[amsat-bb] Update: Rent GEO bandwidth for US

Michelle Thompson mountain.michelle at gmail.com
Thu Aug 22 01:34:24 UTC 2019

An arrangement on Echostar9 for 1MHz of bandwidth for up to 4 years of
USA+Mexico+Canada coverage is on offer for $2000 a month.

I'm putting together a grant proposal for ARRL, FEMA, and others to pay for
at least year of access. I've gotten some positive feedback already. I
think we can make this happen with some fundraising effort. I'm willing to
provide the human resources and whatever incidental financing needs to
happen to secure a grant for rental.

The main purpose of this type of system would be to enable field deployment
of "legacy mode" aggregators, like the Phase 4 Ground ARAP (Amateur Radio
Access Point). This is where traffic on any ham band, using FM or analog
gear, is digitized by a local "collecting" repeater, and is then sent to a
satellite from that repeater. FEMA and ARRL have expressed a lot of
interest and support for this in the past. Phase 4 Ground needs an ARAP in
order to support legacy radios.

You don't have to personally have a microwave digital uplink. The
aggregator equipment does that part for you.

This is most useful for public service and emergency communications. A
communications emergency is declared, someone (FEMA, Red Cross, motivated
ham volunteer) drops in the aggregator, and all ham traffic it hears is
sent to the satellite and then transmitted to the entire footprint.

The downlink is 12-14GHz. This is not 10GHz, but is receivable by
individuals using very inexpensive gear. Traffic can be repeated over the

What does this get us?

An opportunity to do all the R&D for the aggregator and get some experience
with uplinks.

What do we not have?

A true ham band downlink. You can still receive the downlink yourself, or
you can get it over the internet from an earth station distributor.

That's where we're at with *this* proposal.

I think it's worth it to provide a US-based way to design, deploy, test,
and use real world aggregator equipment. We learn a lot about GEO comms and
figure out a lot of the ins and outs.

Comment and critique welcome and encouraged.

More soon!
-Michelle W5NYV

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