[amsat-bb] Third week as a satellite newbie
bag at mac.com
Tue Dec 2 06:40:00 PST 2008
Bryan KL7CN/W6 here in CM98fn.
Two weeks ago, I posted here my first week's experience as a satellite
After three weeks, it's still fun. I know this because it's 6:00 in
the morning in California, and I just came back inside after standing
out on the sidewalk in the bitter 40-degree cold -- and yes, I can
hear the chuckles from the Midwest but that's very cold for here.
I was out there the foggy dark dregs of night talking into my now-
beloved IC-W32A VHF/UHF handheld radio and even more beloved tripod-
mounted Arrow antenna. I met with WB9YIG, K8CXM, my co-conspirator
WA4NVM, and WB9L for an early-morning club -- the FM satellite
enthusiast's club! I scribbled down their callsigns and the callsigns
of the others I heard into my little Moleskine notebook, all by the
light of my cell phone -- an ironic choice of illumination. I waved at
the couple of early-morning commuters who drove by with wide eyes and
dropped jaws. They must think I am as crazy as the fellow down the
street who shovels dirt around his grassless yard. What else could
explain a grown man pointing a TV-antenna-looking-thing at at the sky
while listening intently into a pair of iPod headphones attached to
it, and all while carefully taking notes and occasionally talking into
a microphone -- in the middle of the night?
I suppose the craziness of it appeals to me most. It's the frontier!
It used to be unusual to have conversations with people from other
countries; now it's common -- the Internet changed that. And it used
to be unusual to carry around a small radio for the purpose of
communicating with your friends; now it's also common -- cell phones
changed that. And, as well, it used to be unusual to send short
computer-based messages by wireless to your posse; now it's popular
with young people the world over -- texting changed that. But talking
to your friends using low-earth-orbiting satellites tracked by hand --
who does that? Crazy people, that's who: amateur radio operators!
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