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Provenance

I took aves specta to mean watch birds, stretching my Latin past its limit, and registered a domain name flawed from the start. Lots of feathers have scattered since. 

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Last check: December 2020

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AMSAT Looks for an Easy-Sat Answer

For at least two decades, most radio amateurs getting involved with satellite communications have started on the "easy sats," FM birds that simplify hams' first forays into space. During this time, four satellites produced by AMSAT North America have been wildly popular. Two of them, AO-51 (2004-2011) and AO-85 (2015-2020), are now defunct. The others, AO-91 (2017- ) and AO-92 (2018- ), are limping toward their demise. While a few other FM satellites remain operational, and FM repeater operations are sometimes scheduled from the International Space Station, AMSAT-NA recently acknowledged it should have a role in repopulating the easy-sat stage.   AO-51, launched in 2004, was operational for more than 7 years. Photo: VE4NSA. In its 2021-2035 Strategic Plan , AMSAT committed to developing, deploying, and supporting a series of cubesats to operate in low Earth orbit (LEO). And in the July/August Apogee View , President Robert Bankston, KE4AL, prioritized options for meet

SOTA: Pine Mountain, September 18, 2021

For a combination QRP Afield / New Hampshire QSO Party / SOTA excursion, I went to Pine Mountain ( W1/NL-022 ) in Alton, Belknap County, New Hampshire, a 45-minute drive. The summit is within the Evelyn H. & Albert D. Morse, Sr. Preserve , a property of the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests.  Google delivered me to the non-preferred parking place, which is a narrow, gravel roadside sloping to a ditch. I was the only one there. I walked the Mary Jane Morse Greenwood Trail, 1.2 kilometers and "strenuous" per SPNHF, with tall weeds and waist-high saplings in its center. Going up, I counted 7 monarchs, 1 woman, and 1 dog. The "Do Not Block Gate" sign is just to the right of this one. Monarch migration is under way. I counted 7 on the hike up and viewed others from the summit. My one roadblock was easy to overcome. Up top, I was surprised to find more people — a hawk watcher and two others. Since there hadn't been any other cars alo

SOTA: Parker Mountain, November 6, 2021

My first Trans-Atlantic S2S QSO Party, in November 2020, was so much fun I was sure to try again. When the first Saturday of November was announced for the 2021 event, I quickly put it on my calendar and hoped for decent weather. I got my wish. The forecast called for clear and comfortable. A couple of days ahead, I posted an alert for W1/NL-010 (Parker Mountain) at 1330 UTC. At 1,410 feet, this peak doesn't offer much elevation advantage, but it's only a half-hour drive from home and I had not yet activated it this year . I hadn't even reached the trailhead by 1300 (9 a.m local), but I was close enough by then to stop at a roadside high point for a quick photo of my destination. I pulled into a parking lot, popped out of the car, greeted the camo-uniformed soldier who was happening by, and got my landscape shot. I was just about to pull away when a steady stream of yellow-ribboned cadets poured out of the white-trimmed brick building that serves as a National Guard Train