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Re: Amateur Satellite Technician Job

> Date: Wed, 2 May 2001 19:44:34 -0400 (EDT)
> From: Bob Bruninga <bruninga@usna.edu>
> To: amsat-bb@AMSAT.Org
> cc: TAPR APRS Special Interest Group <aprssig@tapr.org>
> Subject: [amsat-bb] Amateur Satellite Technician Job 
> This is TOTALLY unofficial, but the Naval Academy Satellite Lab "may" be
> getting funding some time this year to hire a technician to help out in
> the satellite lab (build satellites etc)..
> If I have anything to say about it, such a person would have an advanced
> class license or better, 40 years experience in HAM radio and AMSAT ...
> 	[...]

I think this might be one of those cases where less is more (in this
instance, years of ham experience).

If it were up to me, I would look for a technician who was thinking
in terms of software, digital signal processing, digital communications,
software defined radios (SDR) and ubiquitous Internet connectivity
(even for satellites), rather than time-in-grade as a radio amateur.

Insisting upon four decades of ham experience may yield results similar
to the ARRL's response to the FCC SDR NOI. (Paraphrasing _very_ loosely,
the ARRL said "we don't know what this SDR stuff is, but whatever it is,
we can use it for emergency communications."  No mention was made of the
DSP-10 articles that appeared in QST, although sound card modems were
mentioned.  To their credit, the ARRL didn't mention CW in their response.)

(Originally, I was going to suggest that if you insisted on 40 years of
ham experience, you would probably get a CW satellite, but that seemed
a bit too snotty.  On the other hand, just that has already been

I believe that amateur satellites are at the forefront of what amateur
radio must become to survive, namely a hobby that focuses on new
technologies and on "advancing the radio art."  I don't think that
insisting that your new hire have a mid-20th century perspective
on amateur radio is necessarily the best approach.  (Note that this
isn't to say that your technician can't have a lot of ham experience,
just that requiring a long tenure as a ham may skew your applicant
pool in an undesirable fashion.)

By the way, some of you might be interested in the speeches made by
Dale Hatfield, chief of the FCC's Office on Engineering and Technology.
See, for example, http://www.fcc.gov/Speeches/misc/dnh061700.html.  While
he doesn't explicitly mention amateur satellites, I think his thoughts
are certainly consistent with much of what the amateur community is
doing with satellites.


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