[amsat-bb] Symposium, WD9EWK activity in/around Baltimore

Patrick STODDARD (WD9EWK/VA7EWK) amsat-bb at wd9ewk.net
Mon Oct 12 22:59:45 PDT 2009


As others have already said, thanks to Frank KA3HDO and his 
group for putting on a great Symposium over the weekend.  A
good show, and good news from AMSAT for the upcoming year or
two - and beyond.  Before and after the Symposium activities 
each day (except for Saturday), and on one lunch break, I 
worked several passes from outside the hotel.  I also took 
quick drives north to Delaware and south to Washington DC, to
put those places on the air for some passes.  As always, 
working the satellites from somewhere else is a learning 
experience, and fun. 

Except for two passes on Sunday, I didn't post any advance 
notice of my intentions to work satellite passes.  I went to
Baltimore to attend the Symposium and the AMSAT Board of
Directors meeting before the official start of the Symposium, 
and any radio activity would be a bonus as part of this trip
across the USA.  Some stations were not fully aware of the 
location I announced on the air, knowing I am normally operating
from DMxx grids in and around Arizona.  It pays to listen, of
course, regardless of whether or not there was an e-mail that
announced the plans in advance. 

First stop, Baltimore.  The hotel, on the BWI Airport grounds
in grid FM19pe, was where I did most of my operating.  The 
large parking garage next to the hotel made low eastern passes
interesting.  Otherwise, the only issues at the site were the
trees.  I worked one pass Wednesday (7 October) evening after
arriving in Baltimore, three passes on Thursday (8 October - 
early morning and evening on AO-51, lunchtime on SO-50), two
AO-51 passes on Friday (9 October), then a pass each on Sunday
(11 October) and Monday (12 October) morning on AO-51.  From 
all these passes, I logged 70 QSOs with stations all over the 
USA, Canada, and the Dominican Republic during those 8 passes.  

Along with my FM19 activity, I know that N2SPI also worked from 
outside the hotel over the weekend.  There may have been someone 
else on from there, in addition to Richard and me.  Many chances
for stations to work someone at the Symposium, even without an 
"official" station.  

Next, Washington...

Washington DC is about 30 miles/50km southwest of BWI Airport.
In my almost 4 years of working the satellites, I have never
heard anyone on the air from the District of Columbia.  There
is a station that identifies his location as outside of 
Washington DC, but never one actually on the air in the city.  
The grid, FM18, is not rare - there are stations on from both 
Maryland and Virginia.  I operated from River Terrace Park, a 
nice park along the Anacostia River in the northeast quadrant 
of the US capital, east of RFK Stadium (grid FM18mv).  

I drove down for two AO-51 passes, one on Thursday evening and
one on Monday morning.  The Thursday evening pass was a high 
pass for me, yet the footprint covered all the way to the Pacific
coast.  KG4ZLB in Florida was the first station I worked, and 
K7YDL in Oregon was the last of the 21 QSOs.  I was surprised 
at that number, when I played back the recording to log my contacts.
On Monday morning, I worked a pass to the west and logged 13 more
QSOs with stations spanning across the USA, Canada, and Puerto 
Rico - even at that early hour for those out west.  

I am apparently not the only one who had never worked anyone from
Washington DC.  For the most part, a contact with the District of
Columbia doesn't amount to much on its own.  For many state-based
awards like the WAS awards from ARRL, DC counts as Maryland - the
state that it was carved out of.  I already mentioned that the grid
covering Washington (FM18) also covers parts of Maryland and 
Virginia, and there are stations that get on from both of those
states (I worked one of those stations, NL7VX, who is in the 
Virginia part of FM18).  Several operators thanked me for putting
DC on the air.  Maybe this would be something a local ham might look
to do, operate from Washington from time to time.  I still haven't 
worked DC myself.  :-) 

Then, there's Delaware.  Whether on HF, VHF, or satellites, this is
normally one of the most rare states to get a contact with - and that
all-important confirmation of the contact.  I drove north on the 
I-95 freeway Sunday afternoon just over an hour to reach the 
Maryland/Delaware state line, contributing $11 in tolls on I-95 and
the Baltimore Harbor Tunnel to get there (tolls are not something I
normally deal with in Arizona), and then drove a few more miles/km 
to the city of Bear in northern Delaware (grid FM29ep).  I parked in
a restaurant parking lot near the DE-1/US-40 interchange, and saw I 
had 5 minutes before the start of an AO-27 pass to the west at 2024 
UTC.  In the 7-minute pass, I made 14 QSOs (2 XE stations, and the 
rest sprinkled across the USA).  Shortly after AO-27 went away, the 
first of three AO-51 passes came up from the southeast.  I only 
logged 3 stations on that pass, and heard a VE3 station as I lost the 

After those two passes, I updated my logbook and quickly scribbled 
an e-mail to the -BB announcing I would be on the next two AO-51 
passes from this location in Delaware.  When the next pass came 
up at approximately 2216 UTC, I started working stations in the 
central and eastern parts of the USA.  Seventeen stations went in
the log, and I waited near my rental car for the third - and final -
AO-51 pass of the evening from there starting just before 0000 UTC.
Only 8 stations went in the log on that pass, but two of the 8 
were from Mexico.  Most of the QSOs were with stations in the west,
what I had hoped for, before I went into the restaurant for dinner
followed by the (cheaper - only $7 in tolls from Delaware back to
the hotel) drive back to Baltimore for the night. 


With this trip, I now have operated from 42 different grids in 
North America, along with a total of 8 different US states plus
Washington DC.  I already have FM19 cards for QSOs made from the
Symposium, but I will need to print more of them.  I will make
and print cards for the other two locations in the next few days.
In the next week or two, I will be ready to mail out cards - which
will also let me mail cards from the upcoming hamfest I will attend
in Tucson AZ on Saturday (17 October) along with the cards from my
Baltimore/Washington/Delaware trip.  If you would like to receive 
cards for QSOs made with WD9EWK on this trip, please e-mail me the 
QSO details.  No need to send me a card or SASE.  If you're in the 
log, you will get the QSL card(s) from me. 

This was a fun weekend, with the news from AMSAT along with a chance
to work the satellites from the opposite side of the USA from where
I live.  Thanks to AMSAT and KA3HDO's group for a great Symposium,
and to all the stations that worked WD9EWK from these locations over
the past few days.  


Patrick WD9EWK/VA7EWK (back home in Arizona now)

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