[amsat-bb] Why should we support AMSAT?

Daniel Schultz n8fgv at usa.net
Sat Oct 22 22:36:33 PDT 2011

> Why should we support AMSAT. I already have a cell phone. I could give you
> my number. We could set up a conference call. Everyone can talk and listen
> ...worldwide....and interrupt each other....for a lot less cost than
> putting up our own satellite. Better yet... there is the
> internet...Skype...complete with video. We can talk all over the world.
> Why should we spend money on our own satellites when somebody else
>  has already paid the bill? No pile-ups,...Problem solved.   :-))
> KM9U...just a fellow amateur wondering why. ;-))

President Kennedy answered your question better than I can:

"But why, some say, the moon? Why choose this as our goal?...... We choose to
go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are
easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and
measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one
that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which
we intend to win"

Now replace "We choose to go to the moon" with "We choose to design and build
our own satellites" and all the rest of the words apply just as well to us, 50
years later.

If you just want to make phone calls, you don't need to be a ham. Ham radio is
for the one kid in 100 who wants to pry the lid off the box and see how the
magic works.

The amateur radio satellite community paved the way for all of the small
satellites that came later. Amsat alumni founded many of the companies that
are now active in the small satellite business, the same industry which has
now bid up the price of secondary launches to a point where we can no longer
afford to launch satellites by passing the hat and selling software and
t-shirts at hamfests.

Why support Fox?  Fox will send a message to the CubeSat community that they
should set their sights higher than that of building short lived beepsats that
are considered successful if they transmit a signal for one day before going
silent. The engineering needed to build a satellite for a 5 year or longer
mission will be eye-opening to some of these groups. The RF system must be
engineered for space flight, not adapted from data sheets and application
notes that are better suited for baby monitors or garage door openers, or
taking the plastic case off of a store bought handietalkie and hoping that it
will perform on orbit. We can use the energy and enthusiasm of the student
satellite builders, and they can learn from our 50 years of experience in
satellite communications.

FOX is a way for Amsat to show off our engineering prowess to the rest of the
satellite world. Providing communications packages ready to drop into a new
satellite could be our ticket in the future. If we can find a university or
agency that wants to put their experiment into HEO but doesn't want the hassle
of designing their communications system, that could be our ticket back to

Dan Schultz N8FGV

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