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New on AO-40

I'm new to AO-40 and find some of the conventions confusing. Any
(constructive) comments would be appreciated

I bought an AIDC 3733 "plug and play" system at Dayton, and finally got
around to bolting it together this weekend.  Seems to work great!  Sunday
evening the satellite comes up over the horizon and I pick up the beacon
almost at once...not so strong (at 58,000 km range!).  So, I sat around for
a couple hours and the satellite got up to about 20 degrees (range is "down
to" 55,000 km or so!).  Now the beacon is pretty clear, but no other signs
of life.  This was great fun , but I had hoped to hear a QSO or two.
Finally went to bed.

I've used Traksat for orbital information and it showed the satellite
position (az and el) just fine.  It has a column "Phz 256" which I'm
guessing is the same as Mean Anamoly.  This number ran between 135 (at 0120
UTC) and 180 (at at 0440) Sunday evening (Monday AM UTC).  According to the
9-20-2002 AMSAT bulletin the "U-rx" was off between MA 110 and 246 (right?).
If the "Urx" is "off" that means the satellite does not hear UHF, so
(almost) nobody would have been heard on the downlink.  That is why I heard
no QSO's (right?)

If my understanding is correct, Wed evening the satellite will get up to
20-30 degrees and my "PHZ 256" stays less than 110 until 0355, more or less.
In that case "Urx" is supposed to be "on" and that's when stations can use
the UHF/S-band transponder (right?)

So far, the hardest part about hearing this bird is decoding the bulletins,
and waiting 3 days for the bird to fly over with its transponder on!  Thanks
to Bob Seydler - K5GNA (and others) the dish, downconverter, feed etc. seems
to be rather straightforward.

Grant Zehr AA9LC

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