[sarex] Re: ARRL and AMSAT as US Representatives to ARISS

AJ9N at aol.com AJ9N at aol.com
Mon Aug 17 08:35:07 PDT 2009


I can answer your second question  about keeping news to the SAREX BB.  
Pretty simple, I got yelled at.   When I started posting the ARISS 
announcements a long time ago, I did send them  to the AMSAT BB as well as the SAREX BB. 
 I got yelled out by some people  who didn't want to see their inbox 
cluttered up with all of the ARISS schedule  news.  So I can take the hint where 
we are not welcomed  Thus the  announcements I post only go to the SAREX BB 
and others can pick it up from  there (there are links on the AMSAT main 
page).  If AMSAT BB members want  it back on the AMSAT BB, I can do that.  If 
there are other web pages that  someone thinks might like to get the 
announcements directly, please let me  know.

All of this email discussion over the last few days as really  gotten to me 
and I sure the other ARISS mentors.  We get zero pay, we spend  hours and 
hours with the schools via email and on the phone; and sometimes in  person.  
None of my equipment has ever been permanently mounted (I wish I  could) as 
it gets borrowed by schools (that includes all of the antennas, 1000  feet 
of coax, the radios, power supplies).  I put in at least 1 to 2 hours  a 
day; every day of the year on maintaining the ARISS updates that you see and  
the ones that go to the other mentors.  Sometimes you will see me post 2 or  
3 times a day the latest updates; sometimes the info we get is coming in so  
often and fast that I just try to keep up.  Many of the other ARISS  
volunteers do as many hours as I do; some even more.

For those of you who  think that ARISS is only about the schools or only 
about the astronauts talking  to you with some sort of fancy equipment; you 
are only partially right.  It  is actually all of those things.  But everyone 
must remember we are guests  on board the ISS and we are very honored to be 
such.  We must work with the  space agencies that actually build, fly, and 
maintain the ISS.  They are in  command; we hams are not.  That means that if 
the crew member picks up the  microphone and wants to talk; keep in mind 
that he or she just gave up some of  their free time to talk to you.  Some of 
the crew are very enthusiastic  hams; others not so much; they are all super 
busy with their job.  By the  way, the school contacts are considered to be 
during the crew member's free  time.  So they get the 10 to 15 minutes they 
gave up added to their work  load elsewhere during the day.

I think many would be surprised as to the  amount of effort is needed to 
get a piece of equipment on board or to get a  school scheduled.  The 
equipment gets all sorts of environmental testing to  make sure it is safe for the 
crew.  We at ARISS hope that there is never an  accident on the ISS and 
certainly do not want to be the ones blamed if there is  one.  For the schools, 
we mentors meet every week on a conference call  where we discuss scheduling, 
how the schools are doing in their preparation and  how things went for 
each contact.  We feel what the school feels until the  contact is done.  We 
usually get a simple thank you from the school and  perhaps from some of the 
ham community.  The hams that complain, I just try  to ignore and hit the 
delete key.

Hopefully this explains a little about  ARISS.  Why not do what 462 schools 
have done?  Or what 87 schools  hope to do?  Get with a school, get an 
application in, get scheduled, and  talk to an astronaut along with 500 or so of 
your new school  friends.

Welcome to the world of ARISS!

Charlie Sufana  AJ9N
One of the ARISS mentors

In a message dated 8/17/2009 8:21:27  A.M. Central Daylight Time, 
rogerkola at aol.com writes:
With the recent  discussion surrounding representation in the ARISS program,
several questions  have been bouncing around my head.

As to ARRL...what is their investment  in, or commitment to the ARISS
program. I ask because their formal  representation to their members is
minimal as noted from this month's ISS  status report:

"...ARRL QST Covers ARISS News

The American Radio  Relay League (ARRL) published two small ARISS (Amateur
Radio on the  International Space Station) related news items in its
September 2009 issue  of QST. One item pointed readers to the article on the
Garriotts, "Two  Generations of Hams in Space" that ran in The Bridge,
printed by the  Electrical and Computer Engineering Honor Society.  The
second item was  a notice to readers that space shuttle Endeavour carried
three astronauts to  the ISS who are hams and would be doing ARISS
educational  activities.

The ARRL monthly journal has a circulation of  150,000."

And secondly, as to AMSAT's regard for the ARISS program...why  has there
always been an extreme effort to separate the bulletin board  messages
concerning the ISS by isolating it's content to the SAREX board as  AMSAT is
indeed a major representative of American amateurs concerning  ISS/ARISS
matters and as a result any pertinent information should be  available to 
AMSAT members?

I think these are fair  questions...


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