[amsat-bb] Re: status

Michael Mat_62 at charter.net
Sun Jan 26 10:16:43 PST 2014

HI Jerry,
  First of all, thank you for being civil.  Nice change from the last 
two responses to my post.  Second of all, I apparently stand corrected 
on one thing.  It was my impression that Fox-2 was also intended to be 
another FM sat.  If I am wrong in that then I apologize for the previous 
characterization that all AMSAT seemed to want to do is put up "flying 
repeaters".  However, I will not back off my assertion that there should 
be more to this hobby than portable ops using  HT's and handheld 
yagis.    The Funcube bunch showed us not only that linear cubesats are 
viable but also that fairly inexpensive SDR technology is a great way to 
go  as one option in receiving them.   The Funcube and Funcube Pro 
dongles were also a great fundraising idea as near as I can tell.   We 
should be taking concepts like that one step  or even several steps 
further  and developing SDR based ground station solutions just as we 
are developing SDR based transponders.  Why AMSAT is not developing 
stuff along those lines is a mystery to me.  I know AMSAT is volunteers 
but so is AMSAT UK and they got it done.  I wish I had the technical 
expertise to develop stuff like that  but I don't.  I can certainly 
build with the best of them but circuit development is not my strong 
suite. It just seems all we ever do anymore is show folks how they can 
operate an " easy sat" with an HT.  That's very frustrating to me. I 
apologize for the " idiot at a hamfest" comment too  but really all I 
was trying to do was to express my frustration with that same old 
approach which has grown kind of tired and boring to me.
Michael, W4HIJ
On 1/26/2014 12:41 PM, n0jy wrote:
> 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 minute.
> 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.
> 73,
> Jerry
> N0JY
> 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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