Extreme DX satellite contact between UK and Texas

CO6CBF-FO-29-SATPC32aOn April 27, 2015 at 1901 GMT, Cuban radio amateur Hector Martinez W5CBF/CO6CBF achieved a 7537.8 km DX contact with UK amateur Peter Atkins G4DOL via FO-29.

Antennas of Peter Atkins G4DOL near Weymouth

Antennas of Peter Atkins G4DOL near Weymouth

I am pleased to report that Peter G4DOL and I had another extreme QSO on FO-29. It is my furthest contact on the birds!

Back on October 2013, Peter and I had a very nice contact between EL92sd, Cienfuegos, Cuba and IO80so, Weymouth area, UK. It was a 7286 km contact and probably the first contact between UK and Cuba on FO-29!

Peter and I desired to try again on FO-29, this time between EM21hs, Texas, US and his habitual spot in IO80so. We were able to complete a very nice CW contact on the 92319 orbit of FO-29. Peter had just 0.1 degree as maxim elevation while I had 0.8 during the 80 seconds mutual window.

As before, Peter did all the hard work by driving until his habitual spot at a cliff-top and setting up his “portable satellite station” (19 elements Yagi for 435 MHz and 10 elements Yagi for 145 MHz both with horizontal polarization). FO-29 was sounding really good on these orbits. It was a solid 559 satellite contact, we were very impressed.

Antennas used by Hector Martinez W5CBF/CO6CBF in Texas

Antennas used by Hector Martinez W5CBF/CO6CBF in Texas

We made the calculations using our 10 digit grid squares at http://no.nonsense.ee/qth/map.html

The distance between the stations was 7537.799 km (4683.77 mi). To my knowledge, the longest distance achieved on FO-29 until now had been 7,533.685 km between Frank, K4FEG and Erich, DK1TB http://www.qrz.com/db/k4feg

UPDATE 2015-05-08: K4KEG has now revised his distance to 7,538.685 km. This puts his contact with DK1TB just ahead of that of W5CBF and G4DOL.

It appears that an even longer distance is achievable. It has been reported that FO-29 has a “theoretical maximum range” of 7502 km, but I guess that at least 7600km is doable. We will try to break our own record!

This contact was possible thanks to the great feature implemented on SatPC32 V12.8b. There is an option of seeing the frequency you are at the satellite receiver at any time during a pass. It allows the operators to tune the right frequencies and attempt a contact without having to search for each other.

Thanks very much to Peter for his persistence, effort and all the fun!

Hector, W5CBF/CO6CBF

Listen to a recording of the contact between W5CBF and G4DOL via FO-29

2013 FO-29 satellite contact between Cuba and the UK

FO-29 information https://amsat-uk.org/satellites/two-way-comms-satellites/fuji-oscar-29-jas-2/