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WD9EWK from DM32/DM42 via AO-51, 16 January



Hi!

For this evening, I was originally planning a quick drive south of Phoenix to
a location on the DM42/DM43 boundary for the 0235-0250 UTC AO-51 pass:

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&time=&date=&ttype=&q=33+n+111+44.267+w&ie=UTF8&t=h&om=0&ll=33.325939,-112.000122&spn=1.025813,1.928101&z=9&iwloc=addr

I did this once recently, and knew there might be some interest in DM42.  This
pass was going to be a very nice pass for Arizona, where the satellite would
have a maximum elevation of 89 degrees for that location on the DM42/DM43
boundary.  Once I made it to that spot and saw I had a lot of time to spare, I
quickly looked at my GPS receiver's map and decided to go to a different
location for the pass.  I ended up going a bit to the west, and parked on the
DM32/DM42 boundary:

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&time=&date=&ttype=&q=32+52.758+n+112+w&ie=UTF8&ll=33.316758,-111.950684&spn=1.092493,1.93634&t=h&z=9&om=0

This location is along Arizona route 84 west of Stanfield AZ in Pinal County,
between Phoenix and Tucson near two freeways (west of I-10, north of I-8).
Specifically, in grids DM32xv and DM42av, or 32.8793 N 112.0 W per my GPS
receiver.

Once I got to the spot and assembled my portable station, (IC-2720H and Arrow
Antennas handheld Yagi - the same setup I just used on 12 January for a
hamfest demonstration), I waited for the satellite to appear.  I could hear it
within 30 seconds, and it was strong!  One problem appeared quickly... I could
not hear myself through the satellite.  After a couple of minutes of trying
unsuccessfully, I changed radios.  I went to my trusty IC-W32A handheld, and
tried again.  Still, nothing!  I could not hear myself, and nobody else could
hear me.  At this point, 6 minutes into the 15-minute pass, I am getting
frustrated in the middle of the desert.  I make another change, to a Maldol
AH-510R telescoping whip on the IC-W32A.  I could hear the satellite just
fine, as at this point it is almost directly overhead at the middle of the
pass... and I was finally heard through the satellite!

>From this point on, I was able to make 11 quick contacts in the next 8
minutes.  I worked a couple of Mexican stations, one guy who saw my hamfest
demo last weekend (he was in Tempe AZ, about 45 miles north of my location),
and others sprinkled across the USA.  It was really nice to hear AO-51 on
after its recent problem, and it was very strong!

I still need to take a close look at my Yagi.  I am hoping the problems with
the VHF elements are only related to improper assembly in the dark.  I tested
the IC-2720H on local 2m repeaters around Phoenix on my return to the city,
and it worked fine.  I had my Elk Antennas 2m/70cm log periodic in the back
of my car, but to assemble that during a pass already in progress would have
killed the remaining time I had.  At least I was able to get on the air and
operate from the 7th different Arizona grid via satellite since I caught this
"bug" in late 2005 (DM32, DM33, DM34, DM42, DM43, DM44, DM45).

73!




Patrick WD9EWK/VA7EWK - back home in Phoenix AZ
http://www.wd9ewk.net/
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