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Re: One question for the BoD candidates....



[I had sent this several days ago, but it seems there is some problem
with mail being stuck in the @amsat.org mail forwarder, so I resubmit. I
apologize in advance if you get more than one copy -- Tom]

Dave, N0TGD asked
> One question for the candidates:
>
> What are you planning to do to ensure a healthy, stable future for
> AMSAT?  Space is a risky, expensive business, often a $0.50 part away
> from failure.  The amateur ranks are stagnant and there is a
> perception that little "new blood" is coming into the activity.
> If any of you could shed some light on your opinion about AMSAT's
> future, I would greatly appreciate your comments, as would other
> members I'm sure.  Please share some ideas about collaboration,
> sponsorship, education, fundraising, member grooming etc. if you have
> any.

Dave, I'm not convinced that not all of amateur radio is really stagnant; there are a few areas where the "tekkies" are making some exciting new technology advances. And those are the areas where AMSAT really shines.


N4HY & I spent last weekend as the AMSAT representatives at the Central
States VHF Society meeting (see http://csvhfs.org/), and in April at the
Southeast VHF Society meeting(see http://svhfs.org/). The end of June
was spent at the EAGLE Digital/RF design meeting in San Diego (see
http://www.amsat.org/amsat-new/eagle/EaglePedia/index.php/2006_Eagle_Digital_Payload_Design_Meeting_-_San_Diego).
All 3 of these meetings were pretty amazing. At the first two meetings,
we learned how amateurs were applying advanced signal processing
(especially WSJT, SDR) to weak signal propagation topics (EME, aurora,
meteor scatter, rain scatter, etc). At all 3 meetings, we saw the AMSAT
world advancing into new worlds that are really amazing. In all 3 cases,
we saw new, young, exciting people becoming committed to amateur radio,
and AMSAT is one of the major focal points for them!

Lyle Johnson (KK7P, ex WA7GXD) once defined the difference between being
involved and being committed: "When you had ham & eggs for breakfast,
the chicken was involved, but the pig was truly committed!". From my
viewpoint as AMSAT's self-appointed resident curmudgeon (having had my
adrenalin boosted at these 3 meetings), I can state that we have a large
cadre of COMMITTED hams!

Let me illustrate this point with two examples:

      - Some AMSAT volunteers come to us saying "I want to be 
        involved in xxx."         Then they ask for a position 
        description for the xxx job. They want the task to be 
        fully defined for them.

      - Others will approach us saying "AMSAT has a problem with yyy. 
        I am committed to solving the yyy problem."
        Then the volunteer proceeds to define the task, bounce the idea
        off other AMSATers, and finally proceeds to solve the problem.

      - See the difference? AMSAT needs people who can figure out the 
        solution, regardless of whether it involves spacecraft hardware
        or services that the members desire.

In all my years in AMSAT, one of my unofficial jobs has been to serve as
a Talent Scout. The way that you find talent is to talk one-on-one with
folks that have been shown to have good ideas. I then play "Johhny
Appleseed" and plan an idea. I then try to play the role of
"switchboard" and think of others with similar (or perhaps contrasting)
ideas and get people talking with each other. Sometimes it works,
sometimes it doesn't. That's how W3XO brought me into AMSAT; I'm pleased
that two of my successes (W2GPS & N4HY) have emerged as the current
(committed) leaders of AMSAT.

Hope that helps to answer your question -- 73 de Tom, K3IO (ex W3IWI)
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