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AO40 success from FN20



An exciting and QSO filled evening!  I went over the hill to WI2W's house
where he has the K5GNA dish setup along with a KLM 435 yagi on a tripod and
AZ-EL box.

I just received the filters from K5GNA today so I modified two
downconverters for this evening's test.  Sadly, one of them doesn't seem to
work!?!  The other one worked like GANGBUSTERS!  Steve had been having
problems with his downconverter and it turns out his power-T is not working
(back to Mark Fossum for a replacement I guess).

We tuned around where the beacon should be.  Hmmm.  What's that?  Sounds
like telemetry.  Turning the dish made the signal go away.  BINGO!  It's the
bird!

I think overall we made about 15 QSOs in total.  XE1/DG8NAO was the most
'exotic' - we heard lots of the regulars.  It was also SO GRATIFYING to hear
some of the big guys from the FM birds activating LEILA.  HOORAY!  We just
sat and laughed.  Maybe they'll learn and not blast away at the FM birds...
naaaaah... never happen :)

As a point of reference, we found the un-modified 3733 was very poor at
copying SSB signals.  When we switched over to the fully modified one, the
SSB was crystal clear.  The noise floor on the 847 was almost flat and
signals were S3-S7 and perfectly clear.  Also, running 50 watts into a 435
yagi (14 elements, but it's got those log periodic driven elements so who
knows what the gain is) yielded good signals - we always heard ourselves
perfectly Q5 but we received 339 and 449 reports from a couple of stations.
We completely lost the bird (on uplink) at 45000km.  Until then it was just
fine.  The downlink continued to be perfectly Q5 listening in on our buddy
Al, NX2Q.

The next step will be to get the non-working pieces fixed or replaced and
move onto a helical feed and SSB preamp.  Also need to see how the bird
sounds at Apogee with a near 0 squint just to get a sense of what this is
going to be like.

Thanks to all those we contacted for our first night on AO40.  Hopefully
many more to come.

David, NA2AA

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