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Re: Newbie and FM Birds

on 11/29/00 4:26 PM, Greg Higgins at gregh@onramp.net wrote:

> I have enjoyed working the FM birds, but I am getting frustrated by the
> problems as described above. Thanks to everyone for your time.


First of all, welcome to satellites.

Second, you aren't alone in the problems you face.  However, there isn't
much that can be done with it.

On the FM birds you are limited by the fact that only ONE person can use the
bird at a time.  That is the person with the strongest signal into the bird
at that point (not necessarily the biggest station BTW).  So when you have a
repeater in the sky that everyone wants to talk on, it gets tough.

Yes, there is a big problem with all the "Hi so & so" crap that goes on.
Sometimes the same people say it over and over again every pass.  This past
weekend I noticed the same thing when I was operating QRP portable for the
first time myself.  I was like, "Why are these guys saying hi to each other
over and over again?"  It reminded me of the Monty Python sketch with Bruce,
Bruce and Bruce.

In defense of those operators though, I will say they tend to get through it
quickly and generally they do it at the very beginning of the pass.  The
bigger problems are the guys that get on and call CQ or give their call
phonetically two or three times and then repeat it again 10 seconds later
when no one answers.

It is also frustrating when you are in a QSO and people step on you.  They
just don't listen!

The best advice I can give is to continue practicing.  You'll get the hang
of when to jump in there.  UO-14 is a mess but you'll learn when to jump.
Secondly, call someone specifically and do it several times until you work
them.  Don't just throw your call out or call CQ.  Call one of the bigger
stations you know can get in.  Do it over and over again.  When people hear
you as a new person on the bird, then they'll call you too.  Also, I spent
most of my passes just listening and trying to figure out who to work.

Weekends and holidays are particularly troublesome cause everyone is off
work and wants to play and wish each other well and so forth.

It also hurts when the ISS is using your uplink for private two way QSOs!
Mexican taxis don't help either.

All these make the FM satellites more difficult than they first appear.

Lastly, my advice would be to try to graduate to the SSB birds.  The FO
birds are becoming loaded now with all the people getting ready for AO-40.
AO-10 is working well too.  And when AO-40 is ready, you'll have all sorts
of fun on it.  The SSB birds allow multiple conversations to take place all
at once so you don't have the problems with FM capture.  Yes, the FM birds
are great for portable operations, but they are difficult sometimes!


Jon Ogden
NA9D (ex: KE9NA)



My President is George W. Bush -> The legal winner in Florida

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