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Re: Financial support

Paul VP9MU wrote:

There are some of us that do not like the concept of the "President's Club", ... a club which can be considered elitist. Also I prefer to direct my contributions directly to those projects that interest me, ... as I did for P3D. Contributing to a general fund is something I already do through the dues, ... though I note that this really just pays the running costs of AMSAT, not funding projects, perhaps the BOD should consider raising the dues to include a project contribution.

Wayne replies:

Sign up for a generous monthly contribution, choose your favorite name, and I'm sure our president will be happy to send you a letter acknowledging your continuing support using the name of your choice.

Even when there is no ongoing fund-raising campaign, AMSAT will accept contributions designated for any specific project such as Eagle, Echo, or ARISS.  About a year ago I made a contribution to the Eagle project during the Echo fund raising campaign, just to make my preference known.

The April-May AMSAT Journal explained AMSAT's predicament very clearly.  We need MUCH MORE MONEY to keep the Eagle program running at full speed.  I'm doing what I can to address that problem.  How about everybody else?

I share your perception that the AMSAT leadership committed to the Echo project without the knowledge or explicit consent of the membership (I don't know if this is "normal", because I wasn't around when previous major projects were authorized).  I personally prefer AMSAT to apply its resources to high-orbit satellites, and encourage other organizations to develop and launch LEO satellites.  But recent LEO satellites haven't attracted very many new AMSAT members.

Maybe Echo will be launched just as the VERY elderly UO14 fails.  Maybe Echo will be so reliable and easy to hear that it attracts legions of new satellite operators worldwide.  But maybe emphasis on Eagle would have accomplished the same thing.  Just think how "viable" satellites would seem to the general ham population if there were 3 functional high-orbit satellites!  The extended access time and increased probability of long-term usability would dramatically enhance the average ham's perception of how practical satellite communication can be.  That might motivate thousands of hams to pursue satellite operating and join AMSAT.  The present status-quo (one partially-working high-orbit satellite) is not much of an incentive for new satellite operators.

To the average ham, investing in a high-orbit satellite station NOW is kind of like investing in a huge 10m antenna now.  The potential payback just doesn't seem to justify the effort and expense.  AO40 might die the day before they finish building their satellite station.  If we had to choose only one project (Echo or Eagle), I don't know which one is best for AMSAT's future.  Ideally, we would have BOTH as soon as possible.  We all know what is needed to accomplish that.  More money!

Please join AMSAT if you're not already a member.  If you've been a life member for a long time, please make additional contributions so you won't be a financial burden to AMSAT.  To all the other members, send a contribution to the project of your choice, and/or sign up for a monthly contribution to the "club" of your choice.

Maybe we should have a contest to name some new clubs, such as:
"I Don't Like Presidents" club
"I Don't Like Clubs" club
"High Orbit" club
"Alligators" club
The largest contributor to each club could be the...uh...Prime Minister.  ;-)

Wayne Estes W9AE
Mundelein, IL, USA
Sent via amsat-bb@amsat.org. Opinions expressed are those of the author.
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