation next year, planned from Hawaii as of now. Now that is 
> going to an operational challenge. 
> Sebastian, W4AS, thanks for your kind words and the opportunity to work you to. 
> I sure wish I had your setup. I live in an apartment in Chicago so few 
> opportunities to operate from a fixed location. I agree K5D could have done a 
> better job in their satellite operations. At minimum a simple rotor and even a 
> fixed antenna at 15 degrees with a two radios on all the current satellites 
> would have worked better and would have probably provided more operators the 
> chance to work K5D. A fulll blown setup with an AZ/EL rotor and doppler tracking 
> would have been the perfect setup considering all the other equipment that was 
> brought to the K5D DXpedition. It would be interesting to understand what 
> planning was done for satellites operations for K5D. I won't speculate. FM 
> satellites may not be the ideal satellites for a DXPedition but not everybody 
> has the gear to work the linear brids. I think it comes down to the DX operator. 
> FM satellites can be worked on a 
> DXpedition. I had some pile ups on numerous passes and I was able to work many 
> stations with some discipline and good ears. It takes an operator with 
> contesting experience to work a pile up and maintain order. Still it is very 
> challenging especially on such operations as K5D. Not sure what to do in the 
> future. 
> I agree with Tim, everybody has their own motivation on the birds. Some go after 
> VUCC, some like to ragchew, some like to say good morning or good day to their 
> friend a few states over, some like to chase DX, some to work new or a new rare 
> gris, some like to be DX or be a in new grid. What ever the motivation it is all 
> about having fun with our hobby, but it is also about operational excellence. 
> Sebastian mentioned the many new users who get on the birds and don't operate 
> correctly. It is up to all of us to be their elmers online and offline and make 
> the new operators > good operators and good operators> better operators if our 
> hobby is to survive. 
> Thank you both for your kind and spirited opinions. Tim, I wish I could work you 
> from my house in Spain from EA6 in JM09tb when I am there in October. Seems AO7 
> is just out of reach from the predictions I ran. Sebastian, I agree if there is 
> a person who could work Japan on AO-51 it would be Tim, which I know is 
> physically impossible. I appreciate all Tim has done and is doing for the hobby 
> and the AMSAT community! 
> Let's keep having fun and keep our arms open to new operators! 
> 73, 
> ;) Adrian 
> AA5UK 
> ZF2AE & ZF2AE/ZF8 
> ________________________________ 
> From: Sebastian . 
> To: Adrian Engele 
> Sent: Sunday, June 14, 2009 6:38:34 PM 
> Subject: Re: [amsat-bb] Re: equal time 
> Adrian, first I would like to thank you for taking the time to operate from a DX 
> location, in order to give others a chance to work you! 
> Next, I think because of the things you have said, and the recent issue with the 
> K5D operation, we have learned that attempting to put up a rare country on an FM 
> satellite just doesn't work out. There are simply too many stations on AO-51. 
> Why - because it's easy to do. SO-50 because of the timer and PL tones, is more 
> difficult. A lot of hams don't realize that FO-29 is back in service, let alone 
> AO-27; and AO-27 is only on for about half the pass on the USA. AO-16 has been 
> off the air for months, and hopefully we will get it back sometime. The SSB 
> birds are more difficult since it requires additional equipment, as opposed to 
> an HT or two and a small handheld antenna (with the exception of Tim who could 
> probably work Japan on AO-51 even though it's not in his footprint!) Tim knows 
> I'm joking. 
> AO-51 is over used. And yes there are a lot of people who may not necessarily 
> run high power on there, but have large antennas of which I am one of. I won't 
> apologize for having outdoor directional high gain antennas controlled by an LVB 
> tracker. My antennas are from the days of AO-10 & AO-13, and I don't have the 
> ability to change to RH, LH circular polarization; I use axial polarization. 
> Yes there are some who are using handheld antennas with roughly the same amount 
> of power that I am; but who's going to be heard (even with my 115 feet of 
> LMR400)? Then there are those who believe it's a trivial task to setup a full 
> duplex HT with a hand held antenna and be heard. It's not easy. I've tried it, 
> and have concluded that it takes a lot of time to learn the 'tricks of the 
> trade'. At least once a week, I hear a newcomer on one of the birds calling CQ. 
> And people come back to them, but that newcomer can't hear them, because they 
> aren't aware of 
> doppler, etc. 
> Then there are some who use 'high' power, I would say 50+ watts, but perhaps 
> they need that power because they are using vertical antennas or eggbeaters, 
> with 150 feet of RG-58 Radio Shack coax. And there are some who either use high 
> power, or have defective rigs (or both), and make it difficult for others to 
> hear due to their spurious emissions because they want to have more contacts 
> than anyone else. 
> So what's the answer. Those who aren't active on the birds because they are fed 
> up will say we need a HEO. 
> Those that are active on the birds don't have to say anything. They already 
> know the problem. 
> I would like for someone to explain to me why they disagree that what we really 
> need are more LEOs. 
> 73 de W4AS 
> Sebastian 
> On Jun 14, 2009, at 6:03 PM, Adrian Engele wrote: 
> > As many of you know I operated as ZF2AE from EK99 back in late March and early 
> April during my vacation from Grand Cayman and Little Cayman. I received 
> numerous direct requests to have a sked as EK99 was needed for their VUCC 
> awards. I made a big effort to meet all these requests received prior or during 
> that trip and in most instances I was successful. As a portable, I worked AO-51 
> and SO-50 with just an Arrow Antenna with an ARR preamp and 5W with my VX7R. I 
> also worked other stations on AO-7, FO-29 and VU52 using the same setup but with 
> my FT857D with 10 Watts instead. Let me tell you setting up as a portable 
> station to work the linear birds is time consuming and required a big effort 
> everytime. I was on vacation and Hamradio was a secondary activity. 
> > 
> > After my return, I went through my recordings it was clear that there were 
> many missed opportunities to work certain stations for their requested skeds . 
> Why was this? In most cases, it came down to stations both domestic and 
> international that are NOT LISTENING or not leaving enough space between calls. 
> Also it was clear these same stations were calling the same stations day in and 
> day out. What is the sport in this, working the same stations and the same grids 
> over and over again; especially when a DXpedition is ongoing and others need to 
> work that grid. I had numerous passes where I could not get once into an FM 
> satellite during a planned sked. In some cases, I only managed one or two 
> contacts. It was frustrating to say the least. Out of the 45+ passes I completed 
> during my trip there was only one satellite pass that was disciplined, operators 
> listened, called in order and over 15 contacts were worked in sequence with zero 
> interference and many 
> happy 
> > operators. 
> > 
> > I encourage operators with deluxe satellite stations running power with full 
> computer and rotation tracking to let more modest stations have their fair share 
> of opportunities to get into the satellites. You may disagree with this concept, 
> but I would like to remind the readers the FCC mandates that minimum power 
> should be used to make at all times in to establish a contact. 
> > 
> > During my trip and upon my return, I received countless emails and QSL cards 
> thanking me for activating a new country and a new grid. In the end, that was 
> the biggest satisfaction of the whole DXpedition giving out a new one! 
> > 
> > 73, 
> > 
> > Adrian 
> > AA5UK 
> > ZF2AE & ZF2AE/ZF8 
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