[amsat-bb] The root of all the problems

Phil Karn karn at ka9q.net
Mon Jul 21 03:00:48 UTC 2014

On 07/20/2014 06:10 AM, Thomas Doyle wrote:

> - What the majority wants is more important than any individual want.
> How do you determine what the majority wants.
> - Voting

The results of an election are strongly determined by who gets to vote.

If you poll the tiny fraction of the amateur community currently active
on satellites, you'll get one answer.

If you poll the much larger pool of people (including people who aren't
even hams yet) who might be interested in something else, you may well
get another answer.

But not right away; it's been shown time and again that people often
don't know they want something until you show it to them, and then they
simply have to have it. Think mobile phones and Internet, the two things
I spent my career on. It wasn't long ago that people (including most
hams) rolled their eyes whenever I talked up the idea of global computer
networking and mobile personal communications. Who couldn't wait until
they got home to make a phone call? Who needed to send a letter
instantly when they had the phone or the US mail? Who cared about
talking to other countries unless they had relatives there?

Don't also forget that the AMSAT membership hardly pays for its
satellites. The volunteer engineering that goes into each one of them is
easily worth millions of dollars at market rates. And it must be
understood that there is no such thing as a volunteer willing to work
for nothing, even though they don't get paid in money. You have to give
them something else, and in the case of engineering an amateur satellite
that "something else" is an interesting technical challenge that makes
them feel like they've really accomplished something.

Doing the same thing over and over certainly doesn't make me feel like
I've accomplished something.


More information about the AMSAT-BB mailing list