[amsat-bb] Monday evening & Tuesday, trip wrap-up...

Patrick STODDARD (WD9EWK/VA7EWK) amsat-bb at wd9ewk.net
Wed Oct 21 22:54:12 UTC 2015


I'm relaxing on my flight back to Arizona, after a week of all things AMSAT
and satellite operating. The Symposium was great, and I mixed in a lot of
operating from many different locations in 9 different grids (EM79, EN's:
70-71, 82-83, 92-94) in 3 states (IN, MI, OH) and the province of Ontario.
My rental car had 1395 miles from my driving, when I returned it at the
Indianapolis airport earlier this afternoon - including a 6-hour, 400-mile
drive to get back to that airport, which came after a similar drive from
Dayton to Port Huron Monday afternoon/evening. I had written about my
earlier radio operating, so I'll focus on Monday evening after the end of
the Symposium and Tuesday in Ontario, along with a wrap-up for the trip.

Before crossing the border Tuesday morning, I worked two passes Monday
evening from a parking lot near my motel in Port Huron, which was a new
grid locator for my rover log (EN83). A handful of QSOs on two passes,
one each on AO-73 and SO-50 - and a ton of noise when working the SO-50
pass. AO-73 worked well with the FT-817ND/SDRplay combination, once again.
Since I was planning to be up early for the 2-hour drive from Port Huron to
the EN93/EN94 grid boundary, I did not stay out to work later passes.

In between these two passes, I had an interesting - and quick - meeting
with a pair of Port Huron police officers. As soon as I explained what I
was doing, they mentioned that I was not on the Wendy's property, that it
would close in a few minutes, and I was OK to be out there. They also said
the Wendy's manager made the call to the police, seeing me outside with my
gear and "waving an antenna around".

After a short night's sleep, I got up early Tuesday morning and prepared
for my day-trip across the border. My motel was 2 minutes away from the
crossing, at the Blue Water Bridge. After a 20-minute delay at the Canadian
border checkpoint in Sarnia, I made some quick stops before starting the 2-
hour drive. Among other quick stops, I saw the Sarnia Chris Hadfield
Airport, and took some pictures. I met Chris at a book signing event in
Phoenix a few months ago, and knew Sarnia was his hometown. I saw some snow
on the ground as I drove north, left over from a storm that passed through
a couple of days earlier. The drive was uneventful, and I was able to line
up on the grid boundary for the obligatory photos of my gear and GPS
receiver. After that, an SO-50 pass for a few QSOs.

There were a total of 3 FO-29 passes and 4 SO-50 passes during Tuesday
afternoon. If I stayed later, I could have had a few more SO-50 passes,
where I could have worked all polar bears, seeing how the passes looked on
my tracking app. With AO-7 in mode A, I wanted to work a bunch of passes in
FM and SSB from there on SO-50 and FO-29. I think someone else was up in
this area not too long ago, but I still had lots of callers on most passes.
A couple of passes saw only one other operator on, but at least I worked
someone on each of the 7 passes I worked from the grid boundary. I worked a
total of 42 QSOs from the EN93/EN94 grid boundary.

When I was done at EN93/EN94, I thought about where else I could work from,
before crossing back into the USA at Port Huron. Four grids come together
at a point east of Sarnia, near the 402 freeway - EN82, EN83, EN92, EN93. I
covered EN93 earlier in the day, worked briefly from EN83 the night before,
and looked at maps to see where I could go to operate. The four-grid
intersection was off-limits, but I could easily park somewhere to be in any
two of those four grids. I decided to go with the EN82/EN92 boundary, which
was close to an interchange for the 402 freeway, and the road had a large
dirt shoulder where I could safely park and use my radios. I parked, found
the right spot for the photos of my radios and GPS receiver on the grid
boundary, and worked two passes - one each, on XW-2E and XW-2F, with a gap
of a few minutes between these passes. Eight QSOs on the XW-2E pass, and
7 more on the XW-2F pass. Not too bad, for only mentioning this on Twitter
due to time constraints on making additional posts in places like this
mailing list.

I had originally pulled out my two FT-817NDs, seeing that it had been
raining during much of the afternoon. The rain did not start up while I was
at EN82/EN92, so I swapped out one FT-817ND for my SDRplay SDR receiver and
8-inch tablet. I did not make one long RF recording, but stopped it when
XW-2E went away, and started a new recording as XW-2F came up. Many of the
same stations I worked up at EN93/EN94 were calling me at EN82/EN92, and I
logged a total of 15 QSOs - 8 on XW-2E, 7 on XW-2F.

After a dinner in Sarnia, I crossed the border, went back to my motel room,
and had another short night's sleep before today's drive from Port Huron to
Indianapolis for my flight home. Even with a stop at a post office in
northern Indiana to ship books home, I made the drive in about 6 hours.
Especially with the Symposium Proceedings book, my suitcase would have gone
over the 50-pound free allowance, and Priority Mail was cheaper than the
excess-weight fee I would have paid in Indianapolis. The books will be home
on Friday, so that is not a problem. This was the first time I had to ship
anything home after an event like this. I had additional radio gear in my
radio bag and computer backpack (more room with tablets instead of a laptop
in the backpack), since I had planned on making the run up to EN93/EN94, so
I didn't have room to carry the books with me.

I heard a lot of noise when I worked SO-50 from Port Huron on Monday
evening. I chalked that up to the power lines and all the lighting in the
area. I heard the same noise on SO-50 at EN93/EN94 Tuesday, and there were
only the power lines. When I'm in Arizona, I have never heard so much noise
from power lines. I was able to deal with it by using an HT as my downlink
receiver for the SO-50 passes, still transmitting with the IC-2820H. I was
concerned that the IC-2820H's receiver may have been going out on me, but
it seems like it is working OK - other than being very sensitive to that
noise. I'll check it out further at home, to confirm it is still in good
working order.

All of my QSOs from the past week in 3 states (Indiana, Ohio, Michigan) and
Ontario, covering 8 grids - EM79; EN's 70, 71, 82, 83, 92, 93, 94 - are now
in Logbook of the World. I operated from many different locations,
including the Indiana/Michigan/Ohio border tripoint last Thursday (15
October) and the Indiana/Ohio border west of Dayton on Friday (16 October)
evening, along with the EN82/EN92 and EN93/EN94 grid boundaries in Ontario.
This also included AO-85 passes late last week, which was a nice bonus,
along with the uploads of data from the telemetry in the AO-85 downlink. If
you would like to receive a QSL card for any of your QSOs with WD9EWK or
VA7EWK/3, please e-mail me with the QSO details. If you are in the log, I
will be happy to send a card - or cards - as confirmation.

Except for the XW-2E and XW-2F passes I worked from EN82/EN92 Tuesday
evening, I have posted all of the RF recordings I made from various passes
in my Dropbox space accessible at http://dropbox.wd9ewk.net/ (refresh your
browser or press F5 if the folder/file listing doesn't pop up immediately).
All were made using the SDRplay receiver, my 8-inch HP tablet, and HDSDR.
Telemetry uploads were done after the passes, using the RF recording and
playing that from HDSDR into the FoxTelem program. I hope to have the RF
recordings from the Tuesday evening XW-2E and XW-2F passes posted in a
couple of days. I'm not going to tempt fate and my Internet access by
trying to do a Dropbox upload on inflight WiFi. :-)

Thanks for all the QSOs! It was fun to work so many passes, from many
different locations. I also had the pleasure to meet some of the voices I
regularly hear on the different birds in Dayton over last weekend - always
a good thing...


Twitter: @WD9EWK

(at 38000 feet above New Mexico, on the way to Phoenix)

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