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A view from an outsider



I am not a member of AMSAT, nor have I ever belonged. 
Yes, I should join, but I haven't.  Given this, I have
no vested interested in who is elected to the board,
but I do have a couple of observations to make.  I
have been on AO7, UO14, AO27, FO29, FO20, SO41, SO50,
RS12 and RS15 in the past couple of years, so I have
some experience in satellite work.  I haven't followed
many of the recent threads, but would like to put
forth these comments to think about.

I have heard via some third parties that there has
been much discussion and arguing about how the new
satellite is going to be configured-FM, SSB, both,
neither, etc.  Here are some points:

1. One bad trend I have experienced a few times is
"Satellite Elitism"-mainly that SSB satellite
operating is somehow better than FM satellite
operating.  I have worked over 100 grids on
satellites, and will soon have enough QSLs for my
VUCC, but have also been told that it isn't a real
satellite VUCC because I did much of it on FM.  In the
most insane twist, I have also heard that FM satellite
contacts or ops don't really count because you don't
have to spend enough money to get on them. Excuse me
for having to live in a budget.  One thing that AMSAT
doesn't need is to break into factions because of my
point #2 below.  If you want to experience the
ultimate in warring factions, go to eham.net and read
some of the posts about removing the CW requirement
for HF.

2. THe CW requirement will be removed for HF access by
the FCC.  Don't know if any license will retain CW
testing, but my gut feeling is that either generals
will no longer have to pass a CW test, or technicians
will be given HF priviledges.  Either way, satellite
operating is going to take a major hit.  We may not
want to admit it, but many techs today are probably
doing sats partially because they can't do HF.  It
allows them to make HF distance contacts within the
limits of their license.  Yes, 6 meters will do the
same, but satellites are a much more sure thing,
propagationwise.  Once these people have access to HF,
I feel that many are going there and not looking back.
 They will be able to make USwide and worldwide
contacts any time of the day, without having to wait
for passes, and all they will need for antennas is a
piece of wire hanging up in the tree.

So, one thing we cannot afford is to divide outselves
us.  Instead, we need to consider what is the best way
to attact new satellite ops.  If it is a satellite
that runs FM that you can get into with a HT (and it
probably is), then that is what we should be looking
at.  Once we get them going, some will figure out that
this is fun and want to stay.  They will then make the
investiment to get into the SSB/CW birds.

If instead and I am new op and hear that I need to
spend $2000 (and I have heard that) to buy a rig,
antennas, elevation rotors, 9913 coax, downconverters,
etc.  to get on the satellites, I am going back to HF
instead.

73s John NE0P


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