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Re: AO-54?--reply by K7RR

Emily Clarke wrote:
> [Caveat - opinions are my own and not the opinion of AMSAT or the Board.]
> Robert McGwier wrote:
>> There are published guidelines about who can get an oscar number.  If 
>> you meet those with a wet noodle generating a femtowatt,  you too will 
>> get an oscar number.  Is it not an orbitting satellite carrying 
>> amateur radio?
>> Bob
>> N4HY
> On that definition alone I would say no - it's not a satellite, it's a 
> payload installed in a spacesuit. But I assume it really depends on the 
> definition of a satellite.  It is by all means an orbiting body, but 
> would we give an astronaut carrying an HT in his toolbag an OSCAR number 
> when he went out to do some maintenance?  I don't think so.
> I think in the simplest sense a satellite means something that was 
> deliberately designed for that mission.  This was not - it was designed 
> as a space suit.
> The spacesuit was re-purposed when it was proposed that it would be a 
> cool idea to follow it around the world when it was sent to its fiery 
> death, and I don't want to play down that accomplishment.  It was a cool 
> idea and I'm glad it was done.  I'm sad that I was on travel when it was 
> launched and couldn't listen for it.
> I'm still not sure I would have voted to give it an OSCAR number (if 
> given a chance to vote).  Although the ISS frequencies are coordinated, 
> Suitsat's was not and that is a criteria that is required for an OSCAR 
> number.  I suppose I would have liked to hear more about the rational 
> for it from the builders and applicant.
> I certainly didn't expect it to be AO-54 - if one was awarded I would 
> have expected it to be RO-54 or RS-26 but that is murky and I again I 
> would have asked to know more since it was a joint project.
> Just my opinion - others may vary.
> Emily (N1DID)
 From Cliff K7RR:
Hi all.  Normally I am most content to simply stay on the sidelines of
issues such as the issuance of AO-54.  In my view, although legally
issued within guidelines of AMSAT, a disservice was done.  We must
re-examine the three points that created those guidelines.  I am in 
agreement with Emily and partially so with Greg. N0ZHE and Bob, WB6APR.
The question of creating a numbering series designated "experimental" or
"OSCAR experimental" was created a month ago when action should have 
been taken rather than having AO-54 issued under antiquated guidelines. 
  Here are some excepts from Greg's and Bob's messages:
> Amateur Oscar Experiment Number:  AE-XX or OE-XX
> I do think that Amateur Radio should take credit for
> all payloads in space that properly operate in the
> Amateur Satellite Service.  There are lots of such
> payloads and "experimentation" is fundamental to
> the amateur radio experience.
> For example there are a number of cubesats that
> do fit the bill for valid amateur radio experiments
> even if they do not carry a full user transponder,
> but these are no less of an amateur radio entry into 
> space.  (This from Bob Bruninga--WB4APR)

suitsat is a good example as to why the "OSCAR number policy" 
http://www.amsat.org/amsat-new/information/faqs/numbers.php  should go 
under a major overhaul, it is very broad and has no real requirements to 
be met. there is a big difference between an experiment that has a life 
of just a few weeks and a real amateur radio transponder that is 
expected to last for years providing communications voice or data. not 
trying to take anything away from suitsat because it was a great school 
project for the young students, and any exposer that amateur radio can 
get is a good thing.          Greg N0ZHE

It would be prudent to ask the two individuals, WB6APR and K7RR closely
connected to small amateur satellites for an opinion!  Bob's remarks are 
noted and valid.  You may know of my close connection with CUBESAT group
now in the seventh year of operation.  It was my intention NOT to apply
for an OSCAR designation for any of the CUBESATS in which we had some
responsibility.  It was obvious that a separate designation more
properly called OE for "OSCAR EXPERIMENTAL" or XAO for "EXPERIMENTAL
ACADEMIC OSCAR" would be appropriate.  I differ with Greg in the
lifetime goals of CUBESAT.  We may well be orbiting for years, depending
on the class of experiment.  The immediate goal is re-entry of any
satellite at the end of useful life.  ALL amateur satellites now in
orbit or proposed are under heavy orbit lifetime scrutiny by the FCC!!
For the license protection of ALL amateur satellites, Cal Poly is now
designing a reentry only experiment to demonstrate we are most aware and
responsive.  It is clear that this is AMATEUR related but far different
than any preceding communications only satellite.  The educational
benefit should be obvious and should not need further comment here.
         Additional guidelines concerning OSCAR number issuance to the
three basic ones already in place might be these:
    1.  Any request for a number must be in orbit a minimum of 14 days,
operating on amateur frequencies even if that satellite was previously
on non-amateur frequencies and reassigned to amateur operation.
    2.  Clearly state that the satellite must be in international bands
operated by licensed amateurs.  Realize that some bands such as 70 CM is
a "shared" band.  There is nothing preventing non amateur operation.  It
is highly unlikely the IARU will be unresponsive on the subject however.
    3.  CUBESATS may be launched at the same time in multiple numbers.
Our next launch will have 14 CUBES.  The resulting "cloud" of CUBES may
all request numbers.  Multiple CUBESAT launches invite confusion.  A
separate designation would be somewhat helpful.  Again WB4APR states:
        "Taking this approach, lets Amateur Radio take
        credit for the efforts in space without impacting the
        OSCAR series for the classic AMateur Radio
        Communications satellites."
      Indeed, with Software Defined Radio there is no reason to assume
any single frequency/mode operation is going to be with us much longer,
nor should it be if progress is to be made in amateur experimentation.
      There are many other valid reasons to revamp the OSCAR numbering
system.  Some borrowed ideas and some of mine might help cement the
notion that this needs to be done rather soon and for very good reasons. 
   Cliff K7RR   AMSAT  LM 1606
Sent via amsat-bb@amsat.org. Opinions expressed are those of the author.
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