[amsat-bb] Saturday in (and around) Kingman, Arizona...

Patrick STODDARD (WD9EWK/VA7EWK) amsat-bb at wd9ewk.net
Sun Nov 7 20:29:21 PST 2010


I'm back home after a quick 30-hour trip to Kingman in northwestern 
Arizona.  I attended one of the two days of the Kingman Hamfest with an
AMSAT table, and had some time to operate from a couple of grids around 
that city.  It was a great time!  The Mohave Amateur Radio Club, the 
local club that sponsored the hamfest, was a great host and everyone at 
the hamfest appreciated having an AMSAT presence - even if I was not able 
to be there on Friday for the first day of their hamfest.  

The hamfest was in one of the parking lots at Kingman's Centennial Park,
along the I-40 freeway and about a mile west of old route 66 (also known 
as Andy Devine Avenue as the old highway runs through Kingman).  This 
was not the largest parking lot at the park, but it worked well for the 
hamfest.  Being next to the freeway brought in some visitors who had no 
idea there was a hamfest in Kingman.  I was at the hamfest a few minutes 
after 5am (1200 UTC), and was ready for the first pass I used for a 
demonstration - an AO-7 pass at 1425 UTC.  I logged 5 QSOs on that pass, 
and had demonstrations on 7 other passes (two each on VO-52, HO-68, and 
AO-27 - plus an ISS pass) until the hamfest wrapped up at 2200 UTC.  

The ISS pass around 2043 UTC started out with packet on 145.825 MHz.
I kept switching between that frequency and 145.800 MHz, hoping to hear
a voice on 145.800 MHz as had been the case on passes over the past
few days.  Sure enough, Doug Wheelock was on the microphone a couple
of minutes into the pass.  I started calling for NA1SS, initially saying 
just my callsign.  Then I added that I was in Arizona, and then went
with saying I was in Kingman, Arizona.  At 2046 UTC, Doug Wheelock 
acknowledged my call in Kingman, Arizona.  Crowds enjoy satellite 
demonstrations at hamfests, but an unscheduled contact with the ISS 
during a demonstration was a real treat!  What better way to show off 
this aspect of our hobby, talking with an astronaut in orbit... it 
doesn't get any better than that.  I'm definitely sending off for an
NA1SS QSL card.  :-)  

After the ISS went away, I looked at the IC-2820H I used for the QSO and 
the FM satellite demonstrations.  It was set on low power.  I used only 
5W to work the ISS from the hamfest, and did not realize it at the time.
That made a huge impression on the crowd I had for the ISS pass and QSO.  

Thanks to everyone at the Mohave Amateur Radio Club, and in particular
its president Bill Smith KD7MIA, for allowing AMSAT a space at their 
hamfest.  Also, thanks to the AO-51 command stations and Mark N8MH for 
their quick work in getting AO-51 back in operation.  Mark made a point 
of e-mailing me directly with the news AO-51 was working again, after his 
post here on the -BB.  I didn't use AO-51 at the hamfest, but it came in 
handy for my post-hamfest activity in and around Kingman.  And, of course, 
thanks to all (including Doug Wheelock at NA1SS) who called and made a 
total of 44 QSOs with WD9EWK during the demonstrations.  

Once the hamfest wrapped up, I had about 35 minutes until an eastern
AO-51 pass.  It was a low pass, with maximum elevation of 17 degrees for 
Kingman, and I decided to drive about 18 miles/29km south of Kingman to 
a spot on the DM24wx/DM25wa grid boundary (search for 35 N 114 8.243 W 
on Google Maps or other mapping site to see the spot).  After exiting the
freeway, the last 2.6 miles (4.2km) were on a dirt track on the west side 
of I-40 to reach the grid boundary.  This area had mountains to the west 
and east, but not high enough to make satellite operation difficult.  In 
the span of 10 minutes, WD9EWK logged QSOs with 21 stations across the 
USA and in Mexico. 

Since I was not planning on returning home until later in the evening,
I was going to work all of the AO-51 and SO-50 passes in this area.
I had an eastern SO-50 pass and a western AO-51 pass in the span of 
just over 30 minutes starting just before 0000 UTC.  With that, I 
drove back to Kingman to find the DM25/DM35 grid boundary that cuts
through the east side of that city.  I parked at DM25xg/DM35ag a 
few miles/km north of the hamfest site, north of I-40 and west of old
route 66 (search for 35 15.246 N 114 W in Google Maps to see where
this is).  Some who were watching my APRS track probably were wondering
why I was driving back to Kingman after just one pass at DM24/DM25, and 
eventually they could see what I was up to.  I worked these two passes 
from this spot, making QSOs with 13 stations on SO-50 followed by 10 
more QSOs on AO-51.  

I had about an hour after the western AO-51 pass before the last SO-50
pass I planned to work.  Using the remaining sunlight, I drove back
to the DM24/DM25 boundary south of Kingman to work the 0133 UTC SO-50 
pass as the last bit of daylight went away.  I only logged 5 QSOs on 
this pass, with 4 stations in the western USA and one Mexican station.  
After quickly storing my antenna in my truck, I drove back to Kingman
for dinner, fuel, and a chance to clean my truck's windshield (many 
bugs met their demise on the windshield during the drive up to Kingman
and the drives to and from the DM24/DM25 grid boundary) before the drive 

With the way the post-hamfest AO-51 and SO-50 passes lined up, it made
more sense for me to do the extra driving between the two locations I
worked from.  Even though it was an extra round trip to the DM24/DM25
boundary, I was able to work one eastern and one western pass from each
of those grid-boundary locations.  APRS coverage in and around Kingman
was good, and I was able to confirm after the fact that I was showing
up on sites like aprs.fi at each grid-boundary location.  As John K8YSE
used very well on his recent road trip around Lake Superior, and I have
seen on my travels in the past 3 months, having APRS is a great tool 
when on the road to allow others to see where I am and gauge where I 
may stop to work satellite passes.  

When I returned home late Saturday evening, I saw that I had driven
484.4 miles/779.4km on this trip.  In addition to writing this e-mail,
I am putting my log entries into my spreadsheet, and copying audio 
recordings from the passes and the photos to my computer.  I may have 
been tired when I got home last night and quickly fell asleep, but this 
was a fun trip.  The Kingman hams, not just the hamfest organizers, were 
all appreciative of seeing AMSAT at their hamfest and the satellite
demonstrations.  I hope I can make it back to Kingman for their 2011

As with my other trips, there is no need to first send me a QSL card
and/or SASE to get a WD9EWK QSL card from a QSO during or after the 
hamfest.  Just an e-mail is sufficient, with QSO details.  I will 
print some cards this week for the 3 locations I operated from 
yesterday, and get them in the mail shortly.  


Patrick WD9EWK/VA7EWK 

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