[amsat-bb] Re: Portable satellite terminals for disaster relief

JoAnne Maenpaa k9jkm at comcast.net
Tue Oct 27 08:34:28 PDT 2009

Dan observed:
> Amsat can pretty well forget about attracting funding for a 
> geosynchronous amateur satellite supporting emergency commun-
> ications when the capability already exists.

An Amateur Radio Club (of which AMSAT is a unique subset) usually isn't the
first-to-market with technical equipment. On the other hand, a lot of
amateur radio's innovations have become day-to-day technology haven't they?

Nethope at this point has only developed half of what AMSAT proposed - they
did a ground terminal to communicate via an existing commercial service.
Does that make AMSAT's "hopes" to also fly a payload "someday" plus a
revived Namaste ground terminal a redundant proposition? 

Enough companies make commercial satellite ground terminals that it has
become commodity equipment covering a broad spectrum of capability and cost.
Of all the automotive suppliers people still choose what fills their needs
or wallet. Hams choose what fills our needs or wallet from all the amateur
radio gear manufacturers. I guess you're observing that AMSAT's GEO proposal
has to fit into the GEO satellite commodity market.

I've maintained that a GEO satellite is best suited to link widely deployed
sectors of the Incident Command System. A satellite isn't generally useful
in the often portrayed emergency communications scenario of the
ham-in-a-yellow-vest pointing a 2M HT at a pile of tornado damage.

> future satellites that are larger than a Cubesat and in a higher orbit

Yeah, at this point we're realizing that having a GEO satellite offer AMSAT
30x30x30cm of room is equivalent to winning the lottery. Perhaps for the
next few years AMSAT's contributions to increased cubesat capability is a
previously unforeseen intermediate opportunity to get us higher and louder.
That seemed to me to be one of the key decisions coming out of the BoD
meeting and Symposium discussions.

73 de JoAnne K9JKM
k9jkm at amsat.org 

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