Wednesday, March 25, 2015

What's the deal? Real-time Commentary on Satellites

FYI: I am trying a new MP3 host since DivShare is acting weird.  Feedback welcomed.

I have no idea what motivates some of the strange and unnecessary commentary during a busy satellite pass.

1st Recording:

Here, K4FEG waited under 2 seconds to call Yuri, UT1FG, after K8YSE didn't respond.

Notice that nobody flamed Frank or gave him crap?  That's because we all make mistakes in the hope of getting Yuri in our logs.

I waited about 3 seconds to call Yuri after K4FEG didn't respond.

Funny, I don't recall anyone being elected to be net control.

2nd Recording:

Here we go again. This time, I accidentally gave my callsign on Yuri when he was already coming back to me. Yes, it was a mistake on my part.

What happens? ...more commentary! It doesn't bother me at all. It's just weird.

Full Disclaimer:
I don't claim to be perfect.  We should all strive to be better operators.  Right now I am playing a lot with Remote operation.  K8YSE is often on Remote when he works Yuri.  Is it a perfect system? No. We all have different skills, station capabilities, and operating styles.  I don't mind criticism.  Come to me directly.  I'm willing to listen.

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...

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Getting Ready for AMSAT Fox-1 Satellites

If you haven't already noticed, there is growing enthusiasm among the amateur radio community about the upcoming Fox-1 series of satellites from AMSAT-NA.  For several years now, SO-50 (SaudiSat-1C) has been our only FM satellite. FM satellites are very popular.  In the not too distant past, many individuals enjoyed contacts on AO-27 and the mega-popular AO-51.  I cut my teeth on this birds, among others.

I own a variety of equipment for working the current fleet of satellites.  A combination of different radios and antennas gives me great flexibility whether I want to make a casual QSO, grid chasing, or a rare-grid expedition.

One thing I wanted to add in my arsenal to prepare for AMSAT-NA's Fox-1 project is a full-duplex, lightweight HT with capability to run on AA batteries.  An opportunity to acquire one in trade appeared on the QRZ Ham Radio Gear for Sale forum.  For $5, I was able to take a semi-duplex micro-HT I owned and didn't use and trade it for a full-duplex model I preferred.

I now am the owner of a Yaesu FT-530 dual-band FM transceiver.  It works perfectly for SO-50's mode V/U (J) and I anticipate it working equally well for the Fox-1 U/V (B) transponder.  This small HT (with lovely BNC connector) pairs perfectly with the Arrow dual band yagi for satellite use.  I don't need any other equipment.  Well, I do need a pair of headphones. when operating full-duplex you should use headphones to avoid feedback.  A pair of $0.99 earbuds plugged into the radio work fine.

There are great opportunities to acquire full-duplex radios that worked in the past.  Sure they aren't brand new but they can be of great value if you are a smart shopper.  Sometimes used gear fetches exorbitant prices.  Buyer beware!  Do not pay $200-300 for a 20 year old HT!