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

Greg Dober almetco at comcast.net
Tue Feb 24 07:23:05 PST 2009

Not that bad of an idea.  Since I collect grids too, many times I just sit
back and see if there is a grid square that I need.  I try not to make more
than one or two calls if possible on an FM LEO.  Many times, even though I
am not in a rare grid square, (FN00), I will get a call.  I will try to
answer it in between transmissions, but most of the time I purposely-go
silent to allow others to work certain stations.

I find in a 10-minute pass, many contacts can be made.  I think common sense
could eliminate the problems.  If the bird is crowded, do not run a pileup
and CQ if you are not considered a rare grid square.  If someone needs you,
they will call you as you exchange with someone else.  

In addition, I hear the wx forecast and other personal info being given
between operators.  One small exchange between two stations took 50 seconds.
Doesn't sound like a lot, but when you take 8 to 10% of a footprint to chat
abt the wx from Ohio to Illinois for example, you encourage others to fight
for the limited time and footprint left.  

Lastly, not sure how many can use the SSB birds.  It seems many times I have
called or searched an 11-minute VO-52 pass and heard no one.  If you want to
discuss wx, your gallbladder etc, well AO-7, FO-29 and VO-52 are great birds
for that.  Common sense.


-----Original Message-----
From: amsat-bb-bounces at amsat.org [mailto:amsat-bb-bounces at amsat.org] On
Behalf Of Bob Bruninga 
Sent: Tuesday, February 24, 2009 8:32 AM
To: amsat-bb at amsat.org
Subject: [amsat-bb] The Tragedy of the commons

The situation on AO-51 is called the "tragedy of the commons" and is as
predictable as day and night and an inescapable result of human nature. See 


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, or change
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 power and

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

Bob, Wb4APR
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