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Satellite communications from hand helds

Last night I saw a show about the US ECHELON network.  They indicated that
the satellites used could receive signals from mobile telephones.

I realise that the NSA budget is probably a little bigger than AMSAT's but
since amateur hand helds put out signifcantly higher power levels than
mobile phones is should be easier to receive them.

What are the main technical problems in designing a satellite to enable hand
held FM communications via satellite?

[I don't mean path loss calculations as clearly the Americans have this
under control with their Echelon system.  Would the high gain antennas
required to receive such signals need to be steared, for example]

Are these difficulties able to be overcome in the short term?

Michael VK2JXI

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