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President's Letter July 2005

SUBJECT: President's Letter July 2005


It has been quite a while since I have availed myself of the e-mail channel to
communicate with AMSAT members and other users of the AMSAT e-mail services and for
that I apologize. I have been focusing my communications on the Apogee View column
and articles written for the AMSAT Journal and I have been encouraging AMSAT officers
and Board members to communicate directly so as to distribute the work load and
familiarize the membership with all of the members of their leadership team.  Some
people have expressed disappointment in the lack of President's Letters on the
AMSAT-BB mailing list so I am starting them up again.


AMSAT has sent out ballots for the most contested election in recent memory.  A great
slate of candidates has been put forth and only half of them will be elected to the
Board so please cast your ballots thoughtfully.  This year your vote is very


The May/Jun issue of the AMSAT Journal was delayed because our publisher went out of
business unexpectedly but we are back in production now.  However we are in need of
articles for the Jul/Aug and subsequent issues.  If you have any story, construction
project, activity or anecdote you would like to share contact our Journal editor Ed
Long WA4SWJ.  Pictures are a great asset to any article, no matter how short, so take
your camera to the next event!  If you have something interesting but don't feel up
to writing the article, that's OK.  We are in the process of establishing a core of
"reporters" to write up these articles for you.  Also, if you are a good writer and
would like to volunteer as a reporter, contact Ed.


AMSAT-NA is hard at work on two projects, P3E and Eagle. Both of these projects are
in direct support of AMSAT's strategic plan and vision statements, which call for
emphasis on building High Earth Orbit Satellites.  As you heard in a recent e-mail
from Bob N4HY there is significant progress on the P3E satellite's 3rd generation
Internal Housekeeping Unit (IHU3), the computer brain for P3E and later Eagle. There
has also been progress on the new Software Defined Transponder (SDT) for modes U/V
and L/S on Eagle.  Lagging a bit, but still progressing, is the design of the C-C
Rider C-band transponder for Eagle.  Leadership for these projects is coming from Bob
McGwier N4HY and Frank Brickle AB2KT with support from Tom Clark W3IWI and Rick
Hambly W2GPS (me).  Design sessions are conducted in my lab once a week or so. We
need continuing financial support for these projects and I encourage everyone to
donate what they can to AMSAT's general fund or specific projects in the AMSAT store
at www.amsat.org <http://www.amsat.org/>  or by calling the AMSAT office directly.


The AMSAT Echo satellite, now designated AO-51, is working almost flawlessly.  It is
the most capable and useful small satellite AMSAT has sponsored in many years.  It
takes a great deal of work from our software development and operations teams to keep
Echo running this well and I thank them very much for their time and dedication. I
would like to reiterate what Robin VE3FRH, out Immediate Past President, said last
year. "If you are a member of any AMSAT, please feel completely free to use ECHO, if
you are not a member then please join and encourage all users to join. Unfortunately
satellites do not 'Grow on Trees' they are not free to launch, but there are quite a
few users who feel that it is their right to use what we have provided. We really
don't want to introduce a 'members only' policy to satellite use. For more details of
ECHO and its capability call the AMSAT-NA office for a copy of Gould Smith's ECHO
book, also available through AMSAT-UK (call Jim Heck)."


AMSAT's support of Amateur Radio on human space flight missions excites the minds of
many people through the ARISS program where we connect teachers and students directly
to astronauts in space. This past Wednesday I went to Goddard Space Flight Center to
assist with an ARISS contact for a wide-eyed group of school teachers attending the
NASA Explorer School satellite communication class. There were too many teachers to
fit in the cramped confines of the ARISS command station so the group was split it
two. Three of us took one group outside into a field to work the space station with
an HT and an Arrow antenna.  Using a separate HT to coordinate with AMSAT VP of Human
Spaceflight Frank Bauer KA3HDO in the control room the two groups of teachers got to
ask their questions and get answers directly from the astronauts.  The HT and Arrow
worked perfectly - 100% "armchair copy."  When I saw tears on the faces of the
teachers and had a chance to pose for pictures and answer questions afterwards I was
truly moved. That was very fine day. 


I encourage you to contact your AMSAT leadership team directly with your questions
and concerns.  For best results, use the links and forms provided at



AMSAT President
Sent via amsat-bb@amsat.org. Opinions expressed are those of the author.
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