[amsat-bb] Re: Radio amateur calling protocol

Jeremy Ramirez jramirez at wheatonparks.org
Wed Feb 27 07:26:56 PST 2008

Well put Bruce.  Being someone that hasn't spent years on the birds and having originally started my satellite experimentation with SO-50 not all that long ago it is discouraging to hear the minority of amsat users complaining about FM birds (why do we have them) or the crowded passes where newcomers may be having a bit of trouble.

I for one was happy to be able to start by using a handheld radio and antenna to make contacts on one of the FM birds (SO-50 or AO-51).  Having done that sparked my interest and contributions to AMSAT-NA.  I have since started experimenting since the purchase of a IC-910H with other modes (mostly listening) and hope to start making contacts that way as well.  While I may have done my due diligence and done a lot of listening before trying to talk, we can't fault others completely for getting a bit excited or not knowing "everything" first time out.

Harsh scolding isn't going to drive anyone to use the satellites and it certainly won't get AMSAT-NA new members or donations.  Let's keep our hobby civil and help guide some of those that may be having trouble.  Perhaps updated how-to's, etc?  I support new efforts for a HEO bird with various modes but also support those decisions that were made for "easy-sats" like AO-51 to help generate interest and proficiency.

73, Jeremy

-----Original Message-----
From: amsat-bb-bounces at amsat.org [mailto:amsat-bb-bounces at amsat.org] On Behalf Of Bruce Robertson
Sent: Wednesday, February 27, 2008 6:43 AM
To: Bato, Andras
Cc: amsat-bb at amsat.org
Subject: [amsat-bb] Re: Radio amateur calling protocol
These comments aren't directed specifically at Andras, but rather to
the general tenor of this thread.

I'm not sure that this list is the best place to discuss egregious
operating habits on the satellites. It's my impression that most of
these are due to newcomers experimenting with setups that have poor
reception or who are very occasional users of the satellites. But this
list isn't, in my experience, well subscribed by those two audiences.
Recently, someone on the list made a longish document regarding
satellite etiquette, and it was picked up by the RSS services. Perhaps
a web or wiki page on these matters would be most effective.

Another thought: people who are failing to receive their own signals
or who are making long CQs to tune their setup (which I suspect is
going on in the situation described above) are, in fact, doing that
which the satellites are meant to support: experimentation with space
communication. If this is so, then they represent the future of our
branch of the hobby, not merely an annoyance. Our advice should be
geared toward improving their experiments and helping them build
satellite communication skills; if their tentative steps disrupt our
regular communication is, to my mind, secondary.

It always concerns me that newcomers reading a thread like this will
be frightened away. It might seem that there are too many ways to be
branded a lid in satellite operations, and if people on email are this
judgemental, it must be brutal on the birds. I'm sure everyone will
agree that this is not the case: a new callsign, however deaf :-), is
greeted with great enthusiasm and everyone tries to support everyone
else with technical advice and a kind word. We want you to succeed and
to learn about the amazing mix of planetary physics and RF that makes
satellite operations so engaging.


Again, for the benefit of the larger audience, it should be noted that
this is of historical interest only. The current AMSAT-NA mission
statement involves the production of HEO satellites while supporting
others in LEO work, FM or not. There may be those of us, like me, who
find AO-51 provided a fine stepping-stone to linear work, but we are
happy to have our membership fees and donations support the HEO
mission. Moreover, the dichotomy between FM and linear LEO is a
somewhat false one. VO-52 has shown that a linear transponder can be
used in FM over part of the world and linear usage over others. Kiwi
sat and others intend to provide both services in their upcoming
birds. I'm grateful to be able to use an FM bird in portable
circumstances, since I don't have a full-duplex SSB radio that I can
carry around in the forest (now that would be a great homebrew project

73, Bruce
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