[amsat-bb] WD9EWK satellite activity on Saturday (22 October)

Patrick STODDARD (WD9EWK/VA7EWK) amsat-bb at wd9ewk.net
Sun Oct 23 17:26:48 PDT 2011


Another Saturday not in the summertime, another Arizona hamfest, and 
another road trip to different parts of the state.  Yesterday was a 
fun day, with perfect weather for the Old Pueblo Radio Club's hamfest 
in Tucson yesterday morning, followed by a few hours in southeastern 
Arizona working satellites from the DM51bx/DM52ba grid boundary, and a 
drive out to a different spot in the rarely-heard grid DM53 in eastern 

Saturday morning at the hamfest was crowded.  More people seemed to 
be out this year than at last year's hamfest.  The parking lot used
for the hamfest was full, if that's any gauge (it hasn't been, for
the past few years since I started going to this hamfest).  For the
first time since I've been representing AMSAT at hamfests in almost
5 years, all of my satellite demonstrations were done on the SSB

With AO-51's pass times gradually moving earlier and earlier as the
years have passed, and SO-50 not passing by in the morning except
for one pass that overlapped an AO-7 pass, I made good use of both
AO-7 and VO-52.  AO-7 was in mode B, and that - along with the 
reliable VO-52 - made great impressions on the people watching.  
Thanks to the stations that called and worked me during the morning,
and I apologize if I missed some of you on those passes.  

By 11am (1800 UTC), the hamfest was almost vacant.  I packed up my
stuff, stopped for a quick lunch down the street from the hamfest, 
then it was off to the DM51bx/DM52ba grid boundary just over an 
hour away from Tucson.  I was able to get out there in time for the 
AO-27 pass around 2006 UTC, and have lots of time to spare.  Working 
5 passes (two each on AO-27 and AO-51, plus an AO-7 pass) while 
enjoying the Saturday afternoon in southeastern Arizona was enjoyable.  
Even the time between passes after updating my logbook doing nothing 
more than sitting back and listening to some music before the next 

After the last AO-51 pass around 2330 UTC, I had almost 2 1/2 hours
before the SO-50 pass I planned to work at the DM52ax/DM53aa grid
boundary.  As I was driving up toward DM53, I started poking around
on my sat-nav system and noticed that I might be able to help a 
couple of other satellite operators work a very rare Arizona county
via satellite and still be in grid DM53.  

Greenlee County, along Arizona's eastern border with New Mexico, is 
the smallest in population (less than 8000).  Its county seat, 
Clifton, has about half of that - and a big copper mine.  Most of
the town is hemmed in by mountains, but I was able to find a dirt
road off the main highway (US-191, the Coronado Trail - previously 
known as US-666) in grid DM53ia that kept me up higher than most of 
Clifton and have a better shot at working the two passes I planned 
for - SO-50 at 0155 UTC, followed by VO-52 at 0220 UTC.

Once I heard SO-50, I was able to work stations from central Mexico
and all across the USA in about 10 minutes.  Many were happy with the
DM53 QSO, and a few got the one Arizona county that had eluded them
on the satellites.  VO-52 a few minutes after the SO-50 pass was also
good.  I'm still working on my log for those two passes, but I was 
able to work stations from start to finish on each pass.  A good way
to wrap up the radio part of my quick road trip.

After finishing up the radio operating, it was back in the truck for 
a drive home of almost 4 hours including a fuel stop.  Including my 
drive to Tucson on Friday evening in advance of the hamfest, this was 
a 524-mile (843km) road trip and activity from 4 grids (hamfest was 
in grid DM42me, along with the DM5x grids activated after the hamfest).  
I looked at my APRS track for the trip, and I am happy to see that 
my entire trip was picked up by the APRS network out here.  Lots of 
mountaintop digipeaters, and many APRS gateways to feed the APRS RF
network into the Internet, here in Arizona.  

For those that missed out on working me in those grids, I will be back
in Tucson for another hamfest in the spring (late March or early April,
date hasn't been determined yet) and a hamfest in Sierra Vista 
(southeast of Tucson) in May.  I take advantage of these events to 
visit the grids in southeastern Arizona that are rarely heard on the
satellites, and I plan on doing it again for those two events next
spring.  If there are any county hunters that would like to hear 
Greenlee County on the birds again, I might be able to plan another
road trip in that direction.  

Time to finish updating my log from last night, and then printing up 
more QSL cards....    and, yes, this was fun.  :-)  



P.S.: The Arizona Worked All Counties award is available for those who
make contacts with all 15 Arizona counties.  Contacts via satellite 
are specifically permitted.  I have now been on the satellites from 14 
of the 15 counties over the past few years, and Leo W7JPI is on from the 
county I have yet to operate from (Santa Cruz County).  Information 
about this award is at: http://www.w7yrc.org/az-wac.htm

More information about the AMSAT-BB mailing list