[amsat-bb] Re: 22% votes

Gus 8P6SM 8p6sm at anjo.com
Wed Sep 19 20:30:50 PDT 2012

On 09/19/2012 06:09 PM, John Spasojevich wrote:
> If you are going to push education, it's not real easy to sell someone like
> NASA who has launchers available, that their interest in education is
> served by launching an AO-40 replacement when it'll be full of "real hams"
> and little opportunity for students. The road to reduced cost launches lies
> with the education card and that is the path AMSAT-NA is on and until one
> of the "real hams" wants to step up and head a drive to raise several
> million dollars, I think you'll all be dead a buried before another AO-40
> flies.

I fear you are correct.  About the likelihood of another HEO launch. 
But I disagree about the rest.

The education card may gain us cheaper launches, but why are we 
bothering?  A recent post here mentioned a five-satellite CubeSat 
launch, concluding that "Four of the CubeSats carry Amateur Radio 
payloads..."  Excuse me?

F-1 transmits on 145.980 MHz and 437.485 MHz which are both ham 
frequencies.  But hams can't use this bird, because unless you want to 
look at earth images (and live in the vicinity of the ground-station) or 
you are interested in the spacecraft's obscure telemetry, there is 
nothing for you here.  And if you ARE interested, you don't have to be a 
ham radio operator to "use" the satellite.  All you need is the 
appropriate receiver and no license.

FITSAT-1 transmits on 437.250 MHz, 437.445 MHz and 5.840 GHz.  Again, 
all ham frequencies, and again, useable by ANYONE, with or without a ham 
license, because all you need is a receiver (seeing as all you can do is 
listen to some more obscure telemetry).  The Hi-Brite LEDs writing CW in 
the sky is really neet... but you won't see it unless you live near the 
ground-station.... which I don't

WE-WISH (apparently) downlinks on ham frequency 437.505 MHz.  It seems 
to have a thermal imager on it, and presumably lots more obscure 
telemetry.  Once again, non-hams can use this as easily as hams because 
it only requires you have a receiver, no interaction being possible.

TechEdSat will allow you (and any non-ham with a receiver) to listen to 
the obscure telemetry (hereinafter "ObsTel") on ham frequency 437.465 
MHz.  Why you would want to, I can't imagine.

So.  Is this the sort of "Amateur Radio Payload" that we should hope 
for, if we continue to play the education card?  Personally, I can't see 
why we should bother.  Judging by these satellites, the phrase "carries 
an amateur radio payload" really means "usurps amateur radio frequencies 
for non-amateur use for telemetry and telecommand on non-amateur 

Let me make it plain.  I have no objection to (and indeed, I support) 
satellites being launched for educational reasons.  I suppose that I 
really don't even object to the HamSat frequencies being used for 
non-ham purposes, seeing as WE aren't using those frequencies for 
anything much.  But what are we gaining from playing this education 
card?  The hope that occasionally, we can arrange the launch of some 
short lifespan, low range, fast pass, single channel FM bird that I get 
to shout callsign and gridsquare at for 6-8 minutes at a time, on a good 

You know, I don't have 10M to spare, to pay for a HEO launch.  If I did, 
I would.  I might scrape together 10K to donate.  But honestly now, why 
should I?  Apparently there will never be another AO-13 for me (and 
"real hams") to enjoy, because such a bird will offer little opportunity 
for students.

But of course, I am nobody special, and not even an AMSAT member (I'll 
tell you why, if you want me to) so you can safely ignore my post.
73, de Gus 8P6SM
The Easternmost Isle

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