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RE: Financial support - REPLY -



Jeff,
Thank you for your kind words.
I think you said it as well as anyone could. The message reminds me of
the newspaper industry. They are so concerned with the death of their
(senior) readers that they have instituted a massive program to donate
the daily newspapers to the schools each morning. If they can't make
regular readers out of these kids, they are dead meat!! I see it in my
own kids. They are college educated, have high dollar jobs and do not
read the paper!! Hmmmmmm.
I would propose that we do a study of our membership. Much could be
learned. Their age and how long they have been a member of AMSAT is the
first thing I would look at. Are we getting NEW, YOUNG, members?
Unfortunately, we do not have the benefit of prior year studies, so we
would have to  watch our conclusions, but I think there might be a
message there.
You know, for every bad side , there is often a good one hiding in the
bushes. Yes, some of our old cheap rides are no more, but perhaps with
some of the new entries into the launch field, we may find new friends.
I'll tell you, NASA is scared to death!!
Jeff, I surely do not purport to have all the answers, but I am pretty
good at asking, and asking, and asking the questions until I get an
answer.
Thanks, and keep the faith. If we give a damm about this organization,
it is up to us to keep it healthy!!
73
Gunther
W8GSM


-----Original Message-----
From: jeff@ke9v.com [mailto:jeff@ke9v.com] 
Sent: Tuesday, June 17, 2003 7:52 PM
To: amsat-bb@amsat.org
Cc: Gunther Meisse
Subject: Re: [amsat-bb] Financial support - REPLY -


Gunther,

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
AMSAT-NA
AMSAT-DL
AMSAT-UK


----- 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 -


Paul,
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 the
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 must
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 edge 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 our 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 such 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 giving system that is project focused.
United Way learned that some years ago when increasing numbers of people
would just not give unless they could 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 W8GSM AMSAT LM: #594


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