I only worked satellites during Field Day and I ended up making 97
QSOs on 24 passes of all active 10 voice satellites during the 24 hour
period. My score for AMSAT Field Day was 83 points.
The breakdown by satellite is below:
AO-7B - 2 QSOs
AO-73 - 10 QSOs, 1 dupe
AO-85 - 1 QSO, 5 excess FM QSOs
FO-29 - 37 QSOs, 4 dupes
LilacSat-2 - 1 QSO, 1 excess FM QSO
SO-50 - 1 QSO
Ukube-1 - 6 QSOs
XW-2A - 11 QSOs
XW-2C - 6 QSOs, 2 dupes
XW-2F - 8 QSOs, 1 dupe
Total - 83 valid phone QSOs, 8 dupes, 6 excess FM QSOs = 83 points
The major difference between AMSAT and ARRL Field Day rules for
satellite is that "satellite" is considered a single band while for
AMSAT Field Day, each satellite transponder is considered a separate
band. For example, if I worked WD9EWK in SSB on FO-29 and then in SSB
on XW-2A, that would be worth two points under AMSAT rules, but only
one point under ARRL rules. VE3YRA was my most worked station this
year - I worked them on six different satellites.
I was operating 1B from the parking lot/courtyard of my apartment
building in southwest Washington, DC.
The equipment I used was as follows:
2 x Yaesu FT-817 (with 3000 mAh internal LiPo batteries)
Microset VUR-30 dual band amplifier
5100 mAh LiPo battery for the amplifier
High Sierra Microwave LNAA432 preamplifier
High Sierra Microwave LNAA146FIL filtered 2m preamp
Arrow II 146/437-10BP Dual Band Handheld Yagi
All of this was carried in a camera bag and held by shoulder straps
while I held the Arrow in my hand.
It was lots of fun, though tiring to head downstairs and outside for
24 different passes. I only slept for about 2.5 hours between 3:30am
and 6:00am (and skipped a pair of AO-7 passes as a result).
One big issue I notice during Field Day is the use of excess power on
the transponders and the inexperience and/or inadequate stations used
by many of the satellite operators. Many times I would call a station
and not receive a reply or someone would start CQing or tuning up on
top of me. This was especially noticeable on AO-73 and UKube-1 as the
frequencies for the uplink are somewhat different than published. It
sounded like many were trying to use their computers to correct for
Doppler and did not have the experience necessary to set the uplink
offset. I heard several "ditters" trying to find themselves for entire
passes. Operating satellites isn't difficult, but it does take some
practice and experience to understand the characteristics of each
satellite. Trying to figure it out at 1800Z on Field Day Saturday is
not the recipe for success.
I would note that my excess FM QSOs (both ARRL and AMSAT rules allow
only one QSO per FM satellite, AMSAT rules further limit APRS
digipeater QSOs to one per satellite as well) were made because
stations were calling and attempting to make a contact with no one
else replying and I wanted to make sure they got their QSO.
It's fun doing Field Day from home, but next year I think I would like
to head to a Field Day site and help with satellite operations for a
club (and maybe fill in elsewhere between passes).