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AO40 user population

The ARRL reported:

Command station team member Stacey Mills, W4SM, says, however, that he's puzzled and disappointed by the relatively low numbers of users on AO-40 during the last month or so.

Wayne replies:

Here are a few of my thoughts on this matter.

1. There would be far more users if AO40 had a working 144 MHz downlink because there are far more hams in the world with 144 MHz equipment than with 2400 MHz equipment.

2. Most hams live in areas where buildings and/or trees obstruct a large portion of the horizon.  A major problem when the only downlink is 2400 MHz.

3. 2400 Mhz equipment is extremely difficult to obtain in many parts of the world.

4. The above factors lead to a "negative momentum" that is self-reinforcing.  People get on AO40 less often because there isn't much activity.

5. The overall success rate of AO40 systems makes a LOT of hams reluctant to spend ANY money on equipment that can ONLY be used with AO40.

Obviously we didn't plan for this outcome, but that's the way it is.  My opinion doesn't count for much, but I think that adding 144 MHz capability to the next satellite would greatly increase its appeal to the general ham population.  And in my opinion, "mass appeal" should be one objective of the next satellite.

Wayne Estes W9AE

P.S. I plan to financially support Project JJ no matter what its capabilities are.
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