[amsat-bb] A Reply to Mr. McGwier

Dean Shutt al7cr at amsat.org
Sat Oct 7 11:24:37 PDT 2006

Fellow Amsat members and satellite enthusiasts,

I have been a member of AMSAT-NA and Amsat-UK since 1993 and have for 
the most part greatly enjoyed the amateur satellite hobby.  I have been 
around long enough to have suffered through (if one can suffer for a 
hobby) Mr. McGwier once before in regards his participation in the DSP 
2232.  I was frankly extremely disappointed to see him become heavily 
involved in a major AMSAT satellite project. Based on his public 
statements concerning the DSP 2232, I fully expected him to be very 
opinionated, intolerant of criticism, and quick to place blame on others 
when challenged concerning any aspect of his work.  I also expected, and 
still expect, that he will quit claiming he is unappreciated and that 
the project can succeed only if his advice is followed.  I formed this 
opinion of Mr. McGwier through reading his many long posts concerning 
his involvement in the DSP 2232 project and by daily using the device 
both as it was shipped and as others later made it fully usable for 
satellite work.  You may wish to Goggle up the archives from that time 
and read them.  I think you will find many similarities between their 
tone and content and that of his recent post to this board.

I will not comment on the many inappropriate statements in Mr. McGwier's 
post save the following:

"I am really personally disappointed in the level of discourse in the AMSAT
BB.   It is extremely harmful, possibly beyond repair, to our
organization.  We are seeking serious external funding, and we need to
make a significant investment in many areas to get this spacecraft
built.  I have never been prouder of where the AMSAT-NA and AMSAT-DL
engineers are going on your behalf than I am right now. I am very
disappointed in the members of this forum.  It is so damaging to our
public image that if this does not improve and significantly,  I will
have to recommend that we end its current form.  You are hurting your
fellow satellite users and the VERY small number of volunteers who make
serious personal sacrifices to build these things, and much larger
number of volunteers who daily make quiet personal efforts in near
silence on all our behalf.  In my opinion, there is not a single member
of the included thread who can hold their heads high and be proud of it."

It appears Mr. McGwier is fearful that continued discussion of what the 
designers wish to build may negatively effect the "serious external 
funding" required to build it.  This to me fully supports the view that 
the designers wish to be funded to build what they wish and not what the 
amateur satellite community wish to operate. I do not believe attempting 
to squelch the free exchange of views is helpful.  I suggest that better 
and more timely communication is appropriate including opinions 
incongruent with those of Mr. McGwier.  The current debate started as a 
result of a lack of communication from the designers.  There will 
certainly be more if the situation does not improve.  The designers must 
realize that communication with the folks from whom they expect support 
is as much a part of assuring a successful project as the hardware design.

Working as a volunteer, for however many hours, does not excuse being 
intolerant of the views of other members of the organization nor by 
itself does it support the validity of one's own views.  Perhaps Mr. 
McGwier will learn to hit the delete button before dispatching  more of 
these all to familiar abrasive, unprofessional, and intolerant 
commentaries.  History offers little hope this will occur.  If you think 
this opinion harsh then read again the last sentence in the above quote:

"In my opinion, there is not a single member of the included thread who 
can hold their heads high and be proud of it."

The AMSAT VP of Engineering states that no one participating in a thread 
critical of his views on a single subject can be proud of themselves ...

I believe the exact opposite.


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