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

Patrick STODDARD (WD9EWK/VA7EWK) amsat-bb at wd9ewk.net
Sun Feb 21 01:35:56 PST 2010


After an overnight rain shower that stopped just after sunrise,
this was a great day for the Yuma Hamfest.  Skies that cleared as
the day progressed, and more people came in from all over.  And 
there were also more people helping with the AMSAT table today.  
This was a good way to wrap up the 2010 version of this event.

The amount of foot traffic in the main exhibit/vendor hall was 
well beyond anything from last year.  Icom, Yaesu, and the Ham
Radio Outlet store from San Diego had booths in the hall.  The
hamfest took advantage of this large facility - outside the main
hall, there were two areas for non-commercial sellers to set up,
licensing exams in another part of the facility, and did I 
mention all the people?   I don't have any data from the hamfest
on this year's attendance, but it appeared to be a better event
in terms of attendance than in 2009. 

For the satellite demonstrations, by midday today people were 
asking "When will the next demonstration take place?" or "Is the
'satellite guy' outside ready for a demonstration?".  Some of the 
demonstrations were watched by as many as 30 people, something I 
rarely see even at hamfests in larger Arizona cities like Phoenix 
or Tucson!  I missed the eastern VO-52 pass just after 1600 UTC, 
an hour after the hamfest opened.  I apologize to anyone who may 
have been waiting to hear me on that pass.  I wanted to get on there,
since VO-52 would be the only non-FM satellite I would use for 

The western VO-52 pass came by around 1740 UTC.  As it moved by, I
was able to make contacts with 4 stations: AA5PK in west Texas, 
W0XG in Minnesota, W7JPI in southeastern Arizona, and W6ZKH in 
California.  Lots of questions followed this pass about SSB satellite
operation, and especially differences between working these satellites
with computer control compared to manual control.  I do not use a
computer to control anything when working SSB/CW satellites; two 
FT-817NDs and my adjustments of the VFOs has gotten better with 
practice for almost 18 months now.  

Once VO-52 went away, I had almost 2 hours until the next pass.  On
Thursday, I offered to let Kevin KJ6DDS - a relatively new ham, and
new satellite operator - the chance to work my station during the
demonstrations.  Kevin accepted my offer.  This allowed another voice
to be heard on the air during the demonstrations, and provided a great
learning opportunity for Kevin to get more familiar with the birds. 
On the SO-50 pass around 2048 UTC, Kevin logged 4 QSOs.  Three more 
followed on AO-27 a few minutes later.  Kevin even worked Jim ND9M 
on the SO-50 pass while Jim stopped on the EL08/EL09 line near San
Antonio.  New grids for Kevin's log and toward a satellite VUCC award,
since Yuma is well within the 200km distance limitation for QTHs used
for contacts toward a VUCC award based on his home address in Calexico
CA.  Kevin's father Larry KI6YAA, using his own portable FM satellite
station about 25 yards/meters away from my station, was able to work
ND9M at that same EL08/EL09 boundary line on the AO-27 pass.  It would
be an understatement to say that both of them were happy with getting
the new grids from ND9M while doing this at a hamfest demonstration.

By the time the next SO-50 and AO-27 passes were coming by starting 
at 2230 UTC, Kevin went off and participated in a hidden-transmitter
hunt on the hamfest grounds.  While he proceeded to be the first ham
to find that hidden 2m transmitter, I worked these passes.  I logged 
7 contacts on the SO-50 pass at 2229 UTC, followed by 2 QSOs on the 
AO-27 pass a few minutes later.  There was a shallow AO-51 pass at 
2300 UTC, and that brought 5 more contacts to wrap up the on-air
demonstrations for this hamfest.  

Inside the hall, I had lots of help manning the AMSAT table.  Along
with KI6YAA and KJ6DDS, a few Mexican hams helped out.  Thanks to 
Alex XE2BSS/N2IX, Eliseo XE2TPJ, and Antonio XE2SIV.  All of them
have been on the satellites, and helped make the day more fun.  More
hams from northwestern Mexico made their way to this hamfest, and it
seemed like they spent some of their time talking with all of us at 
the AMSAT table.  

Even before the 2010 Yuma Hamfest came to a close at 5pm (0000 UTC)
this afternoon, I was already approached by the organizers about 
making a return trip for their 2011 event.  I will certainly do that.
This hamfest is growing, with more people and vendors coming out, 
and Yuma's location being not too far away from the major cities in 
Arizona and southern California is starting to convince hams in those
places to make the trip.  Thanks to Richard KC2LGR and the Yuma 
Amateur Radio Hamfest Organization for allowing AMSAT to be a part
of this event.  And, of course, thanks to all the stations making 
contacts with WD9EWK and KJ6DDS during the demonstrations.  

One more thing... for anyone who worked WD9EWK during the hamfest
demonstrations in the past two days, I will be happy to confirm 
those QSOs without needing to receive your QSL card(s) first.  
Please e-mail me the QSO details.  If you're in the log, you will 
get a card.  For the QSOs made by KJ6DDS Saturday afternoon, please 
check QRZ.com for his address and send those QSL requests directly
to him.  



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