I was in Tucson on Friday (17 April) evening, to give a presentation and demonstration on satellite operating for the Oro Valley Amateur Radio Club at its monthly meeting. There was a nice turnout for a Friday evening meeting, with 57 in attendance. My presentation came during the middle of the meeting, and then about half of the crowd stuck around for the demonstrations I gave using SO-50 and AO-73 after the meeting wrapped up.
Even though I had my presentation ready to go before Friday, I was happy to modify it to include the very recent announcement about the transponders for Fox-1C through Fox-1E that came out Friday morning. I also talked about our current satellites, along with a little bit of history - how our amateur satellites fit into the wider history of the Space Age.
After the meeting, I had my station set up on my car in a parking lot. I used the AmsatDroid Free tracking app on my phone to know where to point my Elk antenna, and set up two of my tablets running SatPC32 so the crowd could see the satellite's location and footprint during each pass. This wasn't something I planned, but it seemed to be a good use of those devices. The crowd liked it.
I had two passes available in the hour following the end of the meeting - an SO-50 pass around 9.18pm (0418 UTC), followed by an AO-73 pass at 9.51pm (0451 UTC). The SO-50 pass was a popular pass, seeing 6 QSOs logged with stations in the central and eastern parts of the continental USA. Since the Catalina Mountains were to the east and northeast of the meeting site, my LOS came a few minutes before the predicted LOS time. AO-73 went directly overhead, away from the mountains, so I had most of the predicted pass time available. I worked two stations on that pass, both in Texas. This allowed me to show the differences between FM and SSB/CW satellites, and the differences in operating technique (i.e., CQing on AO-73, but no CQing on SO-50). Thanks to everyone who worked WD9EWK during these two passes!
I uploaded the QSOs from these passes to Logbook of the World last night. I will be happy to send QSL cards to anyone who worked me, without receiving a QSL card or SASE from you. Please e-mail me directly with the QSO details. If you are in my log, I'll drop a card in the mail.
Even after the two passes, I was answering questions for up to 90 minutes after the AO-73 pass. This made my drive home later, but worth it. The evening weather in Tucson was nice, not hot or cold, and I was happy to stick around. Thanks to everyone at the OVARC, especially Steve Wood W1SR (he invited me to Friday's meeting) and Bob Molczan KA7VPR (club president), for a great time Friday evening!
This concludes 6 straight weekends I've done AMSAT-related activities around Arizona and southern California. All of this has been fun, but I will gladly take next weekend as a break, before I go to another hamfest in Sierra Vista, Arizona (southeast of Tucson), on 2 May.
Patrick WD9EWK/VA7EWK http://www.wd9ewk.net/ Twitter: @WD9EWK
Just to clarify the recent announcement about FOX 1C. Am I correct in assuming that the L band will be added to FOX 1C and it will still launch this fall? I hope so but want to make sure I got this correct as I do not know when the delivery date is for FOX 1C. Thanks, DougK9DLP