[amsat-bb] Re: Eagle's New Design

Bob McGwier n4hy at idaccr.org
Wed Oct 11 09:17:50 PDT 2006

Bill and I had a long talk in San Francisco and I didn't even have to  
twist his arm to work on the high microwave band gear.    Bill is a 
professional microwave designer.  I brushed aside our differences and 
added another valuable volunteer to our cadre.   This is my approach to 
engineering and it always will be.   We do not need "yes-persons", we 
need competent people unafraid to ask questions and take tough answers 
in return and at times they can be very tough.  We recently told a 30 
year AMSAT veteran that his years of work was mothballed.  It was done 
in a direct manner based on analysis and technical argument but that was 
tough indeed.  AMSAT-NA engineering is not for the faint of heart, done 
as it is in a distributed manner, constantly having to shift to fit 
targets of opportunity.   All who can operate in a peer reviewed 
environment and have something to contribute  are invited to do so.  
Agreement with the "boss"  (what a joke) is not required.  I can point 
to a dozen instances where I have been corrected by team members in the 
past year.  It is great and we are lucky to have one of the best teams 
we have ever had.

For any of the rest of you who want to work on Eagle, P3E, support the 
organization, etc. AMSAT-NA/AMSAT-DL , are equal opportunity 
exploiters.  I don't care if we have ever had a disagreement.  If you 
can help,  join.  But don't join unless you can deliver on your desire 
to help.   If you are not up to doing technical/design/etc because of 
lack of time,  or it is just not your thing,  figure out another way to 
help.  We need $33,000 to close the year on the Eagle fund raising.  
That does not necessarily mean write a check,  it can mean passing a hat 
at a local club meeting.  Be creative and get off your couch or computer 
chair and help us help you.  I think AMSAT-NA is about 6 weeks from 
announcing a major new facility.  In that facility we are intending on 
doing great good for the AMSAT's and others.  In order to set this up to 
help Eagle,  some cubesats (part of the potential agreement),  possibly 
do more work for AMSAT-DL and P3E than we are currently doing,  etc.  We 
need your support.  Please help us close that gap.

Criticism is not wrong.  It is never wrong to ask tough questions.  
Openness is the answer to doing things better.  Ad hominem attacks on 
volunteers is unacceptable and I will fight every single instance with a 
response. We are asking for your support.  Se we expect you to ask 
questions and have them answered.  We are in a very difficult  and 
frustrating period.  The entire launch industry changed underneath us 
DURING the AO-40 campaign.   We are in a very different world and we are 
beginning to learn our way around in it.  Our path will not be easy,  it 
will be even more difficult than it was before.   But our choices are 
walk this path or give up.    It is not sufficient any longer for you, 
gentle reader, to say "You guys need to do this or that".  There is no 
"You guys".  WE need to act.  Even thought it seems like a large 
mountain,  it can be ascended by putting one patient foot in front of 
the other.  I simply refuse to give up and feel hopeless since I am 
absolutely certain it is not hopeless.  We can get tired and we might 
have to alter our path to fit, but there is a path.  It might take a 
month,  a year, or longer to figure out our way through this time.  If 
we cross the chasm in the way the organization currently envisions,  we 
could enter a truly golden age.  There are a million ruts in the path or 
we would say more to help you understand we are not on our chairs doing 
nothing.  But to do so at this stage could jeopardize the path.   If we 
get down this path without falling into a rut,  I am beyond excited for 
our long term future.


Bill Ress wrote:

>Really nice meeting you at the Symposium along with all the other great
>folks in attendance.
>After attending the Symposium, like you, I too came away with the strong
>feeling that the Eagle team will listen to legitimate concerns and that they
>presented and approved an Eagle satellite system that I now can "fully"
>This -bb will likely recognize me as one of several who has been vocal about
>trying to counter the strong negative feelings held my some members of Eagle
>team about our L and S band satellite frequency allocations.
>While I have said that I agree with the future potential for problems in
>these bands, I felt there we can finds ways to mitigate the impacts - and
>that feeling hasn't changed. In fact, at the conference, there were
>presentations by IARU and ARRL representatives that said if we don't occupy
>and utilize our allocations, both amateur and amateur satellite on VHF to
>microwave, we will "surely" lose them.
>Well - - - - I am very pleased to note, if you haven't seen the release yet,
>that Eagle will be including a linear L band up and S band down mode.
>I'd like to think that the comments and debate held here on the -bb might
>have had some influence on this decision and would like to thank the many
>for participating in the discourse - both pro and con.
>Some features of the satellite, namely the ACP (Advanced Communication
>Package), which are the digital modes, will likely cause some gas pains for
>many who might not yet understand or appreciate the reasoning for them (I
>WAS ONE). The concern for the added "potential" for the complexity and
>reliability of this new mode was raised from the floor during the General
>Meeting. I can tell you the team convinced me through their responses that
>while the satellite business is by its nature very risky, they are fully
>aware of that fact and will be designing and testing to reduce the potential
>for "failure."
>We will "all" have the opportunity to review and critique the designs as
>they evolve through Eaglepedia - - unlike any other prior satellite building
>project. I'm also convinced that the Eagle team will respect and give
>consideration to all of us who wish to act as "peer reviewers" and present
>constructive opinions and suggestions.
>So lets get on with the business of building Eagle and getting it launched.
>Oh yah - - - as Eric points out, VOTE yes - if you can accept this new
>proposed Eagle satellite - by sending in any donations you can live with.
>Regards...Bill - N6GHz
>-----Original Message-----
>From: amsat-bb-bounces at amsat.org [mailto:amsat-bb-bounces at amsat.org]On
>Behalf Of Eric H. Christensen
>Sent: Sunday, October 08, 2006 9:50 AM
>To: amsat-bb at amsat.org
>Subject: [amsat-bb] Eagle's New Design
>I have to say that I have been very critical of the Eagle development
>team with their plans for the bird.  At the time I did not agree with
>their recommendations nor did I agree with their decisions.  I WAS
>While I am quite relieved with the new plan for Eagle, which includes
>a linear transponder for V/U and L/S along with the new digital
>"Advanced Communications Payload", there is no excuse for my previous
>words.  Contrary to popular belief, the satellite builders and the
>Eagle team are not out to just build whatever they want but rather to
>build what will work.  There is no way that they would spend the many
>hours it takes to build all the pieces and parts it takes to make a
>satellite to send up something that no one will use or that won't work.
>I don't know if EaglePedia has been updated with the latest and
>greatest information but I was very impressed with Bob McGwier's
>presentation on the latest configuration of Eagle.  If you weren't
>able to attend the annual symposium then please keep an eye out on the
>website (amsat.org) for the latest and greatest information on the
>project.  Take a look at the new information and then make sure you
>let everyone know that you support Eagle by going to
>http://www.amsat.org/amsat-new/eagle/#donating and donating.  It is
>very important that we all pitch in and help fund this project so that
>construction can move forward.  From my understanding, we raised quite
>a bit of money at the symposium but we need more.  Help the amateur
>satellite community and join the President's Club and/or donate
>directly to the Eagle project.  It is the future of our community.
>Eric KF4OTN
>kf4otn at amsat.org

Robert W. McGwier, Ph.D.
Center for Communications Research
805 Bunn Drive
Princeton, NJ 08540
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