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Satellite Personal Milestone

At Jim - K6CCC's suggestion, I am posting this note to the reflector to
share with my fellow AMSAT members.  I sent this note off to my fellow BARA
members and close friends as well as those who are specifically mentioned in
the note.  Enjoy.

David, NA2AA


I thought I would share some NA2AA satellite operations news with you.

With all the AO40 activity and buzz, earlier this week I took the
opportunity to hop back on the birds for a few Q's - it's been almost 2
months since my last QSO on any of the birds.

I saw FO20 was coming up so I clicked the FT847 over to that Satellite
memory position and made two contacts (N9JWO and K8DID) - for contacts 997
and 998 via satellite!  WOW - so close to 1000.

So, the next day (yesterday) I decided to give a satellite of a different
nature a call - and worked - NA1SS, the International Space Station.  Very
exciting stuff.  She has a real problem with the FM based pileups - it just
appears to be a solid noise level.  I was lucky to work her as she was
disappearing off the eastern horizon out over the Atlantic.  If you want to
work her, she's been on almost every day at her bed time, which is around
1700-1800Z.  144.49 up, 145.80 down (+/- doppler on the downlink)

This morning I happened to be in the shack and took a quick peek at Nova and
sure enough, FO29 was off to my east and the little Cushcraft yagi was
already queued up, so back to the 847 and there was W4MVB calling CQ.
Jesse, a fine southern gentleman from Virginia, was my 1000th satellite
contact as NA2AA.  (I have 131 Q's as NW2D from back in the 80's).

With all the passes and all the operating time, I still feel like a newbie!
It has been great meeting on the air all the fine satellite enthusiasts and
people who really push the community forward with their efforts (including
some great web sites!) like Tom (AD1B - who is a FIXTURE on the RS birds),
Brent (VE5SWL), Jerry (K5OE), Bruce (KK5DO), Jim (K6CCC - who seemingly can
work satellites even below the horizon!), and especially my elmer Ray
(W2RS - who has worked damn near everything short of EME using just an HT -
oh no, not EME).

My OSCAR class satellite station is almost complete.  With the MA40 tower
going up soon, I'll have long boom twists on 144 and 435 into the 847, a 35
element long boomer on 1.2G, and a dish and downconverter on 2.4, both going
into the FT736R.  I've just bought the ZL2AMD tracking box for rotor and
doppler control, so other than a brick for 1.2G which I still need to sort
out, I am ready to rock!

I'm hopeful that AO40 continues to have better luck than it did back in the
fall, and things do seem encouraging.  This satellite stuff is so much fun,
and really takes so little to get into the game with.  Just for giggles, I'm
running off now to see when the next RS12 pass is - thinking of the good old
days...and with almost 200 grids confirmed, maybe getting my VUCC award one
of these days :)

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