20170414 Transatlantic (again)

This transatlantic scheduled QSO started way back at the beginning of November 2016 – Gabe (NJ7H) kindly passed on my details to John (K8YSE) as a person that could fulfill his need for Guernsey (IN89) on satellites…

I had tried a few times for the low passes, my encounter with transatlantic for the first time was a blast – and wow – the rush was amazing – the second time was just the same, the rush, just hard to explain – working in to space and back down again with 5w and an antenna made out of old roofing batten and coathangers – based on the #georgiebeam design (pic above) – then I tried for some more low passes, failed every time and lost the enthusiasm I had built up – given that I am working semi duplex its hard, you will hear lots of people moaning about those that work semi duplex but actually once you understand whats going on semi duplex is achievable on FO-29 without becoming QRM – work out where you should be and listen…  A schedule is most definitely the best way to go semi duplex on FO-29. anyway, like I said, I scheduled a few passes and they were a total bust so I effectively packed away my #georgiebeam and ‘took a holiday’ 😉

A friend is away in Algeria and it would have been great to work him there – I’m not a square chaser (yet), nor a DXCC chaser (yet) but he would be working as 7X2ARA and the club had a cat called Lara – she is a #catintheshack so I really wanted to work him – but unfortunately only through SO-50 and the liddery (that is a word right?) on that satellite is atrocious – it puts me right off – lots of people with lots of power messing it up for everyone else, calling CQ for a while and clogging up the pass, oooooola, whistles and blind calls. Anyway, I digress again, sorry – needless to say my interest is sparked again from wanting to work him.

Strangely, after a few e-mails from John way back in November 2016 asking for a sked (I put him off as I wanted to make a higher gain antenna, this one, still havent though) an e-mail appears on Wednesday this week…. I’m really keen to get away from SO-50 – I have a long weekend because of easter so yeah, lets do this eh… all set up – calculations made…

Here are my scribbled notes, showing me approximately what the downlink will be, at what time during the pass & detailing roughly when I should hear John, also my locator, Johns call sign etc so I don’t forget anything.

I’ve often driven to the coast and forgotten something – and thats a pain in the arse – so I remind myself to take the radio ‘n’ stuff which makes me remember the rest of the associated bits and bobs!

I’m all ready – to be honest I wasn’t very confident because of my previous failed attempts, I thought that the #georgiebeam needed more gain for the low passes. Regardless, at 12:05 UTC I started to call CQ – thought I might as well whilst I was there eh. I had a shock when at 12:06 I heard Jose (CU3EQ) answering my CQ – the satellite was only at about 1.6 degrees above the horizon for me… Boom! in the log (grid HM68kp), Thanks Jose!! 1.6 degrees – I’m really chuffed.

Back to my sked: I continued to call CQ until about 12:12 where I then called to K8YSE directly – nothing heard for a short while, tuned around a bit and found him at about 13:13 quite away from where I had expected, on 435.874 – according to my calculations my downlink should have been 435.869 so this is the reason why full duplex is the best way forward… but because I knew there was likely to be some difference I tuned around and found him – he was really strong considering his 1.8 degree max elevation pass… I got him at about 6.8 degrees above the horizon, he got me about 1.3 degrees above the horizon.. unbelievable eh 🙂 An e-mail exchange or two thereafter he lets me know he was working his Ohio station remotely from Arizona at 05:00 local time – he must have been keen for my MU and IN89 grid eh 🙂 – Thanks John 🙂

Below are our respective pass details from the Amsat App, me on the left, John on the right… its crazy what conditions can be worked and for me with my primitive antenna too – so chuffed to make these transatlantic trips 🙂

And below is a beautiful Guernsey view from IN89pk torwards the west… on the left was my AOS and right LOS. Sorry about the quality, its a bad pano shot from my phone…

and to finish this post off…