[amsat-bb] Superstition Superfest @ Mesa AZ on 5 December - report

Patrick STODDARD (WD9EWK/VA7EWK) amsat-bb at wd9ewk.net
Mon Dec 7 18:16:48 UTC 2015


Saturday at the Superstition Amateur Radio Club's Superstition Superfest
hamfest in Mesa, Arizona (an east-side suburb of Phoenix) was an enjoyable
day. Unlike most hamfests around Arizona that typically wrap up by midday,
this hamfest actually had buyers and sellers sticking around until the
official end of the event (2pm, 2100 UTC). With the great weather on
Saturday here in the Phoenix area, it wasn't hard to spend the morning and
the early afternoon at the hamfest.

As with most hamfests here, the official start time for the Superstition
Superfest was 7am (1400 UTC). I was out there a couple of hours before
that, and there were several sellers and a few buyers walking around even
at that hour. By being there so early, I was able to try an AO-85 pass
just after 5.15am (1215 UTC). I heard someone else accessing the satellite
for most of the pass, then worked one station in Minnesota near my LOS.
Since this was about 90 minutes before sunrise, I had no problems seeing
the screen on my 8-inch Windows 10 tablet, and I used my SDRplay SDR
receiver for the AO-85 downlink. I was able to upload 19 telemetry frames
from that pass, in addition to making one contact through the FM

As the hamfest officially started, the crowds came by and asked a lot of
questions about satellites. It helps to have so many satellites launched in
the past couple of months, including AO-85, to talk about. I had passes of
XW-2F, SO-50, and AO-73 throughout the morning for demonstrations, to give
a nice mix of FM and SSB satellite operating. I also had the pleasure of
seeing a couple of satellite operators: Steve W5IEM visiting from Kentucky,
and Ed N7EC - a local ham who has been on the FM satellites from DM33 north
of Phoenix lately.

By midday, with crowds still hanging around the hamfest, I decided to stick
around for early-afternoon FO-29 and AO-85 passes. The two AO-85 passes,
around 1915 and 2055 UTC, were the first two passes I had tried with just
my Icom IC-2820H 2m/70cm FM mobile radio without an SDR receiver for the
downlink. It worked fine, but I have been spoiled by the SDR receiver and
software. Being able to make my own audio filtering with HDSDR, and the FM
AFC function to track the downlink from AOS to LOS, work so well for AO-85.
FO-29 around 2015 UTC, with a coast-to-coast footprint, was just as much
fun. A local ham had been making videos while I worked FO-29 and the last
AO-85 pass, and I hope to have details on where those might be online in a
couple of days.

I worked 8 different passes from the hamfest - three on AO-85, 2 on SO-50,
and one each on 3 transponder satellites (AO-73, FO-29, XW-2F), logging a
total of 38 contacts on those passes. Thanks to everyone who called WD9EWK
and helped with these demonstrations! My log from Saturday is now in the
Logbook of the World, and I am happy to send out QSL cards on request
(please e-mail me directly with QSO details, so I can verify that against
my log).

This hamfest will probably be the last event for 2015 where I am attending
and representing AMSAT, the 19th event where I have done this during the
year. Of the 19 events, 15 were at locations around Arizona, and 4 others
were in southern California. With the launch of AMSAT's first Fox-1
satellite (AO-85), plus other amateur satellites including the September
launch of the Chinese XW-2 satellites along with LilacSat-2 and others, as
well as the upcoming projects. I'll pick up with attending hamfests around
Arizona in the new year with the Thunderbird Hamfest in Phoenix on the
second Saturday of next month (9 January 2016). Hamfests that I, and other
AMSAT Area Coordinators will be attending, are listed at:



Twitter: @WD9EWK

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