[amsat-bb] FM Satellites: Good Operating Practices for Beginning and Experienced Operators

Sean K. kx9x at yahoo.com
Mon Dec 11 22:25:52 UTC 2017

Hi Zach-
The entire point reads:

"It is common for satellite operators to take their equipment with them to portable locations, to transmit from rare grid squares or other DX countries. Courtesy should be extended to these stations; they are providing a rare location to all satellite operators and will be at that location for a limited time. If you hear a station on from a rare grid or DXCC entity, use good judgement before calling stations in more common grids. If the rarer station is working a lot of people on a pass, it may be best to let that station work as many people as possible. There will always be another pass to work more common stations. Info on how to know when rare stations will be on is at the bottom of this list."

I understand your statement that the FM satellites should be reserved for newcomers. Newcomers come in many different countries and locales, and some of those newcomers like to go on vacations or business trips that happen to be in a rare grid. 
Grid chasing is one of the primary forms of recreation on the satellites; indeed, the grid square is the default exchange for all satellite QSOs. My point said that operators should "use good judgement" when you're on a pass that will feature a station in a rare location. 

Veteran satellite operator John, K8YSE, wrote about the same thing several years ago on his web site:


A Word about signing "PORTABLE"

You can say and do whatever you want regarding operating "portable" or "handheld" or "on the Arrow" etc., but it doesn't provide much useful information with one exception: When you stated you were operating "portable" under the FCC rules in the 1960's, it meant you were not at your home station location. It had nothing to do with operating with an HT or on emergency battery power. This was an FCC requirement back then but now it is not. When operating today, be sure to say you are /portable when you are not at home and especially when you are operating in a grid different from your home grid. Hearing someone signing "portable" should set off alarm bells that you might want to work this station and may want to give them airtime to work as many stations as they can. After all, they have gone to the trouble to operate away from their "home comfort zone" to possibly give someone a new grid. But if others sign "portable" when they are in their backyard on an HT, this indicator won't mean much. Consider using "portable" only when you are away from home. If the pass is not crowded, have at it. But if it is, you'll have the opportunity to work everyone again later, whereas the "portable" station may only be there for that pass. Give the portable station as much airtime as possible so that everyone can make a contact, possibly for a new grid. Common sense should prevail. Listen, figure out what is going on, and then operate appropriately. But above all, be courteous."


As I emphasized throughout my Best Practices document, we all have to try and work together to find a bit of order during FM passes. If an op is going to be in a high-demand grid square or DXCC entity, I'm personally going to choose to try and work only that station (if I need the unit) or lay back entirely and let the rarer station work the pass; there's another pass or another satellite coming by soon that I can work for recreation. This courtesy has been extended to me several times when I've activated rare grids, and I want to make sure I extend that courtesy to others.

Some people don't care about grid chasing, and that's fine. But some do. And rare stations aren't on every pass. Being flexible and approaching from a spirit of shared use benefits all in the long run, and makes it more inviting for people to take gear to rarer locales. It's an easy way for ops to get a taste of being on the other side of a pileup, if they wish.

Hope to work you soon.
Sean Kutzko Amateur Radio KX9X 

    On Monday, December 11, 2017, 4:48:46 PM EST, Zach Metzinger <zmetzing at pobox.com> wrote:  
 On 12/11/17 14:55, Paul Stoetzer wrote:
> Sean Kutzko, KX9X, has written a helpful document explaining good
> operating practices for working FM satellites. It's been posted to the
> AMSAT website at
> https://www.amsat.org/fm-satellites-good-operating-practices-for-beginning-and-experienced-operators/

While I think that _most_ of these guidelines are good, I disagree with #6.

6. Rare/Portable Stations Take Priority

This prioritizes the chase-a-grid-square game players, which not
everyone cares about.

If you want to play that game, go use a linear bird with more available
bandwidth. The easy sats should be reserved for new satellite operators,
which, buy definition, will be less experienced and not care much about
your fancy grid squares.


--- Zach

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