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AO-27 early experience: [was: Let's get on the air!]

John Mock wrote:

> Don't worry too much about that.  YL's on AO-27 are so rare that if she can
> hear the bird very well, she'll make lots of contacts.

So *that's* why I'm sitting here wondering what all the fuss is about. If I'd
simply known it was "ladies first" I would have pitched my voice up half an
octave to make *sure* everybody knows I'm a YL...:-)

I had my first AO-27 QSO on Friday, it being the fourth time I tried and the
first time with an Arrow 2 as antenna. My first few passses were with the stock
antenna from my Yaesu VX-5R (not much good) and then with a MFJ-1717 (half-wave
on 70cm, quarter- on 2m). The MFJ antenna worked well enough to copy one
callsign on one pass, which I managed confirm by email.  

My next attempt was with an Arrow 2 that I borrowed from a local ham (Foster
K3FXS) who wasn't using it at the moment. I added an MFJ-916 duplexer, and my
lifeparner Gwen KB3DVJ built a cable harness to glue all the dispariate
connectors together. A bit of introspection into the duplexer on my part
revealed which port was 144 MHz and which 440 MHz; apparently the primary usage
of the 916 is to tie two tranceivers to one antenna rather than the other way
around. :-)

So I was delighted to copy (juggling HT/Antenna/cable/pen/paper/pass forecast in
the parking lot where I work--operating technique is very important!) four
callsigns and get an acknowlegement from Kermit N0XLR in EM44. I can see how
helpful it will be to work out a way to record downlink audio. 

Using the same rig the following Saturday in our apartment parking lot, Gwen and
I heard *many* more callsigns, but confirmed the "weekend logjam" effect by not
being able to get heard at all. Upside is that Gwen's now bit by the satellite
bug herself...especially since she copied the downlink clearly on her own
handmade 70cm cubical quad. 

> Many of the regulars run QRP into an Arrow or equivalent.

Golly, I must have *everything* working in my favor....I'm sure the Yaesu must
qualify as QRP :-) Now it's time to join AMSAT and apply for the SCC.

 73s all
..../__KB3DXS__) Margaret Stephanie Leber <maggie@voicenet.com> / 
.../(, /|  /|     http://www.voicenet.com/~maggie/maggie.html / 
../   / | / |  _   _   _    `  _"The art of progress consists/ 
./ ) /  |/  |_(_(_(_/_(_/__(__(/_  of preserving order amid /  
./ (_/   '        .-/ .-/     change and change amid order."/   
/________________(_/ (_/___________________A.N.Whitehead___/
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