[amsat-bb] Falconsat3 ASTARS Network Concept

Robert Bruninga bruninga at usna.edu
Fri Oct 13 12:49:11 UTC 2017


> I could not disagree more with your statement: "Falconsat3 brings back
> a great satellite capability for emergency response traffic...
> Here is why:

> 1. Its foot print and availability is severely limited by its inclination
> of 35 degrees.

But most hurricane disasters seem to be occurring well below that latitude.
In fact, the lower inclination is a bonus for the coverage area needing it

> 2. Any satellite that is not available 24/7  is not useful for emergency
> operations.

Might try  mentioning that to the people who took days to get a message out
or HF operators.

> Having it around for a few minutes a day does not cut it.

But when only 1 second packet burst is needed, then a few minutes is plenty
of time

> There is a reason why folks use HF and VHF radios (and not amateur radio
> satellites)

But an APRS HT is small, compact, fits in the pocket, and can get the
message out ANYWHERE via APRS satellite a few times a day.

> 3. The equipment, software and user training is not there. Just look at
> the "fun" people having getting the TX side going.

We  learn.  Getting a one-line message out by APRS satellite is to change
the FREQ from 144.39 terrestrial to 145.825 for space.  Done.  Most APRS
sats even respond to the same WIDE path as used terrestrially.  Falconsat
needs three more steps.  Change to 9600 baud and change the path to PFS3 and
freq to 145.84

> 4. You can count on one hand the folks that are currently having RX and TX
> ability to get a few packets through not even thinking about images etc.

Everything starts small.  First pictures of my granddaughter were the size
of a lima bean.

> 5. Emergency response requires KISS equipment and training on the amateur
> radio side.

Yes, wont that be fun... and all we need are a few satgates...

> On the other hand, it is a fun satellite to play with and like most APRS
> satellites
> a niche to explore and enjoyable from a hobby perspective.

Amen there!

> Again, these comments are within the spirit of our common interests...

Amen!  I really look forward to retiring some day and REALLY starting to


On Thu, Oct 12, 2017 at 5:23 PM, Robert Bruninga <bruninga at usna.edu> wrote:
Falconsat3 brings back a great satellite capability for emergency response
traffic into and out of remote disaster areas.

Its file store and forward BBS using the PACSAT protocol is ideal for
getting multiline messages, and pictures and data out of an area. Amateur
radio Sateliltes sort of abandoned this concept with the rise of the
internet.  And then the short, real-time contact capability of APRS better
matched the shorter attention span of the evolving users.

But now we have both in Falconsat3.  But we also now have the Internet and
can integrate a worldwide collection of satstations capturing all the
downlink PACSAT BBS packets and building a WEB portal on the ground that
always mirrors the traffic on the bird.  Imagine that a remote operator can
post a photo or file that can be read on a Falconsat WEB portal by FEMA or
emergency operators back here anytime, anywhere.

The concept is suggested on this page:   http://aprs.org/PFS3.html

All we need is someone to write the internet server that collects the BBS
packets from all the ground stations like the APRS-IS already does for
APRS, but this new PACSAT-IS would be just for PACSAT BBS traffic.

Then someone to collect the data and write the WEB Portal.

Then people to put up satgates (hopefully using omni antennas) and with
enough stations, all packets could be collected.

Anyway, I created the above web page to kind of serve as a target for this
exciting new Amateur Radio capability.

So even stations that are using OMNI antennas now and only decoding a few
packets per pass, we need to understand how well this works for high
elevation passes.  Even this sparse data is good data.

Remember, with a standard TNC all you are seeing are the few UI packets in
the downlink.  I think if you set KISS mode, you will be flooded with all
the streaming BBS data too.  This continuous stream at 9600 can make it
easy to see the effect of an antenna in very short time.


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