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RS-12 OTH QSOs



Greetings to all,

I've been following the RS-12 OTH thread with great interest..  Here is
my 2 cents worth.  

One Saturday I was surfing the 15 m. HF band but finding DX pickings very
scarce.  That was in late Jan. 1994, the bottom of the then current
cycle.  I heard Roger, N4ZC calling CQ satellite.  I had never hear of
anyone using any HF band for satellite work so I  naturally thought that
Roger had gone off the deep end.  My satellite Elmer, Joe, K0VTY was a
former neighbor when I lived in Eastern NE.  I recalled all the VHF/UHF
aluminum that he had to work the birds.  Not knowing that Roger was fully
duplex in his RS-12 efforts I gave him a simplex call on his 15 m. up
link freq.  He asked me to stand by until LOS (I had no idea what LOS
meant.) and he'd explain all this craziness to me.  Suffice to say that
when Roger finished his explanation of RS-12 and Mode K, I was more than
eager to give it a try.  He told me that the nearest city he could find
to me was Denver, CO.  (My QTH is in far Western NE., DN81kq)  Roger gave
the pass times for several days and about an hour later I had my first
ever satellite QSO with Ray in CA. in the log book.  I actually made
three different Qs on that pass, WA6OWM, Ray, KD6WW, Bruce and W7ZMD,
Nick.  I was hooked!!  After the pass times that Roger had given me were
used up with at least 15 different stations in the log I had to make a LL
call to my Elmer, K0VTY.  When I told him what I'd been up to for the
past couple of days his first comment to me was, "What took you so
long??"  I didn't even own a computer and I certainly didn't know what a
tracking program was so I had to impose on Joe to send me some hard copy
printouts for the next several weeks pass times.   By the time I'd been
on RS-12 for a few weeks I had an idea that just perhaps I could work WAS
on this bird.  BTW, I was using my TH-5 Tri- Bander and a barefoot FT-890
to work RS-12 at this point in time.  I had been an ardent HF DXer since
1960 but had never claimed a WAS certificate.  Doing it via satellite
seems much more of an accomplishment than on HF.  I worked all 50 states
within several months but getting a QSL from Utah was another story!! 
Nevertheless, by the summer of 1995 I had a WAS certificate hanging on my
shack wall with an Oscar endorsement!!  All done via RS-12.

Of course, with K0VTY as an Elmer the next "suggestion" was why not give
Mode A and RS-10 a try?  By then I had a computer and InstantTrack
installed thereon.   I found an old TS-700 all mode 2 m. radio and got up
a two meter 3 el. Yagi and got  hooked on Mode A almost instantly.  Then
came RS-15 on Mode A but the same equipment that worked RS-10 was not up
to working that bird effectively.  More elements on 2 m. (A Cush Craft 13
ele. Yagi.) and a pre-amp for the 10 m. down link.  My first Europeans
followed  the satellite station upgrade.  Dave, G4CUO and I quickly
became good friends often working each other on three or four consecutive
passes.  Never anything that resembled a ragchew but several minutes of
good communications.  I believe my best DX via RS-15 would have to be
I4KDR.  I would never have had more than a minute or two of window with
Italy.

My first OTH experience with RS-12 was with K2MHJ who liven in MS.  He
and I had worked many times when we had a mutual window.  One afternoon
Bill gave me a LL call saying that he could hear the RS-12 beacon but the
bird was down over ZL land.  We set up a sked to try and work each other
OTH.  We tried for the best part of 15 or 20 minutes and we finally made
an intelligible QSO on CW when the bird was just coming up on the
southern tip of South America.  Exciting, yes!!  My next OTH QSO was with
KH6.  The station in Hawaii was about 20 degrees below the horizon while
I was in the actual footprint of RS-12.  In the meantime I had received
an SWL report of my signal being heard in GW via RS-12.  I had never been
able to make an actual European OTH QSO.  That all changed in Jan. of
2000.  I was hearing the RS-12 beacon very well when the bird had moved
over the North Pole and was edging up on Central Europe so I gave out
with a CQ DX on CW and who should answer me but Dan, OK1DIG.  I was
ecstatic to say the least.  A similar rush to working a brand new HF DXCC
country after hours of being in the thick of a pileup.  The only
disappointing part was the fact that a follow up e-mail from Dan told me
that a UA9 was also calling me after I'd signed with him.  By then the
bird was about 60+ degrees below the horizon and the beacon was no longer
audible.  Over the next several weeks I also had the good fortune of
working SM7WSJ and IK5NZT via RS-12, OTH.  My total country count on
RS-12 stands at 42.  My total satellite country count stands at 81 so
more than half of all the countries I've managed to work toward satellite
DXCC have been worked on LEO birds!!

It's been a wonderfully exciting ride and now my main focus is getting up
on AO-40.  All things taken into consideration I should accomplish that
feat by this coming spring.  I know that this is a rather lengthy BB
posting but the OTH thread was something I can so easily relate to.  I
hope that I've not wasted your time as well as mine.  I'll look forward
to working many of you soon on Oscar-40.

73 to all.  Frank, K0BLT

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