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Marconi / USNA Satellite report

Here is a brief summary of Satellite participation in the Marconi/OSCAR-1
Anniversary events at the Special event station VO1S in St Johns

"In addition to the spark-gap reception re-enactment, several Amateur
Satellites were used to show the progress in 100 years of radio.  In
the days prior to the event the news was heralded worldwide by PCsat
transmitting Marconi's historical letter "s" and OSCAR-1's "hi" every 3
minutes and Sapphire transmitted two voice announcements:

   "Happy birthday, OSCAR-1, happy birthday to you."
   "Thank you, Mr. Marconi!  From Sapphire"

Also VO1S made contact with the International Space Station during its 8
minute pass over Newfoundland and ten student winners in a Newfoundland
Marconi "wireless" competition were able to ask questions of the ISS
crew."  In the morning I was able to make several satellite contacts
including some across the Atlantic via AO27 and UO14.  Throughtout the day
we monitored AO-40 QSO's using my suitcase portable 1m dish through the
glass windows of the visitors center.

Now for the real details:

It was COLD, 80km winds below freezing with temps at -25 windchill up on
top of Signal hill..  None of the military's long-wire kites survived or
got off the ground.  The miltary tent blew down...  it was brutal. So
first thing is we abandoned any attempt to set up for satellites on the
hill (the only view east).  I did set up my briefcase ATV transmitter to
beam the activities in the Cabot tower (the SONRA Radio Clubs set up
inside the stone tower with heat and a view!) down to the visitors center.

Then I spent most of my time helping Graham VE6KJ set up a full oscar
class station and tower for the ARISS contact down at the visitors center
(but the site is blocked to the east by Signal Hill!).  The preamps in the
2m 100W Mirage amps at the base of the AZ/EL array were in regeneration
and had to be turned off.  WIthout them, our ability to hear via almost
100 foot of coax was limited.  THus I could not work PCsat or ISS, or any
UK stations on UO14 or AO27 from down there.

So we did go back up the hill to stand in the wind on top of the hill with
my handheld arrow in the -25 deg windchill and made a few brief contacts.
Here are the results of our efforts using their special event callsign

1) ARISS contact with 10 students successful
2) PCsat sound byte heralding event: http://www.qsl.net/kr1st/marconi.htm
3) Sapphire's voice: http://www.ne.jp/asahi/hamradio/je9pel/sapphire.htm
4) Demonstrated AO40 reception on suitcase 1m dish.
5) Individual contacts or stations heard:

   1210z AO27 Stations heard G1OCN,G6HRH,N1ZKB,W2KQ,VE9PLB
   1240z UO14 Stations heard VE9PLB,W2KQ,G1OCN,VY2JC
   1330z UO14 Stations heard K9UTQ,N3WPL,KC2FCB,N1ZKB,K1CRA,KB2UBO
   0024z ISS  Stations heard AA1VY-5,WB8KKZ,N2OEQ

I confess I am a lousy operator with calls and my lips dont work well in
the brutal  temps, but we think we got the calls right above.  If you want
a QSL card, go to the SONRA site via the links on the PCsat web page below.

By the way, Marconi was also doing quite a lash-up 100 years ago.  He only
arrived the week before on a freighter and had all of his stuff in a
wicker basket!  He lost kites too in the brutal winds.

In summary, everything was a success, though hard won.  The military even
claimed success at hearing the spark transmission, and SONRA received the
message from the Queen.  But Flying Air Canada left us stranded overnight
in Toronto (they wouldnt pay for lodging), arriving 12 hours late, and
after boarding the return flight from Toronto, they canceled the flight
completely and booked us standby on later flights adding another 8 hours
to the return flight.(and forcing us to go through customs TWICE in 2

preliminary summary of event:  http://www.ew.usna.edu/~bruninga/pcsat.html

P.S. They confiscated my duct-tape and electricians tape at security on
the way up, and  refused to let my hand-carry 12v 7a gel-cell through on
the return.

de WB4APR, Bob

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