[amsat-bb] AO-51 Demo

Clint Bradford clintbradford at mac.com
Mon Mar 15 11:51:12 PDT 2010

Well, I "broke my own rules" back on March 9. I was demo'ing AO-51 for the Apple Valley CA radio club, and we had a good pass of the sat at 5:01 PST (01:01 GMT). I ususally don't even turn the radio ON until a few minutes past breaking the horizon ... but I went ahead and turned my radio ON at the start of the pass.

WOW! At a mere 4 degrees of elevation, stations were BOOMING into us. I always tell folks, "Don't key the mic ... " 'till about two minutes AFTER you hear voices well when working with low power. But I just HAD to try this tonight ... and I worked many stations. Fresno, North Dakota, Oregon,  Montana, a grid square next door to me in California, and more. I was blown away at the strength of AO-51's downlink! (There were THREE electronic QSL cards waiting for me when I got home that night ... another in the mail over the weekend!)

The fifteen folks in the parking lot for the demo were impressed! 

Unfortunately, we also all heard some poor behavior from a couple operators. A few minutes into the pass, there was a kid - sounded like a young girl - attempting to work the sat. She never got in well, and I couldn't copy anything she said. And she gave up after a minute or so. What was disturbing was on-the-air comments made by two "old timers" regarding what they perceived as "interference." "Must be from south of the border ... " one operator stated. The guy he was talking to agreed that "those Mexicans" were causing problems.

Their comments were totally unnecessary. They were racist in tone. And quite ignorant: "Those guys" in Mexico have provided me MANY contacts, and several ALWAYS send QSL cards. I have NEVER experienced any "nonsense" on the air from those "south of the border."

No need to cite their callsigns here. The BEST thing we should have done is backed off and try to copy the obviously low-power station. But these guys trampled on her intentionally with their unnecessary and irrelevant rants. It was a truly embarrassing situation. I have never had to apologize to a crowd for the on-the-air behavior of others. I hope it doesn't not happen again.

Clint Bradford, K6LCS

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