[amsat-bb] HEO sat

Howie DeFelice howied231 at hotmail.com
Sat Feb 7 08:12:17 PST 2009

I think anyone who has ever worked or even just listened to one of the HEO birds really miss them. However, I agree that the notion we will be able to get another VHF/UHF HEO is unlikely and probably just not a good idea anymore. I don't buy the notion that the microwave bands are a restriction, actually, I think it's just the opposite. When AO-40 was launched how many people had S-band receiving equipment? I bet not that many. When it became apparent that was going to be the band of choice the ham community got together and came up with solutions for both "builders" and "buyers". After a short period of time the AO-40 downlink sounded like 40 meters with all the stations online. The notion that ther is no equipment for 3.4/5.6 Ghz is also not exactly true. Yes, not from Kenwood/Yeasu/Icom, but E-bay is littered with C-band LNB's that will downconvert 3.4 Ghz. to L-band. It would be pretty simple to convert that to UHF for the rigs we already have. The same goes for the transmit side. the 5.6 Ghz. uplink is very close to the commerical 5.8 Ghz. uplink and I would be very surprised if a relatively simple mod could not geet some low power C-band BUC's retuned to there.
I also don't subscribe to the notion that LEO birds are the main attraction to newcomers. I think most people find that haveing a satellite visible for hours makes it much easier to figure out what is going on and develop the required skills to work the satellite, which in my opinion are less stringent than trackin a fast moving object acroos the sky while compensating doppler and fighting the 20 other people on the channel. I think we are all in agreement that the chance to launch our own HEO is not looking good at the moment. The best chance we have is to piggyback onto a commercial GEO. That is going to take a concentrated effort and this is where my frustration comes in. We were told about an MOU with Intelsat but none of the details. Are they proprietary (I'm sure they are)? Even so, they should be made available to members upon execution of a non-dislcosure agreement. If we want to get a payload hosted on a commercial sat it has to have minimum impact on the satellite weight and power and should offer some benefit to the hosting company, such as proving new technology, public relations or even writing off a portion of the satellite capacity as a donation. In order to accomplish this, we need to have joint effort between the "marketing" savy members that can sell the idea to Intelsat (and possibly others) and the "tech" savvy members that can develop the hardware to fit the opportunity. As an organization, we need to adapt to our environment or die. Instead of lamenting the fact of what we don't have, let's move the discussion toward what we DO have and how can we pull that together to get what we want. I'll even start...
1. What can the BOD tell the membership in a public forum about the MOU with Intelsat concerning the requirements for a hosted payload?
2. A lot of work was started on the ACP project and was written up in the Journal, can we put together a "labsat" to take to hamfests and more importantly, prospective satellite operators to show what we are doing? How can the membership help?
3. During AO-40's lifetime, a lot of good information was passed on the BB about getting on 2.4Ghz. Can we start doing the same thing with C-band (3.4/5.6). As a start, maybe people can start reporting when they find C-band LNB's and feeds being sold especially in quantity. 
4. For the more marketing savvy, how do we answer the question "Why should I use some of my valuable satellite assets to support AMSAT?"
If we all picked just one of the above 4 topics and acted on it, we would generate more progress toward a HEO opprtunity than any of the discussion so far. Ok..time for someone elses rant ..de  Howie, AB2S  
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