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Re: On leaving AMSAT

* Bob Bruninga <bruninga@usna.edu> [2003-07-07 10:06]:
> A new Gee-Whiz approach does indeed satisfy the gee-whiz technical types,
> but in the long run, they dont like to spend a lot of time "operating" and
> it seems to me that it is the vast majoirty of "operators" that provide
> the thirst in HAM radio...

I think that this is just one small downside to being active in a very
specialized segment of a much broader hobby.

Let's face it, there are 700,000+ licensed amateurs in the US alone and
of that, AMSAT-NA has about 4,000 members. You can do the math but space
communication is but a teeny-tiny facet of amateur radio.

While the subject line of this discussion changes with regularity, it
has pretty much been about how to attract some new people so we can
expand our ranks.

I understand the tough economic times and the impact of 9/11. But a 
sustained contraction in members seems to be a pretty clear indicator 
that 'whatever' we've been doing to attract and keep members over the 
last 5-7 years has been a certified flop.

So what's wrong with attracting a bunch of techies who enjoy things like
decoding telemetry from a box speeding along at 18,000mph just so they
can calculate its orientation or monitor its temperature?

One of the greatest advantages that we have is that our operating arena
is 'out of this world'. Space is never boring and no amount of
earth-bound technology (like the Internet) is going to make going to 
Space a "dull" endeavor. 

You tell a kid you can talk to someone in another state for 2 minutes 
with a handheld and an Arrow antenna six times a day and he'll show you 
his Sprint PCS phone with free calling anywhere in the US. But you show
that kid a computer that is running a Sat tracker program and show him 
how you are downloading and decoding telemetry and live pictures from that 
satellite and you might well have a convert. 

I merely suggest that duplicating on orbit lesser technologies than we
already have on the ground seems pointless. That's why I see the low
baud rate store and forward systems as a relic, even though they really 
were the cats pajamas in 1993...

Jeff, Ke9v
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