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AO-27/SO-35




At the risk of beating a dead horse, I'd like to add a few comments on the
topic of single channel FM satellites.  These birds certainly have their
place as "EasySats" because under optimum conditions they allow a ham with
a relatively inexpensive, dual band HT to work through them.  However, they
are also a recipe for considerable frustration.  The single channel nature
and FM capture effect make the window of usefulness very narrow. The
continuous power load on an FM transmitter usually dictates a low output
level or a very restricted operating schedule, or both.  Thus, the
satellite may be difficult to hear (AO-27), it may be only occasionally
active (SO-35), or active only during daylight passes (AO-27).  Hams are
humans and as such they respond to these problems in different ways.  With
regard to the narrow passband/capture problem, some up their power, some
work weekdays, some get better antennas, some go elsewhere, and some just
complain.  I've listened to quite a few AO-27 and SO-35 passes and, I'd
have to say that in my experience virtually everyone seems willing to keep
QSO's short, answer new callsigns, etc.  Sure, occasionally excitement
leads to a little "hogging" but the intent does not seem malicious.  Let's
face it, though, if someone yells fire in a crowded theater and there's
only one narrow exit, all the preplanning/policing in the world isn't going
to prevent some element of chaos.  In our case the enthusiasm for satellite
work is the "fire", the narrow door is the single channel FM passband and
the chaos will never be completely prevented.  All of life is a compromise.
The compromise of an FM satellite workable with an HT is this single
channel chaos.  

If you're looking for my "solution" to the FM-sat problem, here's where I
tell you that I don't have one.  To some extent, I think the problems with
power/capture need to be accepted as an inevitability of the FM compromise,
and we need to move on to more productive activities.  Perhaps we should
work towards educating new hams about how to get onto the SSB LEO's, FO-20
and FO-29, as cheaply and painlessly as possible.  There they can have
FM-like quality in a usually under utilized, broad passband.  Real
conversations can be held!! ...and then there's P3D!


-- 
 ________________________________________________________________________  
 Stacey E. Mills, W4SM    WWW: 	http://www.cstone.net/~w4sm/ham1.html 
  Charlottesville, VA	  PGP key:	http://www.cstone.net/~w4sm/key    	
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