[amsat-bb] Re: FM satellite operations again again over Europe

Samudra Haque samudra.haque at gmail.com
Tue Oct 13 13:30:52 PDT 2009

on a satellite QSO, is it traditional to say "A, B, C" instead of
"Alfa Bravo Charlie" for brevity when referring to call signs and grid
locators ?

On Tue, Oct 13, 2009 at 2:24 PM, Eric Knaps, ON4HF
<eric.knaps at telenet.be> wrote:
> Hello all,
> I found these nice rules from VK3JED:
>  1. First and foremost is to listen before and while (if possible)
>     transmitting, to ensure your transmissions don't drown out a weaker
>     station who may be on the edge of a pass or running QRP. Satellites
>     should be an alligator free zone. It is strongly recommended that you
>     set your station up so you can monitor the downlink while
>     transmitting, so you can hear how well you are accessing the satellite
>     and whether you accidentally clobbered someone else. Similarly, if you
>     can't hear the transponder, don't transmit. Do something else more
>     productive, such as realign your receiving antenna to improve
>     reception.
>  2. Be brief. Because the traffic levels can be quite high, contest style
>     (callsign/signal report/next station) operation is the most
>     appropriate for most situations. Many stations also exchange QTH and
>     first names, which is OK if time permits. If transponder activity is
>     low, you can have a brief chat, but the opportunities for this are
>     becoming rare now.
>  3. Take turns. If you've just worked a handful of stations, be polite and
>     hand the transponder over to someone else so they can work a few.
>     There may be an opportunity to call back in later during the pass and
>     work some different stations as the satellite passes over different
>     areas, and others will appreciate your courtesy.
>  4. When calling, a simple announcement (e.g. "This is VK3JED listening
>     SUNSAT" or even "VK3JED listening") will suffice, like it does on a
>     terrestrial repeater. Anyone within transponder range will hear your
>     call. A short CQ call ("CQ SUNSAT, this is VK3JED") is OK too. Long CQ
>     calls waste transponder time and frustrate everyone listening. Save
>     the long CQs for HF, where they're appropriate. Only call CQ when
>     there's a distinct lack of activity, such as at the very start of a
>     pass and sometimes late in the pass after everyone else has finished.
>     A well placed CQ call late in a pass might alert someone ahead of the
>     satellite that a pass has just commenced over their QTH.
>  5. Wait your turn. If a QSO is in progress, wait until it finishes before
>     putting in your call. Butting in too soon is rude and wastes precious
>     transponder time as the stations involved in the QSO have to repeat
>     themselves due to your QRM.
>  6. Don't tune up! Believe it or not, there are stations who test their
>     satellite access by dropping a carrier over the top of everyone and
>     perhaps announcing "Hello hello". Simply putting out a call at the
>     appropriate time will provide all the signal checks you need (and get
>     you a worthwhile contact! :) ), without annoying everyone else on the
>     transponder. If you're really that doubtful about your equipment,
>     perhaps connect your dummy load, test in the shack and try again
>     another day, rather than disrupting everyone else. If you just want to
>     hear your voice, well a tape recorder or a pair of walkie talkies will
>     do just as well...
>  7. Reward good operation. If you're answering a call, why not reward the
>     good operators and put the alligators last on your list of priorities.
>     If all satellite users favour good operators, perhaps everyone will
>     learn that good ops have the highest QSO rates and earn the most
>     satellite awards. :-) Peer pressure is a powerful motivating force, as
>     any teenager will know (but probably not admit to! :-) ).
>  8. Use the minimum power necessary. While power levels are not critical
>     on FM satellites (unlike linear transponders where an excessively
>     strong signal can affect other QSOs on the transponder), using the
>     minimum power necessary allows you to easier tell if you're 'doubling'
>     with someone else. For the South African SUNSAT satellite, you
>     shouldn't need more than 5 watts into a basic (1/2 wave handheld or
>     turnstile) antenna, perhaps a bit more if the antenna is setup for
>     terrestrial operation, to overcome radiation pattern limitations. As
>     an example of good operation, recently one station who had multiple
>     beams wound his power back to 20 mW. The signal into the bird was full
>     quieting, but it was still possible to tell if someone else was
>     underneath his signal. If he had run 100W, he couldn't have known if
>     he'd stepped on anyone else, due to the capture effect of FM.
> If everyone follows these simple guidelines (which are basically common
> sense and courtesy), then FM satellite operation can be enjoyable for
> everyone, regardless of whether you run a sophisticated satellite station
> or a couple of handhelds from the back yard. FM satellite transponders are
> like FM repeaters, only more extreme. On the positive side, they can enable
> minimally equipped stations thousands of kilometres apart to communicate
> with ease. On the other hand, the worst aspects of repeaters can be
> experienced as well, such as congestion, doubling and even the odd idiot
> dropping carriers! (I don't know how the idiots manage to always have a
> very strong signal, even when the repeater is 800 km off the ground!). The
> operators themselves (that's YOU!) have the power to determine what sort of
> experience FM satellite operation will be in the future.
> 73,
> ON4HF.
> Eric Knaps
> Waterstraat 30
> B-3980 Tessenderlo
> Belgium
> Tel. +32472985876 (mobile)
> http://www.on4hf.be
> Gary Lockhart schreef:
>> Thank you sharing some good operating practices that would make satellite ops in the US more enjoyable and equitable as well.
>> 73, Gary AB3ID
>> *************************************************************************************
>> Hi all in Europe,
>> It is obviously about time to repeate a few
>> good points about operating via the FM repeater
>> satellites.
>> 1. Do not transmit if you can not hear it
>> 2. When the satellite is busy - limit the number of QSO's to ONE
>> 3. Do not call over an ongoing QSO
>> 4. A valid QSO just needs the call and the report
>> 5. Give way to weak stations like /p and /m
>> 6. Allow DX-peditions to make as many QSO's as there are callers
>> That was the short version :-)
>> I have a long version in English, Italian, Russian, Spanish and French.
>> I can send it to you if you want it. Could use a few other languages
>> like Greek, Polish and others.
>> It would be nice if you can get it in your national journals.
>> And please no flames !
>> 73 OZ1MY
>> Ib
>> **************************************************************************************
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