[amsat-bb] Re: No Mode S on Eagle

Emily Clarke emily at clarke-design.com
Thu Sep 7 20:43:08 PDT 2006

At 05:38 PM 9/7/2006, Jim Kelly wrote:
>Gentlemen, the point is that the designers and
>engineers are running the program just as they always
>have and us users don't count for much except our
>donations. I'm sorry if this comes off as sour grapes
>but hell, I've been there, done that.

(Views presented here are my own and do not reflect the board of 
AMSAT or Project OSCAR)

I took Jim's excellent post out of context because he raised some 
concerns in the last paragraph that I think are important to address.

I think when the decision to build a satellite comes to fruition 
there is always a balance that needs to be struck between technology 
(which we pioneer generally) and practicality (which generally we 
become the victims of  - see the first point.)  I think the same 
difficult situation once again presents itself.  I don't think we can 
debate whether or not there are tradeoffs, but we can and probably 
will debate any empirical data that might be revealed.

On the one hand we (and the various VHF societies) have pioneered 
microwave communications in many ways.  We've not only been open 
about it, we have promoted its uses.  Ham radio has always relished 
itself as being "first" - and should be proud of that.  When history 
is written, I sincerely hope the role of amateur operators during two 
world wars, a cold war, many natural disasters and for adopting many 
roles (in many countries I might add) would be that we are prepared 
to communicate. WiFi is most likely not something that would have 
happened without packet radio!

We seem to have two roles as radio amateurs - as active members of a 
communicator community and as activists in a political one.

Our role as communicators is very different than our roles as 
activists funding experimental projects. When you contribute to AMSAT 
projects, your contributions should go to projects you support.  If 
you support P3E, you should contribute to it.  If you support Eagle, 
you should contribute to that project.  By support I mean that your 
support should not only take the form of monetary contributions.  You 
can show your support in other ways as well that will expand the 
reach of your support. You might be able to talk up support for a 
particular satellite by doing presentations, or simply by getting 
other like minded people to join AMSAT and/or donate to AMSAT.  You 
might feel strongly enough to become part of a developer team or even 
run for the board.

But the most important roles you play, and probably the easiest, is 
to share your voice.  If you feel strongly that you WILL support a 
satellite that provides services you want, be sure to voice your 
opinion.  Come to (or get behind someone who is attending) the 
general meeting, voice your opinion, and convince the Officers that 
the course of satellite development should include [your 
issue]!  When it comes time to elect BOD members next year, make sure 
you extract a pledge from candidates that they will support your 
point of view!  You can empower yourselves - and you should.

It's your money and your votes - use them to further your agenda.  As 
AMSAT members they are your most powerful voice.



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