[amsat-bb] Re: Palm Springs Hamfest, Exploding Eggs, and SO-50

Patrick STODDARD (WD9EWK/VA7EWK) amsat-bb at wd9ewk.net
Sun Jan 29 16:39:04 PST 2012

Hi Clint!

Good to see you at Palm Springs yesterday.  Weather was great, and
it was nice to see a few other satellite operators (WA6DIR, KO6TZ,
KB5WIA, WA6ARA) out there.  Made the 624-mile day-trip worth it.

> Patrick showed up, after driving straight through from Arizona. Well,
> not really - he actually stopped at least one time to work a pass
> from the road.

I actually stopped twice on the way to Palm Springs.  I left home at
3am Pacific time (1100 UTC), and made a fuel/food stop at Quartzsite
in western Arizona about two hours later. I had printed out all the pass
times for the day, so I knew AO-7 was in mode B and passing by at
1315 UTC.  I worked that pass, making two QSOs in the glow of the
large McDonalds sign next to me and the I-10 freeway.  I got back on
the freeway, then drove about 90 minutes more to a point about 20
miles east of Indio.  No fuel or food stop, or much of anything at that
freeway exit, but an opportunity to work another AO-7 pass followed
a few minutes later by a VO-52 pass.  This exit was about 35 miles
east of the hamfest, and I drove the remaining distance and went to
the hamfest.

> Then it came time to work the first of two passes of AO-27 for the
> day. Patrick and I re-checked the AO-27 schedule, and re-re-
>checked our pass data. All was well. The sat was there - but never
> came ON for us.

K8YSE"s web site now has a recording from yesterday's 2005 UTC
AO-27 pass.

> No - '27 wasn't ON for the second pass, either. But the attendees
> were inquisitive and we shared a bunch of information.

The later pass wasn't in range of K8YSE to record, but AA5PK
posted on the KD5QGR status page that it was on.

After the second AO-27 pass, I tried working FO-29 from the
parking lot.  This was around 2211 UTC, and the satellite was up
to a maximum elevation of 39 degrees to the east.  Even with
the mountains in that direction and around the southern end of
the hamfest site, I should have heard this satellite.  I never heard
a thing during that pass.

I saw a couple of guys doing an ATV demonstration walking
around the hamfest - someone with a camera, and another
person with a portable LCD TV watching the video.  Since there
was no converter being used with that TV, I figured it was using
one of the 70cm ATV channels that can be picked up with a
cable-ready analog cable tuner.  If that ATV transmitter was on
434 MHz and close to the demonstration, could that have wiped
out the 435-438 MHz satellite subband?  ("Close" as in no more
than 10 to 20 yards away)  I'm not saying this was intentional, but
seeing what happened has had me thinking about it for the past
day or so.

> SO-50 "bailed me out" for the day with two wonderful passes
> to close the show. The last one was actually about a half-hour
> after the 'fest officially ended - but there were plenty of stragglers
> and vendors left to come over and watch working SO-50. We
> worked Mexico, Texas, Colorado, Ontario (CA), and even worked
> Patrick - who had left earlier, but stopped alongside the road to
> work us.

I've heard from a couple of people that there has been a KD5WEK
working SO-50 passes this weekend from Texas.  His name is not

It pays to listen carefully when you hear certain calls.... did you
work WD9EWK or KD5WEK?  These two calls should be a little
easier to separate than some other pairs of calls.  For example,
KO4MA or K4MOA?  N8MS or N8MH?  NX9B or NX9G?  All of
these calls are of satellite operators, who have been on at least
occasionally in recent times.  (Thanks to Clayton W5PFG for
pointing this out to me)

After I left Palm Springs, I didn't stop until I made it to a spot
25 miles north of Quartzsite AZ on the DM23/DM24 grid boundary
in time for a VO-52 pass at 0225 UTC.  I was hurrying to make that
2 1/2-hour drive without trying to set new land speed records in my
truck.  :-)   After that pass, I still had almost 3 more hours before I
made it back home, including another fuel/food stop back in



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