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Re: Beginner birds

I agree with Wayne.  Many years ago in QST article's were written about the
"Easy Sats" such as RS-10/11 which operated in Mode A.  Indeed they were
easy to use and there was bandwidth to play with.  Now we are lead to
believe that the FM "birds" are easy too.  Maybe they are if only two
operators are under the foot print of the satellite at any given time.  Any
other time there is no sense of trying to sustain QSO that goes beyond hello
and '73.


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Estes Wayne-W10191" <W10191@motorola.com>
To: <amsat-bb@AMSAT.Org>
Sent: Tuesday, July 22, 2003 12:33 PM
Subject: [amsat-bb] Beginner birds

> Emily wrote:
> I  don't see how 10M will do as much as 2m/70cm or 70cm/23cm for
> new blood.  If you want young blood, go for something the techs can work
> right away.
> Wayne replies:
> U.S. Techs are permitted to work every ham transponder ever launched,
except RS-12 "Mode K" which required an Advanced license to use the 15m
uplink.    Mode A satellites use a 10m downlink, and everybody is permitted
receive on 10m.  But of course you can't operate a Mode A linear transponder
with an FM-only radio, except to make slow chirpy CW contacts (and most
techs don't know the code).  Techs would need a 2m multi-mode radio and a
SSB HF receiver to operate mode A linear transponders.  The VHF multi-mode
radio would be a good building block for getting on the "higher" satellites.
An HF receiver isn't particularly useful for other satellites, except when
used with converters.  But a VHF/UHF FM radio is even less useful for the
"higher" satellites.
> RS-10 (Mode A) was the first ham satellite I ever heard and the first ham
satellite I ever made a 2-way contact on.  One neat thing about Mode A
satellites is that a large percentage of hams already have a suitable radio
and antenna to LISTEN to the 10m downlink just to get an idea of what it's
like to operate satellites.  I first heard RS-10 before I even had a
tracking program, listening on my HF transceiver with a multi-band HF
vertical antenna.  I just tuned up there a few times until I happened to
hear a pass.  Unfortunately, the typical entry-level ham equipment has
changed over the years.  10 years ago, entry level was typically a
second-hand HF rig and an HF vertical or trap dipole.  Nowadays it's a
VHF/UHF FM mobile rig and a dual-band collinear vertical (or even just a
dual-band HT).  But a new ham can get a used HF transceiver and put up a 10m
inverted Vee for less than $200.  Then the new ham could get a taste of HF
SSB and satellite SSB if we had a Mode A satell!
>  ite.
> I suppose some people might consider the FM satellites to be better
beginner satellites because less equipment is required.  This is true, but
the FM satellites typically require a steerable gain antenna to hear the
downlink reliably.  And many of us believe that the quality of the user
experience is very poor.  I suspect that FM satellite chaos and congestion
could never be eliminated, no matter how much resources we threw at the
problem.  Suppose we had a "super Echo" that had 10 FM channels, each with
8W PEP downlink power.  It would be easy to hear with an HT, and all 10
channels would probably be congested during evening and weekend passes.  How
many of those legions of users would be motivated to join and support AMSAT?
How many would be motivated to upgrade to HEO satellites?  I don't know, but
FM satellites seem TO ME to be kind of a dead-end, with no gradual upgrade
path to "better" satellites.  I think the best entry-level satellite is Mode
A, which offers a quali!
>  ty user experience and a very EASY TO HEAR 10m downlink.  The 2m SSB
uplink is more difficult than FM satellites, but it offers an upgrade path
to the higher satellites.  But maybe my thinking is biased by the fact that
I'm an "old timer" who became a ham when HF SSB was the main attraction of
ham radio.
> Wayne Estes W9AE
> Mundelein, IL, USA
> ----
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