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AO-51 Naysayers


The Nattering Nabobs of Negativism

Take a deep breath. Did anyone expect anything different than the kind of
congestion that would be quite predictable for a single channel fm system
and a country wide (plus) footprint? Why the shock, surprise and pretense of
disappointment? We KNEW there would be this kind of uplink contention. It
was a certainty. Over time, it will calm down and become much more
accessible....we know that too. Patience, people, patience.

Borderline outrage and agenda driven spite (I didn't get the kind of bird
launched and put into service that I wanted first....fm single channel
sucks...why don't we have another mode B....what about phase 4,....let's go
to the moon....mars is my bag....etc. etc. etc., ad nauseum), is
disingenuous at best. All these discussions took place before the launch,
and revisiting them now, when we should be celebrating the efforts and
success of all those associated with AO-51, serves no real purpose. (other
than to reinforce conclusions that we arrived at MONTHS ago, and to indulge
our penchant for finger-wagging "I told you so's").

If you don't comprehend or cannot tolerate the limitations of a single
channel FM bird, then please (especially in the early stages when many
people are exulting in this fine accomplishment), have the good manners to
suffer in silence, or better yet, since AO-51 is so far beneath your
expectations, don't transmit on it...you're only part of the problem.

I MUCH prefer linear transponders. I MUCH prefer HEO birds. I MUCH prefer
Mode B over anything else I have ever used (including being very active on
AO-40). By and large, mode J is is a pain in the butt and ALWAYS HAS BEEN.
(I won't go into the reasons now, following my own advice from above, i.e.,
now is NOT the time to be whining and snivelling.) Single channel FM birds
in the face of severe uplink contention are a nightmare to the uninitiated,
but again, now is NOT the time.

On some very positive notes:

1. I'm excited to see such an accomplishment, especially coming so soon
after the untimely and miserable failure of AO-40. (not blaming, just
lamenting and holding out hope).

2. Copying telemetry, setting up the station, playing with antennas, fine
tuning software and so on, for the last several weeks has been a blast!

3. Hearing the unexpected voice tests nearly knocked me out of my chair.

4. Having the bird come open for voice with one day's notice was a very
pleasant surprise.

5. Seeing the "knock your socks off" signal level on the voice downlink is
very rewarding, especially hearing it so well with a hand-held.

6. Listening last night to the voice channel for the first time, hearing
MANY <vbg> signals, calls I'm familiar with and many I'm not, had me smiling
from ear to ear.

7. Copying a strong signal (that never did fade into the noise) from start
to finish of a a pass (sans vegetation attentuation) was ...well...thrilling
again. OK, so I'm not jaded. Amateur satellite operation still amazes me,
and I've been active since the earlierst days of AO-6 and AO-7.

8. Listening to AO51 can be fun. Remember LISTENING? It's how most of us
started in ham radio.

In summary:

It's up, It does EXACTLY what we expected it to, and has a better downlink
signal than what one might have expected.  It's not (fill in the blanks),
but it IS up and it DOES work as intended.

My hearty congrats to everyone who worked so hard to get AO-51 up and
working. My gratitude extends to those who are doing an increasingly better
job trying to keep the user base informed regarding progress. A BIG round of
applause to Emily for the striking improvements to the AMSAT web site, with
updates to AO-51 information readily accessible.

The glass really is over half-full, folks. Be happy for it. Help is on the
way....(I couldn't resist)...VUsat and more.

...hasan, N0AN
Sent via amsat-bb@amsat.org. Opinions expressed are those of the author.
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