[eagle] Re: what is going on?, some technical content at last.

Bill Tynan btynan at beecreek.net
Fri Jul 11 07:52:51 PDT 2008

Drew, Bob and All:

I have been thinking along the same lines for some time, but being no more 
than a "Senior Advisor" (geezer) I have not chosen to voice my views widely.

Most hams want linear transponder, high altitude satellites. Very few are 
yet into digital anything.

Yes, AMSAT should be in the forefront of technology, but to do so, it must 
be here. To be here, it must have the support (money) of the ham community.

We can still make a very good case for emergency commutations with a 
spacecraft which is in there 24/7 (Rideshare) even if it is only an analog 
transponder. With moderate bandwidth, that analog transponder can be used 
for at least low rate digital communication by ground stations. So, still 
pictures and medical data can be exchanged through it.

So, let's get to it.

That means fundraising. I have seen very little effort in that direction. 
Have fat cats been solicited? What about the guy (can't remember his name) 
who spent $20,000,000 to visit the ISS for a week. It would seem that he is 
a prime candidate. Has he been contacted?

Has FEMA been solicited re the potential Rideshare offers?

It's up to the AMSAT leadership to make such solicitations.

We raised $2,000,000 here in North America for P3D. We should be able to do 
it again, despite the AO-40 disaster.

These are my thoughts.


Bill Tynan, W3XO, LM-10
AMSAT President 1991 - 1998

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Andrew Glasbrenner" <glasbrenner at mindspring.com>
To: "Bob McGwier" <rwmcgwier at gmail.com>; "'John B. Stephensen'" 
<kd6ozh at comcast.net>; "'Bill Ress'" <bill at hsmicrowave.com>; "'David 
Goncalves'" <davegoncalves at gmail.com>
Cc: "'AMSAT BoD'" <bod at amsat.org>; <eagle at amsat.org>
Sent: Friday, July 11, 2008 6:20 AM
Subject: [eagle] Re: what is going on?, some technical content at last.

> Bob wrote:
>> There is an alternative to think about.  I would not wait forever for the
>> larger picture to come together, for the good of AMSAT and amateur radio.
>> A
>> likelihood assessment needs to be made regularly about the "Vision Thing"
>> and the will power to change directions should be found if it needs to be
>> done.  We could put together a small, simple package and smaller than
>> desirable antennas and give our users analog transponders on an Intelsat
>> platform.   This would require large antennas on the ground and would
>> serve
>> to make our current user base quite happy I am sure.   If we do this,  it
>> should be the absolute dumbest, most bullet proof, impossible to destroy,
>> dumber than rock, transponder without a single chance of failing in 300
>> years unless the rocket blows up or it is hit by a meteor.  It would be a
>> box with two connectors and a power plug going to the smallest possible
>> CREDIBLE antennas.  There has been an argument that this is very
>> undesirable
>> for the long term health of AMSAT, Inc.  I made the argument in the open
>> and
>> have suffered regular personal threats as a result since from one very
>> angry
>> disgruntled member.  I am sure it was the manner in which I presented the
>> argument that caused the reaction so I am 99% to blame.
>> But this is clearly outside of the vision statement of AMSAT, but it 
>> would
>> be a way forward.  If we come in with very low mass, with little 
>> footprint
>> and 50-100 w peak power requirements,  and we look at the matrix of costs
>> Intelsat gave us,  I think we might be able to raise that amount from
>> "amateur radio sources".
> This idea has been floating around for some time now, but to see you 
> suggest
> it is a powerful example of convergent thinking. I do not believe that it 
> is
> an either/or situation. The ACP is a complex design, and developing and
> implementing it is going to be a long road, that frankly we may not have
> enough momentum to carry us down. A simple, SMALL linear transponder as 
> you
> describe would serve as an intermediate step, allowing us to keep the
> organization alive, build the membership and hence the donation base, and
> blaze the trail to launching ACP.
> One point of disagreement is that this intermediate step is, to me at 
> least,
> clearly -inside- the mission statement, even moreso than the ACP. For 
> those
> that have forgotten, here is the mission statement:
> "AMSAT is a non-profit volunteer organization which designs, builds and
> operates experimental satellites and promotes space education. We work in
> partnership with government, industry, educational institutions and fellow
> amateur radio societies. We encourage technical and scientific innovation,
> and promote the training and development of skilled satellite and ground
> system designers and operators.
> Our Vision is to deploy high earth orbit satellite systems that offer 
> daily
> coverage by 2009 and continuous coverage by 2012. AMSAT will continue 
> active
> participation in human space missions and support a stream of LEO 
> satellites
> developed in cooperation with the educational community and other amateur
> satellite groups."
> The intermediate step would immediately fulfill the continuous coverage 
> part
> of the vision statement, and I think it has a much better chance of 
> success
> by 2012, and certainly 2009, than does the ACP.
> The decision to make this course correction certainly does have 
> considerable
> benefits and risks, but I think it is one the BOD -and- the members should
> carefully consider, and if we go forward with it, the infighting and 
> Monday
> morning quarterbacking needs to be left behind and a serious "get to the
> moon" effort be undertaken. We'll need 10 times the people soliciting
> donations as actually building the thing, but I do believe it's well 
> within
> reason to be accomplished.
> 73, Drew KO4MA
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