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There is of course another issue other than communications, and that is
interest in satellites in general.

The digital satellites (along with many analogue sats) provide a great deal
of information on the space environment and satellite operations.
Interesting data depicting a 'day in the life of a satellite' is available
for anyone with an interest to download and view.  Many of the digital
satellites also carry Earth imaging systems and space science payloads (eg.
radiation data).

In addition, there can be quite a technical challenge in getting a station
working to receive these satellites.  When UO-14 was launched with the
9600bd links, there was no commercially available equipment at that time
capable of working with these satellites (without modification).  Many hams
these days may prefer to purchase a number of black boxes and plug them
together to receive the satellite, but where's the fun in that.  To set up
an 'automated' computer controlled groundstation working the digital
satellites can be a fun and challenging experience.

Sure, digital modes aren't for everyone, but there is a lot of interest out
there...  Yesterday UO-22 saw 169 stations accessing the BBS, and TMSAT had
133 accesses.

Chris G7UPN / ZL2TPO

Chris Jackson
Groundstation and Operations Manager
Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd
University of Surrey
Guildford, Surrey GU2 5HX,  UK
Ph: +44 1483 259-141
Fax: +44 1483 259-503

-----Original Message-----
From: Garie Halstead [mailto:k8kfj@wvinter.net]
Sent: 18 February 1999 16:37
To: MIKE_NASON@HP-Corvallis-om3.om.hp.com
Cc: James D. Mayfield; amsat-bb@AMSAT.Org
Subject: Re: [amsat-bb] STUPID DIGITAL QUESTION

On Thursday, 18 February 1999, Mike Nason wrote:

> I know everyone has different ideas as to what's fun. This includes
> amateur radio operators. But could someone please explain to me the 
> attraction to digital satellites?

Mike...put me in the same category as you and KB9BNR.  I too simply do
not see where the interest is.  I got into amateur radio to talk to
other live, breathing people.  My TNC communicating with another TNC
would do nothing for me.  BORING!!!!  I guess that's why I don't own
one.  :-)

I think your question is a valid one.  If some good folks would come
forth and tell us what working the digital birds do for them....perhaps
Mike, James and I could be converted.  Perhaps there's something we're
overlooking that you could educate us about.  We're open minded and are
thirsty for information on this subject.  We're looking forward to your

No flames please....just healthy discussion, OK?  Isn't that what BB's
are all about - the exchange of ideas?

73 //Garie  *K8KFJ*

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