Another night pass on AO-51…

Well, beneath a beautiful crescent moon and a stunning view of Orion, I set up to work AO-51 again. Sadly, on the eastern pass I suffered the usual fate of handheld users: totally dominated by users who feel that because they have more power, they don’t need to yield to others. I usually have a little better time with the western passes, so I worked that. Interestingly enough, just as the satellite came up, I heard UT1FG calling CQ SATELLITE from BM83: a maritime mobile contact! Sadly, he was your classic alligator: all mouth, no ears. Somehow W6ASL managed to get his attention and complete a QSO, but he didn’t respond to the dozens of other attempts that people made. Somewhere in the middle of this, I managed to get a QSO from VE4NSA in Manitoba.

AO-51, Western Pass, Evening of Feb 10.


For fun, I downloaded cocoaModem: a program that decodes many modes, including RTTY, PSK31, and SITOR-B. SITOR-B is similar to RTTY, but is used by the USCG to send out weather alerts to ships at sea. It took me a few tries, but I finally got the hang of it (it’s a little odd compared to fldigi, which seemed straightforward, but which sadly just runs on Linux, not my macbook), and here’s a screendump of it decoding:

SITOR-B Decode with cocoaModem