On Saturday, October 19, at 2302 UT Hector Martinez CO6CBF achieved what is possibly the first amateur radio contact between Cuba and the UK on the FO-29 satellite.
I am pleased to report that I had my first contact on satellites with the UK.
Peter Atkins G4DOL (IO80so) and I (EL92sd) completed a contact successfully on FO-29. It is the result of a long history which began six months ago.
We tried several times but Peter never could hear below a degree toward my location. I have the same problem in my home station and I usually go to specific spots to try these kinds of contacts. So, I suggested him assemble a portable station to operate from a better spot. He did so and his first smoke test was on October 15th, we almost completed a contact but Peter could not hear my report; I couldn’t reach a good spot due to the rain. Yesterday, I went to a very tall building, I got access to the building `s top and operated from there. Actually, it is a very good spot, it allowed me a great horizon visibility toward Europe; I was able to work FO-29 until -1.5 degrees.
We had a very narrow window but there was enough time to exchange reports, grids and greetings. Our maximum elevation was 1.1 degrees. I believe it is the first contact between UK and Cuba on FO-29! It is a 7286 km contact, a new grid and new country for us!
Please, note that our success was on the 2301z pass, it was very late in the night for Peter. He had to load his car with antennas, radio, a battery and drive five miles from his home looking for a good spot in the windy and dark coast. He was running 50W into a 10 elements Yagi and was using 19 elements Yagi for the downlink; He mounted both antennas on a big tripod and had to manage with a “heavy weigh”. Needless to say that Peter did the difficult part and a very good job!
I was running a FT-817nd, a 50W homebrew power amplifier and ELK antenna. Everything was supplied by a 12V 7A Gel battery. I was operating Half-Duplex but we ran the frequency calculations based on the great feature implemented on SatPC32 V12.8b. So, it was very easy to find each other in the pass band. It was my 8th transatlantic contact with Europe on FO-29!
Right Now, FO-29 has a big footprint. Please, if you are into the footprint and want to try a long distance contact, just drop me an email. I will try until complete a contact with you. Unfortunately, Cubans cannot operate on AO-7B; FO-29 is our only chance for DX contacts.
Thanks very much to Peter for this exciting contact!
FO-29 information http://amsat-uk.org/satellites/fuji-oscar-29-jas-2/
April 2013 Cuban 7330 km contact on FO-29 http://amsat-uk.org/2013/04/08/7330-km-contact-on-amateur-radio-satellite-fo-29/