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Re: was UO-14 on Field Day now Field Day

> I personally think the idea of a "satellite Contest" during Field Day
> was using extremely poor judgment.  Those of you who have influence
> with the AMSAT hierarchy, please ask them to re-think this for next
> June.

Let me offer 6 ideas on how to be successful on Field Day with the

1. Learn from your mistakes. (most important)
2. Educate yourself on the available satellites.
3. Focus on your end goal.
4. Create a plan for success.
5. Practice the plan.
6. Execute the plan.

1. Learn from your mistakes
Focus on the problem.  The problem is trying to use a single channel
FM satellite with hundreds of people trying to do the same.  The
capture effect on FM wins.  To be successful, one needs knowledge
about the other available satellites and a strategy to insure success
on Field Day.

In the world of business we do not change the rules simply because
one cannot compete.  We change our strategy to be successful.
Hence, if I decided to put all my eggs in one basket to get those
ARRL bonus points, I would be silly to think that an handheld antenna
with a handheld radio would be successful as the satellite passed
over the central part of a large population like the Central USA.  If I
were in another part of the world where there were not as many
Amateur Radio operators in the foot print of the satellite, this strategy
may be sound.  However, it is a poor strategy to insure a successful
contact during Field Day in areas of mass population.

2. Educate yourself on the available satellites.
3. Focus on your end goal.
4. Create a plan for success.
The Fuji-Oscars provide a great opportunity with a 100 KHz passband
to accomodate hundreds of simultaneous QSO's.  If you want to insure
success on Field Day, use that same Arrow antenna on FO-20 or FO-29
and you will almost be garaunteed success in making a contact.  You
will be amazed at how much quieter they are than an FM satellite.

My next choice beyond the Fuji birds for ease of getting a contact on
Field Day would be RS-12/13.  It is very easy to work using a dipole on
10M and a J-pole on 2M depending on what mode is active on these
birds at the time.

Any of the 2 mentioned stategies are not difficult and you do not
need big antennas.  However, you should practice using them before
Field Day to acquaint yourself on how to operate the equipment.  Field
Day can make RS-12/13 a little more challenging with all the folks
transmitting up and down the band trying to find their downlink signal.
The 10M downlink is full of this activity on Field Day and it makes it
more difficult for you to find your downlink signal.

On Field Day you have those same type of people on the FM satellites
transmitting and trying to hear themselves on the downlink.  There just
happens to be a lot more of them.  So you see, it is not the alligators
who are the problem.  In fact, it is the alligators who maximize the
number of contacts that can be accomplished on a single channel
FM satellite during Field Day.  It is much like a net operating on a
single channel.  If there is no control operator or anyone that commands
authority (alligator), then chaos will reign and the efficiency goes down.

A third strategy might be to use a dual band FM radio, 9600 baud TNC,
a dual band vertical, and a computer. With this configuration I can easily
work the 9600 baud satellites by sending one Field Day Greeting
and receiveing all the the other Field Day greetings from the satellite.
The ARRL will accept this for the 100 Field Day bonus point.  Although,
I must say they have a long way to go in better defining their rules in this
area since they are very ambiguous (have been and continue to be).

> I'm just saying there were guys out there with an Arrow and HT trying
> to put one Q in the log for their Club or group (to get the bonus
> points) that couldn't because of the AMSAT contest atmosphere which
> brought out all the alligators.

The problem was their strategy was not a good choice.  What works
any other day of the year is more complicated on Field Day, where
chaos reigns.  The AMSAT contest did not bring out the alligators.
How can you blame an organization for a problem that has to do with
Physics.  Even if the world was perfect, it would be impossible for
everybody to make one contact  using all of the FM birds to
accomplish that feat.  There is simply not enough bandwidth nor
enough time to accomodate it.  This is a factual statement that can
be backed by statistics.  There are several who used an HT with an
Arrow antenna on Field Day that were successful, but it did not
happen when the satellite was over a large populated area, unless
it was SO-35 at a rare moment when most did not know it would
be on the air.

> I don't think AMSAT's Field Day Competition 2000 was in the spirit
> of FD (where you simulate an emergency using minimal equipment and

You can label our station as an alligator since we had big antennas,
but we also had the Boy Scouts over to check out the station,
demonstrated satellite communications to the public and other Amateurs,
recruited new satellite operators who became interested as a result of the
Field Day exercise, demonstated successful APRS activity on the satellites,
demonstrated digital communications via satellite, told folks how they
could visully spot a spacecaft in the sky, demonstrated our satellite
station could run on solar power for 14-16 hours using solar power and
solar charged batteries, demonstrated computer tracking programs,
showed folks they could receive satellites with an HT or scanner radio,
and we had a blast meeting new people at the cook-out and exchanging
stories.  This was all done at a remote location using non-commercial
power slapping the mosquitoes and other unidentifiable bugs.

Unfortunately, there were not many people on the SSB satellites.   This
is such a great waste, because there was plenty of room to make
contacts on AO-10, FO-20, and FO-29.  Yet, I hear people say they
could not make a satellite contact on Field Day.  To them, I say follow
my six point plan stated earlier.  If at first you do not succeed, try
However, if you did not learn my your mistakes, do not blame the rest
of the world.

> I also think it's notable in mentioning that after FD, I didn't see
> one person (on this list or elsewhere) chastising AMSAT for the
> havoc and chaos they created with a satellite contest that coincided
> with FD and satellite bonus points.  <<I'm I in a category my myself
> here??>>  :-)

Focus on the problem and the answer will be clear. Do not rely on the
FM satellites for Field Day or you have a flawed strategy.  If you live
in Hawaii, the FM birds are probably very easy to work with an HT and
a rubber duck.  Learn and understand the Laws of Physics on Field
Day.   Learn from past mistakes and check out the alternatives.
Using more power on the FM satellites is not the answer, since there
are many easier ways to be successful on Field Day.

5. Practice the plan.
Make sure you know how to operate the equipment on Field Day since
it can be a stressful time.  Actually, Field Day is all about learning to
cope and deal with problems.

If I had a handheld radio with an Arrow antenna on Field Day, it would be
obvious I was not going to work the FM birds.  Instead of wasting time
complaining about all the successfully prepared stations, I would focus
my energy and start looking for a 2M all-mode radio and an HF station
to hear the downlink.  Thus, I only need one radio and a quick visit to
the 10M station at our Field Day site.  Depending on the mode of
operation on RS-12/13 I might have to visit the 15M station for help
on the equipment.

Utimately, I would hope to find a 2M/70cm all mode radio to connect to
that Arrow antenna.  We know we can find somebody somewhere on
Field Day to get one of these radios to use even if we have to call our
local friendly radio store to borrow it.  We will try all angles.  Field Day
is about being resourceful.

Murphy vists our station every year, but we do not let Murphy win because
we are prepared to cope and deal with the problems. This year the 20M
station kept taking down our generator.  It was a good thing we had that
solar station and the solar charged batteries to get us through the night.

6. Execute the plan.
After you meet all the points in this 6 part plan, you are ready to brave
the unkown conditions that await you on Field Day.  Just remember,
you must always go back to point number one after Field Day.  Always
learn from your mistakes.

I have added my 6 cents...  Agree, disagree, or learn.  There are too many
ways to make a contact on the satellites.


Tim - N8DEU
Huntsville, Alabama

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