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RE: FM Satellite Etiquette

OK,  allow me to wade into this pond as well.

In February my wife and I operated DX from St. Lucia.
My hope was to make "One" QSO on UO-14.
My dream was to work BOTH FM birds and give a bunch of folk
a rare grid. Did I just "hope for the best..."  NO,  I took along a capable
station. I tested it before hand. I e-mailed the "Big Guns" and made some
SKED's. I relied on a few others to spread the word that a rare grid was out
there and make the first contacts, and people WERE very polite when they
realized what was up.
We made LOTS of Q's, and everyone got a Card from a rare Country and grid.
Most contacts were "Quick and Courageous", but even on a Saturday
morning, everyone stood by for 30 seconds so I could pass a message
to my mom via N9WJV back at home. Actual "Traffic" on UO-14, shocking.

I'm now using this adventure as a main talking point and example in my
presentations as a Field Operator. I gave a talk to over 100 people at a fest
two weeks ago at Amateur Electronics "Superfest". I also recommend the 
FM birds without reservation for the new and first time Sat operator. Yes, with
a explanation of how they work, and "it's best to try your first transmission on
a weekday morning". But they are EXCELLENT to test your receive setup,
get your tracking software working, and create I-N-T-E-R-E-S-T.
And YES we made a live demo QSO on a FM bird to a "Big Gun", 
do you think I want to look a fool with 30 people standing behind me?
Who ya gonna call.... TEXAS!

We sold out of software at the AMSAT booth, and ran out of membership
applications. AES sold out of ARROW antennas.

I have made 3 "First Contacts" via Sat from people who were at the talk in
the last two weeks. I look for the weak signals and new stations, and Q them
first, but although I have never met them, I consider some of those people
who have helped me with rare grids and the DX-Expeditions my friends....
and I say "Hello".

Debate the "Etiquette" of the FM birds as much as you like...  I will continue
to use and EXPLOIT them to create interest, get more AMSAT members,
and give others some rare grids and excitement.
With all due respect to the P3D team, and best hopes for AO-40...
Anyone else want to build another satellite someday?  I sure do.



Gary Bargholz
AMSAT Area 9 Coordinator, Wisconsin
Chairman:  W.A.R. The WI Association of Repeaters
Treasurer:  M.R.C. The Milwaukee Repeater Club 146.910MHz PL 127.3
Owner:      N9UUR Repeater Milwaukee 442.425 MHz PL 127.3
                N9UUR-10 Milwaukee APRServe IGate (N9UUR.IMC.MU.EDU:23)
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