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Digipeaters in space



AX.25 UI Digipeating in the Amateur Satelite Service:

Since I began experimenting with HT digital messaging and status reporting
via satellite in the 1998 time frame, we have gone from 9 potentially
capable satellites down to none.

 SUNSAT (SO35) died
 KO-23 and KO-25 (both could be programmed to digipeat) are dead
 UO-22 is very iffy.
 The ISS digipeater is off the air for months
 SAPPHIRE has died.
 OPAL was never very viable for this application.
 SAFIR-M died
 This weekend PCsat has finally become un reliable

As of this week there are no reliable AX.25 digipeaters in space.  Over
this 5 year period and seeing thousands of users on PCsat and via ISS, I
still have never gotten the impression that general UI digipeating is
considered a priority within the powers-that-be within the Amateur
Satellite Service.  Yes, neat.  Fundamental.... no.

In fact, some even think that BBS style operations is the #1 priority for
packet in space.  Many still consider UI digipeating or APRS via satellite
as a small niche in the big scheme of things in the Amateur Satellite
Service and inconsequential.

I'm not sure where I am going with this email, because there are so
many-many diverse interests in HAM radio and Satellites, and everyone has
their own favorite interests, that a public debate accomplishes nothing
because there are always strong supporters of just about any mode and it
doesnt help one get the overall feel of the entire population.  Just the
loudest voices.

Maybe we don't hear from the AX.25-only-users who do not participate
in "satellite meetings and discussions" but who use the AX.25
satellite digipeaters anyway as just a simple alternative to their
terrestrial ones, thus they are "under" represented in discussions?

Most surveys have focused on FM versus Analog, broadband verses
narrowband, New digital modes versus voice, etc.  And I fully support all
these ideas, but I also think we need a basic no-frills reliable
generic underlying bent-pipe digital communications mode in the Amateur
Satellite Service that is just always there.

Bottom line: I guess I'd like to see other Amateur satellites support the
secondary mission area of generic AX.25 digipeating on 145.825 just to
give us a lowest common denominator of generic digital communications that
we can count on.

One frequency (145.825), worldwide that HAM radio operators can always
konw that every few hours they can always communicate via satellite at
1200 baud AX.25 using only a digital HT or portable anywhere on the globe.
And they dont need to know which satellite or to re-configure.  It just
works and it IS HAM radio...

Just thinking... no real mission here..  I'm glad to see UI digipeating
listed on the OSCAR-E list of secondary missions.

Bob, WB4APR

My web page on this subject has been:

  http://www.ew.usna.edu/~bruninga/astars.html

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