Saturday, September 10, 2005

Worked Puerto Rico on the Ham Radio

Ok, now I never intended for my blog to be the ham radio blog, but tonight was really cool. I worked three stations on the AO-51 “Echo” ham radio satellite with my handheld radio. I just can’t get over it, I confirmed Puerto Rico and Ohio tonight, I think I may have talked to Michigan, but I’m not 100% certain on that one yet. Based on my experience trying to talk to the satellite with my old radio for transmitting and my scanner for receiving, I didn’t think I’d be able to make these contacts with such ease. The main thing is that the scanner can tune the center frequency of 435.300 MHz, but tunes in 12.5 KHz steps, while the ham radio tunes in 5 KHz steps. Since the satellite is moving so fast, the signal suffers from Doppler shift. When it is coming at me, I have to tune to 435.310 to start, then 435.305, that’s when its close enough for me to transmit. When it passes overhead you tune to 435.300 MHz, and as it moves away, drop to 435.295 MHz, and so on.

On the flip side, I’m out of the twenty-three cent stamps I use to send my QSL cards. Since the cards aren’t fancy, I just send them as post cards. I’ve been told that sending them in envelopes that also include a self addressed stamped envelope is better. I’ll see, I might do that for the Puerto Rico station.

Also on the ham radio today, I made my first contacts ever on the six meter (50 MHz) band and the one and a quarter meter (222 MHz) band. I also made my first simplex QSO on the seventy centimeter (445 MHz) band. Those contacts are because the VHF QSO party, a contest from the ARRL, which was going on this weekend, and because of my new radio that has those bands.

This is great!

No comments: