[amsat-bb] Behavior on FM Satellites

Paul Stoetzer n8hm at arrl.net
Sun Dec 10 18:05:39 UTC 2017

Good afternoon,

During the last AO-91 pass, there were many interesting stations on,
but in particular there were two low power rovers in rare grids: FG8OJ
was in FK95 and C6AWD/MM (AC0RA) was in FL25 (an entirely wet grid
that the ship will only be in for a short period of time).

Yet, even while those two were in the footprint, stations were calling
other fixed stations that they can work on any pass of any satellite,
day or night. Right now, we have 14 satellites where you can make a
QSO with a guy next door. There's no need to work a hundred stations
on every pass of AO-91, especially when two guys in rare grids with
low power equipment are attempting to hand them out. It's all about
situational awareness. Pay attention to what grid ops are going to be
on a pass (monitoring Twitter, Facebook, and the BB prior to a pass
are handy for this), listen before you transmit, noting anything that
seems rare, and wait to make other QSOs until the rare stations are
out of the footprint. And please don't keep calling stations when they
are out of the footprint. Learn your geography and/or look at a map,

This is how I approached the pass: From monitoring Twitter, I was well
aware that there would be two rare rovers on (the two I mentioned
before). I did not need FG8OJ in FK95, so I did not call him. However,
FL25 is a hole in my map. When I heard C6AWD/MM in FL25, I made my
call, worked him, and then didn't attempt any more QSOs until he was
out of the footprint (this included not responding to a person that
called me).

I know this is not the first time this topic has been raised, but
behavior has been especially terrible since the launch of AO-91.
Eventually, I and others will be forced to name and shame stations
engaged in poor behavior. FM satellites are wonderful in that the
simple, inexpensive equipment required to work them opens up the
amateur satellite hobby to a large number of people. However, since
they are a single channel covering a wide area, they also demand a
good amount of situational awareness and courtesy when operating.


Paul, N8HM

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