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AMSAT President's Letter for December 2005

AMSAT President's Letter for December 2005

Fellow AMSAT Members,

I am quite pleased as AMSAT's Executive Vice President to have the
opportunity to fill in on this month's President's Letter while Rick,
Barry and Gunther are hard at work on various fundraising activities for

It is a very exciting time to be a member and supporter of AMSAT.  One
part of AMSAT's Vision is a constellation of High Earth Orbit (HEO)
satellites.  To accomplish this, it was recognized that the old method
of working on single satellites in a serial fashion would not work and
that several satellites would need to be constructed in parallel.  That
is exactly what is now beginning to happen with AMSAT-DL's P3E and
AMSAT-NA's Eagle projects.

Over the recent Thanksgiving holiday weekend, AMSAT President Rick
Hambly W2GPS, VP of Engineering, Dr. Bob McGwier, N4HY and Dr. Al Katz,
K2UYH, President of Lintech and professor of electrical engineering at
College of New Jersey, hosted a meeting for several radio amateurs and a
student to tackle some of the RF parts of AMSAT-NA's Eagle project.

The attendees included:

Dr. Tom Clark, W3IWI, AMSAT-NA chief scientist
Paul Drexler, W2PED, Microwave R.F. designer
Matt Ettus, N2MJI, Gnu Radio project co-leader and designer of the USRP
                   (universal software radio peripheral)
Dr. Marc Franco, N2UO, Lintech, Inc. Engineer
Steve Hendricksen, EE student at the College of New Jersey
Jan King, W3GEY/VK4GEY, AMSAT founder, former VP Engineering, 
                        and former board member 
Paul Wade, W1GHZ, well know Microwave engineer whose web based
                  microwave handbook is read the world over.
Marc Zaharchuk, WA3CRM, Lockheed Space RF Engineer

Rick, W2GPS, got the meeting started with an overview of the project,
our organization and the goals of Eagle.  Bob, N4HY, then discussed the
overall RF requirements for the spacecraft, including the use of SDX as
the primary linear transponder with the need to plan for an all-analog
backup and for command receivers.  Tom, W3IWI, then gave a detailed
analysis on the C-C Rider phased array of patches.  Matt, N2MJI, talked
about Gnu Radio, the Universal Software Radio Peripheral, and his
proposal for the CC Rider ground station which has been generously
funded by Phil Karn, KA9Q.

As a result of the weekend, Marc N2UO, who has years of RF experience
including amplifiers in space, has signed up to do the envelope
restoration (HELAPS) transmitters.  John Stephensen, KD6OZH, has signed
up to lead the receiver development and is working first on the 70 cm
receiver.  Paul, W1GHZ, has agreed to design a critical component for CC
Rider, the bandpass filter that will be needed to allow the transmitter
and receiver to share antennas. Finally, Al Katz, K2UYH, President of
Lintech, Inc. has graciously offered to host an RF facility for the
AMSAT Eagle project at Lintech in Hamilton, NJ.  This provides the Eagle
RF team with access to a large collection of lab/test equipment and a
first class clean room facility for the development, construction and
testing of Eagle's RF modules.

The RF group is not the only part of the Eagle Team making progress.
The mechanical and structural group is also hard at work on the modules
and spaceframe for Eagle. 
One of the challenges in a project as complex as Eagle is managing all
the data.  During the Eagle Team meeting in Pittsburg the concept of
using a Wiki based system was discussed.  From that discussion Emily,
W0EEC, implemented Eaglepedia, which will enhance the updating and
sharing of information on a scale never before seen on any AMSAT
project.  Eagle team members are already uploading files and information
and pending resolution of a few outstanding security issues, Eaglepedia
will be linked to the AMSAT website.

While all this exciting activity is going on within the Eagle team,
AMSAT-DL is also making steady progress on their P3E satellite.  As I'm
writing this several AMSAT-NA members are in Germany working on the
IHU-3 and other modules for P3E.  More details about the results of this
meeting will be coming soon.

There is a lot of hard work being done by a lot of volunteers in many
different locations.  All this effort needs your support to maintain the
building momentum.  There are many ways to show your enthusiasm for
getting these HEO satellites built.  Join the President's Club, donate
directly to the project of your choice, join or renew your AMSAT
membership.  All of these can be done through the mail, web site or a
phone call to Martha in the AMSAT office.

Lee McLamb, KU4OS
AMSAT Executive Vice President
Sent via amsat-bb@amsat.org. Opinions expressed are those of the author.
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