Just a reminder to everyone, in case you didn’t know. We have a mailing list set up at https://groups.io/g/flspota. This has been migrated from our previous Yahoo groups list. So, if you haven’t already, sign up for the list! It’s an easy way to collaborate on park activations, ask questions of other ops and build the FLSPOTA community.
With the log submission deadline approaching, we’d like to get some input from our activators and chasers about this year’s event and where you’d like to see us go in the future. FLSPOTA is a young event, and we know the rules and scoring could still use some optimization.
We’ve created an online survey for you to provide your feedback. Please be honest with any issues you have so we can address them before FLSPOTA ’19. The survey can be found here: https://goo.gl/forms/SBee9VZSEGOVZOR73
Please don’t forget to submit your logs by April 22nd!
Thanks everyone who participated in this year’s FLSPOTA! Outside of dodging raindrops, and poor band conditions, everything we’ve heard so far has been positive! Early in the day both Saturday and Sunday was great weather for most of the state, and a great time to be out in our state parks! In-state contacts were difficult, many of us were trying hard on 40m without much success. Operating as K4LKL I (NJ4Y) only managed to work one other park station on HF the whole weekend… 20 and 40m were pretty good into the rest of the country however, with even a few small pileups from park chasers in the midwest. The MO and MS QSO parties also added to the band activity.
Don’t forget to submit your logs for the event by April 22, see flspota.org/logs for details. Also send in your activation pics, to email@example.com. We will feature them here, and on our facebook page!
Hope you all had as much fun as we did this year! Stay tuned here for more updates soon, and the winners of this year’s event!
Here’s the final list of all the park activations we know about! You can view the full details on the activations page. I hope to work some of you tomorrow from Colt Creek, I’ll be on HF and satellites as K4LKL for the bonus station, probably digital and SSB mostly. Good luck out there everyone, fingers crossed for good band condx and good weather… Stay safe and have fun!
– 73, Matt nj4y
W8RD, Honeymoon Island (HNY) Saturday, and Caladesi Island State Park (CAL) Sunday – Single operator, low power SSB. HNY for sure on Saturday, CAL possible on Sunday.
N1COR, Egmont Key State Park (EGK)/Highlands Hammock State Park (HIG) – Multi operator, low power SSB. Satellites. EGK on Saturday, HIG Sunday.
KG7EQN, Hillsborough River State Park (HIL)
K4TN, Alafia River State Park (ALA) – Multi operator, Brandon Amateur Radio Society
KD2JA, Henderson Beach State Park (HEN) – Single Operator, Low Power SSB
KQ3S, Lake Manatee State Park (MAN)
N6MRS, General James A. Van Fleet Trail (VFT) – Single Operator, Low Power CW, 20/40 meters
N4VIL, Mike Roess Gold Head Branch State Park (GHB) – Single Operator, QRP SSB/digi
W4OT, Fort Pierce Inlet State Park (PRC) – Club station (Multi/Multi)
N4ESU/W4AFC, Werner-Boyce Salt Springs (BSS) Saturday, and Honeymoon Island (HNY) Sunday.
– Low power SSB
W8RDG, Oscar Scherer State Par (OSC) – Single Op, QRP CW, 20/40m
N4BLH, Lower Wekiva River Preserve State Park (LWR) – Single op, QRP mixed, 40/20/15m
KE4PWE, Suwannee River State Park (SUW)
K4EX, Withlacoochee State Trail (WIT) – East Pasco Amateur Radio Society Club Station (Multi/Multi)
K4HOG, Dade Battlefield Historic State Park (DAD) – Hog County Amateur Radio Association Club Station (Multi/Multi)
N4KGL, St. Andrews State Park (AND) + Panhandle Area Parks Marathon Run – 40m SSB/CW Saturday morning with WA6QKN, in conjunction with the RaDAR Challenge. Further parks will be attempted during the rest of the day.
N4AUG, Anastasia State Park (ANA) – Saint Augustine Amateur Radio Society, 15/20/40m mixed mode, multi/multi club station
W4SVI, Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park (BBC) – Everglades Amateur Radio Club, multi/multi club station
W4F, Oscar Scherer State Par (OSC) – Tamiami Amateur Radio Club, multi multi
KM4JTE, Gainesville-Hawthorne State Trail (GHT) – Single Operator, QRP CW, 20/40 meters
N7CAC, Hugh Taylor Birch State Park (HTB ) – Single Operator, QRP SSB, Saturday and possibly Sunday
N4EMA, Grayton Beach State Park (GRY) – Multi operator
KI4NBE, Lake Kissimmee State Park (KIS) – Single op, low power, SSB
K4LKL, Colt Creek State Park (CCR) – Single operator, low power SSB, possibly some CW and Digi. 20m primary, with capabilities for 40m-10m depending on conditions.
K4LKL, Withlacoochee State Trail (WIT)
With just 5 days to go until FLSPOTA weekend, now is the time to start preparing for getting the 35 point satellite bonus! While some of you may be experienced satellite ops, if you haven’t worked sats since the AO-51, AO-27, or even the RS-* days, it might be a good idea to read up a bit and practice some LEO ops before contest day. The current fleet of LEO sats, including AO-85, AO-91, AO-92, and SO-50 (all FM repeaters), and FO-29, the XW-2* sats, AO-73, EO-88, CAS-4B and a couple of others are fast passes (12 minutes or so from horizon to horizon), and require tuning for Doppler shift. Operating full duplex is not required – but is HIGHLY recommended! For FM sats, nearly any HT will work for a transmitter. When operating full duplex with two separate radios, you can use something like a Baofeng for a transmitter, and a higher-quality receiver; Yaesu, Icom, and Kenwood rigs don’t “desense” or overload in the presence of the strong signal transmitted by the other radio. Full-duplex mobile rigs like the FT-8800, TM-D710 and others are also a good choice – and one you may have already in your car!
Here are a few tips:
- Listen to some passes over the next few days, especially if you have never made a satellite QSO or it’s been a long time. Listening will help you get the hang of the “flow” of satellite QSOs. They’re typically short, only exchanging callsigns and locator information (and of course for FLSPOTA, your park ID).
- If you can, schedule a pass with someone you know is a good satellite op. It’s helpful to get over that first try if you know there is someone listening for you! You can find quite a few sat ops on the very active Twitter and Facebook AMSAT communities. You can find me on twitter at twitter.com/matt_nj4y, feel free to give me shout if you want to try a QSO!
- Practice!!! Don’t roll up to the state park on Saturday expecting to make your first-ever satellite QSO successfully. It may go well, but it probably will not without some practice 🙂 Weekend passes tend to be very busy, so having some experience under your belt will help everyone have fun!
- Operate full duplex if possible. You can use a single radio that has this capability (like the Kenwood D72), or two separate radios, one for each band. It makes it a lot easier to operate and tune if you can hear your own downlink signal while transmitting – you can also make sure that you don’t accidentally transmit over another station’s QSO in progress. This is a huge etiquette issue on satellites!
- Use iPhone apps like GoSatWatch, Hamsat, or SatSat, or Android apps like ISS Detector or AMSATDroid. They’ll help to plan which passes to try. Make sure you update your Keplarian elements, and GPS location in the app so you have accurate pass times!
- AO-91 and 92 are good choices because they’re easy to hear and easy to get into. They do tend to be busy on the weekend, so SO-50 is another good option that tends to be a little quieter. AO-85 works well also, but sometimes it takes more transmit power to get into (10-15w). The others are easy to work with 5w or less.
For more info, there is an excellent guide written by Sean Kutzko, KX9X located at https://www.amsat.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/FM-Satellites-Best-Practices.pdf