[amsat-bb] Re: More Echo Madness

Tony Langdon vk3jed at gmail.com
Thu Mar 31 12:32:49 PDT 2011

At 11:41 PM 3/31/2011, K5OE wrote:

>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).

I remember in the UO-14 days many late night passes, where I ended up 
talking to myself for an entire pass.  If I got lucky, one or two 
others would show up and we'd have a ragchew for the entire pass 
(with long breaks for those breaking in).  The biggest problems I've 
heard on the FM birds down this way are (1) long range cordless 
phones, there seems to be millions of these things in SE Asia - I'm 
assuming it's phones by the tempo of the speech, and (2) new 
operators who don't realise they're not hearing the 70cm downlinks on 
their vertical antennas, and accidentally stomp on the 
uplink.  Unfortunately, due to the large distances here, there's 
often no one else within their simplex range to give them 
pointers.  I have personally elmered a couple who I did find within 
simplex range, and got them on the birds successfully.

I'm not so active on the satellites these days, but that's due to 
subtle lifestyle factors that brings the short passes at differing 
times of day into conflict with other things that happen here, rather 
than anything fundamental about the sats themselves.

One of the things I notice here is that not only is the population 
density much lower, but there's none of the grid chasing down 
here.  We do have satellite awards, but these can be completed with a 
modest amount of contacts (VK0 can be a challenge to work - it's the 
only VK call area I haven't worked).  I've never understood the 
rationale behind increasing the pressure on an already limited 
resource by encouraging grid square chasing.  One would have thought 
the FM birds should be the "WARC bands" of the satellite world.  Keep 
the grid chasing to SSB/CW, where more operators can be supported 
(and maybe encourage a few to upgrade to SSB :) ).

>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.

And the only P29s I've worked on the birds have been Americans who 
were working in PNG! :)  Unfortunately, you weren't one of those I've worked.

>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 :-)

In the famous words of Homer Simpson... "DOH!" :D

73 de VK3JED / VK3IRL

More information about the AMSAT-BB mailing list