[amsat-bb] My Rookie Expedition to GN05/06

Ken Alexander k.alexander at rogers.com
Wed May 25 01:52:19 UTC 2016

What a thrill it was to make my first ever contacts via satellite this 
past weekend!  This is something I've wanted to do since first hearing 
the 10m downlink from OSCARs 6 and 7 on my HW-101 when I got my license 
in 1974.  It only took me 42 years to finally do it (that's about 
average for me!).

I'm a mediumwave DXer and once or twice a year a few of my friends and I 
head to the east coast to listen for trans-Atlantic DX on the AM 
broadcast band.  Conditions are spectacular from the coast; this past 
weekend we heard multiple AM stations from Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay 
and throughout Europe.  We use an SDR receiver, which allows us to 
record every station on the entire mediumwave band simultaneously to a 
hard disk on a notebook computer.  We do that several times an evening.  
Afterwards, we can play back the recordings and "tune" through the band, 
use filters and other aids just as if we were listening live.  It 
literally takes weeks to go through all the recordings.

Anyway, I am also a sometimes VHF contester and when I had a look at the 
grid we would be in, and the ones nearby, I knew it was time to get 
geared up and try and make a small contribution.  I received many 
generous offers of assistance when I posted my message to this reflector 
last week.  I'm grateful for all of them; most notably from  Drew 
Glasbrenner, KO4MA and Patrick Stoddard , WD9EWK.  Patrick walked me 
through the critical setup of my TH-D72A, which was only 3 days old when 
we left for Nova Scotia.  Patrick was only an e-mail away for the rest 
of the weekend, offering valuable advice.  Without him there would have 
been no expedition.

I think I already mentioned how much time I spent calling on the 
downlink frequency.  That was finally overcome sometime on Sunday 
morning.  My technique improved to the point where I could use the tip 
of the 70cm reflector to hit the VFO A/B button on the radio instead of 
putting the antenna down to use my fingers.  I went from zero QSOs on 
Saturday, to two on Sunday to nine QSOs on Monday!  Logs follow:

2016-05-22  1324 UTC  W1PA   FN42  SO-50 from GN05  Satellite QSO #1!!
2016-05-22  1505 UTC  KI4RO  EM88  SO-50 from GN06
2016-05-23  0521 UTC  N8HM   FM18  SO-50 from GN05
2016-05-23  0522 UTC  N4UFO  EM95  SO-50 from GN05
2016-05-23  1210 UTC  VY2HF  FN86  SO-50 from GN06
2016-05-23  1349 UTC  N1AIA  FN43  SO-50 from GN05
2016-05-23  1349 UTC  WN9Q   EN64  SO-50 from GN05
2016-05-23  1349 UTC  KD8ATF FM09  SO-50 from GN05
2016-05-23  1349 UTC  KC1EXK FN41  SO-50 from GN05
2016-05-23  1349 UTC  W1PA   FN42  SO-50 from GN05
2016-05-23  1349 UTC  VY2HF  FN86  SO-50 from GN05
2016-05-23  1349 UTC  NS3L   Only partial information received

My home grid is FN03.  I think that must be pretty common by now, but 
there are many that I suspect aren't so common that are only a few hours 
away.  After my first taste of satellite work I can tell you that you 
will hopefully be hearing a lot more from VE3HLS!

Thanks to all of you for your encouragement and patience!


Ken Alexander

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