As the saying goes, listen, listen, listen. Not usually a problem for those of us who are a little mic-shy…It was fitting, therefore that my first real world experience with AMSAT was in listen-only mode. After listening to the latest episode of the Ham Radio 360 podcast, I knew I had to get out and try it, so I dug around in my garage and pulled out the tape measure yagi I had made for bunny hunting, and went out in the back yard. The AMSAT website has a pass prediction page that told me SO-50 was going to pass nearly overhead shortly, so at the appropriate time I started pointing the yagi heavenwards, and twisting it around to experiment with polarity. Much to my amazement, with a $30 Baofeng, and an old tape measure, I was hearing crisp clear conversations! There was one consistent operator in the 10 minute window from grid square DM14 which is almost 1,000 miles away from my QTH of CN87.
I’m definitely intrigued, and plan to build a better antenna soon to (a) get better reception and (b) actually transmit some day… Stay tuned.