[amsat-bb] Re: Keep It Simple Silly
Eric H. Christensen
eric at christensenplace.us
Sun Sep 30 15:25:56 PDT 2007
And now I'll take a turn at giving my opinion.
I've been an active member of AMSAT going on four years and a member of
Project OSCAR for a little less than that. I'm glad that we, amateur
scientists that we are, are using new technologies to produce our
"product" to the amateur community.
Amateur radio has changed since the early 1900s where people
experimented and built their equipment and learned from their failures
and, most importantly, learned from their successes. Ever since the
very beginning the world has looked at the amateur radio community,
directly and indirectly, for the latest and cutting edge (sometimes
bleeding edge) ideas and technologies. Unfortunately since the early
ninety's I feel that amateur radio has slipped in this technology arena.
No one hardly ever builds anything anymore and too many of us younger
crowd expect the older crowd to get everything going for them (not always).
I got involved in AMSAT and Project OSCAR because they were still
cutting edge. They still had the world's ear and they were not afraid
of trying new things. We have had almost 60 (or maybe more now) "OSCAR"
satellites flown since OSCAR 1 was built and launched and we're not done
yet. If we want to ever make it in this world and not get run over by
the commercial world then we'll have to stay on top of technology and
keep developing new ideas. We have to keep building on our successes
and fixing our failures or else we'll just have to wait for HRO (Ham
Radio Outlet) to start selling satellite parts (or maybe the entire
satellite) in order for us to get our satellites in orbit.
Someone mentioned that AO-7 was probably the biggest success in AMSAT's
history. I have to say that AO-7 is a very nice satellite and one that
I hope to operate on it more in the future. But it should also be noted
that AO-7 was silent for twenty-one years before it came back to life to
be operational when in the sun's illumination. Before it went silent in
1981 it had been operational for six and a half years which is great. I
can only hope that all of our satellites will operate that long and
longer in the future.
I think that if we have the opportunity to fly equipment that will allow
for a better power budget (something that has always been a problem on
satellites and probably always will), that will provide more/better
functionality, and that will allow for upgrades later on down the road
(it's software after all) then I say go for it. If you haven't had
enough time to get a lot of testing on it? Well then fly a second
transponder, one that is built smartly using "traditional" technology.
That way you can use it as an experimental platform. We can also take
advantage short lived LEO satellites and maybe even use the ISS as an
experiment platform (as was done with PCSAT2).
If we don't cross the SDX bridge now then when? If you say never then
you don't understand what our amateur radio "fore-fathers" were thinking
and feeling when they built the very technology and laws that allow us
to communicate the way we do today.
Eric Christensen, W4OTN
AMSAT Area Coordinator - Southeastern Virginia USA
AMSAT Member 35360
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