[amsat-bb] AMSAT (and ARRL) at the IEEE International Microwave Symposium 2015 - report

Patrick STODDARD (WD9EWK/VA7EWK) amsat-bb at wd9ewk.net
Sun May 24 05:14:06 UTC 2015


On Thursday, 21 May 2015, I represented AMSAT and the ARRL at the IEEE
International Microwave Symposium 2015 that was at the Phoenix Convention
Center in downtown Phoenix. The ARRL had a booth in the symposium's
University Pavilion in the exhibit hall, manned by Ward Silver N0AX during
this week. Other hams helped Ward earlier in the week, and I was able to
take a day off and spend Thursday at the booth. Along with Ward, Hermann
Schumacher DF2DR, a professor from the University of Ulm in Germany, was
also there with me. Although this was not an amateur radio event, there were
lots of hams from around the world in the exhibit hall, and many students -
high school and university students. The high school students were from
different schools around the Phoenix area, and the university students were
from universities in the USA and other countries.

In addition to talking about the ARRL and amateur radio generally, Thursday
was promoted at the ARRL booth as the satellite day, complete with on-air
demonstrations in the afternoon. I brought my satellite equipment. I brought
some AMSAT Getting Started with Amateur Satellites books, frequency guides,
and Fox flyers to go with the ARRL literature. During the morning, I learned
that Hermann had worked AO-6 in the 1970s, but had moved away from satellite
operating. He enjoys SOTA operating on HF, and I think he's looking to give
the satellites another try when he returns home.

I had 3 demonstrations during the afternoon, starting with an SO-50 pass
just after 1930 UTC (12.30pm local time). I was able to work Dave W0DHB in
Colorado from outside the convention center, and then listen to the remainder
of the pass. Although I only logged one QSO, being able to hear the pileups
on SO-50 impressed the crowd.

The FO-29 pass around 2124 UTC was the most fruitful pass of the day. Not
only was it busy, I had my largest crowd of the 3 demonstrations. We walked
across the street from the convention center to a pedestrian bridge over
Washington Street, and had a good view of the sky from over the street. I
used one FT-817ND and my Elk log periodic antenna, and this was the first
time I had worked FO-29 half-duplex. I have heard others do this, and I
remember reading an AMSAT Journal article in 2005 by Drew KO4MA detailing
how to do this. It worked! I logged 6 QSOs with stations across the
continental USA, and the crowd enjoyed hearing the locations of those
stations. Thanks to K8YSE, AA5PK, N8HM, K0MDJ, KE4KOL, and N5AFV for calling
and being a part of this demonstration! This was a great way to show off the
coverage of our satellites, and how they could be used with a very simple
station like my FT-817ND and Elk antenna.

In the crowd for this FO-29 pass were a pair of university students from
Turkey, who are working on CubeSats at their university. They were not
familiar with amateur radio, and I have since e-mailed them information
about amateur radio, amateur radio organizations in Turkey, and more
information about AMSAT. I had taken a couple of pictures of them, and I
also included the pictures with my e-mail.

The later FO-29 pass, around 2310 UTC, yielded only one QSO, with Wyatt
AC0RA. I was standing on the same pedestrian bridge outside the convention
center, pointing my antenna to the west over downtown Phoenix on a 40-degree

For those keeping score, or logs, this symposium was in grid DM33xk. I have
uploaded my QSOs to Logbook of the World, and a few have turned into QSLs. I
will also send special QSL cards to everyone I worked during these satellite

Hermann DF2DR assembled a short video that includes parts of the first two
demonstrations I gave, and some photos from the symposium. You can see this
video at:


This symposium is a great example of a non-ham event where an amateur radio
presence can reach many who have never heard of the hobby. Simply hanging a
poster, or laying out flyers, with references to web sites would not have
had the same effect as a booth with hams ready and able to talk about the
hobby in general, and our satellites specifically. Thanks to Ward and Sean
Kutzko KX9X at the ARRL for inviting me to be a part of the ARRL's booth at
the symposium.


Twitter: @WD9EWK

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