Saturday, April 18, 2015

Remote Satellite Station Operation at W5PFG

Recently, another satellite operator made some general statements (gossip) about how I could possibly be working Yuri, UT1FG/MM, while I am not always at home.  In my professional career, I travel around the states of Texas, Oklahoma, and New Mexico.  During this time, I am not physically able to sit in front of my transceiver and make satellite contacts.  It may therefore seem  that since I am not home, I cannot work stations in new grids for VUCC credit.  That is untrue.

This is 2015.  Remote station operating is alive and well.  Not only is being able to operate my station remotely perfectly legal, others have been doing it long before me.  There are at least three other amateur radio satellite operators in the United States who have such remote capabilities.  Some of those folks have shared ideas and lessons learned with me to improve my own station.  K8YSE wrote a detailed description of his /7 (Arizona) station for the AMSAT Journal.

DXpedition teams for years have use this method or similar so that they can get the rare entity in their own home logs. How else would the whole K1N team members get in the logs on all bands and all modes, even though some of them are on the island themselves?  (within the first couple of days, I might add) They may not be "remoting" to their home stations but someone is operating as their home station under direction of the licensee.

When I am operating remotely, I am utilizing my own equipment.  It is my transmitter, receiver, antennas, rotor, computer, etc., -- all located at my home QTH in EM21hs.  Even if I am in Rome, Italy, I can make an SO-50 contact from my equipment to someone in N America.  The contact would be between my grid (EM21hs) and the other's.

Since Captain Yuri began his 2015 voyage, I have been on many work trips, some international trips, and a week at spring break.  All the while, I was able to work Yuri as he made his journey from one wet grid square to the next.  This would not have been possible without a remote station.

This map represents the grids in which I've worked UT1FG/MM during his 2015 voyage as of April 18.

Thankfully we have modern technology that allows a traveling man such as myself the ability to operate my own station remotely.  I can enjoy amateur radio satellite operations from practically anywhere with an Internet connection.

Many of you know that I have given out grids from most, if not all, of the business travel destinations I've visited over the past four years.  I will continue to do so.  During the times that UT1FG/MM is out and about, I will operate less port-ably and focus more on collecting wet grid squares instead.  Once the Captain is out of range, I'll go back to handing out some of the grids from which I've operated numerous times (some in DM8x, DM9x, EM0x/1x/2x.)

If you have questions about remote station operating, feel free to write me an email.  I am still working the kinks out of my station and trying to implement improvements.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Satellite Code of Conduct? Good idea.

DX Satellite Code Of Conduct

  • I will listen, and listen, and then listen again before calling.
  • I will only call if I can copy the DX station properly.
  • I will not trust the DX cluster and will be sure of the DX station's call sign before calling.
  • I will not interfere with the DX station nor anyone calling and will never tune up on the DX frequency or in the QSX slot.
  • I will wait for the DX station to end a contact before I call.
  • I will always send my full call sign.
  • I will call and then listen for a reasonable interval. I will not call continuously.
  • I will not transmit when the DX operator calls another call sign, not mine.
  • I will not transmit when the DX operator queries a call sign not like mine.
  • I will not transmit when the DX station requests geographic areas other than mine.
  • When the DX operator calls me, I will not repeat my call sign unless I think he has copied it incorrectly.
  • I will be thankful if and when I do make a contact.
  • I will respect my fellow hams and conduct myself as to earn their respect.
We should try to adhere to these great bits of operating wisdom in the satellite community.  I know that none of us are perfect.  However, we must try...

Monday, March 23, 2015

Satellite Grid Map Flashback

Grid map as of March 23, 2015.  Red is confirmed, blue is unconfirmed.

March 17, 2014.  Grid map of confirmed grids (Continental US) only.  All red.

February 23, 2013.  Confirmed are purple.  Unconfirmed are blue.

April 16, 2012.  Confirmed are purple.  Unconfirmed are blue.

July 18, 2011.  My first map of confirmed grids.  

Saturday, March 14, 2015

73 on 73 Award

AO-73 (FUNcube-1) is a very nice cubesat from AMSAT-UK and its partners.  If you have not worked it yet, you are missing out.  It's very easy to hear and does not take but a minuscule amount of power to uplink into it's transponder.

On March 3, I completed my 73rd QSO with a unique callsign/station since September 1, 2014.  I had worked well over 73 unique callsigns on the bird since it's inception but the rules stated the contacts must have been made after that date.

See for a description of the award and the issuance of #1 to Wyatt, AC0RA.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

I0/W5PFG FO-29 attempt at contact with the US

I attempted a scheduled QSO with KB1RVT and KB1PVH today on FO-29.  While Nick and Dave couldn't hear me, I was able to hear Dave multiple times.  At least we were successful for 1/2 the equation!  It was fun to hear Dave on the bird from Rome.

This was a 2.8 degree maximum elevation pass for me.  I was hearing the bird well from my hotel parking lot in JN61et.

The recording is edited to shorten overall length and to demonstrate me hearing Dave and other European stations.

Friday, March 6, 2015

International Space Station (ISS) Slow Scan Television (SSTV) Reception 23-24 Feb 2015

The ISS was again transmitting Slow Scan Television (SSTV) between February 22-24, 2015.

Below are some of the images I received at my home station.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

UT1FG/MM EJ87 on SO-50 March 5, 2015

Yuri, UT1FG is once again Maritime Mobile and operating amateur radio satellites from his ship, the Greenwing.

Here's a good recording of the "pileup" that ensued when Yuri was sailing through grid EJ87.

When Captain Yuri shows up, it's the usual show.

P.S. It's very ironic there was a station suffering from "Can't hear squat" syndrome on the pass...