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Amsat-UK Colloquium 2000

Amsat-UK's Y2K Colloquium was held over the last weekend in July. 71 people
attended from 14 countries and were addressed by 22 different speakers on a
variety of subjects from the simple to the deeply complex. Other features
of the weekend included a firing of SSTL's rocket thruster, a demonstration 
of 2400 MHz reception from SSTL's minisat UO-36, an IARU Forum, and guided 
tours around Surrey's impressive ground command facility.

No doubt the IARU Satellite Co-ordinator will issue a full report of the 
Forum in due course. Following VK5AGR relinquishing the position of Satellite
Frequency Co-ordinator, the Forum was asked for nominations for his successor
and strongly recommended Peleg Lapid, 4X1GP, for this position.

This year's event was planned to have a lot about P3D - we weren't 
disappointed. Apart from several items of hardware etc being discussed, we
were also told that the new provisional date for P3D's flight into orbit was
31 October. The launch campaign should start on 11 September; fingers crossed.

But there were other talks as well: The one about Satellites-on-a-Chip 
(including solid-fuelled thrusters) met with such interest and acclamation 
that the speaker (on UoS academic staff) has promised us an article for 
Oscar News.

Surrey's recently-launched (microsat-sized) SNAP spacecraft cost less than
a million UK Pounds; apparently NASA's budget for a similar project is $28M.

The leader of the University of Bristol's Project HAND told us about their
progress. He also happens to be the President of the British Interplanetary
Society so we had a separate talk about that as well. (I was amazed that
only two people at the Colloquium belonged to this organisation.)

Each of the Beginners' sessions (General, analogue, digital) had between 15
and 20 attendees; organisation of these was delegated to G7HIA and W2RS. Of 
particular interest were the live demonstrations via UO-14 and AO-27 which
netted almost twenty contacts in about eight countries using just an HT and
an Arrow antenna. There was especial interest in the transatlantic contacts.
QSL via G3RWL.

We finished up with a talk about SSTL's future plans ... including lunar
and interplanetary missions.

Next year's event will probably take place over the same weekend, the last
one in July (27 to 29 July) 2001. With P3D hopefully in orbit by then we
have high hopes that attendance (and membership) will pick up. The following
suggestions for 2001 have been made: Antenna Test facility (NB NOT a full
antenna range); Beginners' sessions, "Show and Tell" presentations. A call 
for papers will probably issue about November.

Richard W L Limebear G3RWL
FOC # 1188
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