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Getting Constructive



Folks,

The recent discussions about the future of amateur radio in space 
have been very refreshing. Hopefully it will continue and to that 
end, I'd like to submit an idea for consideration and further 
discussion.

While it would be wonderful if a wealthy benefactor came along and 
handed AMSAT a few million dollars ... that seems pretty unlikely. 
Given that, the next best way to fund projects and to help secure the 
future of amateur satellite communications is to grow the 
organization with new members. 

So how do we do that?

It seems to me that getting folks interested in this facet of the 
hobby requires a certain amount of 'sizzle' along with a healthy dose 
of education.

The sizzle is needed to grab folks attention and get them to give it 
a try, while the education is needed because satellite communication 
is a speacialized aspect of amateur radio.

While printed publications have served AMSAT well since its 
inception, the time may well be right to get digital...

What if there was a collaborative effort to assemble a CD filled with 
up to date articles about amateur satellites. Add to that MP3 audio 
clips of interviews with real operators as well as audio from actual 
on-air contacts. Mix in a bunch of pictures and maybe even a short 
multimedia presentation and we could have a very interesting, and up 
to date look at what "we" do for fun. 

It could include the audio history of AMSAT, a vision statement of 
the future, an audio invitation to become a member of AMSAT, and 
perhaps even a special audio appeal to donate money for future 
projects (let your imagination run amok here).

Information included should move a ham from a satellite newbie 
through their first contact and leave them wanting more...

I don't know about you, but I think a CD like that could fetch up to 
$25 if it was offered for sale by AMSAT. Perhaps it could be offered 
for free as a gift with a new membership?

Maybe we could get enough folks to donate a few bucks so that CDs 
could be purchased at cost and shared with ham radio clubs?

If done properly, I think it could be a pretty slick tool for the 
promotion of AMSAT.

Production and multiplication of such a "publication" would incur 
some costs but I'm willing to bet that we could get 500 members to 
earmark $10 each for such an effort and that *should* at least get 
the ball rolling.

It would be especially helpful if a project like this was headed up 
by a team of members most of us have never heard of ... spreading out 
the workload to some fresh faces can't hurt and the experience gained 
is priceless.

I thought about the possibility that the CD could be easily copied 
and that might hurt "sales" but that's really not an issue--the idea 
is to expose more people to satellite ops so really, the more hands 
it is in the better off we are ...

There are dozens of things that could be included on the CD and I am 
only scratching the surface. But it seems to me that the cost to 
publish and distribute a CD has got to be less expensive than 
printing and distributing books and manuals...and I think it would be 
more exciting (sizzle).

And so far as I am aware, no other amateur radio organization is 
producing that kind of media content (am I wrong?) so this could be 
very trend setting--like the recent President's Club.

If it works out well, I could see releasing updated versions much 
more frequently than printed material because it would be easier and 
less expensive to do.

So what do you think ... is this a viable project that can result in 
postive results for AMSAT? Is it worth doing or is it a pipe dream?

You can't hurt my feelings and any constructive criticism only serves 
to raise the S/N on the list! :-)

73 de Jeff, Ke9v 
  



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