[amsat-bb] Re: Increasing range from LEO/SpaceX/APRS

Bruce Robertson ve9qrp at gmail.com
Sun Sep 6 17:17:00 PDT 2009

On Fri, Sep 4, 2009 at 10:41 PM, Rocky Jones<orbitjet at hotmail.com> wrote:
> Luc...I would add this.
> What is firmly missing in the amateur satellite effort is something "repeatable" that encourages solid commercial gear to be available to people who want to use the sats.

Rocky --

With respect, I wish once again to take issue with your view that
there is a dearth of both useful satellites and of commercial
equipment. Previously, you have represented this as a sort of negative
feedback loop, with useful satellites (and I understand to you this
means those equipped with SSB/CW linear transponder) dwindling in
number while commercial equipment becoming more scarce.

I would contend that on both sides you are incorrect. On the equipment
side, we have the IC-910H and the new all-in-one Icom rig, over which
this list has drooled. I myself use the TS-2000 with great enjoyment.
Sure, there are other models that have come and gone, but
price-for-performance, we're in satellite appliance-operator heaven
these days. (An aside for anyone new to this work who already has an
all-in-one rig that will work 144 and 435 in SSB and CW: another
option these days is to buy a second-hand FT-817 and, with clever use
of computer control you can have full doppler tuning with this

> It is going to take about the same thing for hamsats...and one of those is a continued supply of hamsats which encourage more communicating and less experimenting....

Setting aside the contention that communication is the basis of this
branch of the hobby, note that we do have a very healthy assembly line
of LEO SSB/CW birds: KiwiSat's website has videos of them milling
their spaceframe, and they'll take your money to help launch the thing
at http://www.kiwisat.org.nz/funding.html;  XW-1 from China is going
to be fun; SSETI-ESEO will have an S-band linear transponder; Delfi
n3xt; the next Indian Hamsat, and *anyone* that wants to cart PE1RAH's
little board into space for the relatively minor price of a cubesat

Moreover, in my experience, the majority of 'communicating' -- like it
or not -- is done on FM birds, again with a great deal of excellent
commercial equipment built for the purpose. Exhibit A: my trusty Arrow
Antenna, and SumbandilaSat will give us another target at which to
shoot our Arrows  :-) in a couple of weeks.

> Thats what is intriguing about the SpaceX "launch" campaign...and indeed about the entire changes that are occurring now with the Augustine commission there is a chance for things developing like geo synch "rafts" where very large satellite complexes etc are built.  But ham radio will not in my view have a seat at that table unless and until there is some "normalcy" in the mode.

Perhaps more tendentiously, I would finally contend that we amateur
satellite folks have indeed created a new normalcy: the steady flow of
cubesats and their launches. Until recently, it has been hard for us
to capitalize on this situation for two-way communication purposes,
but with Delfi C3 and, now, FunCube, I think we're well on our way. As
Bob has persistently argued, maybe we should just shoot for 1200 bps
and provide a real and workable service through a LEO network.

> I spent part of the afternoon talking with a condo owner on Clear Lake about the Club moving its APRS/voice machine to the top of his 14 story building (a virtual skyscraper in this part of Houston)...it was amazing how fast he came around, all he could think of was what went on in Hurricane Ike.

That's great work! Thanks for doing it.

73, Bruce

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