[amsat-bb] Dayton Hamvention Comments by K8YSE

John Papay john at papays.com
Sun May 29 19:55:22 UTC 2016

The AMSAT presence at Dayton was, in my opinion, the
best ever.  This was largely due to the efforts of all
of the volunteers who gave up part of their Dayton
experience to represent AMSAT and grow the organization.
The leader of this effort, Steve, N9IP, deserves special
recognition because he made sure that attention was given
to every detail.  Lessons were learned from last year
and the result was the best display and group of
representatives ever.  Years ago there weren't many
active satellite operators at the booth and that has
changed for the better every year.  Those not familiar
with satellites need practical and current information and
those that are on the birds every week were there to provide

One of the most popular books that AMSAT sells is "Getting
Started with Satellites."  Gould Smith, WA4SXM, and "Friends"
put out a completely revised edition this year.  It is spiral
bound with heavy, glossy paper and contains everything you
need to know about satellites in 2016.  It doesn't matter if
you got into satellites in the 1970's, you will want a copy
of this book.  There are lots of pictures; there is nothing
boring about it.  I'm sure that even Ricky Tillman will agree
with me on this.  You can get a copy at the AMSAT store.  It's
a great publication to share with your friends that know nothing
about what you do for a hobby.

Show and tell is a big part of the Dayton event.  The AMSAT
demo station plays a big role in showing others what is needed
to work a satellite.  This year Paul, N8HM, took over the
responsibility of this important activity.  He had his two
FT-817's, an SDR, computer and an Arrow antenna.  We also had
my IC-910H, computer and Arrow antenna on my custom mount
tripod.  In past years we had multiple antennas including the
M2 Leo Pack.  But I can say that the little Arrow antennas did
a great job and we were making qso's when the building and
vehicles were not blocking the signal.  The only problem with
Dayton is that the demo station is in the vendor parking lot
and there is no regular flow of traffic going by the station as
there was in Orlando.  People would find out about the
demo station at the AMSAT booth and come outside to see it.
Some of our visitors included PY2DM, PY5LF, XE1SEW, HP1CQ and
many others.  We made contacts with Canada, Mexico, Brazil, and
Europe as well as many stateside stations.  Congratulations Paul!

Our future rests in the hands of the young hams that are taking
an interest in satellites and space technology.  9 year old Hope,
KM4IPF, took over on one of our longer satellite passes and worked
station after station like a pro.  Those of us that have been
active over the last several years have watched as these young
operators start with no experience and progress month after month.
I listened to Hope operate at Orlando and then heard her operate
at Dayton.  I was impressed with the improvement.  She was
focused and wasn't relying on any coaching to complete the contacts.
No mater what happened she knew what to do.  Congratulations Hope.

I also met Nick, KE8AKW, along with his Dad, N8XQM, at the demo
station.  Nick started operating with his Dad several years ago.
This was the same way I started although it was my older cousin
Paul, xW8BUS (SK) who would let me call CQ on 20m with his AM KW.  He
would control the emissions and flip the switch to transmit.
According to my cousin I was only 2 years old when I made the first
contact.  We didn't hear Nick for a while but when he appeared again
he had a callsign.  Nick has become a great operator.  Practice
and patience makes it happen.  Congratulations Nick.

There were many other things that went on with AMSAT
including the forums, technical assistance, merchandising
etc.  I am sure others will write about that.  This is just
a small piece of it that I thought was worth mentioning.

AMSAT is about to launch 2 new FM satellites in the next
few months.  FM birds are the gateway for those just getting started.
So now we have an even better opportunity to attract both young
and old to our part of ham radio.  The best way to attract
hams to the world of satellites is to show them how it's done.
Construct a portable station.  You only need an FM handheld
or mobile and a simple antenna like the Arrow on a tripod.
Use a small sealed lead acid battery if needed.  Set up wherever
hams get together.  You will be the center of attention and
you will generate the interest that we need to keep the
momentum going.

And I apologize for the rambling.

John K8YSE

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