[amsat-bb] Scottsdale AZ hamfest on 13 March - report

Patrick STODDARD (WD9EWK/VA7EWK) amsat-bb at wd9ewk.net
Tue Mar 16 17:58:22 PDT 2010


Last Saturday's Scottsdale (Arizona) Amateur Radio Club hamfest was
a very successful event.  After 2 decades, this hamfest moved to a 
new location at a casino on the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation Indian
reservation east of Scottsdale.  While the hamfest was taking place,
a local FM radio station was holding its annual "yard sale" swap meet
in another part of the parking lot.  These two events were advertised
on TV, radio, and in print in the weeks leading up to last Saturday. 
Thousands of people showed up for both events, including a nice crowd
of hams who found their way to the new location.  As part of the 
hamfest, my AMSAT table was busy throughout the morning and into the
early afternoon. 

Officially, the hamfest started at 7am (1400 UTC).  I arrived two 
hours early, and I'm glad I did.  By the time the hamfest officially
started, I would not have had the chance to get a good space to set
up.  They filled up by the starting time - something that never 
happened at the old location.  By getting set up early, I was able 
to start working passes from just before 1300 UTC throughout the 
morning, and I did just that.  

For the AO-51 pass that started around 1252 UTC, I initially went
on the main 145.920/435.300 MHz repeater.  Even though K4T was on
the 145.880/435.150 MHz repeater with lots of stations calling, I
wanted to start out and make some QSOs for the small crowd that 
was already roaming around the hamfest.  At this hour, just before
6am local time, there was at least 30 minutes to go before daylight
started appearing in the eastern sky.  I was able to work 9 stations
before 1300 UTC, when I switched over to the 145.880/435.150 MHz
repeater.  I wanted to see if I could get K4T from the hamfest, and
Mark N8MH at K4T was aware I would be trying to work the DXpedition
from the hamfest.  I was unsuccessful on AO-51, but on an AO-7 pass
that was starting just after 1300 UTC I was able to work K4T.  So
far, so good. 

FO-29 made its first appearance for the hamfest about 30 minutes 
later.  Another pass to the east, and I got on there to work whoever
was on there.  I heard Doug KD8CAO getting set up on there, we 
chatted for a moment, and then K4T called on our frequency.  We 
each worked K4T right there, and then I moved off to see who else I
could work on that pass.  I was able to get two more contacts during
that pass.  

After an hour, AO-51 made an appearance to the west.  I was able to
make 2 QSOs on the 145.920/435.300 MHz repeater with the only two 
stations I could hear on there, so that was not a bad showing.  About
20 minutes after that AO-51 pass, AO-7 came by with a very high pass
slightly to my west.  The AO-7 footprint is large enough that most
of the continental USA is within reach.  I did not hear K4T on this
pass, but I did not try to find them on this AO-7 pass after working
them on the early AO-7 pass.  I was able to work 6 stations spread 
out all over the USA, with a nice crowd listening and watching closely.
SSB satellite demonstrations continue to draw in the crowds, and 
especially when I use my all-mode satellite station (two FT-817NDs,
Elk 2m/70cm log periodic, no computer control).  

Once AO-7 went away, I had most of the 1500-1600 UTC hour to chat
with people walking by the table.  I wanted to try SO-50 just before
1600 UTC, and then VO-52 shortly after SO-50 went by.  SO-50 had a 
nice and disciplined crowd, waiting for K4T to be in the footprint 
later in the pass.  :-)  I was able to work 5 stations, and K4T was
the last of those.  After working K4T, I changed over to the all-
mode FT-817NDs to get on the VO-52 pass.  I only made 2 QSOs on this 
pass - one with K4T, the fourth (and last) K4T QSO I would make at
the hamfest, and another with Bernardo XE2HWB.  Bernardo is very 
active on VHF/UHF and microwave contests from up and down Baja 
California, has been active on the FM satellites in the past couple
of years (including working from many of the grids he visits for 
those VHF/UHF and microwave contests), and is now trying to get on 
the SSB satellites from his home near the southern tip of Baja 
California (DL44).  

I had almost 90 minutes before the next pass I could work, the VO-52
pass to my west.  Another nice pass, and this time only one QSO with
Mark WA8SME for most of it.  One ham asked if I knew the details of
Mark's satellite station.  I didn't, so I asked Mark on the air.  He
gave a clear description of his station, running the same power as I
was (5W) but with different antennas and a different radio than I had.

With people still milling around the hamfest into the early afternoon,
I missed the only HO-68 pass I could have worked a bit after 1900 UTC.
I didn't feel too bad about that, being on many other passes using 2
FM satellites and 3 non-FM satellites from the hamfest.  

Stats... I worked a total of 8 passes on 5 satellites - 2 each on 
AO-7, AO-51, and VO-52; and one each on FO-29 and SO-50 - and a total
of 30 contacts were made from the hamfest in grid DM43dn.  I used the 
station I described previously on the SSB birds, and substituted an 
IC-2820H 2m/70cm FM mobile radio on AO-51 and SO-50.  All were powered 
by batteries, either the internal rechargeable packs in the FT-817NDs 
or a 12V/20Ah jumpstart battery for the IC-2820H.  

Thank-yous... Many thanks to Mark N8MH and the K4T team for 4 QSOs 
on 4 different satellites during the hamfest.  I mentioned to Mark I 
would be at this hamfest, and he wanted to work the hamfest.  Along 
with a QSO I had with Mark on AO-7 Thursday evening, I can't complain 
about their operation.  K4T was a serious DXpedition for us on the 
satellites, two complete stations and experienced operators for us to 
work.  Also thanks to everyone who made QSOs with WD9EWK at the hamfest.
Having stations work me and mentioning where they were located (the
grid locator, as well as their city and state) always makes a good 
impression on the audience for the demonstrations.  As always, thanks 
to the Scottsdale Amateur Radio Club for allowing AMSAT a space to be 
at this hamfest.  

QSLs... please e-mail me with the QSO details if you want a QSL 
card from WD9EWK at this hamfest.  If you are in the log, I will 
send a card.  I'm working on a lot of cards, including those from my
trip last month to the Yuma hamfest and to Mexico, and all of these
should be in the mail before the next hamfest I attend (in Tucson AZ,
on Saturday, 27 March).



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