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You heard it here first, AMSAT has a SECRET!  Without fanfare or really
saying it very loud, the end of an era has finally happened.  The AMSAT BOD
has approved the development of a new satellite, and unlike the creative
wording used by the ARRL for this BOD decision, this new satellite will not
be "AO-40 Lite".  The new satellite will return to the basics finally after
nearly 20 years of the other approach.  I say it again, FINALLY the
minimalist approach to amateur satellites returns.

Go quickly and read the AMSAT announcement.  Then reread it, study what is
says and what it does not say.

What the announcement says to me is that there will not be any techno wizzy
stuff, just linear RF repeaters operating from a synchronous transfer orbit.
All the rest of the gee wiz stuff is gone.  Hopefully the things that go
bump in the night are gone as well.

A Satellite for amateur radio is a basic device that provides signal gain
for amateur signals using the system as a repeater.  The use of multiple
bands on an amateur satellite always works to the economic disadvantage of
those who might invest in one band mode combination and are disenfranchised
when the satellite is operated in other band modes.  The membership needs to
help the AMSAT BOD keep the new satellite as simple as possible.  To help
the BOD along I suggest that the 2M and 5.6 GHz bands need to be abandoned.

The new goal is the result of a rethink of the concept model for the next
satellite.  The issue is maybe just maybe, and this is were the membership
needs to start singing a loud chorus, that AMSAT will focus on the users and
create a maximum life cycle for value satellite system.  I offer that the
best way to achieve maximum participation in AMSAT is to focus on the users
economics and keep the satellite a very simple device that has great
reliability for the users.  Workers in the builder group need to have a much
better understanding of the works of W Edwards Deming and graduate level
Economics on an equal footing with the latest radiation hardened

AMSAT's challenge is to show the amateur community and the satellite users
that AMSAT can deliver service reliability and consistent functionality to
the user community.  The AMSAT board has put is toe in the waters of change,
they need strong support to provide the leadership to bring a
new service delivery model to the AMSAT community.

We badly need more satellites that achieve their 20th anniversary delivering
full functionality to the user community.

I urge the AMSAT membership to support the board, to push hard for the
concept of minimalism for amateur satellites.  To focus on reliability and
serviceability.  What we must NOT get  is an "AO-40 Lite".

AMSAT Life Member #3

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