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Re: IRB's and Satellites.



On 4/26/07, Edward Cole <kl7uw@acsalaska.net> wrote:
> We have seen this debate here in Alaska with the '"diehard" (read
> this also as the super pro-CW) ham disliking anything dealing with
> marriage between the Internet and ham radio.

I don't think my position could be considered "diehard" and as the
operator of IRLP node 4212 I have no problem with the "marriage
between the Internet and ham radio." In fact, I think it serves a
great purpose and I use it daily. I wish we had a weekly AMSAT Net via
Echolink or IRLP so we could use such technologies to further discuss
the future of ham radio in space (anyone want to join me?) without the
vagaries of HF propagation.

But I think that there are certain facets of the hobby, like
satellites and EME and probably others, where folks get involved
specifically for the technology. Would a homebrewer without access to
a soldering pin be content to watch others build equipment on a live
video feed? Would there be a thrill in logging on to a super station
on another continent from your laptop and working moonbounce?

Unless one is a skeptic that this sort of thing (EME) actually takes
place and just needs some proof, I think we all believe that with the
right equipment the deed CAN be done, but the challenge is in doing
it.

> So I have no problem with remote bases linked by IRLB, echolink, or
> like technology.  As long as any records, contest entry reflects the
> actual radio transmitter QTH.

The amateur satellite world has a unique problem. It doesn't work well
without satellites and those cost money to build and to launch. If we
were to setup a dozen super stations around the world, all fully
accessible via the internet -- and few built their own stations
anymore, will those Internet users financially support future AMSAT
projects?

If your entire investment in amateur radio is the laptop that you
already own, are you as inclined to support costly future projects as
the operator who has invested perhaps thousands of dollars and hours
of labor in assembling and building a world class groundstation?

I think there is some evidence that they do not...

20 years ago there was a very popular idea that AMSAT should focus on
EZ-Sats because that would get more people involved with amateur
satellites since all they would need to operate them was a handheld
transceiver. Soon, we had all kinds of new operators using the flying
FM repeater satellites but curiously, AMSAT membership took a nose
dive from which it has yet to recover.

Perhaps making everything as "easy" as just logging on to a remote
station isn't such a good idea either?

Jeff, KE9V
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