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Sounds like Echo is a success.

Reply to Greg -- KE7AHY

Hi Greg, 

Chuck, KE6OAG here. Welcome to Amateur Radio!

I read your post on the AMSAT bulletin board today, regarding AO-51.  Your
comments included...

I've tried to get on the last 6 passes now, to no avail. For satellites, I
think I'm just going to bow out before I start. I'm really not into 24
element yagis with 1500 watts of power to listen to my own voice for 7
minutes. Every pass is the same thing, same big guns listening to their own
voices. As a new person to satellite, it just seems like too much money to
spend to get what you can get with a 25 dollar CB. :-( 

Are you aware of the linear transponder (CW and SSB) satellites? FO-29 and
AO-7 are operational ...and these birds are nothing like the FM birds. You
have longer pass times, you're not restricted to a one channel in / one
channel out FM repeater type operation, you don't have tons of people keying
up at once on the same frequency -- and these birds can even support more
than one QSO in different portions of the pass-band at the same time. 
On these birds, you can have nice, 20 minute, armchair ragchews. Sometimes
it's just you and one other person, sometimes you can develop (or join) a
nice sized group (3 - 5 operators). There have been a few times in the past
year when I've been part of a pass with as many as 9 operators that came on
board and left during the pass. But Greg, sometimes you have the birds to
yourself! (Many of us have experienced calling CQ for an entire pass on
FO-29 and AO-7 -- without any replies). I believe you'll find the people
there are generally more experienced ...and a lot less frustrated! :-)
My point, if you don't like the pile-up, "big guns rule all", grid-chasing,
massive noise-fests that you can experience on the FM birds, don't give up
on satellite operations, just move up to linear transponder satellites! I've
been a ham 10 years and really enjoy the hobby, but working the satellites
(even the FM birds -- when they're not jam-packed) have been my favorite
aspect of ham radio. So, don't give up on satellites before you even start
-- and most importantly -- have fun with your new hobby.  
Take care and 73!
Chuck -- KE6OAG -- in Patterson, California.
BTW: SO-51 is seldom (never) as crowded as AO-51 has been, so you might want
to give SO-50 a try before hanging up your HT and your Arrow! Note, I've
easily made more than 500 contacts on SO-50, with 1.5 watts on an HT with an
Arrow antenna -- from my front yard! Sometimes I've even worked SO-50 while
"on the road" with just an HT and an omni directional HT mounted telescopic
whip antenna. Greg, SO-50 seldom has more than "a handful" of operators on
each pass.  You may want to give it a try -- I just hate seeing a new ham
walking away from an aspect of the hobby they were truly interested in,
before getting a chance to try it out.  
Good luck!  
Sent via amsat-bb@amsat.org. Opinions expressed are those of the author.
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