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Field Day on AO-40


Just thought I would share our Field Day experience:

I set up a basic mode U/S AO-40 satellite station as part of
the North Shore Radio Association field day activities, NS1RA.
None of the other club members had worked AO-40 before.

For receiving, we used a cardboard-box and aluminum foil horn
with an AIDC down converter. My 8 year old daughter painted the
box red, white, and blue and added the club's logo. It attracted
a lot of attention, and it worked very well.

My cardboard box corner-reflector that I planned on using
wouldn't fit in the car so we field-day-tested a new experimental
antenna I've been working on. It is a little panel reflector,
only 2 foot x 2 foot and less than 6 inches high for 435 MHz.
It provides a RHCP and around 10 dB gain.

The antennas were pointed using a compass and a protractor.

We used a "barefoot" FT-847 controlled by an old 166MHz  laptop
running InstantTrack and InstantTune (to eliminate "ditting.")
In spite of running relatively low-power (for Field Day,) we
had no problem hearing our own downlink even as the squint got
to be > 20 degrees near the end on Sunday.

After I made a few contacts to verify the station was working,
I handed over the station to anyone who wanted to try working the
satellite. We probably only made a couple dozen contacts (like
one per operator) but lots of club members got a chance to try
AO-40 for the first time. The response was overwhelmingly positive
with the station getting lots of attention and interest. Several
of the new operators expressed amazement at how how much clearer
and easier the satellite was to hear versus the HF stations they
were also operating this weekend. Several ops expressed interest
in setting up their own AO-40 stations. With a little luck, we
will have a few more AMSAT members.

Thank you to everyone who worked us and for being patient with
our inexperienced ops.

Tony AA2TX

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