[amsat-bb] "Norm" on FO-29

Les Rayburn les at highnoonfilm.com
Thu May 23 23:33:21 PDT 2013

Have you ever had one of those days?

We're at T -10 days and counting to the wedding of my only daughter, 
Samantha, and the stress is starting to get to me. Tonight, I had a 
delivery at the house, just as the pass for FO-29 started. I could hear the
driver honking his horn outside the garage door, just as I heard a 
station calling CQ on the bird.

I went back to the station, "M3Y slash something"...hmm...strange 
callsign. Didn't quite catch it. But no worries, I always use a small 
digital recorder to catch all the audio from passes. Haven't quite mastered
adjusting the rotor, twisting the RIT knob, keying the mic, and logging 
all at the same time.

Certain that the recorder would capture the details, I proceeded with 
the contact. "QRZ, QRZ this is N1LF EM63 QRZ".

Hey wait, he's coming back to me. What's that he's saying, "Try it 
again, N1LF". I repeated my call and grid square. The station came right 
back again, "Try it one more time. Are you on the right sideband?",
A wave of panic set in. I glanced at the knobs on the IC-910. Was I on 
the right sideband? What was that callsign again? Where the heck is 
that? South America, maybe!!??

I repeated my callsign---he came right back. "OK, now I got you". He 
sent his grid square too, but the bird rotated, and I missed it. I 
doubted the recorder had it either--so I asked for repeat. I noticed 
other stations
were quickly calling the DX too. He calmly repeated his grid square and 
I sent a quick "73".

The horn outside honked again--breaking me from my euphoria. I scribbled 
a quick note of the time; 04:05 UTC. No problem, I'll get the rest from 
the recorder when I'm done with the delivery.
I yanked the headphones, and listened as other stations worked "Norm". 
They all seemed excited to log a rare grid. I was proud of myself for 
finding him early in the pass, before the pileup had

"Maybe this rookie can show these space jockey's a thing or two" I 
thought, in my self-assured inner voice. I greeted the driver with a big 
smile and firm handshake.

An hour later, I plugged the recorder into my computer's USB port, and 
opened the file in Sound Forge, ready to play back the pass, and fill in 
my log. Alas, you can guess the
ending to my sad tale of woe. I had neglected to plug in the splitter 
cable!!! The entire file was completely BLANK! NO!!!!

So, I hate to ask, but I decided to swallow my pride and see if the gang 
could help me solve this mystery. Who did I work, and where the heck was 
he? Gotta get automatic rotor
control working and start writing stuff down.

Serves me right for being cocky. Despite the setback, I'm still having 
fun learning the birds.

Les Rayburn, N1LF
121 Mayfair Park
Maylene, AL 35114

6M VUCC #1712
AMSAT #38965
Grid Bandits #222
Southeastern VHF Society
Central States VHF Society Life Member
Six Club #2484

Active on 6 Meters thru 1296, 10GHz & Light

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