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Orbital Classroom -Where is it?????????

Hi folks,

Having read through many, many emails about Eagle, GEO's and other stuff I
would like to introduce an idea that has captured me for a few years (!) now
and has never come up. We all agree (I assume) that amateur radio and
satellites is a great combination and fun. I assume most of us love it and
those that don't at least make a living from it otherwise they wouldn't do
it. In addition, the big majority of us have some grey hairs, but we are
still trying to learn and challenge our brains (scary thought). Having said
that, when I came back from the AMSAT annual meeting (symposium) this year I
felt we missed a great opportunity and to be more specific we have absolute
nothing in place to teach and educate our members and the community. Yes, we
go to hamfests and events and have a pretty PowerPoint or in the "parking
lot" demo, but where are the courses, the classes that help us better
understand for example the orbital mechanics of a satellites, the satellite
communication principles for VHF and UHF, the design of L and S band
antennas? All the stuff that goes beyond our basic license and would keep us

I look at the ARRL and see many exciting courses and AMSAT has nothing in
place. Some of the material has been written up and I applaud Gould Smith
and others that took the time to write these documents. 

The problem is that they are books! No interaction, no feedback, etc. I
believe we can do so much more.

Why don't we have pre-conference courses at AMSAT meetings that allow our
participants to learn? Why don't we offer certificates for continuing
education based on accomplishments in learning and become much more
educated? Where is the course on emergency preparedness and satellites (GEOs
anyone). How do I interpret two line Keppler data and what will happen if I
modify some of those numbers (ANDE re-entry anyone)? How about a basic
course in SRD or building small beautiful satellites and lessons learned
(Bob Bruninga's ideas). All this would add value, probably generate some
resources for AMSAT (course fees) and make us proud of learning and sharing
knowledge and not just opinions. For example, I would have no problem adding
$ 30 -50 to my registration fee for the AMSAT symposium and having a full
day workshop. Everyone else is doing it and all the conferences I go to.

No, I am not talking about amateur satellite 101 for newcomers (that still
is important), I am talking about "meat" for those that are part of the
hobby already and want to move to the next level of knowledge. We have
thousands of members and our pool of potential instructors is big. I would
highly encourage the board to seriously look at this. I know that Rick
Hambly is fully committed to make the education a bigger part of AMSAT and
we need to support him. I for one have no problem in teaching and
volunteering for a course at the next AMSAT meeting but it would be very
nice if you share your thoughts about this. Maybe it is just me and everyone
else is fine but maybe the next "Orbital Classroom" is finally that, a
classroom and not just a two page paper in the journal!


Have a great Christmas and Holiday Season and many contacts in 2008. 


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