Well, I haven't had a lot of time to do anything good this weekend. I spent some time mowing my lawn, pulling weeds, fertilizing, and examining my fence for needed repairs. But I did spend some time to actually figure out what my problem was with receiving signals from the AO-27 amateur satellite. It wasn't really clear to me, but the AO-27 satellite is only activated for south to north passes beginning at 30 degrees north latitude. What this means is that there are passes where AO-27 isn't activated as it passes over head, as well as times when it might be activated late or deactivated relatively early in a pass. Today, I tracked one pass very well through acquisition all the way to LOS, and had another pass where I was a bit behind, so missed the early part of the pass. Interesting. I've also been practicing the juggling that I need to do to control the HT while doing all the rest of the stuff. I'll get there eventually.
I didn't hear the AO-51 satellite on its pass either: I guess it is still down. Stations are beginning to report that the telemetry on the downlink is hearable, but when I tuned to 435.150, I didn't hear anything. It was only later that I realized that the downlink is via 9600 baud packet, which can sound astoundingly like static. I'll have to set up the squelch control next time to see if there is actually a signal strong eough to break the squelch, then I'll know if it is actually up.
I didn't have a chance to hear SO-50 today either.
Oh well, for some fun reading, try N1ASA's excellent PDF on working the FM satellites with portable equipment and he even has a recording of himself working 7 stations on AO-51. Good stuff.
Addendum: From the AMSAT news page:
Drew, KO4MA AMSAT-NA Vice President of Operations reported that at 1848Z on OCtober 11 the software on AO-51 crashed and shut down both transmitters. The repeater and BBS have been down for several days while the command stations reload and restart the software.
On October 17, Drew reported on progress by the AO-51 Operations Team, "We are making good progress in reloading the software necessary to run AO-51, although it was a bit of a rocky start. The control stations hope to have AO-51 reloaded by the weekend of October 20-21. As we reload and restart operations on the satellite we will be able to better predict its return to service."
Interested stations can use their TlmEcho software to watch progress on the 435.150 MHz downlink. This downlink may only be on over the Southeastern US depending on how far along the reloading has proceeded.
I spent yesterday wandering around Pacificon. Nothing too exciting to report: I picked up a book or two, no major purchases. The QRP related activities were a lot of fun, and I managed to win a bid for a BLT tuner kit from qrpkits.com . Oh, and I decided to try to upgrade my Technicians license. A month ago, I had read most of the General class license pool, and was taking online tests, and scoring in the 80s or so. Last night, I reread about 60% of the question pool. I ended up missing only a single question. It was free to try to take the Extra exam too, so I gave that a try. Sadly, I didn't do as well (missed a passing grade by three questions). Still, upgraded to a General, hooray for me!
I'm gonna head out to the swap today (for which I am certainly too late to get any bargains) and hang out for a little bit.
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