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Re: FM Satellite Etiquette

on 4/15/01 9:48 PM, Rip Smith at rip.smith@mindspring.com wrote:

> I have tried a number of times to make a contact through UO-14, The first
> problem was that I had difficulty finding a point where I felt it was
> appropriate (from the standpoint of courtesy) to make a call. So many
> people are calling on top of one another most of the time that it is
> difficult to figure out when a QSO is complete or who might be available
> for a call.

You have to be quick and courageous.  The FM birds are not actually "easy"
in that sense.  Typical "repeater" style courtesies go out the window.  But
everyone expects that and respects that once you've worked a few passes.  If
you get stepped on (it happens), you keep trying till you make the contact.

>>> "Bruce Paige" <kk5do@arrl.net> wrote
>> ... the w4ami award. it is issued in multiples of 1,000 contacts. up to
>> 5,000. that is why you will hear a bunch of people
>> saying hello to the people they know.
> If that kind of contact qualifies for the award, it is an absurd award.
> Better would be one that rewards you for working *different* stations. That
> way there would be an incentive to look for new stations.

Your definition of absurd.  To others it is not.  It was an award developed
to encourage satellite activity.  No one says you have to participate for
it.  I'm impressed that Bruce has made over 5000 satellite Qs.

> ... and nobody gets a contact until ultimately, whoever is the quickest
> with the mike with the most ERP gets a contact.
> For those of us who are trying with a 5-watt hand-held and hand-held
> antennas, it is frustrating indeed.

Wrong, wrong wrong.

ERP is not the only answer when working FM birds.  The inherent limitations
of FM are also it's beauty.  It's the capture effect.  If you can capture
the bird, you'll sound just as strong and clear as anyone else.  Also, just
because someone has more power than you here on earth doesn't necessarily
mean that the satellite hears them better than you.

The important thing when working with a handheld and an arrow is to get the
antenna pointing down.  It's quite a trick and isn't easy.  My first try at
it, I wasted a couple passes or caught the birds late.  Then I'd get the
antenna off track.  It takes some patience.
>> How much ERP does a station really need?

Well, let's see.  If I run from home with my 40 CP elements on the uplink
and 5 watts, let's think about this.

My FT-847 has a minimum of 5 watts.  I can run no other antennas from my
home station than my 40 element yagi.  That yagi has about 15 db gain.  If I
lose half my power in my feedline, at the antenna I am running about 2.5
Watts.  For ease of computation, let's make that 2 watts.  2 Watts is 33
dBm.  Add 15 dB of antenna gain and my ERP is now 48 dBm or about 60 Watts

Now, let's take your 5 Watt HT with an Arrow antenna.  If I remember right,
the arrow has say 7 dB gain at 432.  I think that's generous for the antenna

5 Watts is about 37 dBm.  At 7 dB gain and you are at 44 dBm.  This is about
25 Watts ERP.

So even though my power is LESS than yours at my feedpoint, I still have
more ERP than you do because of my antenna gain.  What am I to do - put an
attenuator in the feedline?

Enough of this ragging on people who have big stations.  Not everyone runs a
kilowatt in.  Yet, I can run less power than you and still capture the bird
better.  Is that fair?  Sure - it's a home station.

> This response certainly sums up the problem:

No, this response basically wants to try to punish people who have good

> I'd rather "play nice", thank you very much, or is basic courtesy really a
> thing of the past in Amateur Radio the way it is in most other aspects of
> our lives.

Standard radio courtesies go out the window on FM birds.  Everyone who uses
them regularly knows it and accepts it.  People don't get mad, they just
listen and grow patient.

>> But I never had much luck
>> breaking the group until I put up an AO-10 class station.
> I think that confirms the "clique" problem. If you have a strong enough
> signal, you can join the group.

No, it says one of two things.  That he either didn't listen or his practice
was poor.  I've had plenty of "luck" getting into the birds with 5 Watts and
an Arrow.  Of course "LUCK" is Laboring Under Correct Knowledge.

>> It would be nice if EVERYBODY used 5 watt radios.  But since
>> they don't, you either need to compete, or fail to compete.
>> Like they say, you can't run with the big dogs if you pee
>> like a puppy.

Gee, I effectively run a 2 Watt radio yet I still have more ERP.  Should I
have my hand slapped?

> I've given up on the FM satellites because of the totally chaotic operating
> that goes on there. It's worse than trying to bust a pileup on 20 meters!

Actually, they aren't chaotic if you just know how they work, accept it and
then do your best.



Jon Ogden
NA9D (ex: KE9NA)



"A life lived in fear is a life half lived."

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