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First success on AO-40

This past sunday, I was successful in making my first three contacts on
AO-40 with a small portable setup.
I had completed the uplink antenna about 30 minutes before the net, and got
all setup right around the start of the net.

Tuned into the MB pretty easily, after a downlink-only experience the
previous sunday. I could not find myself, until I swapped the uplink antenna
from horizontal to vertical polarization (probably something to do with the
fact that it was mounted about 10 inched from the downlink grid dish). My
downlink signal was pretty weak, barely 1 s-point above my noise floor, but
it was quite a thrill to hear that for the first time!  I made CW contacts
with JS1XGS, JK1NYE and NN6T.

Very minimal setup consisted of a downlink with 2x3' grid dish with original
MMDS dipole feed, K5GNA downconvertor with 0.95 NF, into an old FT-290R (my
first radio ever). Uplink was an FT-100, about 20W on 435 into a homebrew 11
ele. WA5VJB beam (about a 5 ft piece of 1/2x3/4" wood with 10AGW wire for
elements), fed with 25ft of RG8X. Estimated uplink 200W linear. This all
mounted on an old tripod, with 1" pvc pipe and a hollowed out T with screws
as elevation control, using a small camping compass for both az. and ele

I was able to hear my own weak downlink until about MA104, at 9deg
elevation, with ao-40 at ~62k from my qth. Quite an impressive receiver on
that bird!

It was great fun, and I have lots of room for improvements!

Thanks to all on this list, it is a great resource...

Johan, WG7J
Glendale, AZ

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