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Some bright spots for satellite ops.



Hello sat fans,
     Well, with all the long faces lately over the demise of some of our 
birds, and the holiday of UO-14 (hopefully), I thought I'd post some positive 
activity of late. As I write this, I have one eye on the History Channel, playing 
"Failure is not an option". It may have inspired me, hi. 
     As a rabid fan of UO-14, easily the most popular bird, I listened with a 
heavy heart as the bird fell silent for a second time in as many weeks. It 
will certainly slow down the grid chase for a while. However, lots of good 
operating is still available. Remember, as a rule, satellite operating is a 
challenge, and it has a special flavor that lures us away from the chit chat on the 
local 2 meter repeater with our HTs (no offense intended). In the temporary 
absense of OSCAR 14, I have noticed more activity on other birds, as one would 
expect. Where mode B and A passes of AO-7 would go by with empty passbands, now 
there is almost always activity. I made mode B contacts with WA0D, and a brief 
end of pass CW QSO with VA7MM this evening on "7". There is more activity on 
FO-29 as well. I had a nice QSO with Doug, N8XQM recently, a rarity as we 
usually only catch each other on UO-14 for a hello - goodbye. 
     SO-50 has been more active, being similar in operation to UO-14. I have 
found and QSO'd with many ops that I regulary talk with on 14. Its more of a 
challenge to work, with lower power and QSB from time to time, but it works! 
Just remember to turn on the 67 Hz tone on the uplink, and allow a delay for the 
TX to come up.
     I've been on AO-40 for coming up on a year, and I note more and more new 
stations coming on the bird every week. As equipment and construction 
techniques become more common and widespread, more folks are taking that next step. 
Portable homebrewed AO-40 stations are affordable, effective, and very 
practical. For some ops its a neccessity.
    The month of July was a bonanza for DX hunters on 40, as I reported a 
while back. Although the rate of DXpeditions in July was exceptional, more  
expeditions are planning to take AO-40 equipment along. There has been a good group 
of U.S. ops that have been up in the wee hours of the morning trolling for DX 
on 40 for several weeks now. I call them the "Early Birdmen", hi, and we hang 
in there as long as we can, til the sandman comes calling, hi. The Europeans 
are eager to work U.S. ops and are sometimes surprised we are up at such 
hours! This early A.M., I worked EA4CYQ, DC3ZB, DK1KQ, OE9MDV, SP5AGT on CW for a 
new DXCC country, IK4MED, and G3IRQ. All interesting QSOs. Jerry, K5OE held a 
nice Beacon + 20 net this week with 18 or so checkins. If your not up for early 
birding, the western passes over N.America have produced some nice DX as well 
with the recent Bali QSO party attracting lots of ops.There are many more 
DXpeds coming too!
     AMSAT India is evidently go for a launch of VUSAT this fall, with mode b 
transponders aboard. Project ECHO is hopefully on track for an early spring 
launch, and AMSAT DL has a HEO bird coming along therafter. So there is much to 
look forward to. This is a good time to hone our skills and make use of some 
often overlooked resources that we DO have. Maybe its a good time for you to 
refurbish those antennas, or fix that rotator controller before winter.
     So chin up, hang in there, and keep making chatter and beeps on the 
birds!
Hope to hear you on soon,
73 de Shawn, N1HOQ
AMSAT # 33948
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