[amsat-bb] Re: status

Patrick STODDARD (WD9EWK/VA7EWK) amsat-bb at wd9ewk.net
Sun Jan 26 11:58:28 PST 2014


> If you will bother to read the rest of the post , you will
 see where I apologized for the comment.  It was a poor
 choice of words but I was trying to express my UTTER
 FRUSTRATION with this approach to trying to "sell" the
 concept of hamsats.

Thanks for the apology for the "idiot" comment.

> You really think the average person
 who can whip out their I-phone  or Droid and preform what
 would have been considered technological marvels a few

short year ago is impressed with your HT and a handheld
 antenna working a sat to exchange  a cryptic bit of
 information such as a callsign and a grid square? It may
 have been impressive ten years ago on even five years ago
 but it's old hat now.

As for your question about crowds being impressed with what
we can do with an HT and Yagi (or some other radio and
antenna) via satellite, the answer is still "YES".  There is
still something to being able to talk across the country via
satellite, not using the Internet or telephone network, with
a small radio (or radios).  At the hamfests where I represent
AMSAT, I get larger crowds for the SSB satellite demonstrations
than for the FM satellite demonstrations, but crowds show up
for both.  

> I suggest a fresher more technologically savvy approach.
> I'm truly and sincerely sorry though if I hurt the feelings
> of outdoor portable sat ops enthusiast or the AMSAT
> volunteers who do such demos.

We're listening... what do you suggest?

Sophisticated home stations like what you described in an
earlier post don't work well for those of us at hamfests or
other events, even if we have videos that can show that off.
The sophisticated home station may even scare off some, who
fear that it would take a lot of time - and more $$$ - to
get on the satellites.

One thing I've advocated is to do demonstrations that use more
than FM satellites - or, right now, FM satellite (SO-50).  For
the past few years, I do a lot of SSB satellite demonstrations
at the hamfests I attend.  Sometimes, this is out of necessity
(FM satellites are not passing by during the hamfest, or aren't
available for some other reason).  Two weeks ago at a hamfest
here in Phoenix, all of my demonstrations were done on the SSB
satellites (AO-7, FO-29, VO-52), because SO-50 didn't pass by
during that morning.  I also used my FUNcube dongle and laptop
with the FUNcube dashboard software to show off and talk about
AO-73 during its two passes at the hamfest.

The portable setup like I use (and is well documented in my
videos at http://www.youtube.com/va7ewk if you want to take
a look), which you apparently don't like, is compatible with
places that have antenna restrictions.  I explain that the
same gear I use at the hamfest can be the basis for a home
station.  More, and better, coax is needed for a longer run
at home than at the hamfest demo.  A rotator of some sort is
needed for a directional antenna.  Preamps and/or power
amplifiers may also be needed.  Replacing one FT-817ND with
a radio like an FT-857 or IC-7000 may take care of the need
for more transmit power.  But my two FT-817NDs and Elk log
periodic can still be the basis of a home station.  When I
add in the FUNcube dongle as the receiver instead of one
FT-817ND, I'm expanding the capability of my station -
whether at home, at a hamfest, or operating somewhere else.
This is certainly cheaper than the last fully-SDR satellite-
ready transceiver I remember seeing on the market (Flex-5000
with VHF/UHF module).

We all would like an HEO satellite.  I fear Phase-3E will
continue to ride the shelf at its German laboratory, absent
a large infusion of funds to cover the gap between however
much $$$ AMSAT-DL has raised and the US$ 10 million or US$ 15
million needed to pay for a launch.  Until then, I'm enjoying
the different challenges of working the satellites we have,
and doing this using different combinations of radios and
antennas, working from different locations, and periodically
showing this off at hamfests and other events.



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