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

Ryan Noguchi ai6do at yahoo.com
Tue Jun 11 03:12:06 UTC 2019

 Thanks, Douglas, I like thinking about ways to continuously improve my operating techniques, and like hearing about other operators' techniques as part of that process. 

I log on Post-it notes in real time during the pass. Before the pass starts, I'll prefill it with known or expected rovers. When I hear calls and grids, I write them down. When I complete a QSO, I'll write a sequential number next to the call. If someone calls me who isn't already on the list, I'll write down their call (and grid, if any) while I receive. 

After the pass, I'll add any pass details to the Post-it note so I can tell them apart. When I transcribe the QSOs into my Excel workbook, which creates an ADIF file for upload to LoTW, I guesstimate the QSO times based on roughly when in the pass they occurred. I'm probably no more than a minute or two off of reality, but I don't really need to be this precise, as LoTW will match times that are off by longer than the longest pass duration, but it's what I'm used to. 

I sometimes record the pass--both ambient sound using my phone and the received downlink on my TH-D74--but almost never need to refer to them. I don't miss having to spend another 12 minutes listening to a 12 minute pass just to transcribe and log. 

I can operate hand-free because I have my radios attached to my body in such a way that the display and controls are readily accessible. For FM birds, my Tx HT is clipped to a holster on my belt with the display facing up and the VFO knob facing to my right for easy access by my right hand, and my Rx HT is clipped to my belt. This "holster" is a MOLLE strap magazine pouch that normally holds my phone; the HT clips nicely into the MOLLE straps above my belt. My Tx HT has an earpiece with lapel mic. I press the PTT switch on the lapel mic to transmit, and let it go when I need to write. When I'm working a linear portable, my FT818 is in a shoulder bag with display and control head facing me, and the Rx HT is clipped to the holster mentioned above. The FT-818 has a latching PTT switch separate from the mic that I can hold along with the pen. 

This approach also allows me to operate completely pedestrian-mobile so I can move during the pass to clear obstacles and distance myself from local noise sources. 

73, Ryan AI6DO

    On Monday, June 10, 2019, 8:51:24 AM PDT, Douglas Quagliana <dquagliana at gmail.com> wrote:  
 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 calls 
>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 callsign, 
I write down the callsign (and grid if I get that too) even if I know I've alreadyworked this station. They might call you later in the pass and you'll have his 
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 is 
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 heard 
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 practice, 
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 othertasks.

73,Douglas KA2UPW/5


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