[amsat-bb] Re: Another Great Tech Tuesday Net

Kevin Elliott kevin at phunc.com
Fri Feb 14 19:07:06 PST 2014

Hi Michael,

Yes, I think pushing people to learn for themselves and discover the deeper technical concepts should certainly be encouraged. But consider this. There are droves of high school students who would have otherwise watched reality television who are instead becoming interested in the hobby because they think it’s “cool” that they can talk to an astronaut, or bounce a signal off a satellite. These youngsters have a lot of other distractions available to them, and when things are overly complicated it will be too much of a struggle to get their attention.

I’m not talking about the already nerdy high school students who could gravitate towards self learning and technology, naturally. I’m talking about the typical student, some of which are edgy, high risk, and even special education. who have become interested in ham radio because of AMSAT and NASA (and a few helpful ham radio folks who have make it fun and interesting).

I think that’s what makes this hobby great. There are all shades of topics, and all levels can participate. And we should encourage the ability to have all levels of it to persist. While the easy/beginner levels might not suit you and I, it does bring in a slew of new people to the hobby. An those people will need nurturing so they become the experts in the next 20 years.

I’m like you. Someone showing me the easy route doesn’t help me. I like to learn by myself, by engaging and exploring. I like to work hard to learn. Advanced topics lure me in, and that’s what keeps me fascinated. But surely we can’t hold everyone to that standard, and they shouldn’t be made to feel bad for not learning the same way!

In any case, I think your heart is in the right place, and we’re saying similar things in different ways. Thank you for the conversation!

Cheers and 73s,

On Feb 14, 2014, at 6:48 PM, Michael <Mat_62 at charter.net> wrote:

> I'll just say this Kevin. I was a "newbie" to all this a few short years ago too but you know what I did,  I figured it out. I had no "Elmer" to guide me and I didn't need anyone  like Clint holding and HT  in one hand and an antenna in the other  doing a demo to show me how " easy" it was.  In fact, had I seen such a thing at the time,  it probably would have turned me off to it more than anything.  I enjoyed doing the research on antennas and rotator tracking systems and then building many of the items I needed. I then enjoyed the challenge of learning how to work the birds.  The demos to show how "easy" it all is certainly have their place but I've said it before and I'll say it again, I think we sometimes do ourselves a disservice by the de- emphasis of the tech side of things  and how one can build a much more complex  and entertaining ground station if one so chooses. Sure you can scare people off by getting overly involved with technical stuff but I bet you can scare just as many away by showing them how "easy" it is too. Don't even get me started on the "instant gratification" business.  That's a major part of what's wrong with society today.  Anything worth doing is worth working for, but nobody seems to want to do that anymore.
> 73,
> Michael, W4HIJ
> On 2/14/2014 6:55 PM, Kevin Elliott wrote:
>> Perhaps that was a legitimate question hiding in there, but I read most of that as cheap shots at Clint. Will you please let it rest? You don’t have to like him, but I’d appreciate some positivity.
>> Like you, I want to do satellite tracking hardware and not just point HTs at the birds and do manual doppler correction. But, there’s a very, very useful place for the newbie stuff that seems useless to you. Everyone benefits when the hobby grows, and overwhelming new people to the hobby with excessively technical projects can serve to scare them off. When more people join the hobby, more products are made, more competition between hardware manufacturers occurs, and the costs go down for all of us! That alone should be incentive for everyone to bring the newbies in.
>> So, I’m not suggesting that anyone needs to lighten the technical offerings, or make anything more simple. But, I do think that anyone offering marketable material that attracts newbies, regardless of how simple it may be, should be welcome.
>> We have to remember that there are people of all skill levels in this world, and not all of them are able to grasp things immediately. Sometimes, adding a lot of complexity isn’t fun for people looking for a little instant gratification. And it’s that fun that powers the interest in the hobby and creates a lifelong connection to it. So let’s avoid bashing anyone who likes “easysats” or anyone who wants to help others with them, OK?
>> Kevin
>> On Feb 14, 2014, at 1:57 PM, Michael <Mat_62 at charter.net> wrote:
>>> OK then, I have a legitimate satellite question.  Is Fox 2 going to be a linear bird?  See, I have some confusion on this. I could swear I read somewhere that it was yet another flying repeater just like Fox 1 is but then someone here told me I was mistaken.  Since you're here Tony, I thought I'd ask you since I'm pretty sure you can give me a definitive answer.  I mean after all, since we are talking about " Tech"  as in technology, I'd be interested to know if there is going to be any technical challenge to working Fox 2 or if it will just be yet another ones of Clint's Easysats.  Unlike some folks such as Clint, I don't delight in how "easy" it is to work a satellite and actually enjoy a challenge like I had when I first got into this part of the hobby and put my station together using the homebrew SAEBRTrack tracking system I built along with the OR-360 rotators that you told me where to find back then. Thank you btw....  I mean if people enjoy working "easysats" with an HT and a handheld antenna, that's all well and good.  To each their own.  It's just that I'd like a bit more of a challenge than that.  Unfortunately I missed out on A0-40 which I understand took a fair amount of "tech" savvy to conquer. AO-7 and FO-29 were fun mixed with a bit of challenge though and even AO-51 was pretty cool trying to conquer the S band mode.   I'd very much like to start putting my old homebrew antennas and rotators back in the air if I feel like it will result in some challenge and a sense of accomplishment and knowing that I did something that "not just anyone can do" instead of "heck it's just so easy" as Clint likes to point out..... If Fox 2 is a linear bird, I'll even put my money where my mouth is and renew my long dormant  membership in AMSAT because I will feel that they are moving in a direction that I and many others have interest in. If it's just another flying repeater though well..... YAWN....I'm getting sleepy now.
>>> 73,
>>> Michael, W4HIJ

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