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Good evening John,

> I don't think the Internet was ever proprietary or exclusive.  If I'm not
> mistaken, the protocols used are all open standards, and there were never
> any fees for its use.  My first experience with it (back in 1987) was from
> the keyboard of a Commodore 64.  (Interestingly enough, that's the same
> computer I used to receive and decode signals from the UO-9 and UO-11
> digital satellites.)

The original Internet was a cooperation between the military industrial industries and
those Universities benefiting from their and government dollars.  It was a backbone
connecting think tanks.  Geeky, nerdy, running on UNIX boxes.  Nobody had access without
clearance, an ID, and a long password.  We had access at the U of I back in the 70s.  At
the same time we were saving our programs to punch tape, we could communicate with
associates at other universities on this closely guarded exclusive system called the
Internet.  It was cool.  We were cool.  We were geeks.

> Exception noted.  However, I fail to see a vast difference between simply
> talking to someone on 27 MHz or talking to them on an amateur frequency.

Maybe you're confusing 75 meters with the sats?  :-)   I guess because building a
satellite ground station is a great deal more involved than walking into Radio Shack and
buying a CB and mag mount antenna.  Other than both operators talking to other
operators, there is little other similarity. It took me months to get my ground station
to a point I was satisfied.  I built 4 10 meter downlink antennas before I found one
usable on RS15.  I consider making my first contact on that bird one of my finest radio

> Well, some might consider that to be an elitist attitude considering that
> not all areas of the world have Internet access.  However, ALL areas of
> the world are served on a regular basis by Amateur Radio's constellation
> of digital communication satellites.  And with amateur satellites, there
> is considerably less problems with network hackers, viruses, junk mail,
> and advertisements, not to mention all the sex and pornographic material
> that appears regularly as spam mail.

There are of course exceptions to the rule.  I've read of the remote medical personnel
who used the pacsats for communication, but by-in-large, Internet telephony and access
is by far more prevalent and accessible to the masses world wide than access to amateur
satellites.  In comparison, a computer, modem, and access is much cheaper than the costs
associated with putting together even a meager ground station.  In fact, you can work
all continents on Microsoft Netmeeting in one evening. :-)

> The Internet has become a very hostile and unfriendly place.  It's
> certainly not like it was when it was populated by only Unix geeks.  :-)

Yep, and so has (unfortunately) navigating the Interstate Highway system.  In some areas
you can be shot for merging in front of someone in a hurry!  :-)

> Actually, I never stated that my only interest in digital satellites
> was in simply sending messages back and forth to friends around the
> world.  To the contrary, I tried to point out that digital satellites
> don't just relay information -- they generate it.  Between earth imaging
> cameras, radiation counters, and the results of the many scientific
> experiments carried on-board these satellites, there's a wealth of
> information available that's free for the asking.  And you can't get
> that stuff on the Internet!  This is the very information that is used
> to design new (and better) satellites.  It's important to our growth,
> and we need more of it.

You can get the images on the Internet.  I'll send you some fine URLs if you send me an
out of band message.  Ever checked out the Microsoft Teraserver?  They actually have an
image of my car there, from space!  Many years ago I spent a great deal of time with
demodulators and a very nice ICOM R7100 looking at and saving satellite images.  Didn't
need a ground station to do it either.  With my current setup, I can even talk, and the
person at the other end can hear me!  I find this two way exchange infinitely more

> I agree.  Then there shouldn't be any hard feelings if FO-29 should be
> placed into Mode JD for a while, right?  :-)

ummm, John, you're baiting me.  You already know my feelings on the ratio of digital to
analog birds.  I find it unfortunate  they keep encountering bit errors while trying to
switch to digital mode.  I am really looking forward to Digitalker mode.  Any bets on
what the message will contain?

73, and I miss talking to you on the analog birds.  Come out and play one of these
nights, won't you!

Mike kf4fdj@amsat.org

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