[amsat-bb] going digital

Paul Stoetzer n8hm at arrl.net
Mon Jul 21 21:53:24 UTC 2014

I'm not totally unsympathetic to Phil's ideas. They have quite a bit
of merit, but clearly AMSAT would also have to develop the ground
station equipment in order for it to get a user base that would make
it worthwhile. I know this was planned for Eagle, but that was for a
HEO which would have many hours a day of visibility for everyone. It's
difficult to rationalize spending money on equipment good for a single
LEO satellite at this point, especially one that would be as complex
as is contemplated here.

I am intrigued by digital operations. My current operating situation
prevents me from doing much in that field (I have to carry the radios
and hold the antenna, no more hands for a computer). I followed the
unsuccessful FreeDV via FO-29 trials between W0DHB and NX9G last year.
When the DSTAR parrot repeater that was recently launched is
activated, I will certainly borrow a DSTAR radio to try it out. Maybe
I'll even buy one!

AMSAT's limiting factors are money and volunteer time. Unfortunately,
neither money nor people's time grow on trees. I do think that
multiple launches by AMSAT-NA will lead to a resurgence of interest in
North America, especially when people realize just how easy Fox is
going to be to hear. The launches are also going to occur at a time
when solar activity is falling, those with limited antenna situations
might look to other aspects of amateur radio while conditions on the
higher HF bands are poor. Hopefully those factors will help to provide
the resources for more complex projects!


Paul, N8HM

On Mon, Jul 21, 2014 at 5:00 PM, Gus <gus at 8p6sm.net> wrote:
> On 07/21/2014 01:00 PM, Phil Karn wrote:
>  > Next questions:
>  >
>  > Does a DirecTV receiving station cost $5K?
> Actually, DirecTV is not available for purchase in my neck of the woods.  I
> can get a system installed, but it wouldn't be my system to fiddle with.
>  > Are its components hard to source or esoteric?
> Well, I know where I could nick one, but I'd rather not. Otherwise, I guess
> I could source one overseas, ship it in, then bow down before the Customs &
> Excise godlings.....  ham gear is 10 + 17.5% but there's no way they'd pass
> that as ham gear, so probably 115 + 17.5% or worse.  That might satisfy Rx
> needs, but wouldn't include a transmitter....  Does that sound hard to
> source or esoteric?
>  > If not, what makes you think that a digital ground station for an AMSAT
> satellite should be?
> Phil, I'm not saying it /should/ be, but that if it is, you won't get many
> users on the system.  So, part of the system design for any such bird had
> better include design of low cost, easy to find, simple to use hardware that
> will allow me -- or any other doofus like me -- to get QRV without too much
> hardship.
> --
> Gus 8P6SM
> The Easternmost Isle
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