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Geostationary Satellites?



Dan and everyone else who responded...

First I want to thank everyone who has taken the time to answer my question 
about geosync "birds."  I've learned a lot and that's one of the things ham 
radio is all about, right?

Putting a ham transponder on a commercial satellite sounds like a logical 
approach if this is ever going to happen.  I understand the view that this 
costs weight that satellite owners need to use for stationkeeping thruster 
fuel.  But I wonder if the new picosat technology might eventually help in 
this area. StenSat, I believe, weighs about eight ounces.  (Yes, I know it 
would nice if StenSat worked!  <s>) and has a power budget of a few watts.  
Perhaps a company the military would be willing to give up eight ounces of 
fuel (How much does that reduce the life of the thrusters, anyway?) and the 
power if the amateur payload could serve as a testbed for some new and 
potentially profitable technology.

It's interesting that NASA experimented with a VHF-FM repeater 30 years ago 
on one of its satellites.  These days, FM repeaters could be a lot smaller, 
lighter and less power-hungry, as on the picosats.  The downside is that a 
picosat at Geosync would probably be hard to access without big antennas.  
And FM is not really an efficient mode.

Somebody in this discussion commented that a network of geosync ham 
transponders would make HF obsolete.  Isn't that the point?  HF is 
obsolete.  Although many hams have great fun with limited antennas and low 
power, it requires high power and large antennas for truly reliable 24/7 world 
wide communications.  I understand that AO-10 once provided a degree of 
reliability and communications quality that was unsurpassed by HF, and P3D 
will let roundtables go on for hours once again.  Commercial ships 
communicate mostly by satellite telephone and aircraft can do the same if 
their owners and governing authorities choose to.  Point-to-point HF services 
largely disappeared years ago.

I would expect hams to continue on HF for the foreseeable future, but 
we'll do it for the challenge the way sportsmen and women ride horses 100 
years after the car was invented, and sailors still love sail boats.

HF isn't the future.  Satellites are.

Time to come down from the soapbox...

Frank
wb2bxo@amsat.org
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