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Discussion of "AO-51 DX-by-mail"



Thanks to all who responded, on list, off list and on air, to my idea of
mailing a  HT and Arrow Antenna to a suitable operator in a good DX
location for AO-51. It is wonderful to see the wealth of experience and
generosity that this group represents. So far, $60 toward the HT has been
offered. 

In order to make the most of this discussion, I want to summarize the
excellent advice and respond to some of the most sensible criticism.

It seems to me that the most enthusiasm centers around supporting young
people in an academic or club environment, particularly one which does not
have the wealth to purchase this equipment itself. Any project like this
should probably reflect that enthusiasm. I would add that if it were to
target an academic environment, a more comprehensive plan could be
expected, including how the equipment would augment curriculum, provide the
basis for experimentation, etc.

The impediment which I think my project underestimates is unreliable postal
services. With the wider network of an academic community, a greater number
of possible means to move the equipment would be available, and the project
could ask of applicants that they show how the equipment could reliably be
transferred to and from their care. Applications could be assessed on that
basis as well as the others.

I was not proposing that any AMSAT funds be used for this project. However,
I believe that were its members privately to foot the bill of such a
project, it might be in AMSAT's interest to provide its resources to
advertise the project, offer its blessing, provide a selection committee
from its members, and even lend its name to the distinction that might
confer on the recipients. The riskiness of the undertaking is no reason for
AMSAT not to support it in that way: after all, we're in the business of
cheering on risky endeavors :-) 

There are many who have undertaken this sort of effort themselves in the
past, especially with HEO satellites available. It was argued that a plan
such as mine would best wait for the return of such satellites. I think
that a 'seed' satellite station of such a sort would be an excellent idea,
for the reasons I mentioned previously, but especially for the publicity
value. 

But I also think that Easysat operations offer the best chance of working
on a rolling basis for people who are not old hands at ham radio, and it
probably also would have a greater impact on the local amateur or academic
community. Drawing on my experience with the High School demonstration last
June, I strongly believe that Echo is a satellite which should be more
greatly exploited for its educative and introductory value. There are many
more ways of doing this than the one I've mentioned, and I hope they'll
keep happening in greater frequency.

73, Bruce 

VE9QRP
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