[amsat-bb] Re: Remembering a part of AMSAT's History

Edward Cole kl7uw at acsalaska.net
Fri Dec 5 00:00:12 PST 2008

At 07:15 PM 12/4/2008, Tom Clark, K3IO wrote:
>Phil Karn, KA9Q (with help from W0RPK) has been posting a complete set
>of AMSAT's history in posting AMSAT's Newsletters/Magazines in the
>1975-1999 era at http://www.ka9q.net/newsletters.html. Many of these
>really bring tears to my eyes! -- especially the ORBIT and ASRs from
>1980-1985. This was the era when we built Phase-3A only to have it lost
>as the 2nd test flight of the Arianne launcher self-destructed seconds
>after the launch. We took that failure as a challenge to rebuild the
>AMSAT organization and the replacement Phase-3B spacecraft. Anyone who
>would like to learn more about our legacy should read the publications
>from the early 80's.
>There is another story in those newsletters. In the early 1980's, a few
>amateurs were learning about computers. The pre-1980 LEO  satellites
>could be tracked using only the time of equator crossing and a simple
>plotting board. However the HEO Phase-3 satellites in elliptical orbits
>made the job a lot harder. In Orbit #6 (see
>http://www.ka9q.net/AMSAT-ORBIT-6.pdf) I started AMSAT on the "open
>source" software track by publishing the source code (in BASIC) for a
>the algorithms needed to do the job on a personally owned computer; at
>the time, the detractors said
>       "Why waste all this space in the magazine. Only a few amateurs
>will ever own
>        computers with enough horsepower to do these calculations!"
>I held fast and we published the article anyway. In the next 5-10 years,
>clones and graphical adaptations of "IWI Orbits" by others for many
>computers were added. AMSAT's "sales" of copies of the many variants of
>my open-source software put nearly $100,000 into the till to build AO-10
>and -13.
>My thanks to Phil & Ralph for giving me the chance to reminisce one more
>73 de Tom, K3IO (ex W3IWI)
>Sent via AMSAT-BB at amsat.org. Opinions expressed are those of the author.
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I believe that was what I ran on my Commodore-64 in 1985 to track 
AO-10.  It was the only sw I had on the computer.

73, Ed - KL7UW              BP40iq, 6m - 3cm
144-EME: FT-847, mgf-1801, 4x-xp20, 185w
1296-EME: DEMI-Xvtr, 0.30 dBNF, 4.9m dish, 60W
http://www.kl7uw.com       AK VHF-Up Group
NA Rep. for DUBUS: dubususa at hotmail.com

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