[amsat-bb] More Echo Madness

K5OE k5oe at aol.com
Thu Mar 31 05:41:16 PDT 2011

Please allow a little perspective on AO-51 from someone who has worked it for a long time and from all over the world.

I left the USA in late 2003 for a work assignment in Darwin, NT (Australia as VK8OE), where I talked to myself for over a year on AO-51 mode L/S (I took my AO-40 setup and it died before I could work it as DX).  I did the same thing on ISS packet, having great keyboard QSO's with myself.  The only sat contacts I ever made while VK8OE was on AO-51 in mode V/U FM (mobile while at work) with a few ops on the other side of the continent (VK5ZAI, VK3FGN, VK2TU, VK2TRF, et al). 

Ditto in the UK (M0GOE), where every pass sounds like the one from last weekend--or worse.  I gave up working FM satellites for several years while in Europe--and I had an Arrow!  The only operating time on sats I had for a number of years was a Mexican cruise in 2007 where 100% of the succesful contacts were on AO-51.  I am repeating that cruise in two weeks and hope to work a few of you on this venerable bird.

I spent most of last year in Papua New Guinea (V29OE) and the only satellite traffic I ever heard was on AO-51 V/U FM (VK's of course).  I never completed a QSO as I just could not make it with a bad battery in my FT51R (less than a Watt) and a whip antenna.  

Sorry for the rambling.... the bottom line is birds like AO-51 are a great resource to us and finding ways to manage them for everyone's benefit is a challenge.  They are a priviledge to work, not a right.  Control of them is not a democracy.  And regardless if you consider this a casual interest or a seriously competitive sport, it is still just a hobby. 

The thing that really annoys me, though, is that I saw Drew's posting, I wrote down the new uplink frequency, I had it in front of me on a sticky note, and I still didn't connect the dots when I couldn't hear myself in the downlink!  I deserved to miss that grid :-)

Jerry, K5OE

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