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Re: FM Satellite Etiquette

Red Johnson wrote:

> When it got to the point that I had to run ERP in the range of 500 - 1000
> watts to work an FM bird, I asked myself, for what? 

Well, you're not going to get any rag-chew satisfaction on a 10 minute pass from
one of two LEO FM birds over the US East Coast on a Saturday morning, that's for
sure. If rag-chew trips your trigger, the FM LEO birds are not for you. But then
you *know* that.

> I am a VE for both ARRL and W5YI and I strongly encourage new Hams to think
> twice before they try the satellites.  

I'm a VE also. Isn't "encouraging someone to think twice before trying" about
the same thing as discouraging them? Especially if there's things you think they
ought to know that you won't tell them unless they ask?  That's not quite what
I'd expect from an elmer.  

> You can read it yourself in the recent discussions where the big guns even brag
> about being able to capture the bird anytime they feel like it.

Well, there *is* one butthead loudmouth on-list like that, and I've locked horns
with him a couple of times over this. But only one I can think of.

> And by the way, my experience has accumulated over several years and a WAS
> on the birds...so maybe it is different now?  I doubt it, given the level of
> frustration being shown on this reflector by new Hams.

I seem to recall being in that "frustration" boat myself. I got over it. 

> It sure wouldn't be allowed on HF, where I plan to stay, thank you very
> much...CW may be old, antiquated, and something for old people to use
> (primarily because like everything else in our society, if it isn't
> free/easy/self satisfying why do it?)

Um...didn't you just get done telling me FM sat ops are "too hard"? You overcame
some frustration in becoming proficient at CW, didn't you? Clearly you take
significant satisfaction in having done so.  

There's lids on HF too...or don't you operate on 75 meters? :-) HF has the
luxury of fairly wide-open bands that are there most of the time. Fortunately
the ionosphere sticks around for longer than ten minutes, and it can accomodate
more than one QSO at a time. So the impact of lamebrained operators is *vastly*
reduced. Nonetheless, 40 meter sideband can still get crunchy too, especially
when the EU broadcasters start rolling over the East Coast around midnight UTC.  

HF is cool. I do HF. I even do CW. And I do RTTY and PSK-31 and SSTV. And
Packet. And APRS. There's a lot of toys out there, and it's good you've found
some that suit you.    

CW rocks, and QRP CW even more so. I have an Elecraft K2 a-building. But there's
more to digital modes than CW.

> I just felt bad for the new people
> I see on this reflector almost daily plainly demonstrating their
> frustrations.  

"Almost daily"? I think that's an exageration. There's a pulse of newbies
everytime some sat ops project hits the mainstream ham press. UO-14 going back
to FM did it, and so did AO-40, and now it's ISS. When folks find out they can't
always work an FM bird on evey pass anymore by just standing in their yard with
an HT without already having perfected some technique, they can get frustrated.
For me, starting out in 1999, it took an Arrow to get in at all, and eventually
an FT-847 to get in more-or-less reliably.   

AO-40 will do it *again* when they finally get some transponder operation. And
I'll be there too then. I'm building S-band capability, instead of complaining
that "it's too hard" or "the bird was too complex, and if it hadn't been we'd
all be operating on it in mode U/V today". 

AO-40 has a bitchin-cool hang-time and will have oodles of bandwidth. And *I*
think there will be plenty of ragchew. If you want to ragchew on a sat, it's
going to take an Oscar class station. You *had* such a station. Did you have
trouble "busting into the clique" on the linear birds? I can't imagine why,
folks are *delighted* to make QSOs with new stations up there. Even from a
common grid square. Like FN20...or FN34, for that matter. :-) 

> Again, if AMSAT wants to stay viable, they better find a way to
> level the playing field and bust up the cliques, and soon.

Well, it seems to me there's still plenty of interest. In fact, if there wasn't
so much interest, people wouldn't be having so much trouble getting into the FM
birds. Catch AO-27 early some morning when it's out over the North Atlantic, and
you can ragchew. But the time it gets a couple hundred miles off the Jersey
coast, it's loaded down again. It's still easier than UO-14 a lot of the time,
and that's because folks have jammed up UO-14 because somebody on the local
repeater told them it was easy.    

73 de Maggie K3XS

-----/___.   _)   Margaret Stephanie Leber    / "The art of progress  /
----/(, /|  /| http://voicenet.com/~maggie   / consists of preserving/
---/   / | / |  _   _   _    `  _AOPA 925383/ order amid change and /
--/ ) /  |/  |_(_(_(_/_(_/__(__(/_  FN20hd / change amid order."   /
-/ (_/   '  K3XS  .-/ .-/    ARRL 39280   /___ --A.N.Whitehead ___/
/____ICQ 7161096_(_/_(_/__AMSAT 32844____/ <maggie@voicenet.com>
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