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Re: Up-coming AMSAT Board Election - Gunther -

On Thursday, Jul 10, 2003, at 10:55 America/Chicago, Jeff Davis wrote:

> Again, I have absolutely no bones to pick with ARISS, NASA or the ARRL
> but it sure seems that the amateur satellite community goes out of the
> way to do things that make those organizations look "good".

Agreed, Jeff, but I think there's a political nature of this whole 
beast as well and why we choose to work with NASA.  It has to do with 
efforts to hold on to our frequencies.  If we work with NASA and make 
contacts with ARISS, we are certainly making NASA look good.  Since 
NASA needs the PR, we then have a major government agency who would 
likely be in our corner when push comes to shove.  It's also something 
that is done that we can argue is "in the public interest and good."

Part of the charter of ham radio is to do public service.  I think 
that's even in the FCC regs.  A bunch of guys sitting around their 
microphones on a Friday night talking on AO-40 might be great fun, but 
it isn't public service.  ARISS contacts are and are highly visible 
ones at that.

I think the ARISS contacts are extremely valuable.  As Bob and Ed have 
pointed out, young kids really think all that stuff is "Gee Whiz."  We 
were all just saying that's what we need.  Trust me about the Gee Whiz 
bit!  The neighbor kids next door asked me about all my antennas.  When 
I told them that I could even talk to the space station, they thought 
that was so cool!  They came by for a demo one day last fall and when I 
talked to a guy in New York State on HF, they couldn't believe it.  
Will they become hams?  Who knows.  But a seed has been planted.

But the question, "Should AMSAT spend money on ARISS?" is certainly a 
very valid and worthwhile question.  I think that Dave and others have 
hit the nail on the head that it benefits the overall AMSAT membership 
very little and drains funds that could be used to build satellites of 
which we have precious few that actually communicate in 2 directions.   
So a healthy debate is in order.  Maybe AMSAT should not be the main 
supporter of ARISS.  Maybe it should be the ARRL.  ARISS certainly 
needs to continue and someone has to foot the bill, but who?



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: 

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

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