[amsat-bb] PCSAT still kicking

Bob Bruninga bruninga at usna.edu
Sat Oct 10 05:46:42 PDT 2009

I saw a CQ packet from PCSAT show up on my Mobile on 144.39 yesterday!

Even I had forgotten that PCSAT does have a downlink on the national APRS terrestrial 144.39 over NOrth America, and if the channel happens to be quiet at the instant it transmits, then you can possibly receive it on your mobile right there along with all the other local traffic!

Sure enough, I quickly QSY'd to its main downlink on 145.825, and there it was...

THen I went back to my LIST to read the packet in detail and it was GONE!  Yep, the station was beyond my POSITION LIMIT, and so my radio did not save it..  Drats...

I used to keep posiiton limit turned OFF, so that I could capture these random packets from hundreds or a thousand miles away, but have not done that in years.

A quick check of http://pcsat.aprs.org and www.ariss.net (now 24 hours later) and I can't figure out who it was.  The few stations via PCSAT do not match the W1... callsign I thought I saw.  I think it was a message.  But the message or position report did have the words "PCSAT" in them, and that is what caught my eye on the radio display...

Oh well.  SO if you are on the open road far away from heavy activity on 144.39, do not be surprised if you occasionally hear a packet via PCSAT.  If you do, then QSY to 145.825 and try to work them.

PCSAT is basically dead, but when it DOES come over during mid-day in the Northern Hemisphere it can sometimes have enough power to relay a packet or two.  Being in DEFAULT mode, the 144.39 and 145.825 transmitters are cross-connected and that is why you can sometimes hear it on 144.39 in an uncongested area in North America.

But if you have your mobile POSITION LIMIT set to anything shorter than 1000 miles or more, you may not capture them.

This national downlink to ALL mobiles in the country was a capability we had hoped could be used for ALL-CALL and for emergency message delivery to ANY ham anywhere even if he was not monitoring the satellite downlink.

Since the New-N paradigm, the amount of congestion and collisions on the national channel has gone down somewhat and there are some moments of silence when a weak space packet can get through.


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