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Re: 2005 Field Day Fun on the Satellites ( l o n g )

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "John P. Toscano" <tosca005@tc.umn.edu>
To: <amsat-bb@amsat.org>
Sent: Wednesday, June 29, 2005 11:40 PM
Subject: [amsat-bb] 2005 Field Day Fun on the Satellites ( l o n g )

(much snippage...)

> More planning:  satellite passes.  In the past, I had used either Predict 
> or STS-Plus for real-time tracking on my old Pentium laptop running 
> Windows 95.  That laptop is history, my current laptop is a Pentium III 
> running Windows 2000, and I could not get either program to run on it! 
> Ouch.  Though I haven't given up on them yet, I didn't have time to figure 
> out the solution to the problems by Field Day.

There are instructions on Dave Ransom's STS-Plus page for setting it up to 
run under Win 2K.  See www.dransom.com/stsplus.html & scroll down, or 
download from ftp.dransom.com/stsplus/stswin2k.zip .  There are also a 
number of free or shareware programs for download from the AMSAT web site 
which will work under Win 2K, and Erich Eichmann (DK1TB) has made a demo 
version of his wonderful SatPC32 program available which is only very 
slightly "crippled" compared to the registered version.

> So how did we do?
> I was modestly successful on AO-7, but there were a number of Mode A 
> passes, and I had no 10M antenna to work those with.  I seemed to struggle 
> a bit to match my uplink and downlink frequencies, but there were usually 
> plenty of stations that I could hear clearly in the passband on the Mode B 
> passes.

For several Field Days now, I have used a simple 10M dipole made from 1/2" 
copper water pipe screwed to a chunk of 2x4 with a couple of U-bolts to 
clamp it to a 1-1/2" mast, with great success.  Knocks down to 
next-to-nothing for transport.  Had a matching one for 15M before RS-12/13 
went silent....

> I was not at all successful on FO-29.  This was a bit of a surprise to me, 
> since I have worked it quite a few times from home, with the same radio, 
> plus preamps and power amps as needed, plus un-butchered antennas that do 
> not elevate.  Passband activity seemed light, signals to me were weak, and 
> I never managed to hear my own echoes during any of the passes.  It does 
> seem to be true that mode V/U is harder to operate than mode U/V, at least 
> with my limited experience.

Hmmmm... I had success on all 6 phone birds.  Got AO-27 first, then I forget 
what order the rest came in.  My final count was 14 Q's, most on AO-7, 
FO-29, and VO-52.  Spent a while talking to myself on one mode-A pass of 
AO-7 before someone else showed up and answered me.  V/S on AO-51 was neat. 
Great signals, although very congested, and there were some very rude 
operators who couldn't seem to let any 2 stations complete an exchange 
without throwing their calls and reports over top of them...  Heard the ISS 
on voice on 2 passes, but no luck.  Audio on downlink was very low, and 
packet bursts kept covering his voice...  I suspect that he did not 
disconnect the TNC.

I really would like to see the ARRL adopt AMSAT's one-QSO-per-FM-satellite 
rule, but so far they have refused.  Maybe the control teams need to present 
a unified front to the League, and then they'll finally get it.............

George, KA3HSW
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