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WD9EWK @ Tucson AZ hamfest (18 October) - report


I was at the Old Pueblo Radio Club hamfest in Tucson AZ on 
Saturday, 18 October 2008.  It was a good event, with nice 
weather that morning.  The hamfest was in the parking lot at 
Tucson's Kino Sports Complex (grid DM42me):


I had an AMSAT table at the event, with the help of Larry Brown 
W7LB.  Along with the AMSAT table, I had demonstrations using 3 
satellites - AO-51 (2 passes), SO-50 (1 pass), and VO-52 (2 passes).
We also copied the SSTV transmissions from the International Space 
Station during 2 passes, hoping that we might hear voices on the 
145.800 MHz downlink.  The demonstrations were well attended. 

Since AO-51 was set up in the "JOTA" mode (uplink on 145.880 MHz FM,
downlink on 435.300 MHz FM +/- for Doppler) for the weekend, I wanted
to work any Scout groups that might be on the passes.  If a Scout was
available at the hamfest, I wanted to put the Scout on the radio to 
work either other Scouts or anyone else who might be on those passes.
I did not have any Scouts around for the first AO-51 pass I heard at
1336 UTC.  I - and a few others - worked KT4BSA in North Carolina on 
this pass.  For the second AO-51 pass at 1511 UTC, I was able to put
a Boy Scout on the mic.  

Jim Fagan KE7IDC, a Tucson ham and Boy Scout, made his first 
satellite contacts using my portable FM satellite station (IC-2720H 
at 15W, Arrow Antennas handheld 2m/70cm Yagi) at the hamfest.  I held
the Yagi and took care of adjusting the 70cm VFO to deal with Doppler,
and Jim did the rest.  He made a total of 7 contacts in the span of 5 
minutes - two Canadians, one Mexican, and 4 US stations.  Jim had fun, 
and I had fun helping him make those contacts.  Last night, I sent 
Jim and his father an MP3 with that audio and Jim's 7 contacts.  

Besides the AO-51 passes, I was able to do my first demonstrations at 
a hamfest via VO-52.  Using my two FT-817NDs and my handheld Yagi, I 
was able to make a few QSOs on the two passes I had.  I tried to work
FO-29, but had a lot of difficulty hearing its 70cm downlink over the 
intermod from military UHF radio systems at Davis-Monthan AFB a few 
miles/km east of the hamfest site.  I apologize to those who were 
hoping to hear me on FO-29 Saturday morning, as I was not able to 
overcome that noise.  

I was able to work one SO-50 pass along with the others I've already 
mentioned, ending up with 20 QSOs for WD9EWK (plus 7 for KE7IDC) at the 
hamfest.  Not a bad morning. 

After the hamfest, I drove to a spot south of Tucson straddling a
grid boundary (grids DM41mx and DM42ma):


This location is approximately 15 miles/25km south of downtown Tucson
along the I-19 freeway.  A casino, Indian reservation, copper mine,
and an ICBM missile silo-turned-museum are all nearby.  The Mexican 
border is only 50 miles/80km south of this spot.  I wanted to work 
AO-16 from somewhere in southern Arizona, and possibly an AO-51 pass, 
before returning home.  I was able to make 18 contacts from here - 14 
via AO-16, 4 via AO-51 (including a Scout group in Texas using the 
special call W5S). 

Thanks to all who made contacts with me (and KE7IDC) at the hamfest,
and to those who worked me from DM41/DM42 later in the day.  QSLs
for those who worked WD9EWK at the hamfest went in the mail this
morning.  I'm not the QSL manager for KE7IDC; his address on sites
like QRZ.com is correct.  Jim would appreciate receiving QSLs from
the stations he worked. 


Patrick WD9EWK/VA7EWK 

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