The RARSfest satellite demos were a success, despite some difficulties. In all we made 17 contacts across one SO-50 pass and one FO-29 pass.
You can see a few pictures of the demos here:
I had trouble getting into SO-50, and Tucker, W4FS, had trouble hearing FO-29. After reviewing a video I made of the SO-50 pass, I realized I wasn’t aiming the antenna in the right direction for the first half of the pass. I had a hard time tracking it as the location we chose which was the easiest for attendees to find was also right next to the building the hamfest was in, and SO-50 rose right behind it. By the time I heard the bird around 20 or 30 degrees elevation, I wasn’t aiming quite right, so every time I tried to get in I got very intermittent audio at best. After one complete transmission, Jeff, WB8RJY, came back to me and said hi to the hamfest and everyone clapped. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to complete the QSO. At max elevation I knew exactly where to aim and called him back and completed the QSO. Towards the end of the pass when the bird was further north and less people were in its footprint I made a string of contacts adding up to eight in total.
As for FO-29, Tucker was getting S9 noise during the first half of the pass and could barely hear any signals. I experienced the same interference yesterday when I did some practice passes. It’s something local we can’t control. It was so bad Tucker actually turned off the radio halfway into the pass and apologized to everyone that he wasn’t going to be able to complete the demo. Not long after this he noticed a text message from a friend listening to him on the downlink saying he sounded fine. So he turned the radio back on and this time there was no noise because all we heard were very clear voices. After he found himself on the downlink and made one CQ, Clayton, W5PFG, came right back to him. And the crowd cheered when Clayton referenced the hamfest and said he was from Texas. After that Tucker had a mini pileup and made eight more contacts adding up to nine in total.
It looks like I had a crowd in the high 20s and Tucker had a larger crowd in the low 30s. I was pleasantly surprised we were able to get such a good turnout considering this was added to the hamfest at the last minute.
Thanks to all of the operators who worked us! And to anyone that called us who we couldn’t get back to, like Paul, N8HM, thanks for trying and sorry we couldn’t make contact.
WB8RJY both passes
K8YSE[/7] both passes
73, John Brier KG4AKV
P.S. Gary, K94AQ, of HamRadioNow recorded video of one of the passes and interviewed both of us afterwards. I’m going to give him video I recorded of the other pass he wasn’t there for and he plans on making a show/segment out of all of it.