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Re: AO-27/SO-35

Stacey makes a very valid point which prompts a question from me that I'll
pose at the end.

I don't know how most amateurs start off operating on the satellites.  For
me, I read all the information I could get my hands on.  I started with an
article called "Working the Easy Sats" by Gary B. Rogers, WA4YMZ.  It is
available at http://www.amsat.org/amsat/intro/faqs.html.  For those that
have not seen it, it is an excellent article.  I used a lot of information
from it.  From that article, I graduated to
_The_Radio_Amateur's_Satellite_Handbook_.  This book contains a lot of
useful information.  After I read these two resources, not to mention the
multitude of opinions on the AMSAT-BB and personal help from Don DeJarnette,
KC4YRT,  I started assembling my station.  I knew want I wanted to do -
operate the FO birds - so I designed my station around that.

The first thing I bought was my IC-821H.  That was in November of 1998.  Two
years earlier, I had sold my IC-737 HF rig and had vowed to get out of
amateur radio because no one in this area wanted to try something new.
Well, apparently I was also one who didn't.  I finally took the plunge after
getting a small windfall from a computer consulting business I ran part-time
with my brother.  That gave me the needed capital for the radio.  I had 56'
of Rohn 25G donated to me.  Of that, I have used 26'.  Don't ask for the
other 30', I plan on using it - HI HI!  I got the antennas from Don who sold
them to me at a reasonable price and I bought 150 - 200' of 9913F.  I have
since added a Mirage KP2/70 mast-mount preamp and a PacComm NB96 / PSK-1
PacSat combo.  This is just one example of how to get started in amateur
satellite operation.  It is by no means the only way; however, I *knew* what
I wanted to do *and* what to expect by *reading* and *listening* and
*asking* questions.

There are several amateurs in this area that have either dual-band (2m/70cm)
radios or one of each.  Generally, these radios are FM-only.  These amateurs
are surprised to find out that there are two birds that can be operated with
the equipment they have.

I wrote the last paragraph to emphasize the "getting started" idea in
amateur satellites.  Most amateurs that I have spoken with believe that
working the amateur satellites is just that - WORK!  They don't realize that
you can work a bird by just programming in a few different frequencies into
subsequent memory channels on an HT or mobile radio using an omni antenna or
Arrow antenna.  If we, as amateur satellite operators, can get *one* other
person interested in amateur satellite operation by showing them AO-27 or
SO-35, then there is a possibility that they will crave (as I did) more and
more.  Heck, tell them about the wonderful possibilities with P3D!  At least
get them started in something new.  Then, if their interest does increase,
show them the wonderful complexities of working one of the FO birds or a
digital bird.  Some of you prefer operation on AO-10.  I can only work AO-10
when it is < 12,000km away.  Amateurs will be thrilled to know they can work
DX from a satellite.

Now my question:  Should we leave AO-27 and SO-35 to the beginners or to
those with limited uplink ability?  My opinion is a resounding NO!

There is more than ample opportunity for someone to hold a QSO on either
bird.  K7MT even had us listening on SO-35 during the Symposium this past
weekend.  Apparently he heard someone trying to get in.  It wasn't but a few
seconds later when it appeared that the satellite "shut-down" for lack of a
better phrase.  I try to make it a point that *if* I hear a mobile or
portable station calling, that I will call that station.  I think most other
hams will do the same thing.  As a matter-of-fact, I tried calling one of
those who say he/she cannot be heard several times with no response to my
calling on the satellite or to my e-mail follow-up.

Earlier, I mentioned the articles I read before I bought any equipment.  The
number one recommendation from everything I read or heard was to build your
RECEIVE SYSTEM first.  Learn how to listen before you speak.  Not only does
this test your system, but it gives you ample opportunity to learn the
operating procedures.

Thanks es 73
OM:  Joel B. Black, K2SAT          XYL:  Kristie H. Black, KF4CHN
Eutaw, AL...............EM62bv          kahblack@mindspring.com
AMSAT member #32589
AMSAT Area Coordinator
iCOM IC-821H
Cushcraft 738XB / 144-20T
PacComm NB96 / PSK-1
AO-27, FO-20, FO-29, SO-35
KO-25, UO-22

----- Original Message -----
From: Stacey Mills <w4sm@cstone.net>
To: Amsat Bulletin Board <amsat-bb@AMSAT.Org>
Sent: Tuesday, October 12, 1999 7:59 PM
Subject: [amsat-bb] AO-27/SO-35

> If you're looking for my "solution" to the FM-sat problem, here's where I
> tell you that I don't have one.  To some extent, I think the problems with
> power/capture need to be accepted as an inevitability of the FM
> and we need to move on to more productive activities.  Perhaps we should
> work towards educating new hams about how to get onto the SSB LEO's, FO-20
> and FO-29, as cheaply and painlessly as possible.  There they can have
> FM-like quality in a usually under utilized, broad passband.  Real
> conversations can be held!! ...and then there's P3D!
> --
>  ________________________________________________________________________
>  Stacey E. Mills, W4SM    WWW: http://www.cstone.net/~w4sm/ham1.html
>   Charlottesville, VA   PGP key: http://www.cstone.net/~w4sm/key
>  ________________________________________________________________________
> ----
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