Well…I can cross that off my never-done list. This afternoon at 14:32 local time, using an antenna I built myself, I made an amateur radio contact (QSO) via satellite.
The antenna: a couple of summers ago I put together a tape measure Yagi antenna similar to this that uses PVC for the framework and lengths of a retractable tape measure for the elements.
The radio: my Wouxun KG-UV3D dual band hand-held, programmed with seven adjacent memory channels to deal with the Doppler effect as the satellite passes overhead.
The QSO: The satellite came over the northwest horizon at 14:25 PDT, in an arc that took it almost straight overhead on the way to the southeast horizon. I finally started hearing the carrier signal from the satellite about 30 degrees above the horizon. WD9EWK was working stations from Montezuma Castle National Monument as part of the National Parks on the Air (NPOTA) operating event. at 14:32 he finished working another station, and I transmitted my call and my grid-square (CN-87), only to hear him return my call with his grid square and the identifier for the NPOTA unit he was activating. I was so stoked that I jerked the antenna out of alignment, quickly got it re-aimed and finished the contact.
I tweeted a thanks to WD9EWK, and he responded that he had the contact recorded, and would be sending me an MP3 of the contact. As soon as I have it, I’ll post it here…