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It seems in the healthy discussion here that we keep going around and
around because of the desire to make the sats easily usable with an
inexpensive handheld.

That would appear to be the premise behind Iridium and the other
projects which are attempting to provide global wireless access from
inexpensive ground devices via a multi-billion dollar fleet of sats.

I know we hams can squeeze a buck better than anyone but I doubt we
will have a similar network at any cost we can afford.

It seems to me the best investment is in the groundstation. These days
you can buy an FT-847, power supply and antennas for under $2000.
Preamps and an AZ-EL rotor will add almost another thousand but the
result is an A-1 groundstation that can do more with less in the air.

I know not everyone can afford that, and I also am well aware that
buying used equipment and homebrewing can drastically lower that cost
but it seems to me to be a decent trade-off in terms of what kind of
technology needs to be in space and what needs to be on the ground.

Hey, you want a shorter dipole? It comes at a performance price. You
wanna use your rubber-duck antenna to communicate with a Sat overhead?
Get in line behind the high ERP crowd.

It would seem in this debate that everyone wants to go to heaven but
nobody wants to die! :-)

Flames to /dev/null please, just thinking with my VOX open!  
Jeff Davis, N9AVG
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