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Re: On leaving AMSAT



Jeff,

Your comments are very correct.  However, I wouldn't even say that the 
sizzle is lost today because of other technological advances.  The 
sizzle is lost because something is no longer "new."  It's true with 
anything.  You buy a new car and all you want to do is drive it.  You 
park it away from other cars so that it doesn't get dinged.  You clean 
it 3 times  a week.  Two years later, and you might dig the kids french 
fries from out between the seats every month!  You drive it just to 
work and the grocery store or Home Depot.  No more pining to drive it 
at 2 AM for no other reason than "just because."  Some new technology 
didn't replace or upstage your car.  It's just not "new" any more.

Same thing goes for a new computer.  I just got one so I know what it's 
like.  I spent several nights up to 1 AM or 2 AM learning all about Mac 
OS X (which is REALLY cool BTW).  Now, it's not such a big deal.  It's 
great to have this machine, but the newness has already worn off after 
a month and a half.

Same goes for radio.  When I first got back into radio about 6 years 
ago, it was a blast working a guy in Colorado with my vertical.  Now 
with a 55 foot tower and a beam, I don't get excited about guys on from 
Belgium much less guys in Colorado.  In fact, I obtained  a new HF beam 
in March and it's not even up yet!

Same goes for satellites.  They come they go.  People get excited about 
them.  Some stay excited.  Some don't.  I don't think that the lack of 
sizzle in our satellites is the problem.  Have the digital birds be the 
main focus of Amsat builders for 10 years and all I think HURT us 
tremendously regardless of how you and John felt about the "Gee 
Whiz"ness of the technology.  Yeah it was cool, but the average ham 
didn't want to invest in all that much stuff but just wanted his voice 
to be heard over the air.

Amsat suffers because it is perceived to be a group of elite, arrogant 
hams who aren't all that welcoming to newcomers.  I know this because I 
felt it.  And in some ways, I still do.  Amsat-NA suffers because when 
when was the last time that Amsat-NA successfully headed and launched a 
satellite?  Gee, is that AO-16?  I think frankly, that many hams see 
Amsat therefore as a joke that can only launch a microsat every 15 to 
20 years (And it's amazing that third world countries have put more 
amateur satellites in space in recent years than the AMSAT organization 
from the richest country on Earth!).  And with the fact that AO-40 
became FUBAR, it doesn't help.

The thing that will solve the AMSAT membership and financial issue is 
to launch and be successful at getting a new bird in the air that is 
fully functional.  Period.  If this doesn't happen, AMSAT will be 
relegated to the dust heap of history regardless of how much sizzle we 
could bring to the table.  Sizzle doesn't fly satellites or launch 
spacecraft.  And by the way, that sizzle was created because there WERE 
birds in the air - something we don't have now.

73,

Jon
NA9D

On Monday, Jul 7, 2003, at 06:44 America/Chicago, Jeff Davis wrote:

> With the near ubiquity of the Internet, the digital communications that
> we used to be amazed by is really obsolete. And that isn't a bad thing.
> I WANT to be connected to the world when I carry my laptop into
> Starbucks, but it makes it a bit tougher to get that "Gee-Whiz" feeling
> with PacSat technology.
>
> Lots of things happened in the last decade that brought us to this
> point. While technology was rapidly changing the satellite world was
> firmly into the "lost decade" of P3D. Everyone was so focused on 
> raising
> funds, building the spacecraft, and obtaining a launch that we missed
> many opportunities and now we must play "catch-up" with the 
> technological
> world. Perhaps the cost of P3D was far more than just the money and 
> time
> spent?
>
> But this much we know--the digital PacSats (as we know them now) can't
> really "compete" with the Internet, and with VoIP growing daily,
> the LEO FM Sats aren't nearly the draw they used to be. A UO-14
> demonstration is easily upstaged by an IRLP contact that has become
> commonplace.
>
> The SIZZLE is missing and without it, this facet of the hobby is tough
> to sell.
-------------------------------------
Jon Ogden
NA9D (ex: KE9NA)

Citizen of the People's Democratic Republik of Illinois

Life Member: ARRL, NRA
Member:  AMSAT, DXCC

Ham Radio Webpage: http://www.qsl.net/na9d   <- Updated on 1/12/03!!!
Digital Photography Page: 
http://homepage.mac.com/jogden/Photography.html

"It takes as much stress to be a success as it does to be a failure."
                                                                         
                 - Emilio James Trujillo

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