[amsat-bb] Enthusiasm for Columbus L/S antennas

Bruce Robertson broberts at mta.ca
Fri Mar 30 05:50:28 PST 2007


If you want to get a really warm feeling about our hobby and get excited
about the potential for projects like Kiwi-sat and Eagle, which still face
the uphill climb of fund-raising, you owe it to yourself to look at the
Columbus L/S antenna donations page at:

I'm blown away by the generosity of some familiar names on that list,
people who are willing to make three- and four-figure (at least in $CAN or
$US :-) donations to the effort. I also love some of the unexpected names,
such as the ISS Fan Club, which, as far as I know, is just a fantastic
website with no real budget to speak of. 

Until recently, Columbus was scheduled for launch in Oct./Nov. 2007, on
STS-122. I assume the recent shuttle damage is pushing that timeline back a
bit. ) So in a little over a year's time, you can look forward to reading
about video-link school contacts and know that we amateurs made it happen.
Not to mention the most high-profile and cool use of our
sometimes-beleaguered s-band allocation. 

Furthermore, I bet the link budget on this set-up is going to be rich
indeed, what with the power available onboard ISS and the patch antennas: a
well-made patch might just do the job on downlink. In that case, it would
be possible to send the appropriate antennas *by mail* to remote schools in
places like the Canadian Arctic. All that would be needed is a couple of
local hams with all-band radios and a can-do attitude.

The article at http://www.ariss-eu.org/columbus.htm mentions that this
installation will allow "continuous transponder operation". Does anyone
know if this means the old U/V setup will be set in transponder mode after
L/S stuff is in place, or is there a plan for a default transponder on the
L/S side when it is not running ATV contacts?

This project, P3E, SSETI: 2008 is going to be a great year for AMSATs, no?

One last thought: it would be great if there were a way for Canadian donors
to receive a tax credit for gifts such as these, especially the upcoming
large efforts like Eagle. Has anyone looked into this?

73, Bruce

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