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Successful demo @ 0334-0348 UTC via AO-51, 16 March!



Hi!

My presentation and demonstration for the ThunderBird Amateur
Radio Club (W7TBC) last night was a success.  This was the radio
club that allowed me to use their special callsign W7W during
their hamfest in January, and the club invited me to do a
presentation and demonstration at this month's meeting.  It was
a good presentation with various questions, then the AO-51
demonstration during the pass at 0334-0348 UTC, followed by more
questions after the pass.

In my presentation, I had put in a mention that the club members
could attempt to listen to the AO-51 pass while I was doing the
demonstration.  Several did exactly that.  A few with HTs and
long antennas (duckies or telescoping whips), along with one
member who went to his car and used his mobile station, were able
to follow along with their own radios.  Other than having an
extended question-and-answer session after the pass, I finished my
presentation in time to go outside.  Several members helped me take
my equipment outside and set it up.

For the demonstration, I used an Icom IC-2720H mobile radio at 15W
(two contacts toward the end of the pass were made at 5W, to show
that lower power could work) into an Arrow Antennas handheld 2m/70cm
Yagi.  Power was from a 12V/20Ah gel-cell battery, and the radio
is OK with the battery (4.5A draw when transmitting at 15W on 2m,
and about 2.5A draw for 5W TX on 2m).  I had a small folding table I
put the radio on, and connected three items to one of the IC-2720H's
speaker jacks (external speaker for the crowd to listen on, an earphone
for me to hear with, and my small Sony digital audio recorder).  My
location, on the campus of the Thunderbird School of Global Management
in Glendale (west-side suburb of Phoenix), was in grid DM33vo.

Within a couple of minutes, Don KD6IRE in northern California was calling
me and was the first contact I made with my audience watching and
listening.  Then Manuel XE2BHL called from Tijuana, followed by my only
contact from eastern North America - George WA5KBH in Louisiana.  I
proceeded to make 6 more contacts after that with stations in California,
Washington state, Alberta, British Columbia, and - at the end of the
pass - Craig KL4E from Alaska showed up for the 9th and final contact of
my demonstration.

The club members were impressed with the fact they could hear the
satellite with their own equipment.  It was a high pass (67 degrees
maximum elevation for us), which helped with that, but still an
impressive sight.  They were also impressed with how well the satellite
sounded as it was going out of range at the end of the pass.

Along with the contacts, we heard two other stations that I was not
able to make contact with - N6ADR in California, WA7SDI in Oregon.
I tried not to monopolize the pass, especially with George WA5KBH
trying to work some of the western stations on this late (for him)
pass.

Lots of people need to be thanked for the successes last night.  First,
Gould WA4SXM - one of the AO-51 command stations - for ensuring the
satellite would be in the normal FM repeater configuration last night.
The ThunderBird Amateur Radio Club, for inviting me to do this - in
particular Bob K7UNL (president) and Roger W9NCQ (treasurer - he
invited me to do this event), plus the other members whose names
escape me that helped me haul stuff to and from my car for the demo.
And the 9 stations in the USA, Canada, and Mexico who made contacts
with me (Don KD6IRE, John KD6PAG, James KE7KQA, Craig KL4E, Ron
VE6RVT, John VE7CBZ, George WA5KBH, Bob WA7HYD, and Manuel
XE2BHL).  Being able to make contacts with stations spread out in western
North America - plus WA5KBH in Louisiana - helped show that the
satellite's footprint covers a large area.

If anyone wishes to see the slideshow I presented before the on-air
demonstration, along with copies of flyers I have distributed at the
meeting last night plus the recent Phoenix-area hamfests, I have all
of them on my web page in PDF format.  Follow the link on the home
page, and get them there.  My web pages are on free web space at
Geocities, so there are bandwidth limits enforced.  If anyone has
problems in downloading those files, please e-mail me directly and I
will send them to you.  I can also provide an MP3 with the audio from
this pass, for anyone that is interested in hearing what we heard last
night (MP3 won't be posted on a web page, but available via e-mail).

Thanks again, and 73!



Patrick WD9EWK/VA7EWK - Phoenix, Arizona USA
http://www.wd9ewk.net/
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