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Re: Winning practices for the Easy Sats, (no whiners)




Hello Mike.

27 Feb 00 11:02, you wrote to ALL:

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

Here, there are two operators who get answered:  Those who call someone
specifically, and those who announce their presence (we do have quiet moments
here, so sometimes this is a good idea).

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

i.e. be brief, callsign and signal report only, if things are busy, maybe
name/location/grid, if it's quiet.

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

Agreed.  Long CQ calls merely waste transponder time (and there's only 15
minutes or less of that per pass, use it wisely! :-)

 MG> 4) Use email and posts to the BB as an effective means to increase
 MG> your chances. Pick a regular, and send them an email. You might want
 MG> to tell them you are going to be QRP portable on AO27, SO-35 or UO14
 MG> the second pass tomorrow, and ask then to listen for you. Many times
 MG> such a technique will open the door, and other operators who have
 MG> heard your call and grid will call you as well.

The Internet is an excellent medium to promote unusual satellite activity.  My
own site (which is geared mainly towards the FM birds) started out as a way of
promoting my operation from public transport.

 MG> Usually, when an operator posts they are going to be working a special
 MG>  events stations, or a rare grid, or from a unique operating position,
 MG> they generate traffic. Try announcing you will be working mass transit
 MG>  portable.  :-)

Hehe, been there (have you been reading my site? :-)  ).  Maybe I should
approach the news services that read the story for permission to publish
excerpts :-)

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

If you can.  I have found that skillful antenna orientation can help as well. I
am yet to build my gain antenna, and yet get my fair share of contacts on the
FM birds. :-)

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

Indeed.  In my case, I have no feedline losses and fairly sensitive Rxs :)

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

Yes, they do, and those who don't play the game get branded as a "bad
operator".

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

Yes, I like to wait 3-4 seconds if there is no response from the intended
recipient of the call.

One point I will make is that if you run minimal gear like me, you have to be
very attentive to propagation conditions and listen AT ALL TIMES.  By this, I
mean:

1.  When listening to other stations, take note of the downlink strength and
re-orient your receiving antenna if the downlink is too weak.  On UO-14, this
could take constant adjustment!

2.  When calling and in QSO, keep listening (this can be a learned art, but it
can mean the difference between success and failure), and if your uplink seems
a little weak, quickly re-orient your transmitting antenna (this is where
separate Tx and Rx have a big advantage) while talking.

3.  This ability to listen and talk at the same time is also useful in pileups.
High powered stations will notice people as they dive for the PTT and be able
to back off, QRP stations will know if they've been trampled and save battery
power.

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

The old saying fits well here.  If you can't hear them, you can't work them.
:-)

 MG> 9) Don't whine. If you whine here, or on the satellites, you might
 MG> acquire a bad reputation and other operators will avoid you. If
 MG> someone else tries to engage you in negativism here or on the birds,
 MG> dismiss them. Do not enter into negative dialog, period.  Generally
 MG> negativism comes from failure. Encourage them to improve their lot,
 MG> and become a winner.
 MG>
 MG> So, the well equipped operator, who is polite, persistent, speaks
 MG> clearly, and gets to the point is the operator who will have most
 MG> success as a portable satellite operator.


As someone who has worked 99% QRP ( < 5 watts EIRP ) into the FM birds, I have
to agree that skill, persistance and a bit of blind luck will enable many
satisfying satellite QSOs.  Last weekend, for the first time, I had access to
high powered satellite gear (for the public demo) and was able to put in the
best ever signal, but the QSOs I find most satisfying are the train and tram
mobile QSOs from last year , and the recent QSOs via UO-14, which is a somewhat
more challenging bird for those without gain antennas to work.

My satellite station is this:

For SO-35.

70cm uplink - Icom IC-T81A (3.5W measured) with 1/2 wave whip.
2m Downlink - Standard C-58 (in FM mode!) with 5/8 telescopic whip.

For UO-14
2m uplink - Alinco DJ-500T (1.8W measured) with 5/8 telescopic whip.
70cm downlink - Icom IC-T81A with 1/2 wave whip.

I do use headphones which belong to my walkman, and provide excellent downlink
audio.  The Alinco doesn't get used on SO-35 because it's busy recording the
audio in the shack during the pass (this may change when I get the FM92
programmed for the satellite band).

With this gear, I've had numerous contacte all across Australia, New Zealand
and Papua New Guinea.

Tony
--
|Fidonet:  Tony Langdon 3:633/284.18
|Internet: tlang@freeway.apana.org.au
|
| Standard disclaimer: The views of this user are strictly his own.


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