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Re: PANsat

Here is my (unofficial) opinion on the Navy PG school's PANSAT.  This is
only an opinion over the years and may be quite wrong on some details...

PANSAT was an amateur satellite to experiment with SPREAD SPECTRUM
communications.  Two transceivers were built by students.  One went into
the satellite, the other into the ground station.  The plans were
published and everyone was welcome to build a spread spectrum transceiver
to join in the experimentation.

No one ever did.  The original interested HAM students graduated, a
year later PANsat was launched and none of the original "interested"
students were around to play with it.  No hams ever took any interest to
build a spread spectrum transceiver and so there it sits... on orbit, but
no one interested in scratch building a spread spectrum transceiver to

A year or two after it was launched the School approached us about
becoming a secondary ground station.  We said sure, just give us the
special SS transceiver.  They said they had the plans, but we would have
to build our own.... theirs was the only one in existence.  But being busy
enough as we are, I could see no benefit in a one-hand-clapping project to
talk to no one...

I really dont blame anyone.  PANSAT hit orbit about the same time the
Internet exploded and packet experimentation died.  Since the internet
lets anyone communicate at 56 kB or higher at any time all the time, who
wants to scratch build a one-of-a-kind 9600 baud experimental transceiver
to communicate for 5 minutes a few times a day to yourself, or one other
person if you can talk him into building a transceiver too.

Its there, I think it is functional, but with only one spread spectrum
built ground station, no one is using it.  The lessons are:

1) Its perfectly fine to build a satellite for an amateur COMM experiment
2) But don't expect it to be popular unless a lot of people can use it
3) If it ain't popular, then the builders will also quickly loose interest
4) At a university, the students graduate.  Unless there is a Faculty
   member 100% dedicated to the mission, it will die as soon as the
   original students are gone.
5) If it is not causing interference, then stop complaining about it.
6) If you dont like the payloads someone else is building, then build
   one yourself, or join up with a university or other team that is
   and help them with the right way to do it.  They want to build
   satellites, in many cases they may be looking for payloads.  In
   any case, only HAMS understand the best "uses" for an amateur
   communications experiment that will draw users....

This is only an opinion and does not reflect any facts or official
position of the Navy in any manner whatsoever.

de WB4APR, Bob

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