[amsat-bb] WD9EWK from DM34, DM34/DM35, and DM25/DM25 on 31 May (long)

Patrick STODDARD (WD9EWK/VA7EWK) amsat-bb at wd9ewk.net
Mon Jun 2 15:37:23 PDT 2008


Now that I've been back in Phoenix for a couple of days, I can
scribble a little about my Saturday activities.  From a hamfest
in central Arizona in the morning to more satellite operating at
two other locations in the state, it was a fun day.  
Saturday morning at the Prescott (AZ) Hamfest (grid DM34sn):


I had an AMSAT table at the 2nd annual Prescott Hamfest, presented
by the Yavapai Amateur Radio Club and the Verde Valley Amateur Radio
Association (two central Arizona radio clubs).  This hamfest was in
an area with a few basketball courts surrounded by buildings and a
small hill.  My table was at the entrance to the hamfest area, so 
anyone walking into the hamfest area saw it.  The hamfest was 
officially going to run from 8am to 2pm local time (1500-2100 UTC),
but people were milling around the area just before the official
opening time and by 2030 UTC all of the sellers had left or were 
packing up.  A small event, but a nice way to avoid the heat in 
the desert back home in Phoenix.

I worked stations on the two morning AO-51 passes (1439 and 1619
UTC) using the normal 145.920/435.300 MHz transponder.  The first 
station in the log on the 1439 UTC pass was another hamfest - 
Richard N2SPI at the Rochester (New York) hamfest.  Thanks for 
the contact, to start out my day!  I was able to make 11 more 
contacts with stations across the USA and Mexico.  On the later
pass at 1619 UTC, the low elevation (maximum elevation of 14
degrees) and local surroundings (school gymnasium and hills) made
this one tough.  I only made 2 QSOs near the middle of the pass.

Along with the AO-51 passes, I did attempt the VO-52 pass at 1754-
1807 UTC - a western pass, with maximum elevation of 70 degrees.  I
could hear myself, but unfortunately made no QSOs.  I think my AOR 
AR8200Mk2B receiver has sharp SSB filtering, and not enough options 
for tuning steps without using extremely small steps to help tune the
downlink signals.  My FT-817ND is more than enough to be heard by that
satellite.  I'm still working on this, and may try another receiver or
possibly another FT-817 as a portable all-mode full-duplex satellite 

Once the hamfest's raffle prizes were awarded after 2015 UTC, I 
went to get lunch and drive north toward the DM34/DM35 grid 
boundary for several passes.
Saturday afternoon on the DM34/DM35 grid boundary (specifically,
grids DM34tx and DM35ta):



This spot, off a state highway, is about 15 miles/24km south of 
the I-40 freeway just inside the Prescott National Forest and about
35 miles/56km north of the hamfest site.  I was at the same location
on 19 April after another event in Prescott, so I knew what to 
expect in terms of working the satellites.  I was able to work 2 
AO-27 and 2 SO-50 passes from here, one pass for each satellite in 
each direction, before I drove to Kingman for the evening AO-51 

The first passes to the east (AO-27 at 2128-2135 UTC, SO-50 at 2136-
2148 UTC) had the typical activity from all over the USA and Mexico.
I heard - and worked - Allen N5AFV on Enchanted Rock in Texas (grid
EM00), along with 8 others (2 Mexican and 6 US stations) on AO-27.
For the SO-50 pass, I worked N5AFV again, along with 4 other US 
stations and 1 Mexican station.  

After updating my logbook with all the contacts I had made to this
point, I stuck around this location for the western passes - AO-27
at 2308-2315 UTC, SO-50 at 2315-2329 UTC.  In keeping with what 
appeared to be the trend for the day, I only worked 3 stations on 
each of those passes.  When SO-50 went out of range, I quickly 
secured my gear and made the 110-mile/177km drive to Kingman so I 
could find a spot on the DM25/DM35 boundary in time for the evening 
AO-51 passes.  
Saturday evening in Kingman, Arizona, near the I-40 freeway and
old route 66 on the DM25/DM35 grid boundary (specifically, grids
DM25xf and DM35af):



This location is on the east end of Kingman, north of the I-40
freeway and at the west end of the longest remaining stretch of 
the old US route 66 that once went from Chicago to Los Angeles.  
There are lots of mountains around Kingman, and this location was 
in the area where they would bother me the least for satellite 
passes while on the DM25/DM35 boundary.  

I found an empty lot east of Route 66 near railroad tracks, where 
I parked and took a picture of my GPS receiver's display on the
rear bumper of my truck before setting up my equipment.  I waited
for the first AO-51 pass at 0149-0204 UTC, an eastern pass with 
maximum elevation of 45 degrees.  A very nice pass.  I planned to
use the second AO-51 transponder (145.880/435.150 MHz) up here,
and that worked well for this pass. 

During that 15-minute pass, I worked 11 stations - 8 in the USA,
3 in Mexico.  I was told there was more activity on the normal
145.920/435.300 MHz transponder while I stayed on the second
transponder, but the activity was steady and I had no need to 
move over to the normal transponder.  

When AO-51 returned for the 0329-0342 UTC pass, a lower pass to
the west (maximum elevation of 19 degrees), I talked to myself for
several minutes on the second transponder.  When it was becoming
apparent nobody else was going to show up, I moved over to the 
normal transponder and made 3 contacts during the remaining time.  
I logged contacts with two California stations and Gerry VE4GTB in 
Winnipeg - the last contact, and only Canadian contact, this day.
Hearing Gerry call me was a huge surprise, as I did not realize the
footprint went that far east on that late pass.  After the pass, I
packed up my gear, stopped for a quick dinner, and made the 3.5-
hour drive back home to finish this busy day. 
I made a total of 49 contacts from these 3 locations - 14 from the
hamfest, 21 from the DM34/DM35 grid boundary, and 14 more from the
DM25/DM35 grid boundary.  DM25 is the 12th different Arizona grid I
have operated from since March.  If anyone who worked me from these 
locations wants to receive a QSL card, please e-mail me with the QSO 
details.  I'll drop a card in the mail if you're in the log.

Including the drive from Phoenix to Prescott on Friday evening and
looking around Prescott and Kingman, I drove a total of 530.6 miles 
(853.7km).  Thanks to Terry KB7TRE with the Yavapai Amateur Radio 
Club for inviting me to the hamfest, Ray W1OTH (a YARC and AMSAT 
member) for helping me at the table during the hamfest, and to all
stations making contacts with WD9EWK during the day and evening.  


Patrick WD9EWK/VA7EWK 

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