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Re: Ham radio?



Jeff,

Geostationary satellites require complex orbits, positioning, and
expensive launch vehicles.  What WOULD be feasible, is a constellation
of LEO picosats.  If they contained a simplex digipeater, it would
accommodate the APRS/Packet crowd.  If they also contained what some
call a bent pipe, or mode JA FM system, they could accommodate voice
communications.

Recent advances in technology make a satellite with these abilities
smaller than a toaster. (Remember the flying toaster screen saver? :-)  
)  If we built MANY of these birds, and kept them in the various AMSAT
countries with launch agencies, EVENTUALLY, we could have launch
opportunities to keep a steady stream of such birds constantly hitching
rides.

They could operate on the same frequency, 144.390, or some other
coordinated frequency :-) for the APRS hardware, and a standardized 2
meter/70 cm pair for voice.  Each bent pipe would have a unique PL tone
on the uplink, to keep terrestrial operators from keying multiple birds.
In addition, ALL of these birds could respond to a standard DCS tone, to
accommodate wilderness users and priority/health and welfare traffic. 
In an emergency, an operator might need to hit ANY bird.  Each bird
would have a unique signature at the end of each transmission, like many
repeaters now use. The "roger beep" could be a single alpha or numeric
CW ID.  This would give us A - Z, and 0 - 9, or 36 unique identifiers. 
It wouldn't take long for an alert operator to determine exactly which
sat in the series they are hearing.

Once several of these birds reached orbit, mobile and handheld APRS
operators would have reliable coverage, several times per day.  It would
allow family to track loved ones on the road, and in fact, exchange
informational messages with them.  Mobile and handheld operators would
have a constant parade of bent pipe technology within "ear shot," and
the armchair operator could use and monitor the birds for emergency
traffic.

Recently, handheld devices have made some quantum leaps in technology,
with one even incorporating a TNC.  With a constellation of the above
described birds available, manufacturers would surely market HTs with
built-in GPS and TNC operations.  

These devices would instantly make the position available, of any
operator using the device. Imagine the benefit to rescue teams
responding to a wilderness crisis.  During a regional disaster, such a
system would be indispensable for emergency operations.

With such a constellation of birds, the amateur space community would
reassert itself as technology leaders, and just perhaps the Nintendo
generation would take note, become interested, and join our ranks.

What do you think?  Are we ready to break out of the box and embrace a
new technology head on?  We could even call the project millennium.  The
project mascot could be an animated flying toaster.  That would appeal
to the Pop tart, er, Nintendo generation.

73, Mike



Jeff Johns wrote:

> I vote for an array of geostationary AMSATS that cover 80%-90% of the
> Earth's population that could support the UI APRS format, such as the kind
> currently being digipeated through Mir during it's passes with the current
> internet gateway setup along with analog, mode J capabilities for those
> times when you want to hear a 'real' voice that you can QSO with. I'm not
> asking for much.... am I <g>?
> 

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