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Re: Phase 4 satellite(s)?



>Or is your idea that not only should AMSAT or whomever develop the
>satellite but also the ground station equipment as well?  In that case
>I see a direct connection.  If AMSAT has say, 1 million dollars to
>spend, then it can spend that entire one million on a bird with legacy
>modes or it can spend $750,000 on digital only and use the other
>$250,000 to design ground station hardware that it can then sell to
>the individual users or OEMs in the form of kits, etc.  Is that what
>you mean?

Yes, that's exactly what I mean. Consider amateur packet radio,
starting in the early 1980s. It was almost impossible to get US
commercial manufacturers to produce and sell TNCs until protocol and
modulation standards had been established and TAPR had seeded the
market with enough kits to create a critical mass of users. Until
then, packet radio was just too radical an idea for the manufacturers,
who are by and large a conservative lot. Even after packet succeeded,
it was difficult to get the manufacturers to do anything but repackage
TAPR's designs.

The big Japanese manufacturers are an even harder nut to crack. We've
wrung our collective hands for years complaining that Kenwood, Icom
and Yaesu don't give us what we want, or that they insist on giving us
features we don't want but still have to pay top dollar for. So why do
we still think they're the only option?

It's happened countless times before. Some small group, thoroughly
frustrated with the status quo, goes off and designs something truly
new. Money is not the main motive; just the fun of making something
really neat happen. The established industry is wholly uninterested or
even actively hostile, so the small group standardizes, builds and
markets it themselves. Their honest passion for the mode proves to be
much more convincing than the usual content-free blather of the
commercial marketroids, and the mode takes off. Eventually the large
manufacturers take notice, hopefully just around the time that the
small group is starting to burn out.

Packet radio was the best example of this phenomenon in ham radio.
It's happening again, on a smaller scale, with the various HF digital
modes.  In the outside world, the Internet is the all-time classic
example.

I see no reason why we can't do the same with a well-designed L/S
digital mode operating through a LEO constellation.

Phil

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