Saturday, December 31, 2016

W5PFG Satellite Statistics 2016

Wrapping up 2016, here is a breakdown of all 2,152 contacts by satellite in my log:


The above is from a combined total of 7,431 total in my home station satellite log:


Sorting QSO's by person over time, I created the 2011-2016 and 2016 charts below:



Sunday, December 25, 2016

Satellite VUCC Updated to 925

Just in time for Christmas, ARRL has awarded my endorsement for 925 maidenhead grid squares confirmed via satellite.  Unless someone makes a last minute rover op that yields 25 new grid squares confirmed via Logbook of the World, there won't be another endorsement application from me in 2016.

The chief contributors to confirmations include the following top 10 callsigns:


And here's the updated satellite VUCC records page as of December 9, 2016:


Monday, November 21, 2016

2016 AMSAT Space Symposium - Embarkation Day!

I boarded the Carnival Liberty at the earliest opportunity on November 10. It was a good thing I did! Initially Port  of Galveston security was denying boarding with amateur radio gear.  I was able to speak with the ship's Chief Security Officer and resolve the situation.


Boarded and took a selfie from balcony cabin 8312.


Some of the Symposium junk I needed to bring aboard. And, of course, my short Arrow.


This was my cabin mate's station on the ship. It looks like a terrorist device. I am glad that ship security did not lock him in the brig.


The first night we had an informal mixer on Lido deck aft.  I am very pleased with our turnout!


The Symposium was off to a great start!!!

Friday, November 18, 2016

2016 AMSAT Board of Director's Meeting - Galveston, Texas

As an alternate Board of Director for The Radio Amateur Satellite Corporation (AMSAT), I attended their annual board meeting in Galveston, Texas November 9-10, 2016. It was held at the DoubleTree Galveston hotel on Seawall Boulevard.


As an alternate to the board, I am not allowed to vote. However, I am encouraged to participate in the meeting as well as teleconferences held on a monthly basis.


Board meeting attendance by general visitors seemed down this year, in part because of the Symposium cruise. I believe that many folks were traveling with their spouses and families, rather than come early to attend the board meeting. Some of the board sessions are closed to visitors.

Because I was the 2016 AMSAT Space Symposium chairperson, I left the board meetings early on Thursday to board the Carnival Liberty.  

Monday, October 3, 2016

Making Sure You're in the Log - DUPES

My recent post about blind calls stirred a bit of laughter and angst from the peanut gallery.  Good.  It is fun to bring up subjects that make us squirm a little.  Kinda like the time ole Mom or Dad gave us "the talk."

Time for another talk, dear readers.

If we can't bring things to light and discuss them, people begin to harbor ill will towards one another. We might as well get it out in the open and have a dialog, even if we disagree.  I'm certainly no authority on satellites and don't claim to do everything right.

This post is somewhat of a follow-up to my rant about insurance contacts post back in 2015.


Let's get right down to business.  I'm going to say it.  Making insurance contacts and dupes are a not only interpreted as butt-kissing, they can be very disruptive.  Especially at the start of an expedition.  I specifically underlined the world "can" because it's not always disruptive.  There is potential.

I'm not directing this post at any one person.  Many of us are guilty of it.  Yours truly included.

It takes self control not to answer the seemingly endless CQ's of a DX / portable station.

One thing that differs greatly in satellites versus HF DX is that our windows are fixed.  We are not subject to propagation.  We are subject to time with mutual windows to the DX.  As we are exiting the window, remember that someone else may be just entering it!




Monday, September 26, 2016

Revisiting Twitter & How to effectively use it for a satellite operation

In November 2014, I did a posting about using Twitter to advertise grid operations.  I suggest reading it before continuing with this post.

Now that a couple of years have passed, I'm glad to see more and more operators are moving towards using the platform.  I am a fan of it because it can be completely open and transparent.  Being cross-platform with many user options makes it a very flexible tool.  I've decided to post a few observations here as a follow-up to my original posting.

On privatizing your feeds...(protecting Tweets)
A few operators insist on making their Twitter feeds private. I'm not sure it really has any benefit other than perhaps reducing a small amount of "junk followers."  I can understand their intentions are good but if your feed is private, it makes a lot of public-facing conversations seem awkward. If you have any "secret" information to offer, you really shouldn't be putting it on Twitter (social media.)

Long conversations...
One thing that can be annoying is long Twitter threads with 5 people trying to have a group conversation.  Sometimes these long threads become hard to follow.  Picture yourself an "outsider" to what is being discussed and see if it makes sense.  Probably won't.  I'm guilty of this but try to stay out of long-winded replies.  Take it to a group "Direct Message" or private email if it gets to be a long discussion.  Just think about it before you "chime in."  There are, of course, always fun exceptions (this one turned into an epic thread.)

Other options, revisited...
I'm a big fan of advertising operations via the AMSAT-NA "AMSAT-BB" mailing list.  Between posting an email to the AMSAT-BB and Twitter, you can get a lot customers for any satellite operation, rare DX/grid or not.  AMSAT-NA's Facebook is a good place to post but it has a smaller audience compared to the openness of Twitter and the AMSAT-BB mailing list.  There are other mailing lists but they are private, individually-controlled lists (empires) that do not cater to the broader amateur radio audience.

Clayton's pet peeve...politicin' 2016
Many of us have multiple interests. I get that.   This is a very heated presidential election cycle.  I'm not a huge fan of cross-pollinating ham radio feeds with political views.  I'm certainly willing to discuss my views with any open-minded individuals who will engage in a two-way conversation...just not on Twitter.  However, what I find very annoying are people who re-tweet political garbage to their ham Twitter feeds.  Normally, I mute those feeds and disable re-Tweets from them.  In some cases, I just un-follow them completely and block them.


Wednesday, September 21, 2016

The Insanity of Grid Chasing - A September 2016 Progress Update

I have been busy working on the upcoming AMSAT Symposium so I haven't focused much on blogging.

However, I have continued to make time to chase new maidenhead grid squares via satellite.  Five and a half years into the addiction, I am still having a lot of fun.

My #1 & # 2 goals on satellite are:

1. Work and confirm all 488 grid squares. These are the same 488 grids required for the Fred Fish Memorial Award (FFMA) on 6m.  However, I am trying to do this via satellite.  As of September 21, I am 35 grids away from the goal.

2. Work and confirm 1000 grids.  Why 1000? Well, I thought it would be interesting to see what I would hit first, the 488 goal or the 1000 goal.  It looks like I am going to be hitting the 1000 unless we get some serious rover action in the DN grid field.

Here's my 488 map and statistics (pink are unconfirmed):


I have leads on a few of these unconfirmed grids. It's just a matter of following up with those leads and working on a schedule to make them happen.


453 of 488 total FFMA grids confirmed as of September 21, 2016.

And now for my confirmed grid map, focused on the continental USA:


Here is my world map.  Click for a larger version:


878 total grid squares confirmed via satellite as of September 21, 2016.

And finally, I leave you with a movie I recommend for people who obsess over chasing grids or chasing real birds.  It shows the complete ridiculousness of what what do in pursuit of our hobby goals.