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AMSAT President's Latter 2006



AMSAT Members,

There are only a few hours left in 2006 here in Maryland. As I sit hear with
my two year old granddaughter Erin on my lap I am reflecting back on the
events of 2006 and I am pleased with the state of AMSAT. It has been a busy
and productive year. In case you wonder what your President does all year,
here is a snapshot. It is certainly not a complete listing. I hope you had
as much fun as I did in 2006.

In February I made presentations to the Alexandria Radio Club and the Easton
Amateur Radio Society, in March to the Greater Baltimore Hamboree and
Computerfest and in April to the AMSAT-DC Meeting and Space Seminar. These
and other presentations throughout the year have been helpful in getting
people back on the satellites and encouraging some Hams to try it for the
first time.

In March I observed a successful ARISS radio contact between Bowie High
School (Maryland) and the International Space Station. It was a moving
experience and I recommend that everyone attend or assist an ARISS event if
one comes to your area.

The Dayton Hamvention in May was a great event, as always. The AMSAT booth
was larger and better than ever before and the AMSAT Forum was an hour
longer than in previous years. There was a demonstration of a new satellite
power storage system using a super-capacitor and a single-cell “battery”
charge regulator. There was also a live demonstration of a prototype Eagle
mode U/V Software Defined Transponder (SDX).

In June I attended the Rochester NY Hamfest where I again got to see some
old friends. 

Later in June I attended the Eagle Digital Design Meeting in San Diego. This
was an important milestone in the evolution of Eagle where many of the
critical design parameters were finalized based on scientific and user needs
analysis.

In July I attended the 21st AMSAT-UK Colloquium at the University of Surrey,
Guildford, UK. Here I found more friends and met with the AMSAT
International group and the AMSAT-DL P3E team. It was a busy and productive
week.

Also in 2006 AMSAT was represented at the Southeastern VHF Society
Conference, 40th Anniversary Central States VHF Society Conference, the 2006
ARRL Maryland State Convention, the ARRL Board of Directors meeting, the
2006 SmallSat Conference, the 25th Annual ARRL and TAPR Digital
Communications Conference. 

In August we had a meeting at the Pentagon to brief the head of the U.S. Air
Force Space Command on AMSAT and the Eagle satellites. 

We had a great Symposium in San Francisco in October where I was able to see
many friends and attend some great presentations. It was a treat to have
astronaut Bill McArthur KC5ACR there and to present him with more awards for
his Ham Radio activities on the International Space Station earlier in the
year. I made a presentation to the Northern Virginia FM Association right
after getting home.

In 2006 AMSAT took advantage of a special opportunity to support a major
technological development that will have a positive impact on both
satellites and Ham Radio in general; the High Performance Software Defined
Radio (HPSDR) project. To learn more, see http://hpsdr.org/. The goal for
AMSAT is to improve both the development schedule and the quality of our
Eagle ground station and spacecraft transponder designs.

AMSAT-NA has accepted an offer to co-locate its Satellite Integration Lab
with the Hawk Institute for Space Sciences (HISS), a division of the
Maryland Hawk Corporation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit educational organization
affiliated with the University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES). As I write
this the first of three large rental trucks has arrived with the AMSAT
equipment and large clean room from the old Orlando Labs.  

Throughout the year AMSAT’s AO-51 satellite has performed well. It has
operated in many interesting modes and brought enjoyment to many people
around the world.  As the year draws to a close we are evaluating our
experiences with AO-51 and planning software upgrades that will be
implemented in the coming year that should make AO-51 even better. I special
thanks go to AMSAT’s VP Operations KO4MA and the control stations Michael
Kingery KE4AZN and Gould Smith WA4SXM for their dedication and hard work
keeping AO-51 operating smoothly.

In the final weeks of this year we achieved our fund raising goal for the
Eagle project. This is particularly significant because I know it is harder
for you to donate funds for a satellite that you haven’t even seen yet. It
is pleasing to see that the donors have faith in the future of AMSAT and I
expect that they will be pleased with the results you will all see in the
coming year. I recommend that you look at the revamped and improved
EaglePedia pages on the AMSAT Web server. These pages are constantly being
improved and expanded as a means of keeping everyone informed on the
progress of the Eagle Project.

I hope you have all had a good holiday season and will have a Happy New
Year!

Rick
W2GPS
AMSAT President
 



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