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Re: Oscar 0



I think it is very intriguing to put an amateur transponder on the moon,
but before we
get started let's do the link margin calculations. The moon is very very
far away and
most hams will not be able to work a lunar transponder with an HT and an
arrow
antenna. Only those "elite" hams with big antenna arrays in their
non-covenant
restricted backyards will be able to work a repeater on the moon, and
once it is
deployed there we will no doubt see postings on amsat-bb about how
"Amsat builds satellites for the elite minority and not for the average
ham."  So lets make sure that
everybody understands this up front.

I think that before this mission happens they will need to find
additional sponsors
besides Radio Shack. Nevertheless it can't hurt for us to start
designing some sort of
transponder if they are interested in carrying it. They may be more
interested in
selling content to internet sites than in carrying a package of interest
only to ham
radio operators, and only to an elite group of hams at that. But it
canít hurt to ask.

With the passing of Werner Haas, Amsat has lost more than half of its
linear
transponder design knowledge. Werner designed and built most of the
communications payload for AO-10, AO-13 and Phase 3D. I frankly don't
know
who is going to step forward to fill those shoes. I don't know of anyone
in the
USA who has built a linear transponder in the past two (or is it three)
decades and
there is precious little published literature on the subject.  Most of
the people who built Phase 3D have let it be known that this will be
their last satellite, but most of the technical knowledge behind P3D is
locked away in secret file cabinets. I don't know where the next
generation of satellite and transponder builders is going to learn these
arcane skills. The crew that built Stensat made a good effort in a very
short time but they did not have the benefit of any prior experience in
building a satellite,  The requirements are much harder than simply
building a piece of gear for your ham
shack.

So in spite of all these problems, please count me in if there is such a
project. Iíve been trying to design a linear transponder for a balloon
flight in my copious free time but Iím afraid it hasnít gotten very far
along.

Dan Schultz N8FGV



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