[amsat-bb] Satellite Basics (Part 2) article by KX9X

Douglas Quagliana dquagliana at gmail.com
Mon Jun 10 15:51:11 UTC 2019

Ryan writes:
> I've posted in the past about the benefits of operating with one's
writing hand
>free, and logging by hand during the pass when receiving, transcribing
>and grids as I hear them.

One "trick" I have used is to prepare the "logsheet" ahead of time by
writing the
satellite name, my grid, the date. etc across the top as the first line.
Then write
a vertical column of UTC times (just four digits for
hour-hour-minute-minute) from
AOS to LOS down one side of the page with plenty of space between each
minute-line.  Starting as AOS, at the top of the page, whenever I hear a
I write down the callsign (and grid if I get that too) even if I know I've
worked this station. They might call you later in the pass and you'll have
call "ready" on the logsheet.

When I have worked someone, I can quickly circle their callsign then draw a
line over to the appropriate minute for the QSO and circle the time.  This
usually faster (for me at least) than writing the time after working him,
and the
circled-callsign-line-circled-timestamp adds (for me at least) an extra
confirmation that, yes, I actually worked this callsign, not just that I
this callsign on this pass.

Prepare all of the logsheets for all your passes ahead of time, put them
on a clipboard and use a rubber band or clip to hold the bottom of the page
to the clipboard just in case it gets windy.

My other suggestion would be to get a tripod or a stand with a big clip and
use that to hold your Arrow/cheap yagi/whatever antenna.  With a little
you can adjust the antenna quickly, re-peak the signal, and you should be
good for a short while before you need to touch the antenna again.  This
will free up the hand that would have been holding the antenna to do other

Douglas KA2UPW/5

On Sat, Jun 8, 2019 at 7:23 PM Ryan Noguchi via AMSAT-BB <amsat-bb at amsat.org>

> Sean KX9X posted another introductory article on satellite operating on
> https://www.onallbands.com/satellite-basics-part-2-making-qsos-via-satellite/.
> Check it out.
> I did have a few exceptions to the advice given, as I believe they suggest
> less-than-ideal operating practices. Rather than contact Sean directly, I
> figured it would be worthwhile to post them here. If they're controversial,
> perhaps it will stimulate some thoughtful discussion. I want to start off
> by saying that I applaud Sean for providing some very thoughtful
> contributions to help introduce potential new satellite ops to the birds.
> My intent is really to provide constructive suggestions for improvement of
> the advice that we as a community provide to new satellite operators to set
> them off on the right path.
> "Currently, all FM satellites in orbit require a CTCSS (PL) tone of 67.0
> Hz on your transmit frequency." Mostly true, but LilacSat-2 and PO-101
> don't follow this model.
> "These instructions assume you are using a hand-held directional antenna.
> If you’re using your standard dual-band vertical antenna at home or on the
> roof of your car, you can ignore those instructions."  Oh, man, I really
> don't think we should be encouraging newbies to try to work satellites
> using a vertical to receive the downlink. Also, very unsure why vertical
> antenna ops should ignore any of the rest of the instructions...  Maybe
> okay to use a vertical to transmit, but to receive they really ought to be
> using an antenna with gain or with the ability to rotate to match
> polarization, ideally both. Please, let's not encourage more alligators!
> "A suggested frequency list of the three active FM satellites at the time
> of this writing (May 2019) is in Figure 1." Rather than provide yet another
> frequency list, can't we just reference an authoritative source elsewhere,
> e.g., on the AMSAT-NA web site? We all remember that recent ARRL article
> that posted many wrong frequencies; let's try to avoid risking a relapse of
> that. A frequency list like this can be helpful, so perhaps AMSAT-NA could
> include a list like this on the Frequency Summary page? FM Satellite
> Frequency Summary – AMSAT
> |
> |
> |  |
> FM Satellite Frequency Summary – AMSAT
>  |
>  |
>  |
> "Listen for a QSO to end, then give your callsign and your grid square,
> using standard phonetics." I don't think we should be suggesting that ops
> drop their call and grid on a busy FM pass. Unless you've already worked
> everyone else on the pass, there's really no good reason to just drop your
> call and grid. Find someone who is solid into the bird and appears to be
> hearing other stations well, and call them directly. (But not immediately
> after they've called someone else!) If you've already heard a callsign a
> couple of times during the pass, it'll also be easier to repeat it on the
> first try. When you wait until someone calls you, you run the risk of not
> being able to catch their full call on the first try and needing a fill. I
> think having the new op initiate the QSO gives them the best chance of
> having a successful first QSO.
> "KX9X: “Whiskey One Alpha Whiskey, thanks, Echo November Five Zero,
> Illinois, QSL? W1AW: “QSL, Fox November Three One, Connecticut, QSL?”" Much
> of this back-and-forth is extraneous. KX9X already provided his grid in his
> first transmission, and W1AW already provided his grid in his first
> transmission. Neither asked for a fill. Unless a fill is needed, KX9X would
> normally just end the QSO with his second transmission (KX9X:  "W1AW QSL
> KX9X") which is really the norm. The other commonly heard pattern is when a
> rover is working from a rare grid. If KX9X is the rover, that first KX9X
> line in the sample QSO doesn't happen; the rover often announces their grid
> when responding to a caller, and the rover's transmission is often followed
> by that of a new caller calling the rover. If we want new ops to recognize
> when QSOs have ended, it's good for them to know how 95+% of successful
> QSOs really go down so they can more quickly recognize the pattern. Also,
> there's generally no need to identify state, unless it's a rare one. CT may
> be one of the few worth mentioning, but most states are not.
> "With one hand holding your radio and the other holding your antenna, how
> are you going to log your QSOs?" Recording the pass isn't the only way to
> handle this, and may not even be the best approach for newbies, at least as
> a primary method. I've posted in the past about the benefits of operating
> with one's writing hand free, and logging by hand during the pass when
> receiving, transcribing calls and grids as I hear them. It would be a
> useful technique to suggest to new ops, particularly those who may not
> already be experienced phone contesters, as an alternative that might also
> help to improve their ability to work the pass. Reading a callsign you've
> already written down can be much easier than recalling one you only heard
> verbally. I cannot overstate how immensely this practice helped me.
> "If you are using two HTs, you will need a diplexer, which isolates your
> transmitted signal from your receive radio. Without it, you will likely
> overload the front end of your receive radio, which will make contacts
> impossible. Several manufacturers such as Comet and MFJ offer diplexers;
> the Arrow antenna has an optional diplexer that is stored in the antenna
> handle." I haven't needed any filtering when using two HTs and an Arrow to
> work AO-91 or AO-92. Also, the BLP-200+ filter may be a useful option to
> suggest in lieu of those larger diplexers if one is using an Arrow antenna.
> 73, Ryan AI6DO
> _______________________________________________
> Sent via AMSAT-BB at amsat.org. AMSAT-NA makes this open forum available
> to all interested persons worldwide without requiring membership. Opinions
> expressed
> are solely those of the author, and do not reflect the official views of
> Not an AMSAT-NA member? Join now to support the amateur satellite program!
> Subscription settings: https://www.amsat.org/mailman/listinfo/amsat-bb

More information about the AMSAT-BB mailing list