[amsat-bb] Tri-City ARA presentation/demos, last night

Patrick STODDARD (WD9EWK/VA7EWK) amsat-bb at wd9ewk.net
Tue Nov 17 17:29:52 UTC 2015


I spent last night with the Tri-City Amateur Radio Association in Goodyear,
a west-side suburb of Phoenix. The club invited me to give a presentation
on satellites and AMSAT, and I was also able to demonstrate a couple of our
satellites launched recently (LilacSat-2, AO-85) before and into the
official start of the meeting. Even with a gotcha related to the
presentation, it was a good evening. Being able to have demonstrations on
two FM satellites, and neither of them being SO-50, was something very
different - and fun!

I made it out to the meeting site, which was about an hour's drive from my
house on the east side of metro Phoenix, with time to spare. I took my time
setting up my gear for the two demonstration passes. As I was setting up,
several club members watched me and asked questions about my equipment.
Many had their HTs, and I kept reminding them to be ready to listen to the
AO-85 pass around 7pm (0200 UTC), as they might be able to hear that
downlink without having to use a larger antenna. I used only my IC-2820H
dual-band mobile radio to work LilacSat-2 at 5W, then added my SDRplay SDR
receiver with my 8-inch Windows 10 tablet for the AO-85 pass.

LilacSat-2 came by around 6.20pm (0120 UTC), and there were only three of
us on that pass. Thanks to Glenn AA5PK in west Texas and Fernando NP4JV in
southern Arizona for the contacts during that pass. After LilacSat-2 went
behind trees and buildings to my north, I rewired my setup so the SDRplay
was connected through a diplexer to my Elk antenna, and connected my
external speaker to the tablet through an audio splitter.

Since the AO-85 pass was coming by at the normal 7pm start time of the
club's monthly meeting, it was decided that the demonstration would serve
as the start of the meeting. "Problem" solved. :-) This pass went almost
directly overhead, and we were hearing activity as soon as the satellite
came up above the trees and buildings northwest of the meeting site. I
also found that my Windows tablet doesn't have enough audio to drive an
external speaker, earbuds I could use to hear the downlink, and my Sony
audio recorder, so I unplugged the audio splitter and relied on the small
speakers in the tablet. I worked a few stations during the pass, and
copied a total of 15 data frames that have been uploaded to the AMSAT
server. I will update my logbook and upload contacts from these two passes
to Logbook of the World tonight. The RF recording from this pass, along
with some photos, have been uploaded to the "20151117-AO85_Fox1A" folder
in my Dropbox space: http://dropbox.wd9ewk.net/

During the AO-85 pass, several club members mentioned they could hear the
145.980 MHz FM downlink. A couple had HTs with long duckie antennas, and
a couple had the stock duckies for their HTs. These might not have worked
for making contacts during the pass, but being able to hear the downlink
without using a larger antenna impressed everyone. The crowd was also
impressed with the activity on the pass, and seeing how my SDR receive
setup copied the downlink.

After AO-85 went by, I packed up my gear as the club went inside the
building to have their monthly business meeting. When I went inside, the
business meeting had just concluded, and they were ready for my
presentation. One slight problem... the projector in the meeting room had
a DisplayPort cable on it, and nobody had a computer that could use that
video connector, or an adapter to allow that to work with other video
outputs like HDMI or VGA. Working around that, I gave my presentation, and
then e-mailed the PDF version of the slideshow to the club for
distribution to its members.

Thanks to the Bob Nobis N7RJN and the Tri-City Amateur Radio Association
for the invitation to speak at their meeting last night, along with giving
the demonstrations on LilacSat-2 and AO-85. Of course, thanks to the
stations on those two passes for calling WD9EWK and being part of the


Twitter: @WD9EWK

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