[amsat-bb] Multiple FM satellite QSOs in Field Day (was Re: Re: Field Day Dual-Hop!)

Patrick STODDARD (WD9EWK/VA7EWK) amsat-bb at wd9ewk.net
Mon Jun 27 10:26:37 PDT 2011


I've seen comments like this from several on the list regarding Field Day:

> REALLY disappointed at the number of stations making multiple contacts on
> the FM birds...  what these people don't seem to realize is that every extra
> contact they make deprives another station of the opportunity to make their
> one FD contact.

This is not necessarily true.

Yes, there are some stations that treat FM satellites just like a station on
20m SSB - work as many as possible.  I did not attempt to work any of the
FM passes east of me, figuring my 5W station would not be able to get
through.  Based on the comments I've read from those in that part of the
country, I did better by working HF or 6m during those eastern passes.
The "minimum transmitter power necessary to carry out the desired
communications" (from FCC part 97.313a) would have been many times
more than the 5W I used.  I confined my FM satellite activity to west-coast
passes, and - as K6LCS and KO6TH previously mentioned - the AO-51
pass late Saturday afternoon was a pleasant surprise in how easy it was
to get through.  Much easier for me than the SSB birds!

On the west-coast AO-27 and AO-51 passes Saturday afternoon, I logged
more than one QSO on each pass.  I was not a "big gun" station, working in
the forest 20 miles/32km west of Flagstaff AZ as a 1B/1-op/battery station at
5W as I typically do for Field Day.  I will post a short video clip showing my
station, along with some photos, in the next day or so.  Unfortunately, my
one SO-50 QSO didn't help for Field Day, as that QSO was with a station
that only gave his grid locator instead of a Field Day exchange.  As for the
extra AO-27 and AO-51 QSOs I logged, they fell into one of two categories -
either helping another station get their satellite QSO (and 100-point bonus),
or responding to calls from other stations.

After making my point-scoring AO-27 QSO, I heard John W9EN on as N6SD.
We had chatted on VO-52 Saturday morning before the start of Field Day,
and I knew he would be on as N6SD instead of his own call.  After some time
passed, I never heard anyone call or work N6SD.  I called N6SD, and we
made a very quick QSO.  It was N6SD's first satellite QSO, giving them the
100-point bonus under ARRL Field Day rules.  For me, I logged the QSO,
but will not score it when I file my log with both ARRL and AMSAT.  I was
not operating in violation of *FCC* rules in making this contact, and -
based on how I have filed my logs in previous Field Days where I had more
than one QSO on an FM satellite - not scoring the additional QSO is
acceptable with both groups.  I'm sure it also helped that both John and I
are experienced satellite operators, able to adapt to the conditions and
make a very quick QSO despite the crowd.

After the QSO with N6SD on that AO-27 pass, and also on the later AO-51
pass, other stations called me.  I recognized some of the voices as
experienced satellite operators working under other call signs.  I responded,
made the Field Day exchanges, and logged a few more non-scoring QSOs.
I don't try to remember if I heard the other stations make QSOs earlier in
the pass.  I work them, and log the QSOs accordingly.  Things were so good
on the Saturday afternoon AO-51 pass that one station was making normal
non-Field Day QSOs among the others who were making Field Day QSOs.
I worked that station, giving him my grid locator instead of my Field Day

To paint everyone who logged additional FM satellite QSOs during Field Day
as denying others from making a Field Day satellite QSO is not accurate.  It
may be the only way some stations were able to log a Field Day satellite QSO,
and - in some cases - get the 100-point ARRL bonus.  Since the crowded
conditions continue on the FM birds despite the one-QSO limit in both ARRL
and AMSAT rules, things probably won't change unless something else is
done.  For example, take away the 100-point bonus in the ARRL Field Day
rules for completing a satellite QSO.  I'm not advocating that ARRL do that,
but that bonus is why many groups will take the time and effort to get on the
satellites for Field Day.  Otherwise, satellite operating would be
like trying to
make terrestrial 2m, 222 MHz, 70cm, etc. Field Day QSOs in much of North
America - a lot of work for a few QSOs.



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