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A very good treatise in defense of digital satellites.  You have made some very
valid points, for which you are to commended.  However, in the same missive,
you've managed to malign analog users and compare them to CBers.  I would hate to
see these threads become a polarization of sat users; analog versus digital.
There is room for both, and thank God all operators don't have the same needs or
desires, or we'd all be concentrated at the same frequency, vying for our turn.
It is diversity which makes our hobby what it is today.

... snip ...

> Digital satellites are a bit more complicated to use than analog satellites.
> But then again, amateur radio is a bit more complicated than CB radio.
> If your only interest is chatting with others, perhaps there's really
> no difference between the two, and maybe a telephone is the best tool
> for the job.  But the truth is that amateur radio is more than just
> idle chatter.  It's about growth, advancement, and technical achievement.

The digital birds are easier to use than RS15, or AO10.  But of course, that is my
opinion, and varies somewhat from yours.  Your elitist attitude here is akin to
where the UNIX geeks were with the Internet just a few years ago.  They wanted to
keep the Internet proprietary and exclusive.  Ain't so, is it?  The Internet has
expanded into households worldwide.

I take exception to my chosen venue in the hobby being compared to CB radio.  Not
that I think my niche in the hobby makes me any better than a CBer, but I have
spent countless hours putting my ground station together.  Building antennas,
building a fold over tower, integrating my setup with the right combination of
audio processing and adjustable uplink power.  Working all the bugs out of my
tracking system, and integrating antenna tracking software/hardware alone took me

You state:  "If your only interest is chatting with others, perhaps there's really

no difference between the two, and maybe a telephone is the best tool
for the job."

I counter that if all you want to do is send digital messages to your friends
halfway around the globe, use the Internet.  It's faster, more efficient, and
doesn't take resources from a multi-millon dollar amateur satellite.

I think it's cool, and maybe I'm old fashioned, to be able to talk directly over
an analog bird to Scott, VE6ITV in Alberta, or John, M1BTR in the UK, or Doug,
VA3DGR in Ontario.  Makes my world a little bigger.  Sure I could pick up a phone
and call them.  And sure I could send them a digital image or message via the
Internet, and regularly do just that.

There are room for both uses of amateur satellites John, and one camp is no better
than the other.  We are all amateur radio operators, and ANY use of the technology
is good.

In closing, you did make some very fine statements in your post.

> Perhaps a better question is, "When can be expect more advanced digital
> satellites that can handle digital voice, video, and data from a handheld
> transceiver?"

Now you're talking!  There will always be a need for good old fashioned rag
chewing.  But mixing voice, and data on the same spread spectrum transponder makes
more than a little sense to me.  A constellation of pico-sats with spread spectrum
transponders should be in our plans.  Let the end users decide what signals
they'll send skyward.  And I'll bet you an antique Johnson Messenger, there will
be plenty of voice communications on such a system.

Long live amateur radio, and long live amateur satellites!

73, and I DO enjoy your weekly satellite report, it's FB John

Mike kf4fdj@amsat.org

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