I noticed this afternoon there'd be a pretty good pass by AO-51 just after 6pm. After dropping my girlfriend off at home (because she had to go home anyway, not because she's afraid of me with big antennas and electronics, although that also may be true), I got home and had just enough time to grab the Arrow antenna and whatnot, and head out to the park just a short walk from my apartment.
I didn't do so bad, only getting one car passing by that seemed to yell something to me as I was quickly scanning the southern horizon for a signal. Not bad for a creepy-looking long-haired guy with a big antenna in his hand. I didn't catch what they said though, because I had earphones in, so I choose to believe it was "You're awesome!".
Anyway, it was a big of a handful, juggling the Zire for PocketSat+ and very minimal notes (kind of logged what I heard), the antenna, the radio, and so on. Despite that though, I did hear plenty. The equipment-juggling made writing down things difficult, but I heard some mentions of EM40 (right near New Orleans, pretty great - laugh if you like, but for me, that's some real DX), FN42, and the call sign N8MH.
I didn't transmit at all, but I didn't plan to, either - I'm still just testing the waters. I'm thinking doing this would be much easier if I had either a tripod, a second person, or both. We'll see. All in all though, a great little taste of working satellites, certainly enough to go onward from.
So here's an example of one of the fairly uncommon times I bother to boot into Windows: stuff with my Palm Zire 72. While the Zire 72 might be considered little aged in the age of consumer frenzy every time Apple releases yet another crippled portable product, it gets the job done, so I see no reason to replace it. I'm not exactly a heavy user, though - I mostly just read books on it with Plucker, and now, I hope, use it to track satellites with PocketSat+.
I had previously tried getting PocketSat to work, but I have a habit of letting the Zire run out of battery power to the point where the main memory clears, so I tend to just run software off of the SD card, since that doesn't mind a lack of power. But, this doesn't always work, or when it does, it can be tricky since some libraries have to be installed in main memory. In this case, a MathLib had to be, and I always seemed to have problems with the map files, too.
So today I finally just booted Windows and tried installing it, and whatever problems I was having before seemed to not be a problem now. This is good - I can use it "in the field" to see where the satellite is without having to take a full-size laptop out with me. One step closer to working some VHF/UHF satellites. It wasn't exactly a show-stopper before, but it sure makes things a little nicer.
So, I've got my triband (144/220/440) HT, the Arrow 144/440 handheld antenna, PocketSat on the Zire, Orbitron on the laptop... The only thing left to do is get out and wave the antenna in the air a bit and see what I can do. I haven't checked yet, but depending on if I'm otherwise busy or not, maybe even do it this weekend. Might be a nice thing to do right after Saturday's club breakfast and Field Day meeting.
I had originally intended to hold off bothering to post until I had something a bit more substantial to post about, but that "Not Found" (why not "no posts" or something more accurate?) message is annoying, so the heck with it. The bulk of this will just be put in my "About" page as well, but this is as good a place to start as any.
I'm Mike, KC8LPZ, and this is my little attempt to bring amateur radio further out of the 20th century. I've never been big on blogging (although I've followed a few), but a big part of that was that I just didn't see that anything I'd write would be any different or more important than what hundreds or thousands were writing. Somehow, I just didn't see many people clamoring to read about my run-of-the-mill day. However, this is a bit different than that, since it's entirely going to be aimed towards amateur radio things.
To quickly introduce myself - I'm KC8LPZ, and I've been licensed since January of 1999, although for most of that time I was essentially inactive. It turns out that when you go to college, you end up dropping some other time (and money) consuming activities and interests. But, Field Day 2009 caught my interest again when I went out to the MCRC's site, and here I am again.
So, despite having a license for over ten years, in many ways I'm still new to the field. I still have a tech class license, so I live above 50Mhz. Right now I just usually hang around the local repeater(s) and check into the MCRC's Tuesday night net, but I'm working on getting into working satellites as well, and I'll upgrade my license too, of course. You know, when I get around to it. Eventually...
I'm also a Linux user, nearly exclusively. I boot my laptop into Windows about once every couple of weeks, sometimes more often to stream from Netflix, but that's about it for the most part. I run Kubuntu, usually whatever the latest release is. The blog will therefore have an obvious bias towards using Linux in conjunction with amateur radio, which is probably a good thing - there's a sad lack of material on the web about that. Maybe I can be of some use there.
It's also probably worth noting that I'm an apartment dweller, which introduces some obvious constraints on my activity. This is part of the reason I haven't upgraded yet - it's not like I can easily put up much in the way of HF antennas anyway. I'd like to upgrade despite that, but it sort of reduces the urgency.