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Re: Upcoming Scotland/Shetlands trip



John,

Sure, I'll "shoot the Atlantic" with you. I'm assuming you'll bring 
equipment to work the FM LEO(s). If so, I've worked several stations in 
various parts of England and one in Madrid, Spain on AO-51. AO-51 would 
be my FM LEO of choice for this.

I live near Binghamton, NY where I have a hillside location about 500 
yards up behind my house with an excellent view. From this spot I can 
work AO-51, and other FM LEO(s), down to 1 degree above the 
northeastern horizon. In fact, anyone who can get to the seashore in 
the eastern U.S., from New Jersey to Maine, should be able to do this. 
Canada's Atlantic provinces and Newfoundland are even better. All you 
need is a clear shot across the Atlantic Ocean to the northeast to 
access AO-51 while its also in view of the extreme western edge of 
Europe.

To connect Europe to North America on AO-51 will, of course, require an 
AO-51 pass down the center of the Atlantic. This means you'll be 
working a pass with a maximum elevation of 1 or 2 degrees, as will I. 
My experience has been that such a pass will give us a 30 to 60 second 
time window during which we can exchange call signs. So when the time 
comes, you'll need to call me often for several minutes to hit the time 
window just right. I'll do the same. Perhaps if pass conditions are 
perfect, we may get a couple of minutes.

In addition, in light of the comments above, I recommend you try this 
from the west coast of Scotland with a solid view across the Atlantic 
to the southwest. Be advised, the west coast of Scotland can be 
extremely windy, so come prepared.

Also, I know you be operate QRP. But bring as much transmit power as 
you can. With a pass down the center of the Atlantic, AO-51 will be 
approximately 2000 miles away from both of us. My experience is that 5 
watts to AO-51 at this distance is "iffy". I'll be running 50 watts, so 
I'm pretty sure you'll hear me as others have before.

Since I'll have to drag my portable station into position, we'll have 
to pick out an AO-51 pass and set up a schedule, or two (back-up), 
off-line. Good Luck!

-Richard, N2SPI


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