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Thoughts on Courtesy


deral kent wrote:
> Whoa .....Maybe I should think twice before investing in an all mode
> satellite rig ......Maybe my two old HF tranceivers kept on HF and
> occasional contacts on RS 12/13 are the best place for me to be
> heard.......I certainly wouldn't want to deprive anyone of their first
> contact or their 742 nd  grid square or anything of that nature by my
> having told  the other ham what my name and location was and tying up the
> bird for an additional 15 seconds.            My operator/station
> license,my 1959 ARRL membership certificate, and Rag Chewers Club
> wallpaper are still my most cherished items.......and even though we
> enjoy an occasional contest and are capable of 120 Q's /hour at
> times....we old foogies know our proper place.

I hope none of us ever lose sight of the fact that 90% of amateur
activity is hobby oriented and supposed to be fun.  Like any other cross
section of society, the satellite community has varied interests, and
expectations.  Not all operators have the same goals, and therefore,
common sense should prevail.

If I am driving down the Interstate highway on a Friday afternoon before
Labor Day, I had better be attentive to all the other drivers around
me.  As a courtesy, I should stay in the right hand lane, except to
pass, and then move back to the left lane once I have passed, in order
to allow faster drivers access to the left lane.  Conversely, on a
weekday evening, with little traffic on the road, my driving style can
be a little more relaxed, and it's not imperative I move to the right
hand lane as quickly, and I can take some time to fiddle with my radio
dial without fear of ramming a car in front of me.  Same road, same
destination, different driving techniques.

This analogy can also be applied to the easy sats.  Let's take AO27 for
example.  On a busy weekend, when many operators are eager to work the
bird, short, contest style QSOs make more efficient use of the bird.  On
a particular pass where only a handful of operators are vying for air
time, rag chewing might be in order.  I don't think you can ever make
hard fast rules regarding use of a single channel satellite and make
them work.  Common sense has to prevail.

I spend a great deal of time monitoring AO27.  Many times I will have it
tuned and audible in an external speaker, just monitoring the traffic
while I do other things.  I have made some observations, based on what I
hear, and read on this reflector, and may be of benefit to those
operators having trouble getting into the bird.

1) Operators who only put their call out are seldom picked out of the
crowd and engaged in a QSO.  Instead, pick a station and call them
specifically.  Try to time your transmission so you jump right in when
the last QSO clears.

2) Rehearse what you're going to say.  When the bird is yours, speak
loudly, clearly, and to the point.  Excess "umm, ahh, well, ah"
transmissions will only cause other operators to ignore you, especially
on a busy bird.

3) Don't call CQ.  If there is at least one other operator out there,
they will hear you.  Reserve calling CQ for the linear birds where one
must hunt up and down the transponder for a signal.  If you are calling
CQ, most operators assume you can't hear your own downlink.

4) Use email and posts to the BB as an effective means to increase your
chances.  Pick a regular, and send them an email.  You might want to
tell them you are going to be QRP portable on AO27 the second pass
tomorrow, and ask then to listen for you.  Many times such a technique
will open the door, and other operators who have heard your call and
grid will call you as well. 

Usually, when an operator posts they are going to be working a special
events stations, or a rare grid, they generate traffic. 

5) Use a gain antenna, properly oriented and pointed at the satellite. 
Move around and optimize your position.  Many times unseen elements
affect the antenna pattern, and moving a few feet makes all the

6) Invest in a preamplifier. Many times it makes the difference between
being able to work the bird or not.  If you can't hear it, you can't
work it!  (see #3)

7) Be polite and thank the other operator for the QSO.  Nice guys DO
win, and will be given a second chance.

8) If another operator calls a station, and you hear them, wait a second
before "grabbing" the bird.  If you jump in too soon, you will acquire a
bad reputation and other operators will avoid you. 

I think many times the case is an operator does NOT hear the initial
call, instead of a callous disregard for decorum, which stems from
having a poor downlink.  (see #6)  There are several frustrated
operators out there who fit this model, and believe me, they ARE
ignored. There IS a culture on the bird, and a little time spent
monitoring and learning this culture will be time well spent.

9) Don't whine.  If you whine here, or on other satellites, you might
acquire a bad reputation and other operators will avoid you.  If someone
else tries to engage you in negativism on the birds, dismiss them.  Do
not enter into negative dialog on the satellites.  Generally negativism
comes from failure.  Encourage them to improve their lot, and become a

So, the well equipped operator, who is polite, persistent, speaks
clearly, and gets to the point is the operator who will have most
success as a portable satellite operator. 

Common sense is the best police force; use it.

73, Mike in Fort Myers, FL
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