[amsat-bb] Re: AO-51 back in mode J-FM (and VERY busy)

Patrick STODDARD (WD9EWK/VA7EWK) amsat-bb@wd9ewk.net
Mon Sep 4 12:48:52 PDT 2006

Hi John!

> AO-51 is in high power mode J-FM this morning.  I'm not sure if it's because
> it's a long weekend, in high power mode, or just off for awhile, but it was
> VERY crowded this morning.  There were several interesting new or uncommon
> stations on, but they could not be worked at all QRP.  I suspect they were
> having trouble as well.  Eventually, folks did figure it out and paused to
> wait for a new/uncommon station to answer.  It might be my own prejudices
> (as i haven't listened to the recording yet), but earlier in the pass, it
> seemed like it was mostly the 'regulars' working a few new-ish stations
> and each other.

It was probably all of those reasons.  After a week of V/S, SO-50's passes
for North America coming early in the mornings or now starting to come by
at a decent evening hour, I think everyone was ready for AO-51 to be back
on V/U - high power or not.  High power always seems to draw a bigger

> While 'standing on the soapbox', i'd say that i'd like to encourge folks to
> use the high power mode to let stations who have trouble hearing SO-50 or
> AO-51 to work satellites and get started.  I would hope that folks who use
> mode J-FM on a regular basis would use coastal/oceanic passes, or SO-50, to
> say hello to their friends and/or talk at length about the weather.  Alas,
> it is these conditions that discourage me from making my nantenna design
> widely available, as things are like this only discourage and frustrate
> new users, and easier access to mode J-FM might only make this worse.

Even the west-coast pass around 1648 UTC this morning was crowded.
Again, probably the masses waiting for V/U to reappear on AO-51, plus
some newbies hoping for the high-power mode to make receiving the
downlink a little easier.

I was up a little early today (a holiday), and Tim K4SHF asked me if I could
be on the earlier pass around 1510 UTC.  We have been exchanging e-mails
about satellite-related stuff for the past couple of months, but we have not
had an opportunity to make a QSO.  That pass was was a low one here, with
maximum elevation of 13 degrees, but I made that QSO with him (thanks
Tim!).  I made a few other QSOs, including a couple where the other
stations called me.  The crowd was definitely larger than normal for a pass
like that.

> On the other hand, SO-50 has definitely seen more usage and interesting
> stations do pop up over the 'States, especially on transcontinental passes.
> So especially this week, give SO-50 a try, and try to show some restraint on
> AO-51 so new folks can take advantage of high power mode.

The SO-50 morning passes are too early for me right now, but the passes in
the evenings are just about the same as AO-51 for North America.  I might
try that tonight, just to be different.... :-)

> P.S.  I had mail to AMSAT-BB bounce this weekend, but retrying ten minutes
> later succeeded.  You might try the same thing if your mail gets returned.

I had that happen a couple of times, not on everything I sent, but as you
said it worked OK when I resent the message to the list a few minutes
later.  Just weird...


Patrick WD9EWK/VA7EWK - Phoenix, Arizona USA

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