Saturday, June 20, 2015

My new FT-817+Satellites video

I've had an idea to make some new videos about my experiences in the amateur satellite world for a while.

One idea was to demonstrate how to work my favorite satellite FO-29 using a single VFO multimode transceiver. In my case, I chose the Yaesu FT-817 because it's one of the most popular portable radios in the world today.

Combined with an Arrow or Elk antenna, almost anyone can take an FT-817 with them on their travels or operating from the backyard.

This is my first revision of the FT-817 video.  I'd be glad to field any questions from inquiring minds.

You can click on the video above to view or or visit:

Monday, May 25, 2015

W5PFG/VE2 marks operation from 99th and 100th MH gridsquares

My recent trip to Montreal, Quebec, Canada and the subsequent satellite operations from FN25 & FN26 mark my 99th and 100th maidenhead gridsquares operated via amateur radio satellites.

The map below is a plot of all gridsquares from which I've operated since 2011.

And the list:
  1. EM00
  2. EM01
  3. EM02
  4. EM03
  5. EM04
  6. EM05
  7. EM06
  8. EM10
  9. EM11
  10. EM12
  11. EM13
  12. EM14
  13. EM15
  14. EM16
  15. EM17
  16. EM20
  17. EM21
  18. EM22
  19. EM23
  20. EM24
  21. EM25
  22. EM26
  23. EM30
  24. EM31
  25. EM32
  26. EM33
  27. EM34
  28. EM42
  29. EM44
  30. EM45
  31. EM55
  32. EM54
  33. EM53
  34. EM52
  35. EM63
  36. EM64
  37. EM65
  38. EM66
  39. EL09
  40. EL08
  41. EL07
  42. EL18
  43. EL19
  44. EL28
  45. EL29
  46. EL39
  47. EL98
  48. DL79
  49. DL88
  50. DL89
  51. DL98
  52. DL99
  53. DM12
  54. DM13
  55. DM70
  56. DM71
  57. DM72
  58. DM73
  59. DM74
  60. DM80
  61. DM81
  62. DM82
  63. DM83
  64. DM84
  65. DM85
  66. DM86
  67. DM91
  68. DM92
  69. DM93
  70. DM94
  71. DM95
  72. DM96
  73. EM86
  74. EM96
  75. FM07
  76. FM08
  77. FM09
  78. FM19
  79. FM29
  80. FN10
  81. FN25
  82. FN26
  83. FN30
  84. FN31
  85. FN32
  86. FN33
  87. FN35
  88. FN41
  89. FN42
  90. FN43
  91. FN45
  92. FN51
  93. FN53
  94. FN54
  95. FN55
  96. FN56
  97. FN57
  98. FN65
  99. FN66
  100. FN67

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.