[amsat-bb] Re: status

n0jy n0jy at n0jy.org
Sun Jan 26 09:41:40 PST 2014

Hi Michael,

I have to defend AMSAT-NA a bit here, the perception that the 
organization is "bent and determined to keep building and flying FM 
repeaters" is not quite accurate.

Fox-1 which is an "FM repeater" was underway over 3 years ago when AO-51 
was failing.  The purpose was to put up a quick replacement for AO-51's 
popular "easy sat" HT/yagi accessibility.
In building such a project spares are necessary and hence there will be 
4 Fox-1 type cubesats of which two are going to fly so far.  They are 
all the same design with the difference being what experiments are 
loaded in order to get us that launch.  The purpose of the spares is to 
have a ready replacement should one of the flight units fail at the last 
We may then have up to four "FM repeaters" launched someday, but it's 
not because that's all we're pursuing.
So it's not like we just keep building more FM satellites, we are just 
taking opportunities to fly what we have as the launches come up.

And don't overlook the contribution of the experiments to the value of 
the satellite.  While it may be an "FM repeater" they will carry some 
very interesting experiments providing telemetry and pictures for 
education and fun.

In the meantime, there are still plans underway for AMSAT-NA to build a 
linear transponder SDR satellite as Fox-2 (series).  That was the 
original idea until AO-51 started having problems.

In my opinion and from the perspective of a participant in the Fox-1 
project people way underestimate what it takes to build a RELIABLE and 
ROBUST satellite what will last many years, projects being completely 
done by VOLUNTEERS.  There are many people spending all available spare 
time, pushing the limits of matrimony and family, and essentially on a 
shoestring budget due to limited finances (i.e. contributions, 
memberships).  Those limitations of available resources mean slow progress.

And the resource limitations also mean that nothing will probably happen 
on the linear/SDR satellite until Fox-1 is done and launched.  
Volunteers are not crawling out of the woodwork, and many who have 
signed on have come and gone or had to regulate their participation due 
to the need for real life as in jobs, family, and so on.

Opinion is entirely mine, and any misrepresentation of AMSAT-NA plans 
that I may have stated is not intended.


On 1/26/2014 10:48 AM, Michael wrote:
> I wasn't going to touch this  as I've made my opinion about P3-E known 
> before but I can't be silent about some other things.  I don't believe 
> it will ever fly because of the economic realities of today's world 
> but hey, stranger things have happened.  Cubesats seem to be the wave 
> of the future as they are more affordable to get launched but if you 
> ask me we are still going in the wrong direction with them in a couple 
> of areas. AMSAT seems to be bent and determined to keep building and 
> flying FM repeaters even when ground based FM repeaters are slowly 
> falling into disuse  and projects like Funcube AO-73 are showing how 
> viable linear transponder cubesats are. There also seems to be some 
> continued fascination with showing how we can all stand out in the 
> frigid cold or the blazing sun balancing an HT in one hand and a 
> handheld yagi in the other to work the flying repeaters....... YAWN!!! 
> The novelty of that has worn off just as quickly as it did on 
> exchanging nothing but grid squares and calls  and calling it a sat 
> QSO. The focus not only needs to be on more linear transponder 
> cubesats and developing  new and efficient ways to communicate with 
> them but also on developing affordable ground equipment  like complete 
> SDR transceiver systems along the lines of the funcube dongle except 
> maybe abandoning the "dongle" concept and going more with a desktop 
> "black box" approach. A computer driven SDR base station with tracking 
> and doppler correction and digital and CW as well as voice mode 
> communication is infinitely more interesting to me than  seeing some 
> idiot balancing an antenna and an HT at a hamfest. Just my opinion.... 
> That and five bucks will get you a fancy Starbucks coffee blend but I 
> had to put it out there!
> 73,
> Michael, W4HIJ

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