[amsat-bb] AMSAT @ ScienceCity (Tucson AZ) on 12-13 March 2016 - report

Patrick STODDARD (WD9EWK/VA7EWK) amsat-bb at wd9ewk.net
Thu Mar 17 04:26:43 UTC 2016


Last weekend's (12-13 March 2016) ScienceCity science fair on the
University of Arizona campus in Tucson was a great opportunity to show off
amateur radio, and amateur satellites in particular, to a crowd much larger
than a typical ham-related event. With good weather at the start of the
spring break week for the university, and a book fair (Tucson Festival of
Books) also taking place on the campus, well over 130000 people visited the
campus during the weekend according to local media reports. This was a
great crowd, knowing that the US Air Force's Thunderbirds demonstration
team flew for crowds on both Saturday and Sunday at the nearby Davis-
Monthan Air Force Base, a few miles/km southeast of the university. The
aerial demonstrations were visible to the crowds at the university, a
bonus for those of us who didn't go to the air base. :-)

The University of Arizona's radio club, K7UAZ, had a booth on the campus
mall complete with an HF station, a demonstration of software-defined
radio using an "RTL-SDR" dongle to copy ADS-B aircraft transponders along
with a HackRF One, and my portable gear for amateur satellites. The club
also had a small 2.4 GHz dish above its tent, used to connect to the
amateur mesh network that covers the UA campus and the surrounding Tucson
area for access to high-speed data without relying on commercial Internet

Even though SO-50's pass times didn't line up with the science fair, I
still had AO-85 for an FM satellite, along with 3 other satellites I used
for the satellite demonstrations (AO-7, AO-73, FO-29). Unlike when I was in
Tucson for this event in 2015, I used the club's K7UAZ call sign for my
operating during the weekend. Thanks to everyone who called K7UAZ over the
weekend, as these calls led to a total of 41 contacts logged over 11 passes
on these 4 satellites. I used a variety of equipment on the different
passes - from an IC-2730A for AO-85, to a single FT-817ND for FO-29, to
a pair of FT-817NDs for AO-7 and one AO-73 pass Saturday morning, and my
FT-817ND/SDRplay combination on one AO-73 pass Sunday morning. Contacts
were made with stations across the continental USA, along with Canada and

With the SDR display at the K7UAZ booth, there was a lot of interest from
the club when I used my SDRplay receiver and 8-inch Windows 10 tablet as
the downlink receiver on the AO-73 pass I worked Sunday morning. Dave
KB5WIA, in northern California, was my only contact on that pass. This was
no problem, as Dave was able to talk about his station, which was similar
to what I was using. We chatted for a few minutes, and after the pass I
answered more questions about my SDR setup.

If you followed my @WD9EWK Twitter feed over the weekend, I tweeted a
steady stream of photos from ScienceCity, along with other tweets related
to my operations as K7UAZ. If you want to see those photos but don't use
Twitter, you can view them at:


And for all of my tweets, those can be seen at:


If you worked K7UAZ over the weekend and want a QSL card, whether on HF or
satellites, please send your QSL card with SASE to the K7UAZ club. The club
has the log of satellite contacts, and will be happy to answer your QSL

Thanks to Mathias Gibbens K0WBG, the K7UAZ club president, and the K7UAZ
club for inviting AMSAT back to their effort at the 2016 ScienceCity. The
K7UAZ club, which is the campus radio club, also welcomes membership from
the Tucson area. There was a nice mix of students and non-students, along
with support from other local radio clubs (Radio Society of Tucson, Oro
Valley Amateur Radio Club), at the K7UAZ booth. All in all, a fun way to
spend a weekend...


Twitter: @WD9EWK

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