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Success at last!

Thanks to the patience of Robin VE3FRH and Jim AA4MD,
I finally completed two QSOs through the AO-40 transponder.
MA was somewhere between 205 and 215 - I was too excited
to look.  This wonderful event happened this morning PDT,
around 1400z.

Their signals were weak, just above the noise.
I couldn't really hear myself on SSB, and used a zero beat
on CW to set my uplink.  Jim reported my signal was 5-5.
I'd say he was 4-1.  Fortunately the doppler shift doesn't
change very fast on AO-40 when it's out that far (35k km), 
so I just left all of the knobs alone.

I also heard KK5DO, W7FD, and K5GUU in there, but the
bird faded too much for them to hear me.  I was running
about 25 watts into a 2x8 crossed yagi of unknown heritage,
through about 60' of probably-waterlogged 9913. I noticed 
that I had a significantly better signal when I switched 
to the other polarization (which ever it is when you 
energize the relay up there).  Since the satellite was
coming closer in its orbit, and still well away from perigee,
I have no idea why things got worse.  By MA240 it was totally
silent, beacon and all.

The antenna is now in the shack, being fitted with a new
feed.  I'm going to try a few different ones - coffee can,
dipole, original, to see what works best.

Thanks again for all who have helped!


Greg  KO6TH

p.s.  I also heard some SSTV, but wasn't able to get the
computer programs swapped fast enough to catch it.

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