Skip to main content

Easy Sat?

The AO-51 monthly schedule ought to come in handy, once the control team news is better.

Unbeknownst to me as I finally purchased my first 70 cm rig (FT-470 dualbander, actually), intended for use in making my first 2-way satellite contact, the only remaining satellite I've got a reasonable chance of using had hiccuped 24 hours before I brought the rig home from NEAR-Fest.

At 1848Z 11 OCT over Europe, the software on AO-51 crashed, shutting down both transmitters. Subsequently the repeater and BBS will be down for several days while the command stations reload.

Bad luck.

Patience, old man, patience. It's been more than three decades since the first desire, you can wait a few more days.

Postscript November 4

AO-51 is back to life, though I haven't heard QSOs on every suitable pass.

AO-27 and SO-50 are possibilities, too! I thought the former was no longer operational and the latter simply didn't come to my attention sooner. (Seems like a lot of "easy sat" articles and attention on the web from 2002 through 2004, but little to no updating since then. Not sure why.)

Satscape and Heavens Above are very handy and cool.

A gain antenna for receive will be necessary. The popular (legendary?) Arrow II would be nice, but a simple 70 cm yagi might be adequate.

Postscript November 28

I opted to build an 8-element 435 MHz yagi based on WA5VJB's design, using bronze welding rod ($3) and a wood boom ($0). After days and days of practicing with it, tracking passes for 10 minutes or more, I gained the courage to make a call. The intended station didn't reply, but someone else did and we exchanged grids for that long-awaited first QSO, just before I lost the satellite to the horizon. Tnx, K8YSE!

Now that I know it works, I'm ready for more. Gonna hafta find a place other than the kitchen, though. (That's where the 7/8-wavelength 2-meter vertical on the roof terminates.)

Postscript December 3

The kitchen is still working out pretty well. I've now managed to complete exchanges with stations on each of the three easy satellites and the grid square total is rising.

Some station changes are still needed. I learned how difficult it can be to aim a yagi with one hand, press a PTT switch with another hand, and make log entries with a third hand. Now I understand why folks record passes on tape or digitally!

My next challenge was figuring out how to get Logbook of the World to accept my ACLog entries. Now that's done. I needed to label ACLog "Other" fields correctly (per AMSAT News Service):
  • PROP_MODE (SAT is the appropriate entry)
  • SAT_NAME (don't forget the hyphens, e.g., AO-27)
  • BAND_RX (70CM)

It worked. Pse QSL.

Postscript 2 years later

Inserted CM after 70 for BAND_RX.


Popular posts from this blog

Distance Record on AO-92

On 2019-02-20 at 13:08Z, EB1AO and I completed a 4,936-km QSO between IN52pe and FN43rg, setting a distance record for the U/v repeater on AO-92. It was a -11° pass — Celsius (12°F… brrr). Really, it was a 1° pass — maximum elevation at my end. Jose's map tells the story, though the time reported is his AOS , not QSO time. We both recorded the contact. Mine is in Dropbox: eb1ao_AO-92.wav . Thanks EB1AO. Thanks AMSAT-NA . UPDATE: Our record was surpassed by F4DXV and VE1VOX, who added 75 km to the distance, in August 2020. Page reviewed December 2020.

Bird of the Year Poses Typographical Challenge

The American Birding Association's selection of the ʻiʻiwi as its 2018 Bird of the Year poses a typographical challenge: What to do about the ʻokina? That "single quote" at its start, and right between the i's, is one of two Hawaiian diacritical marks . It denotes a glottal stop, a quick throat-catch like that in uh-oh, so ʻiʻiwi is pronounced ee-EEvee . The ʻokina appears once in the main heading of the Bird of the Year page, but is omitted throughout Nate Swick's explanation of why the honeycreeper was chosen. This inconsistency is avoidable and the omission is undesirable. The ʻokina is not optional punctuation but a purposeful letter. The ABA isn't awkward alone. The Birds of North America account at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology spells ʻiʻiwi three ways (unique treatments in heading and citation, main text, and image caption). The American Bird Conservancy gives this bird two marks but resorts to the straight quote (prime) rather than employing

One White Heron

A 2-ounce packet of an organic black tea, Dubliner's Breakfast, from White Heron Tea of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, found its way into my Christmas stocking. Santa knows. I inferred this would be a hearty, rich brew, that would brace me for morning. Dubliners are Irish, no? Instead, I tasted a nuanced, fruity cup with less kick than anticipated or desired. The packet went into the afternoon collection, taking an honored place in the rotation especially when the mood was more cerebral than kinetic. Three and a half stars.