[amsat-bb] Considerate satellite operations behavior.

Tom Schuessler tjschuessler at verizon.net
Sun Feb 20 21:29:20 PST 2011

Hi all,

I do not have the dollars yet to upgrade to an all mode radio to be able to
do SSB/CW operations so FM is my lot for now.  I love early mornings on
AO-51 and later in the evening SO-50 and SO-67 when available because the
roar of the crowd is significantly less.  That being said, I like to give
AO-51 or AO-27 a try once in a while in the afternoons to make a few Qs but
find myself more often than not put off by the sheer mess found there.  Only
been doing this for 8 months with 260 QSOs on an irregular schedule so maybe
I am out of line here, but I will throw out some observations anyway.

The for me 2210Z 20-Feb, 2011 pass was a typical example of what makes this
part of the hobby hard to promote.  I know that many of you are
conscientious operators and do not try stomp on others but there are some
out there who just don't seem to understand that there is a proper way to do
this that will maximize the number of QSOs that actually get completed on a
given pass.

I don't know how many times I heard someone call another station but when
that second station answers, somebody else comes right on top and
obliterates the poor guy with a totally unrelated call.  I have had a
station call me back only to have his exchange blown out of the water by
somebody else who is apparently not listening to the fact that several
seconds  of an exchange has already occurred. 

I am sure I was the cause of some interference this afternoon attempting to
jump in after an exchange to get my call out there.  I try however, if it
appears that I with my 5W handheld and Arrow, are not making it through the
current pileup, will wait 3 or 4 minutes until the pass has progressed some
and try it again.  Yes I know it is FM and I should not expect better but
honestly I know it can be.  Several times I heard a weak voice that sounded
like a youth trying to get in but nobody paused enough to give the poor kid
a shot.  I made three Qs that pass but the kid got none and probably walked
away thinking he had just wasted his time.

 I will be at a hamfest in a few weeks and plan to do a few demonstrations
of FM satellite work with my Arrow there and know that many folks will just
wag their heads and decide to never try at all because of the noise and

Another issue I hear is stations calling but not apparently hearing anything
but they continue to call anyway and cause interference.  A recent SO-50
pass in the evening had 6 or seven stations calling but only one or two QSOs
actually took place as nobody seemed to be listening to the right
frequencies.  I would request that the person who keeps up with the
Satellite status pages on the AMSAT web site please post the reality the
SO-50 downlink is really about 5Khz lower than the published 436.795.  If
that were really the case, than I should always be starting a pass on my
handeld at 436.805 but if I go there, I hear nothing much and always end the
pass way down at 436.780 instead of .785.  Since we always recommend that
new operators look to AMSAT.org for their basic information, it needs to be
kept current.  If the information is wrong then people have to go through
the trial and error method to find out the truth.

Hopefully these remarks will not offend but will serve to spur us all to
improve the way we do things so others can too have a shot at making

Tom Schuessler
2713 Lake Gardens Drive
Irving, Texas  75060
214-403-1464 (Cell)
n5hyp at arrl.net

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