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Re: FM satellites...

A very well thought out and presented case for FM sats but it will fall on 
deaf ears as far as the critics are concerned. It's easier to grouse about 
not having HEO's than to just try and make the best of the situation we 
have. I wasn't around for the previous generation of HEO's either and I 
dearly wish I had been or that we had some now but we don't so I just try 
and enjoy what's up there.
 Judging by some recent comments on this list, it doesn't look like we will 
be seeing P3E anytime soon so the HEO outlook doesn't look too bright right 
now. I had hoped it would be launched at the end of this year as had been 
previously speculated but it now appears that was an overly optomistic 
Michael, W4HIJ
----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Patrick STODDARD (WD9EWK/VA7EWK)" <amsat-bb@wd9ewk.net>
To: <amsat-bb@AMSAT.Org>
Sent: Thursday, May 22, 2008 2:07 PM
Subject: [amsat-bb] FM satellites...

> Hi!
> It is interesting to see all the messages and opinions on
> the "Organized Chaos" thread(s), and similar threads in the
> past, when it comes to the FM satellites.  Sad, also.
> FM satellites, whether you want to accept this fact or not,
> serve as the entry point for those interested in satellites
> but not interested in a large outlay of $$$ for a satellite
> station.  Many hams have the gear - a 2m/70cm FM dual-band
> transceiver, or separate 2m and 70cm FM transceivers - to
> give this a try.  Some try it, make a few contacts, and go
> away.  Others stick with it, never progressing beyond these
> satellites but enjoying hearing other people who come and go
> on these passes.  Some go on to assemble nice stations for
> use with all sorts of satellites (I want to do this, once my
> situation stabilizes in the next few months).  AO-51 provides
> opportunities to try something other than 2m and 70cm, a nice
> resource for those building stations for use with future
> satellites using 1.2 or 2.4 GHz or digital modes for example.
> AO-16 has been a nice challenge, with its 70cm DSB downlink -
> especially when using a portable station without the benefit of
> computer control.  Although I have been unsuccessful in my
> attempts to make QSOs via VO-52 with my portable gear, I have
> not given up on that satellite.
> Here in North America, there are some crowded passes that don't
> allow for much more than an exchange of call signs and grid
> locators - not unlike working a big DXpedition or contest station
> on HF.  Other passes have maybe a couple of other stations, and
> those are fun for having a little more of a chat to make use of
> the pass.  There are people who will work an HF contest for up to
> 48 hours, with very little communication going on there - an
> enjoyable activity to them.  Look at the results in CQ magazine
> for their big international contests, or the ARRL web site and
> QST for the ARRL contests, to see that.  Others like me enjoy
> getting on the satellites for 10 to 15 minutes at a time, working
> whoever happens to show up. For me, it has been much easier to
> make time for these passes than to work any significant portion
> of a weekend HF contest.
> I see in the QSL cards I receive lots of "thanks for my first
> satellite QSO" or "thanks for my first Arizona satellite QSO" or
> "thanks for a new grid (or new grids)".  My log has well over 600
> unique calls in the 3800+ satellite QSOs I have made in the past
> 2 1/2 years, from dozens of locations in 4 states and almost 20
> different grids.  Sure, there are some who show up regularly, and
> those stations have been very helpful to the new operators.  We
> need more of that.  I've also engaged in lots of e-mail exchanges
> with those just starting out, giving suggestions and advice for
> those wanting to get started or wanting to improve on their
> stations.
> As for those who insist that FM satellite operation is about equal
> to the same degree of difficulty to cell phone operation... I'd
> like to know what cell phone requires one to adjust the receive
> frequency to deal with Doppler when making or receiving calls,
> for example.  I don't remember seeing a VFO on my Nokia phone,
> either.  A computer-controlled station takes care of the
> frequencies and antennas, allowing the operator to just make
> contacts - but this is hardly an "apples to apples" comparison
> with using a cell phone.  If this was the case, that FM satellite
> operation was as difficult (easy) as cell-phone operation, why are
> demonstrations and presentations at hamfests and clubs popular
> events?  We can build large and complex stations that many people
> think of for satellite operation, but there is the other extreme
> (handheld radio with handheld Yagi or long telescoping whip, for
> example) - like those using a used 100W rig with a dipole on HF,
> compared to towers and big Yagis and new rigs with amplifiers.
> I have read about those who used to travel all over, putting many
> different grids on the air in the past.  There are some like N5AFV,
> W6GMT, and KD6PAG here in the US (among many others) who have done
> this for a long time and still enjoy doing that.  I've done a little
> bit of that in recent months, operating from 11 different Arizona
> grids since March.  There are a few Mexican hams who have been doing
> the same thing - XE2AT and XE1MEX have done this for a long time; in
> recent times add stations like XE2HWB, XE2JA, and XE2RV (among many
> others) who are doing the same thing in their areas.  All of this
> is happening on the FM satellites.  Why do we do this?  Because it
> is fun!
> Would I like to have a high-orbit satellite to use?  Sure!  I
> would enjoy the opportunity to travel and put grids on the air
> for those outside of North America to hear and work.  I would
> enjoy hearing other continents without dealing with propagation
> as on HF.  I was not around this part of the hobby for the days
> of AO-10, AO-13, and AO-40.  Like everyone else, I'm hoping to
> see P3E, Eagle, and the Intelsat-AMSAT venture (or anything else)
> put a high-orbit bird into operation.  Until then, I will use what
> we have now - the FM birds, work on my station for VO-52 and AO-7
> (I've heard myself in SSB through VO-52, but have to work better
> on hearing myself clearly on the downlink when transmitting when
> not using computer control), and have fun.
> 73!
> Patrick WD9EWK/VA7EWK
> http://www.wd9ewk.net/
> (going to DM44 and maybe the DM43/DM44 line northeast of Phoenix
> on 24-26 May, then I'm off to a hamfest DM34 in the morning followed
> by DM25/DM35 in the evening on 31 May - all on FM satellites, with
> maybe a try for VO-52 during the upcoming weekend for my first
> non-FM satellite QSO)

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