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W7W via satellite, "Westfest" hamfest in Glendale AZ,13 January 2007



After my first time working at an AMSAT hamfest table last month, I was
looking forward to this hamfest on the west side of the Phoenix area.  Gerry
VE4GTB/KD7MDB and I took care of the table, and we answered lots of questions
and had 4 passes (2 on SO-50, 2 on AO-51) for demonstrations that attracted
the interest of the hamfest crowd.  We had a good time despite the bitter
cold and small turnout, and also sold a fair amount of AMSAT items to hams
looking to try the satellites themselves.

The hamfest organizers, the Thunderbird Amateur Radio Club (W7TBC):

http://www.w7tbc.org/

had requested the special callsign W7W for use by their HF special-event
station.  Gerry had asked them if we could also use the W7W call during our
satellite demonstrations, and we were told, "Sure."  I posted an announcement
on the AMSAT-BB mailing list and on a few other lists of the upcoming
satellite activity, and we were ready to go.

Saturday morning started early... I arrived at the hamfest site at 0530 local
(1230 UTC), and Gerry was already there.  We were told by the organizers to
set up next to their HF station, and one of the Thunderbird club members made
sure we had a covered spot in case of rain.  We set up our tables with the
AMSAT merchandise and my equipment (IC-2720H mobile radio, 12V/20Ah gel-cell
batteries, Arrow Antennas handheld Yagi, Sony digital voice recorder,
external speaker, laptop with Nova running during the demonstrations to show
where the satellites were).  Our first pass was on SO-50 at 1317 UTC, and we
were ready for that.

The first SO-50 pass went from south to east, and since it was an early pass
we were not sure there would be many stations showing up.  We made 2 contacts
during the pass, with Angelo N5UXT as our first satellite contact as W7W
(thanks for being up early, Angelo!).  One other contact before the end of
the pass with a VE3, and then back to answering questions until 1500-1520 UTC
and an SO-50 pass followed immediately by an AO-51 pass.

The SO-50 pass around 1500 UTC went to the west, and being early for those in
western North America I did not expect much activity.  We were happy to make
3 contacts, two Mexican stations plus Zach KM7I in Seattle before we moved
over to AO-51.  We heard the announcements from Gould WA4SXM that there was
testing in progress, so we kept listening and hoping the satellite would be
available for part of the pass since it would cover most of North America.
The testing ended, leaving a couple of minutes to make 2 quick contacts
before the satellite went out of range.

The final AO-51 pass, around 1647-1702 UTC, started out with a surprise.  The
crowd and I heard a couple of hams chatting on 435.310 MHz, which was where
I ready to hear AO-51 at the start of the pass.  I quickly went onto that
frequency and asked those hams to move to another frequency, which they did,
and then we made 10 contacts with stations in the western USA, Alaska, and
Mexico to conclude our satellite demonstrations.  Larry WA6DIR in California
was the last station in the W7W satellite log.

At the end of the morning, we had a total of 17 contacts in our satellite
log.  We made 12 contacts on AO-51 and 5 on SO-50 with stations in 8 US
states (Alaska, Arizona, California, Louisiana, Montana, Ohio, Oregon, and
Washington state), one Canadian province (Ontario), and two Mexican states
(Baja California and Zacatecas).  The hamfest organizers now have a copy of
the satellite log, to combine with their HF log for their records and to be
able to answer any QSL requests from the satellite demonstrations.

Gerry and I will have the AMSAT table at the next Phoenix-area hamfest, the
Scottsdale Amateur Radio Club's "Springfest" on 10 March.  I will come back
to the Thunderbird Amateur Radio Club for their meeting on 15 March, to do a
presentation on amateur satellites and AMSAT.  Thanks to everyone who stopped
by our table, and for those we made contact with on the satellites.

73!



Patrick WD9EWK/VA7EWK
http://www.wd9ewk.net/
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