[amsat-bb] getting "cheep" on the birds! (Pun intended)

Fri Jan 20 04:52:53 PST 2012

There seems to have been a rash of postings lately about how to get on 
the the "birds" for "cheep" ( yes the pun is implied!).
IMHO cheap is not always equated with good. No one wants the "cheapest" 
Doctor around or the "cheapest" lawyer or the "cheapest" anything.
With the demise of AO51 and the loss of its simple operating 
characteristics, there has been a migration to the "less" popular 
satellites. Most of the other FM satellites are no where near as "user 
friendly" as AO51 was.

With people suggesting that people can get on to the satellites with an 
inexpensive Chinese made dual band HT and a "telescoping" antenna and 
nothing else, they are creating a perception that that is all you need 
to have a successful satellite station.
Nothing could be further from the truth!  AO27 has a 7 minute timer, 
there are increasing numbers of people who will call CQ the entire 
satellite pass over North America and never answer a single response to 
their "CQ's", and for some unknown reason these stations NEVER have an 
email address listed on their QRZ listing. Some of us actually use the 
satellites and do not like it when operators have been told they do not 
need a preamp or a good antenna or a good radio.

It is much simpler to get into the uplink of the satellite than it is to 
hear it.

I wish some of the "self-proclaimed" experts would tell these people 
that if they cannot hear themselves on the downlink that does not mean 
that they are not keying the satellite.

If people are going to encourage people to get on the satellites, teach 
them how to use the satellites, not how they can get on the satellites 
for less than $100.00. They are getting on the satellite and causing 
interference for those that have invested in the equipment to take 
proper advantage of what the satellites have to offer.

Some of the people that are pontificating profusely on the subject of 
operating "for cheap" I have never heard on the satellites.

Encouraging people to become active is one thing, but giving people the 
impression that all they have to do is get a basic $80.00 radio and a 
telescoping antenna and they will have a top notch satellite station 
tantamount to turning an untrained Doctor loose to do surgery.

For those that want to encourage people to get active, how about 
teaching or recommending proper operating techniques, before you tell 
them how "cheaply" they can get on the satellites.

AO27 has such a short timer that good technique is paramount for getting 
the best use out of it, and SO50 has plenty of "quirks" to make it a 
challenge at times for the "seasoned" operator.

I hope some of those promoting their own ideas of satellite use on a 
budget would spend more teaching rather than recommending how much money 
they can save by getting the least expensive gear available.

good radio, receive preamp, decent antenna & Patience = a good beginner 
satellite station!
If you can't hear the bird, doesn't mean it's not hearing you!
I am happy to speak to anyone that is interested in satellite 
communications, you can check out my QRZ page.

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