Sunday afternoon was not planned to have much radio activity. There was going to be a get-together at a ham's house in Mexicali, before I left that area for the 3.5-hour drive home later in the day. I saw a pair of passes - AO-27 first, then SO-50 - to the east that I wanted to try to wrap up my radio operating for this trip. I took my FM satellite setup - IC-2820H, Elk Antennas 2m/70cm log periodic - across the border one more time.
The get-together was at the house of David XE2DAK, southeast of downtown Mexicali in grid DM22go just over 3 miles/5km south of the USA/Mexico border. This neighborhood is tightly packed with houses, but with a decent view of the eastern sky. I had the pass predictions for the two passes, and was ready for the AO-27 pass at 2025 UTC. It seemed fitting that my first QSO was with another Mexican station, Manuel XE2BHL west of me in Tijuana. After that, 7 more QSOs were made in what sometimes becomes the busiest 7 minutes on the radio (it *definitely* was on Thursday afternoon's 2025 UTC pass!).
About 40 minutes or so later, SO-50 came up from the south. With XE2DAK's house blocking the south, I had to wait a couple of minutes for the satellite to clear the house. Once that happened, 7 QSOs were made with stations across much of the USA. Two of the QSOs were interesting... I worked Larry KI6YAA, who was only a few blocks north of the USA/Mexico border. Larry gave me a QSL card for that contact after I crossed back into the USA - so I now have grid DM22 confirmed on my way toward an XE2 satellite VUCC. The other QSO was with a station in my home city Phoenix - K7NYS.
After SO-50 went away, it was time for some great Mexican "carne asada" and enjoy the afternoon with friends before crossing the border and driving home. I was able to see the XE2DAK shack and the gear David has been using to work the FM satellites. For a small station, it was impressive. You can follow links with photos of XE2DAK's station from his QRZ.com entry.
For this weekend, I made 93 QSOs from Mexico between Thursday afternoon's activity south of Mexicali and Sunday's QSOs from Mexicali. I made 42 QSOs at the Yuma hamfest, and Kevin KJ6DDS made 7 QSOs on a couple of passes Saturday afternoon. When I returned home last night, I saw that my truck had traveled 868.3 miles/1397km for this trip.
Thanks to everyone who helped make the hamfest demonstrations a runaway success. Stations that were giving a brief description of their location, even if it was just the state, helped make a positive impression on the audiences. Thursday showed that there was a lot of interest in grid DM21, and that it might be worth a return trip there before my current XE ham permit expires. Or maybe some of the locals will make the trek south and put it on the air.
Patrick WD9EWK/VA7EWK http://www.wd9ewk.net/