After I finished up at the office this afternoon, I went to my
favorite city park (the park that straddles the DM33xp/DM43ap grid
boundary where I do much of my satellite operating) to work an
AO-51 pass around 0108 UTC followed by an AO-7 pass around 0207
UTC. I thought about trying the cross-mode repeater on AO-51 to
work CW, but decided to stay on the normal FM repeater. I worked
5 different stations from central Mexico to western Canada, and
heard a couple of others. The AO-7 pass in the next hour was
At the start of the pass, I found myself on the transponder and
made a few CQ calls in SSB. No responses, but there were a few CW
signals - even above the middle of the passband. I did not have a
straight key with me, so I did the next best thing to have something
that would work as a straight key. I turned off the keyer in my
FT-817ND, which turned my small Mini-Paddle into a straight key of
sorts. The lever that normally sent dahs did nothing, but the lever
for the dits functioned as a straight key. Now I could work Straight
Key Night for the first time in the 32+ years since I got my first
ham license... and I'm trying it on a 35-year-old satellite, with a
paddle-turned-straight key on my portable all-mode satellite station
(two FT-817NDs, Elk Antennas handheld 2m/70cm log periodic).
Glenn AA5PK in west Texas found me within a minute of my first CQ
call. I was able to tap a quick QSO with him, followed by another
QSO with Kerry WC7V in Montana. Sorry if my CW was tough to copy;
it's been a while since I worked CW without using a keyer, and
sending it left-handed on a vertical straight key while holding my
antenna was something I had never tried before. :-) I should have
rigged up a camera to either snap some photos or record video while
I did this. After my QSO with WC7V, about halfway through the pass,
CW signals were spreading out across most of the passband. I heard
a couple of SSB signals, and switched back to SSB for the last few
minutes of the pass. I worked Larry WA6DIR and Bob W7LRD before
AO-7 went away.
This was a fun way to start the new year on the UTC clock, before
going home and watching assorted New Year celebrations on the TV.
QSOs in FM, SSB, and CW; working through two different satellites.
Happy 2010 to all, and 73!
The MicroHamm USB Device Router program generates virtual serial ports,
but I don't know for sure that they are straight-through; I see no
reason why they would NOT be.
The program can be downloaded at the microham site:
http://www.microham-usa.com/downloads.html. Joe W4TV is the American
representative for MicroHam and might be able to give you more advice.
Pete Jordahl, K5GM
Heck . there were dits - and dahs - all over the place on AO-7 just now.
That was really wonderful to hear - and it was a joy to work so many
stations in CW on a single pass.
Thanks to everyone for lighting up Grand Old AO-7 with your straight-key CW.
I hope some of you can work Mode A tomorrow. It sure would be nice to have
SKN contacts in the log here using both modes.
73 and Happy New Year to all!
Tim - N3TL
Athens, Ga. - EM94ha