[amsat-bb] WD9EWK on the satellites last weekend - report

Patrick STODDARD (WD9EWK/VA7EWK) amsat-bb at wd9ewk.net
Wed Jun 9 23:19:31 PDT 2010


Last weekend was a busy weekend.  Starting with a 3-hour drive
from Phoenix to Show Low in eastern Arizona on Friday (4 June)
evening, a hamfest in Show Low on Saturday (5 June) followed by 
operating from a nearby grid boundary, to a longer drive north 
with a 5-hour drive home on Sunday (6 June) - busy, but fun.  
Over 858 miles/1381km driven in just over 2 days, operating from 
3 locations in 3 different grids. 

The first stop for the weekend was at the White Mountain Hamfest
in Show Low.  This hamfest has been going on for the past few years, 
and this was the first time I have been to it.  As far as I could
determine, this was the first AMSAT presence at the hamfest.  I 
had an AMSAT table there, and worked several passes throughout the
half-day event (2 passes each on AO-7 and SO-50; one pass each
on VO-52, SO-50, and AO-27).  Late in the morning, a local Boy
Scout troop visited, and one Scout took the microphone to talk
with a couple of stations on an SO-50 pass.  A total of 41 QSOs
went in the log from the demonstrations, including 12 QSOs on an
AO-7 pass to start the morning at 1400 UTC.  Lots of AMSAT 
merchandise made it into the hands of hams in that area, and -
like with any hamfest - lots of questions about operating and 
specifically how I was working the satellites with portable 

After the hamfest and lunch, I found a spot on the DM44xj/DM54aj 
grid boundary north of Show Low to operate from.  I spent about 5 
hours at this site, not far from a small lake but off the main 
highways in the area.  Lots of passes to work - 3 passes on AO-7, 
2 passes on AO-51, and one pass on SO-50.  I knew there were a 
few who were hoping to hear DM54 on the air, and I was happy to 
make the contacts with anyone stopping by to call me.  The last
of the 3 AO-7 passes finished up around sunset, leaving enough
light to help me quickly break down my gear for the evening.  I
logged 43 QSOs from this grid boundary, a good effort. 

At sunrise Sunday (6 June) morning, I left Show Low and headed 
toward the Navajo Nation reservation in northeastern Arizona.  
I was looking for grid DM56, and possibly a spot on the DM55/DM56
grid boundary that I could park on, for several hours of operating
up there before returning home.  I was already in the area for the
hamfest in Show Low, and a few operators asked if I would be able
to visit DM56 to work some passes.  I drove north and worked my 
way to US-191 north of the I-40 freeway, and unfortunately saw no 
safe place to park at the DM55/DM56 grid boundary on that road or 
alongside the road.  I decided to go a few miles/km further north 
to the Navajo town of Chinle, and find someplace to operate there.  

Chinle is at the western entrance of the Canyon de Chelly National 
Monument, which I visited during longer gaps between passes.  I 
ended up operating in town, not far from a convenience store and 
several fast-food restaurants at a highway junction (grid DM56fd).
Since the afternoon temperatures reached 100F/38C up here, being 
near places with air conditioning (besides my truck) were most 
appreciated.  :-)  

At Chinle, I started working passes with the 1620 UTC SO-50 pass.
As that pass finished, VO-52 came up.  Not too long after VO-52
went away, the first of two HO-68 passes went by to the east.  
After these passes, there was more time between most of the passes,
which I used to get lunch and go into the Canyon de Chelly monument.
In the afternoon, I was able to work a couple of AO-27 passes and
an AO-51 pass before my self-imposed deadline of 2300 UTC (1700 local
time on the Navajo reservation) so I would not get home at or after
midnight.  I logged a total of 73 QSOs on 8 passes from DM56 (2 passes
each on SO-50, HO-68, and AO-27; 1 pass each on VO-52 and AO-51), 
working stations across the USA including Alaska and Hawaii plus 
Canada, Mexico, and Puerto Rico.  

After the AO-51 pass, the drive back to Phoenix took almost 5.5 hours.
This was the reason why I did not want to stay up there to work later
passes.  I still had to be at my office Monday morning.  The drive
home was uneventful, using cruise-control for much of the drive. 

I appreciate all the stations that showed up on the Saturday morning
passes during my demonstrations.  I had a decent crowd at the start
of the morning for that AO-7 pass, to hear all that activity.  Of
course, being able to put QSOs into logs from the DM44/DM54 boundary
and from DM56 was also fun.  I have already printed QSL cards for 
the 3 locations I operated from over the weekend, wrote out cards 
for those who requested cards and others, and some of those cards 
will go to the post office tomorrow.  If you would like confirmation
of a QSO with WD9EWK from the weekend, just e-mail me directly with 
the QSO details.  I'll be happy to send you a card.  



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