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No More Mode "A" Please.



Dear Richard,

  I'm writing to cast my opinion about using AMSAT money to build
new Mode "A" satellites.

  About six years ago I began to become interested in amateur 
satellite operation.  In fact, it was amateur satellites that peaked
my interest in amateur radio.  The codeless technician license had 
just been introduced and I passed my test, got my ticket and started
to build my satellite station.  I bought a Uniden 2510 from a friend
and started to listen for the down-links on Mode "A" satellites.  I
found the signals to be poor, many in CW and voice QSO's to be mostly
for the paper chase.  This was not anywhere near as interesting, for me,
as the convesations I had heard on another friends Mode "B" station,
then on AO-10 and AO-13.

  Like many new hams, I had limited resources and when considering the
purchase of a new primary base rig, I needed to decide whether to invest
in a HF rig, or multi-mode VHF/UHF rig.  I didn't have the money, or
antenna space, for both.  I purchased a Kenwood TS-790A.  My very first
satellite contact was with Shannon Lucid on STS-74.  Her signal was 5/9+
and I was thrilled with the entire experience.  I was instantly
convinced
I had made the right choice.  This was certainly more exciting than
listening to some nasty sounding CW signal on 10 meter.

  I continued to improve my station until I had a pretty decent Mode "B"
and Mode "J" station.  I worked MIR on both voice and packet, many
times.
Nearly worked all states, just on AO-21. I have moved twice since
starting,
but now have WAS via satellite, worked about 400 grids and about 60 DXCC
countries from this QTH.  On occasion I would think about Mode "A" or
"K"
and then quickly turn back to what is really important in amateur radio,
to move up-ward, adding 1200 MHz and 2400 MHz to my station, support 
Phase III D and experiment in the higher frequency bands.  

  Sometimes I am having a pleasant conversation on AO-10 when a Mode
"A/K"
bird comes into the footprint.  The conversation I'm having is trashed
by 
QRM from the RS satellite.  As I listen, it becomes evident that the
Mode 
"A" down link is barely heard by the RS operators (4/3 signal reports).
The 2 meter down-link is beautiful, but few of these HF operators have
the 
2 meter multi-mode rigs to take advantage of the great down-link signal.
Some may argue that because the RS satellites are so busy, they are most
popular.  I would disagree with this.  It just shows that there are a
lot
of HF operators that are Satellite operator Wanna-Be's.  They have
invested
most of their ham dollars in HF equipment, and choose not to build
dedicated
satellite stations.  All of these operators are at least General class 
license, yet most seem to be ignorant to the fact that their signals are
causing interference to another satellite service.  This type of
behaviour
is consistant with HF operations I have listened to in the past, and I 
disapprove of any mode plans that helps make it convienent to import
this
behaviour into the other satellite modes.

  As you may have guessed by now, I am not interested in supporting the
building of additional Mode "A" satellites with money I have donated to
AMSAT-NA.  I feel that building more Mode "A" satellites would depleate
funds that would be better used to promote the use of higher
frequencies.
I also feel that Mode "A" satellites do not promote amateurs to advance
to different modes, it just gives poor HF operators another place to act
like poor satellite operators.  I do, however, feel that Mode "K"
satellites
do provide a platform for HF operators, interested in satellite
operation,
to be encouraged to up-grade their station and advance in satellite 
communication skills.

Sincerly,

Brook Smith N8OCX
AMSAT-NA #24166
n8ocx@amsat.org




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