[amsat-bb] Behavior on FM Satellites

Adrian Engele aa5uk at yahoo.com
Sun Dec 10 21:06:55 UTC 2017

Well stated! Unfortunately that is often the state of affairs on the FM satellites, but not always.  I believe we need a combination of community mentoring the new ops and perhaps reminding the more experienced ops to back off and let newer ops get the contact when there are rare grid rover operations in effect.   I agree the repeated contacts by fixed stations is frankly getting out of hand. What is benefit?  When a pass is dead late at night, have at it; when rovers are in the field lets show some situational awareness of letting others get that grid. 

Unfortunately I have experienced this time and again over the many vacations from Cayman and other locations on the FM satellites. Between the South American taxis, illegal cordless phones,  the keyer uppers/whistlers and the regulars working each other over and over again, it just makes you think, why do I even bother to give out a grid that many operators with modest stations really need when you can't even get into the satellite. That is one of the major reasons I hardly bothered to operate on FM when I last operated from EK99 and FK09 from Grand Cayman and Little Cayman in June. I only operated on one SO-50 pass when I was briefly in FK09. On a bright note, the passes on the linear satellites were quick, professional and courteous. They were actually enjoyable passes despite the horrible mosquito infestation this year.  It was still worth it. I fully understand a linear setup is not in the budget for many operators.

I have a big dilemma,  I plan on going back end of February for two weeks to GC and LC and with AO-91 now live,  there will surely be a demand for EK99 from FM only operators.  So the big question, should I even bother taking satellite gear with me as I am already taking my new IC-7300 with me to work HF?  Is it worth going through the aggravation of another lid-fest from a DX grid?  I have even given thought of only taking my newly acquired TH-D74 instead of dragging 2 x FT-817's and only working some ISS passes on APRS. I don't think anybody has done that before from ZF. I know of some local ops that periodically get on the FM satellites. 

I am open to hearing thoughts from the AMSAT Community's , trying to find a good reason why I should even bother this time around. Ultimately my vacation and relaxation comes first. 

73, Adrian AA5UK -  ZF2AE


    On Sunday, December 10, 2017, 12:07:47 PM CST, Paul Stoetzer <n8hm at arrl.net> wrote:  
 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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