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New AMSAT Area Coordinator

New AMSAT Area Coordinator for Alaska, Dan O'Barr KL7DR, has been busy recently.  Dan has started a new web site dedicated to the Alaska Amateur Satellite Operators at: http://gahleos.obarr.net.  He was recently authorized, along with AL7JK John Raynsford al7jk@gci.net, to be a control operator for SO-50.

Dan also gave presentations at The Matanuska Amateur Radio Associations http://www.kl7jfu.com September meeting and The Anchorage Amateur Radio Clubs http://www.kl7aa.org October meeting.  More than 50 Hams each attended these meeting.  At the meetings Dan gave demonstrations of Satellite Tracking software and passed out "How to Operate LEO Satellites" literature.  With the help of Craig Bledsoe KL4E, his Arrow antenna and Icom IC-W31A handy-talkie, Dan went outside at both meetings and demonstrated how to make contacts on LEO satellites.  Using this portable equipment, Dan made contacts through SO-50 with, AL7JK, KL7XJ, KL7QZ, KL0UO, VE7WFG in Canada, and KL4E (who was only a few feet away).   He also encouraged Hams to join AMSAT and support the launch of OSCAR-E ("Echo") next year.

On September 13 & 14, 2003, Dan represented AMSAT at the Anchorage ARRL convention and Hamfest.  The AMSAT display was one of the most popular tables at the show.  Zaz Hollander, a reporter for the Anchorage Daily News, published a nice write-up about the Hamfest in the Sunday September 14, 2003 edition.  Her article included these paragraphs;

(Some West Anchorage club members bounce signals off the moon to communicate with each other. Other hams broadcast with the help of orbiting satellites.

Dan O'Barr, a Wasilla technical consultant working a table at the convention, held up an antenna originally used to track radio-collared animals. O'Barr worked on the Slope in the 1990s. He used the antenna to stay in contact with a blind friend who, without much outside interaction, eagerly anticipated their daily conversations.

Avoiding costly phone calls from Prudhoe Bay, the two talked when a satellite passed over O'Barr every day at noon, he said. "I'd go outside and visit with him for 10 minutes, for free.")

The entire article may still be archived at:

Below is a picture of the most popular display at the Hamfest with me, KL7DR explaining LEO satellite operation to Melissa KL1HZ.

KL1HZ and KL7DR explaining LEO satellite operations