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Re: FD AO-40: You sounded like a newbie if...


I guess we were all guilty as charged, with one sin or

One way I found to not "swish the dots", was to turn off
tracking, key a CW tone on and off (manually -- not dots)
and tune the receiver around until I found my tone. Dots
tended to mess up our AGC making it more difficult to hear
the comeback signal, so we turned the processor off and just
keyed a tone for a second or two. Yes, we ran the risk of
keying up on top of someone, so I usually moved well up the
band to do this.

Once the signal was found, I enabled reverse tracking (we
used an FT-847) and went hunting for signals. Just before
calling someone, I did a quick whistle into the mic and
listened for the pitch of the return signal. By tweaking the
Tx offset knob I could get the whistle and return signal to

Once you have this condition, you can manually do your own
FDT by turning the Tx offset knob 10 Hz at a time every 20
seconds or so, to keep the signal pitch constant. it seemed
to work quite well for us.

We would have had computer control but I ran into a
compatibility problem with my Unitrac box. I couldn't get
the older version of the program to accept an AO-40.SAT
file, and the newer program version wouldn't work with my
older hardware. So we were destined to do things manually.
To help with finding the downlink, I used a slide rule chart
I made up last year. It's easier to print out on a normal
printer. It has the Uplink frequencies down the sides, and
the downlink frequencies on a middle slider. By ofsetting
the slider by the amount of doppler, the downlink can be
determined quite accurately, so we didn't have to look far
for our signal.

As for choppy speech -- yep, it is distracting, especially
when working CW. At first, our CW was so bad it was comical.
I ended up turning the audio gain all the way down while the
other op was sending CW, then I turned it up again to listen
for the exchange.

I heard Leila come on a couple of times while I was just
listening. I haven't figured out what triggered it.

Anyway, as you said, we only learn from our mistakes. Next
year, I'm sure we'll make different ones.

I think we worked you from W3AO. Tnx for the contact and
hope you had as much fun as we did.

Art, N3OY

Bill Acito wrote:
> While the mojo around AO-7 permeates the list, I'd like to explore the
> references to "all the newbies" on AO-40 this past weekend, I'd personally
> like to get some feedback...  I don't have a mentor/elmer who has been
> assisting me with this endeavor, so I rely on this list for that feedback.
> Please, let's be clear... I am not taking offense to the comments. I made
> lots of mistakes, definitely. I'd just like to hear what the experienced
> operators heard (how else can we avoid making them again)...  there is no
> way to be "experienced" without mistakes... I heard lots too, especially
> since I ran 6 and 2m up until the time of the AO-40 window.
> I'll even start the list, with some of my known mistakes:
> 1. swishing the dots... without full computer control, I don't think there
> is any way to avoid this. I will say I had the circular freq guide in front
> of me, and my swishing went no wider than 5Khz in most cases. _Is_there any
> way to avoid this under manual control?
> 2. Wrong side band. Yep. Did this once. A lot of this had to do
> unfamiliarity with the new rig. Kind of thing you do once, and never do
> again.
> 3. Choppy              speech            patterns.
> Waiting              to hear                  your own       echo
> when        you       are speaking.
> I learned that once I was confident that I was on the correct freq, I could
> turn down the volume on my down link when I was talking, and speak
> naturally.
> 4. Leila. I tripped it a couple of times. What determines how long Leila
> sounds? I also heard it a few times with no signals in the area? How come?
> carrier? swisher?
> Others?
> Bill
> W1PA
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