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Re: Mobile/Portable Satellite Operations



Congrats to you who work mobile, and if you can do it
with these newest FM birds, you are to be commended on
having a good receiver (or good ears!). 

I was fortunate enough to have a job where I travelled a lot. 
I was also fortunate enough to have bosses who didn't mind
me having a mobile rig in every company car I drove during
those years, plus having one in my own car.  If you've 
never operated mobile, you'd be surprised what you can work
with relatively low power and a small antenna a few feet off 
the ground.  DXCC, WAS, WAC, etc. are not all that hard on 
HF, the higher bands being the best.

I started doing satellite mobile about the time RS-10/11 came along.
Don't know why I never tried it sooner.  I had an  IC-230 (remember
those?  10 watts  on 2 meter FM).  I keyed it through the test/accessory
socket on the side.   Received with a Yaesu  FT-301  and Hustler antenna
on 10 meters.   It was tough going, weak signal on the downlink, lots of
ignition noise, etc.  But it was do-able, and I made a lot of QSO's. Not
thousands, but still pretty fair success.   For those of you who aren't
familiar, that was
on Mode "A"  (2 meters up, 10 meters down)  CW only with no VFO, just
stayed on one frequency around the middle of the passband and called CQ 
until somebody answered. 

When AO-27 and UO-14 came along,   I tried some portable work with a 
dual-band  FM mobile (Heathkit  HW24 which I still use).  This worked out

about the same as working from home.   So I tried a strictly mobile
setup, 
same rig with  quarter-wave whips for antennas and an ARR preamp. 
This worked out real well and I did actually make THOUSANDS of QSO's 
with this setup.  Also tried various receiving antennas and the quarter
wave worked
as well as any of the more expensive gain antennas.     I'm not talking
about holding
a beam out the window, I'm talking about "regular" mobile antennas
attached to the
top of the car.  And on a few occasions I operated "AMTRAK mobile" with
my
HT and rubber duck inside the train, near the window.    This netted
probably less
than 100 QSO's, but I was able to give out a lot of
grids/states/counties.  I'd never 
be able to do this on the newer birds. 

Unfortunately when the "newer" birds came along, things did not get
better they got 
worse due to the weak downlink signals.  Working mobile on AO-51 and
SO-50 
is not so easy.  So don't be disappointed if you're not hearing too well
on your small
antennas.  That's just the way it is these days.   I have to pull over to
the side, pay
close attention and sometimes do the "beam out the window" thing.  Not
good!
Better than nothing, yes.  In my opinion this is one of the reasons there
is not as much
activity as there used to be.   There were many mobile and portable
operations  in 
the past and it was fun to follow stations along when they were on a trip
and passing
through new states/counties/grids, etc.  And they were able to work lots
of stations 
because they were able to HEAR the birds. 

Hope I didn't put everybody to sleep! 

Good luck and good mobiling ! 

73,
John,  K6YK
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