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Re: Financial support - REPLY -


It's very good to see your views on these important matters in an open
forum such as this.

Unfortunately, amateur radio in space is in peril. Sats are failing.
Membership is declining and as 'near space' has moved from pioneering
to business, the ability to get a "cheap" ride to space is quickly
evaporating. I'm afraid that the days of building a satellite on a
shoestring in a garage and then getting a free ride to orbit is
solidly in our past history.

Even more pressing (in my opinion) is the lack of technology transfer
from one generation to the next. If you were to gather all the "key"
people in the _entire world_ who are working on amateur satellite
projects, any of us could afford to buy them all dinner at a nice
restaurant. There are precious few of them. And if you pay close
attention, you will see that most of them have been retired from their
"real" careers for years ... in a nutshell, the folks who have the
knowledge and ability to lead satellite projects, design satellites,
build satellites, and then get them launched is a very tiny number and
they are getting on in years. What happens to amateur radio in space
when they are gone?

These projects that take from 5-10 years from inception to launch are
robbing us of the ability to train new people. Project cycles have to
be much, much faster in order to transfer that technology to a new
generation. In the time it will take to get 'Eagle' built and in orbit
we will lose two more of those important people...the clock is most
certainly ticking.

I also hope that you will consider that AMSAT has opportunities that
could result in LEO sats without the need for AMSAT to spend its own
treasure. University projects continue to be popular around the world.
Personally, I'd like to see the worldwide AMSAT communities form teams
on each continent who would promote and help lead these efforts in
exchange for an amateur payload. It's worked in the past, Bruninga is
certainly doing his part, and I just believe that we need a few more
like him to supply our future LEO (FM, digital, etc.) birds.

Funding for Project Eagle should be a top priority for AMSAT-NA since
we know from our history that linear transponders in high orbits are
very popular. And popular sats result in growing membership rolls.

AMSAT needs to play to its strengths, one of which is AO-40. While it
has not lived up to expectations, it does a remarkable job and for all
we know, it will continue to do so for a long time. If S-Mode were
more actively promoted in the US, then many amateurs here might not
see it as some sort of insurmountable 'voodoo'. Every AO-40
demonstration that I have ever seen impresses the heck out of those
who have never experienced it before. AO-40 is one of the best assets
that we currently have.

The days when one AMSAT organization can "go it alone" on a project
are over. Every AMSAT hardware project needs to be a global effort. We
can't afford not to look high and low for all the help we can get--and
neither can those amateurs outside of North America. We will all
survive together, or we will all disappear together.

The situation is indeed dire, and the seas are rough, but in times
like these real leaders step up and make the serious and important
decisions that navigate ships through treacherous waters ... I hope
that you are one of many such leaders Gunther.

Good luck!

73, Jeff Davis, KE9V

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Gunther Meisse" <gmouse@neo.rr.com>
To: <amsat-bb@AMSAT.Org>
Sent: Tuesday, June 17, 2003 5:13 PM
Subject: RE: [amsat-bb] Financial support - REPLY -

In an organization as broadly based as AMSAT it is necessary to serve
many constituencies. I hear you loud and clear, but remember, the
administrative work of AMSAT-NA is the work of Eagle and Echo. It is
framework that is absolutely necessary for all of us to see our
particular interests served. I, like you, am very interested in the
likes of AO-40, Eagle, and the new German P3 HEO birds, however we
remember that there are those AMSAT members who live for the next pass
of a LEO. As they say, "Different strokes for different folks".
Much of the problem is really based on the money, not the project
concept. Quite honestly, that is why I am running for the Board of
AMSAT. I think we need to make a real concerted effort to review and
rethink our funding sources. We basically need from $500,000.00 to
$1,000,000.00 more per year to do what we could be doing, including a
constellation of LEOs which could take the local repeater to space, to
new innovations in digital birds, to more HEO birds with the front
payloads that attract certain members, to new concepts of Internet
Interface-to-space to attract the young who were brought up on the
Internet. Every one of these items is number one to some portion of
membership. Our single biggest cost is launch and the only thing that
will fix that, in the foreseeable future, is MONEY. AMSAT tries to
develop concepts that attract certain slivers of the membership. The
"Presidents Club" is just one of them. In my case, I thought it was
a good idea I was the first person to sign up. If it gets me to
participate and send money, it is a good idea.. I will take your
recommendations to heart. There is no reason we can't structure a
system that is project focused. United Way learned that some years ago
when increasing numbers of people would just not give unless they
be specific in the application of their funds.
As the old politicians say: "If elected to the AMSAT Board, such
concepts will be right on the top of my list!"
Thanks for all your support over the years.
Gunther Meisse
AMSAT LM: #594

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