[amsat-bb] Re: The Tragedy of the commons

Bruce kk5do at amsat.org
Tue Feb 24 07:00:35 PST 2009

Very interesting Bob..... I had just sent this to a friend of mine to
look at before sending to the bb. It is basically the same thing.
However, taking checkins is too time consuming, this is a much easier plan.

When dx stations are working HF and they are operating split, they can
very easily move up and down the band to find a station that is in the
clear. Also, no one has a problem hearing them (except for the
occasional guy that forgets to hit split). However, when on the
satellite, you do not have the luxury of split operations on FM. The dx
station keeps trying to get back to the one station he wants to work,
others keep calling and it is futile. By the time you work that one guy,
minutes have gone by and both are bouncing call signs back and forth
until correct.

I worked a bunch of rare grid squares over the years (as I am sure many
others have done like WB4APR, KO4MA, N5AFV, W5ACM, WD9EWK, WI7P (former
W7SFI) etc) and I have found the easiest way to maximize your contacts
is to first listen and write down all the calls you hear for about a
minute. This is the quickest way to get them all down without having
everyone stepping on each other. Since the stronger stations will repeat
themselves several times, you will have a chance to get them correct.

Then one of the regular ops (the alligator, you might say) has to tell
everyone to stop transmitting for a minute and see who the dx station
has heard. The dx station comes back and says I have K1KK, K2KK, K3KK
etc. As the dx station was heard by everyone and he answered back with
your call, you have a two-way contact. Now, those that he did not hear
will give out their calls while all the others are happy. If he got a
call sign incorrect, he just needs to write down the correction when he
hears it and then acknowledge it on the next go around.

After a minute, someone has the stations break and he again the dx
station comes back and gives those that he has heard. Everyone that is
on the satellite should have the opportunity to get their contact as the
big fish will get plucked first and the weaker stations as you go on.
This also means they all don't have to say, 'thanks for the contact.'
Ten people saying, 'thanks for the contact, have fun' will wind up
wasting a minute or two which further limits others from making a contact.

It basically involves someone being a 'monitor or pilot' for the dx op
because they don't have the power to get through and do it themselves.
It can be anyone on that pass that just has to say after a minute or so,
'hang on guys let's see who he has heard.' In no more than 5 minutes he
should have about 30 contacts, if there were that many on the pass.

The training that the new dx op receives is great because it gets them
on the air. However, with an FM transponder, you have to do things a bit
differently to maximize your efforts.

If we had some type of procedure, then everyone that tries to get the dx
station on all dxpeditions would know when someone says see who he has
heard, they would pause and give him a break to give his list. It will
work very smoothly once everyone understands how to do it. Even those
that do not subscribe to amsat-bb will know when someone says, 'stop
transmitting, see who he has heard' will understand what that means. As
the AO-51 command team setup the second transponder for the dxpedition's
use, those that are not into hunting dx/grids can remain on the primary


On 2/24/2009 7:31 AM, Bob Bruninga wrote:
>  The situation on AO-51 is called the "tragedy of the commons" and is aspredictable as day and night and an inescapable result of human nature. See
>  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tragedy_of_the_commons
>  No amount of grousing and complaining, and high minded condemnation of others is going to change that.  What we need to do is not try to change human nature (my wife has been trying to do that her entire life with little to show for it), but either live with it and take advantage of it, orchange the paradigm.
>  I have been recommending for years that we solve it like we do any amateur radio net.  That is, operate with volunteer net control operators that take checkins by region or other discriminant for the duration of the pass.  On each exchange, he announces the next narrow selection and takes checkins.  Ever mindful of the satellite location on the map.
>  Examples from a pass from Sandiego to Maine:
>  "This is N6XXX taking checkins from K6's in SOCAL"
>  "Now W6's...  Now A6's.... Now N6's.
>  "This is N6XXX taking checkins from HT's in SOCAL
>  "now W0's... now K0's, now ...
>  "Handing over to Net Control in the Central States...
>  and so forth.
>  How do you define Net Control?  Easy. the first guy with the most powerand stamina.
>  Can you think of problems, sure! There are all kinds of complaints and issues and why-not-me, and how-could you limit my rights... etc... that we will hear, but operating as a net has always been the method in radio to gain some semblance of order, and we should be proud of our tradition in that regard.
>  What about contesting and points, and scores, etc?  That is easy.  We define a contact as a 2 way between every person that got his full call and grid or location through.  After all, that is what a net control does, facilitate the many-way exchange of information between all users.
>  If net control hears of a DEMO, or DX station or special event, or emergency traffic, or island expedition, he can then give that station the attention it needs.
>  Anyway, this method cannot be worse than what we have now (which is a free-for-all which is setup to fail as the tragedy of the commons).  We operated PCSAT2 FM voice repeater sometimes with a net control and it was nice and orderly and fun.
>  Anyway, there is the solution.  Either try it, or keep complaining forever...
>  Bob, Wb4APR
>  _______________________________________________
>  Sent via AMSAT-BB at amsat.org. Opinions expressed are those of the author.
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Bruce Paige, KK5DO

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