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FM Sats



My first exposure to FM sats was with AO-21 about 10 years ago or so. 
(The first sat I operated through was RS-10; I also worked some 
RS-12, AO-13, and FO-20 contacts in the early 90s).  AO-21 was cool 
because it had a strong signal that you could hear on the HT in your 
shirt pocket.  It got a lot of people interested who may not have 
ever thought about operating satellites because of the expense of a 
VHF/UHF multimode radio.  You could work it with your current FM rig. 
At first it was easy to work AO-21.  I made a few contacts though it 
and it was fun.  Later as more people tried to work it and compete 
for its single uplink channel, it became pure chaos.  A short time 
later it was switched off.  I haven't operated an FM sat since.

I agree with the people who say leave the FM sats for packet only. 
It is now easier and cheaper to get on the SSB/CW birds.  With the 
proliferation of HF rigs that now include 2 meters and even 70cms (at 
the cost of yesterdays single band  vhf or uhf only rig), many people 
now have one of the IC-706, FT-100 series or other such radios, if 
not the full duplex FT-847 rig or others like it.  With a FT-100, 
IC-706, IC-746 radio or similar radio, add a $149 Radio Shack 10 
meter rig and you have a full duplex Mode A Station.  Add a 70 cm 
receive converter to that 10 meter rig and you have a Mode J station 
for FO-20 and FO-29.

I'm not saying to shut off UO-14 and FO-27.  Lets just not use them 
for Field Day.  Consider them like the WARC bands and off limits for 
contest use.  They are not the example I want to show people of 
satellite operation.

73
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