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Re: Re: Dont want to work at it?

>The bottom line is, AO-40 is NOT a "Hard Satellite", and there are a lot of
>who did not listen to all the whiners, and have assembled very good mode 
>stations for less than $500.<<

Wheather or not a viable startup station CAN be assembled for 500 dollars or 
less is a bottom line (actually I bet the dollar value can be much much 
less) but I dont agree that it is the precise one that should be at issue.  
Ihave no doubt that you with your technical expertise could assemble such a 
station. The issue is NOT wheather or not someone with decades of experience 
in the amateur radio satellite business can assemble such a station...i

THE ISSUE strikes me is can a reasonalbe number of people who have little 
"mode B" experience and mostly "mode VHF FM" experience assemble such a 
station for any amount of money much less 500$.

So I guess I look at it a little different, I use three questions.

1.  Could I have assembled a 2.4 ghz station after a year or so of OSCAR 
mode A experience and being a teenager or even an adult with a non 
engineering background from what is available today?  Maybe but then again I 
look back at the FM exciter strip that I used to transvert to 70cm many 
decades ago and see the soldering and the clumsy wiring and remember the 
little tweaks that my elmer (who was a TI engineer) had to help with to make 
it work and I dont come to the same conclusions you do so fast...and thats 
just the exciter.  The antennas were a lot easier then gluing together a 2.4 
GHZ setup (witness the traffic on this bulliten board), tracking was Oscar 
locaters (until I learned to program the Burroughs 6700) and computers have 
made it easier but not a trivial task given beamwidths.  AO-40 is going to 
be no where near the SUPERSAT it was billed at so more complicated stations 
are going to be needed for consistent results.  My first practical Microwave 
experience was rebuilding an STL link at the college TV station and it was a 
learnign experience (and I had some good helpers).  AO-40 would have been a 
breeze after that but 'that' was not trivial.

2.  Could the folks I know today who do the easy sats easily glue together a 
2.4ghz station with no real test equipement etc.  The answer is that a 
smaller percentage of folks will try then if there was a reasonable Mode B 
satellite.  Witness the traffic on this bulliten board and you realize its 
not that "trivial" for that level of skill.  It is a natural starter 
excersize to glue together an AO-27 station and the RS birds follow.  BUT 
AO-10 is a lot of work for a bird that could croak anyday now (wouldnt it be 
funny if it outlives AO-40?).

3.  How many folks have glued together your under 500 dollar stations have 
come straight from the FM sats (or no satellite experience at all)?  How 
many didnt have AO-10 or 13 or even other Mode B experience. I bet its not a 
large number adn if we want large numbers then the step is to hard.  I know 
of exactly 1 and this is the home of JSC NASA and most of the hams here 
"work" at NASA in a technical mode.

In the end Woody if one is going to go up the learning scale then one has to 
do so in "leaps" that are doable by most of the student norm.  Now the 
numbers who go up the scale "thin" as you get higher, but they drop off very 
very quickly the instant the step is so far that discouragement becomes a 

I think that the folks who designed and built AO-40 KNEW THIS and thats why 
in the bird that there was the capability for Mode B.  All the published 
literature that I have read (and its all of it in the US ham magazine 
list...I even subscribe to Wayne Green's rag)on AO-40 talked about the 
satellite offering an entry platform to try and entice folks from the entry 
ground to higher bands.

Its to bad that part is junk now...but it does make my point that at least 
the thought was there that S band ops without some serious commercial 
equipment is going to be a tough run.

OK so what we have now is a bird that DOES SUBSTANTIALLY LESS Then was 
promised (if all we wanted was what we have the bird should have been lots 
cheaper and many years ago) and one cant go back in time.  But having said 
that trying to make a sows ear into a silk purse by simply saying it is so 
seems to me pretty lame...particularly when it is done in such terms as 
"whiners" etc.

AS I pointed out in the part of my post that you did not reply to...its easy 
to mistake lack of experience for whining if one has forgotten what it was 
like to lack experience.  What amazes me is the folks who build the digital 
sats understand this.  If you look at how they did it its a pretty "nice" 
progression from 1.2 to 36Kb.  In my profession it would be about like going 
from a Cardinal little airplane to a 757.  Want to know how many Cardinal 
pilots would make that transition?  Almost none in thetime that its normally 
done in.

Actually I think the crowd that is fooling themselves is the one who talks 
about "advancing the state of the art" with this satellite.  Have you looked 
at commercial satellite operations?  It may be advancing tthe amateur state 
of the art but the reality is that commercial satellite ops are so far ahead 
of what we do that we are not even really inthe same universe.  Thats OK 
this is ham radio which is after all a "hobby" (flame comes out...ITS  A 
SERVICE...sure) but wheather or not it is a hobby or a service it should be 
one that is enjoyed/used (hobby/service) by reasonable numbers of people adn 
if we keep limiting it to people who are already proficient technically or 
those few who can make the ever increasing leaps without any attendent steps 
then before long folks like you and I are going to be all alone on the bird 
and in financially supporting AMSAT..


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