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Re: first impression


I would like to add to your comments.  I have been a ham for 31 years, and a
DXer almost from the start.  CW has been my mode of choice, and I have never
run more than 100 watts (I get a lot of grief from the hard-core DXers for
not using QRO, but that is another story).  I have always wondered about
AMSAT, but never wanted to invest in the heavy duty equipment and antennas.
With the sunspot lulls and a new FT817 from my XUL last Christmas and no
progress in the sunspot department, I decided to see what all the excitement
was about.  Starting in April with 5 watts and a hand-held Arrow dual-band
yagi, I had a rejuvenated ham experience working satellites.  My hands shook
with excitement when I made my first QSO through AO-51.  The thrill was just
as great when I worked MODE A on AO-7 two weeks later.  The Doppler on CW
and SSB is an interesting challenge, but the satellite prediction programs
(thanks, Simon for HRD!) make it much easier.  Instead of firing up my rig
on HF first thing, I now check the satellite passes first to see what is
available!  My Arrow is mounted on a radio shack rotor in the attic at a
fixed elevation of 20 degrees, and I have heard every satellite that I am
listening for so far.  What a thrill!  I agree with you Jim, this puts even
more excitement into the hobby for me.  Although so far I have heard every
bird active, I have already re-worked a couple of hams in just the 30 QSO's
made so far.  I like how Patrick WD9EWK is actively evangelizing the
satellites, and others are doing the same.  I think it's time for a demo at
my local club meeting, and for groups beyond ham radio.  This is another
entry point for non-hams into our hobby.

73, look forward to hearing you on the "birds"

Mark Lunday

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