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Re: Newbie question about AO-07

n3tl@bellsouth.net wrote:
> Hello Gordon,
> Sorry to hear that you're having a tough time on the non-QRP "pair" on AO-51. Admittedly, it can be frustrating - but don't give up on it. It can be done! I earned Satellite VUCC all handheld with a Yaesu HT and an Arrow antenna, and earned the AMSAT achievement award for 20 states and Canada using only contacts I made running 50 mW (.05-watt) rf out on the same set of 2 AA Duracell batteries. I ended up making a total of 51 contacts at .05-watt and another three at .3-watt (300 mW) rf out before those batteries gave up the ghost. I mention that because only 11 of those 54 total contacts were made on the "QRP pair" on AO-51. I was in the middle of the unorganized mayhem with everyone else for the other 43, on AO-51 and also on AO-27 and SO-50; so, as I said, don't give up. It can be done!

See, that's the thing - I *have*, on quiet passes, got into the non-QRP 
transponder on AO-51, usually before the rest of Europe is awake ;-) 
When QRP mode is in use people do seem to spend a bit more time 
listening.  The whole "feel" of the QSO is different, somehow - people 
seem to be taking more care over it.

In the QRP modes, I can't quite get it with 50mW but the 500mW mode on 
my HT is plenty - enough to get in.  With 5W into the aerial I get 
pretty much full quieting once the satellite is well up.  I know the 
aerial must be pretty effective, because I can lift one of the more 
distant repeaters with full quieting on 500mW, that I can barely even 
hear with the rubber duck!

Not bad, I thought, for something built (as I've probably said before) 
out of a scrap length of wood, some ally tubing, some hydraulic pipe for 
the driven element (kunifer - bit too floppy really, but it's what was 
lying about) and some brazing rods for the 70cm part.

> I've said it here before and I'll say it again - I am having more fun on the satellites than I've ever had in amateur radio. And if I hadn't had the ability to start out with a handheld station, I would not have made the necessary investments for all-mode radios, antennas, az/el rotators, etc. I'll never understand how anyone can characterize as a waste of money an activity that inarguably helps operators refine the skills they would most need in a true emergency-communcations situation -- that is, the ability to transmit and receive pertinent information quickly and accurately with minimal repetition. It also seems to me that those of us who regularly use handheld satellite stations are refining those skills on the kind of gear that is among the most necessary and utilized in emergencies. 

Exactly.  If you really are in an emergency, you're not going to be able 
to pop online and order a nice new antenna from Waters and Stanton, now 
are you?

Sent via AMSAT-BB@amsat.org. Opinions expressed are those of the author.
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