[amsat-bb] Re: Let's Go!

Patrick STODDARD (WD9EWK/VA7EWK) amsat-bb at wd9ewk.net
Wed Oct 14 14:57:27 PDT 2009

Hi Bill (and others)!

> Many thanks for your appreciated words of support. The decision was
> very, very hard and I know we'll receive many slings and arrows for it,
> but while it sure wasn't our preferred project - it is a realistic one.
> We all want a HEO or would even settle for a MEO but until someone can
> "show us the money" to get our satellite there, we're stuck in LEO,
> plain and simple.

This is the message that must go out from last weekend's AMSAT
Symposium.  Acknowledge what can - and can't - be done, and
work on what we can do.

The 1U cubesat project, along with AMSAT working toward an
agreement with the University of Florida and the collaboration with
SUNY-Binghamton, need to proceed and all be successful.  All of this
needs support from us - monetary contributions for the construction and
launch of the new satellite, as well as contributions of time from those
who are able to work with the SUNY-Binghamton students as well as
whatever is needed with the Florida efforts if an agreement is reached

Minutes after the end of the annual meeting Saturday, I was signing up
for a life membership.  Earlier today, I used the online store to make
another contribution toward this new $100K fundraising goal for 2010.
My skills are not those that are needed for the SUNY-Binghamton project,
so I'll contribute in other ways - monetary donations, plus my time at
hamfests or other events representing AMSAT.  By the way, I will be at
a hamfest in Tucson AZ on Saturday (17 October) morning with an
AMSAT table and doing demonstrations on various satellites, which I'll
elaborate on in another message later.

Like many, I'd love to have an HEO satellite.  From here in Arizona,
geography limits me to a relative handful of countries I can hear on
our current crop of satellites.  I was not on the satellites in the days of
AO-10, AO-13, or AO-40.  AO-7 doesn't get me to Europe or Asia
from here.  I'm a DXer at heart, so the thought of being able to work
these places via satellite without the lack of propagation getting in the
way is an appealing thought.  Until that happens, I'm enjoying the LEO
satellites, working different stations when close to home or on the road,
and the friendships that have come from thousands of QSOs over the
last 4 years.  I'm hoping for an HEO bird, and at the same time I'm
getting on the air.

As for the AMSAT board's choice of an FM satellite compared to a
linear transponder, it seems simple to me when I look through my
satellite log over the last 4 years.  Many more work FM than SSB.  I
wish it wasn't that way, but the data doesn't lie.  Drew pointed this
out during a presentation at the Symposium, and his findings mirror
what I see in my own logs.  I am lucky to get 4 or even 6 QSOs on
VO-52 or FO-29 on a single pass over the last 14-15 months I've been
on those birds, and that would only happen during a hamfest
demonstration.  Admittedly, there are some passes on VO-52 where I
have worked exactly one station - having a nice chat for the entire
pass.  VO-52 may be the best of our current crop of satellites, with a
very strong downlink copyable with something other than a directional
antenna (I've used a telescoping whip with my FT-817s to make a
QSO not long ago).  It also hears well, and I regularly cut my transmit
power down to 500mW during many passes just to see how well I hear
myself.  If I'm looking to work a lot of stations on my road trips, the FM
birds are the only way to go.  I'm not going to work 20 or almost 30
stations on VO-52, but that's possible on AO-51 or even the 7-minute
passes on AO-27 are good for sometimes up to 20 QSOs.  Rather than
waiting and hoping for an HEO satellite, I am happy to make good use
of what we currently have - while waiting and hoping for an HEO satellite.

The plans for a U/V FM satellite are great, to have an FM satellite but
swap the uplink and downlink bands around.  I made 2 QSOs via
SO-35 in 2000, using two HTs with long duckie antennas through that
U/V FM satellite.  There are also many QSOs that I've made through
the ISS cross-band U/V repeater when it has been available, also
enjoyable.  It will be a nice change of pace, even if it means more of
a challenge in having to deal with Doppler on the uplink instead of the
downlink.  I look forward to that.

> I can tell you personally that one answer is to modify a LEO orbit. It's
> no at all easy but it is an intuitive alternate for a better orbit. I am
> also optimistic, given the papers on the subject at the Symposium, that
> creative thought will be given by AMSAT-NA on the subject. It's not an
> answer for next year or even five years out, but it's coming.

Yes, some of what was presented looks intriguing, and may be our way
out of strictly LEO orbits.

I apologize if this message is a bit long.  After the past year or so, it was
great to see the plan unveiled last weekend by the AMSAT board.  Maybe
once we see the fruits of this plan will the radio manufacturers look closer
at adding satellite capabilities to future offerings.  It is exciting
to see a plan
which is more than "build one satellite", but lay the groundwork for many
satellites and create partnerships and relationships with universities that
are already building and launching their own satellites.  None of this may
be HEO, but we do need to have a plan for more satellites.  This plan is
a good one.



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