Ham Meteor & Satellite Event

ADDENDUM APRIL 19: This event was canceled due to inclement weather; we will reschedule at a later date.

The Vienna Wireless Society will be conducting on the evening of April 20 and morning of April 21. Those dates coincide with the onset of the Lyrid meteor shower. I am soliciting SKEDs up to the day of the event and would also welcome replies to CQs during the event. Full details, below.

The MS Plan

We’ll be set up at Sky Meadow State Park in Delaplane, Virginia at grid FM18ax operating as AI4SV. The park is hosting a meteor night and as adjunct to their program (https://www.eventbrite.com/e/meteors-moon-and-a-movie-tickets-58910672407), the club will demonstrate meteor scatter and amateur satellite communications. For meteor scatter, the set up will be an Elecraft K3 and KPA500 amp running at 400W into an A505S 5-element beam mounted on a rover with 25-30′ mast. We’ve tried the entire set up including running off generator power in the field and have had successful MS contacts. 

SKEDS 

A number of stations have agreed to try sked contacts at specific times, and that schedule is available online at http://bitly.com/20apr2019ms. I have focused on skeds because I will not have cellular access from the operating site. 

These skeds are planned from about 8pm to midnight and then 5 am to 8 am Eastern time, with a few in between. For skeds, I would like to operate on 50.250 Mhz.

At the start of each half-hour window, I will transmit message Tx1, e.g., “KA2VGV AI4SV FM18” rather than CQ since I am aiming for a specific station. I would ask that the sked station do the same. It doesn’t matter which one of us hears the other first. 

If I complete a QSO in the first ten minutes of a 30 minute sked window, I will call CQ on 50.260 using “CQ 250”, so we can move off the calling frequency once contact is established. If I start working a station during that 20 minute window, I will remain on that station until the start of the next sked, and will then ask that the other station suspend operation in favor of the scheduled station. 

CQs 

In the early morning hours on April 21, when no station is scheduled, I will call “CQ 250”. Once I hear a station, I’ll remain on that station for up to half an hour trying to complete the contact.  

General

I tried a bunch of cell phone providers, and as far as I can tell, I won’t have cellular coverage at the operation site, so I won’t be able to see pingJockey. Consequently, I won’t know a contact is complete until I see a “73” message — please continue the contact through that final handshake. I will log contacts where I have received a “73” or when the half-hour time slot ends and I have received at least an “R”. 

Satellite 

The satellite station is a little more basic. I’ll have an Arrow 2 (2m/70cm) antenna up on a rotatable mast above the height of my tent fixed at about 30 degree elevation. This set up has worked pretty well for me, but isn’t great with regard to rotating signals or high passes. In any event, it will give observers something else to look at while the MS radio hammers away. I’m primarily a CW operator, so I’ll try both SSB and CW on the linear transponder birds, voice on the FM birds. Please keep an ear out.  

Between now and the event 

Please pass my info along to anyone you think would be interested, particularly if they’d like to set up a sked in any of the available slots. If you have any questions or corrections, please email me directly. I’ll incorporate any updates into the final email on Saturday morning and post it to my QRZ page.

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