[amsat-bb] Friday afternoon @ Yuma (AZ) hamfest...

Patrick STODDARD (WD9EWK/VA7EWK) amsat-bb at wd9ewk.net
Fri Feb 19 19:42:27 PST 2010


The first day of the two-day Yuma hamfest got off to a nice start.
Even for a Friday, there were more people and more vendors and 
exhibitors compared to last year's hamfest.  Having two of the big
amateur-equipment manufacturers doesn't hurt things, along with 
good weather.  The AMSAT table was in the middle of the main hall,
and I had two local hams working with me - Larry KI6YAA, and Alex
XE2BSS/N2IX.  As with other hamfests, there is always a lot of 
traffic by the table, and the demonstrations were well-attended 
outside the hall.  

Larry KI6YAA worked a western AO-27 pass in the mid-afternoon, 
and told me that a couple of the operators asked him to say "hi"
to me.  Messages were all received.  :-)  After that pass, I went
outside and worked a pair of passes.  First, SO-50 at 2200 UTC.
There was a nice assortment of stations from across the continental
USA, from K0NW and K6CDW in California to WB2SIH in New York state
right at the end of the pass.  For a couple of moments during this
pass, I stopped trying to work the radio due to local noise.  This
hamfest is at the end of two runways used by both Yuma International
Airport and Marine Corps Air Station Yuma.  The Marine Harrier jets
were practicing landing maneuvers, and when those jets slow down and
swing the exhaust nozzles toward the ground it is loud!!!!   A total
of 7 stations were logged during this pass.

A few minutes past 2330 UTC, it was time to go back outside for an
AO-51 pass just before the hamfest closed for the day at 5pm (0000
UTC).  This time, the Marine air manuevers changed from the Harrier
jets to other aircraft.  An impressive sight, and not as noisy.  The
satellite was full of activity, the norm as of late with ND9M's 
travels across the USA.  Even though much of the activity was focused
on Jim's unusual location near the Rio Grande River (DL98 - and many
thanks for the concise description of your location for the audience),
I was able to make 14 contacts with stations from XE1AO in central
Mexico to many stations all across the USA and John VE7JRX in the 
Olympic city of Vancouver.  

A couple of people commented after the pass that it sounded like an
HF contest.  I agreed with them, and explained in more detail why so
many were trying to work ND9M and the basic concept of working stations
in different grids.  I also assured them that, with practice, they
could be working the satellites and get used to that sort of rapid-
fire activity.  

I, along with several hams from this area, will be around the AMSAT
table throughout the day tomorrow (Saturday).  The hamfest runs from 
8am to 5pm (1500-0000 UTC).  Demonstrations will be given, including -
hopefully - on VO-52 in the morning.  If you are able to work VO-52, 
please look for me around 145.910 MHz +/- on that downlink.  If I 
can't drum up enough activity there, I will try tuning around and 
working whoever I hear.  For the FM birds, my voice may not be the 
only one on from the hamfest.  I may try to get KI6YAA's sons KJ6DDS 
and possibly KI6ZXU on the microphone while I take care of working 
the VFO knob and holding the antenna.  Or I might get others on the 
mic.  We'll see how things go tomorrow.  Whatever we do, we will try
not to make life difficult for those trying to work ND9M from wherever
Jim and his wife happen to stop.  

For those who would like a QSL card for contacts with WD9EWK at the
Yuma hamfest, please send me an e-mail with QSO information.  If you
are in the log, you'll get a card.  If someone else is on the mic
during the demonstrations, please direct QSL requests to them using
the information on QRZ.com for their respective callsigns.  


Patrick WD9EWK/VA7EWK - Calexico CA

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