I've been monitoring this list server for some time now, silently, but now I've finally seen someone come forth and express not only a good idea, but an idea whose time has come.
I have had an interest in Amateur Radio for a long time, but being a Network Administrator for a fairly large National Corporate Network, I have had no time to obtain my amateur vhf / uhf license. Even though I have read the DOC study guides and know most of the theory because of my networking and Telco background. For this reason I have remained silent.
I have to concur with your point of view. If a network of amateur satellites could provide an MB Ethernet type link to the Internet for a annual fee, not only would this provide challenging "fun" for those in the "hobby" but it would attract many more potential technically proficient individuals to the cause. The Internet already provides a useful information backbone via ground based networks, but if it where available via satellite link many areas that are not currently connected at any reasonable speed / cost could could have a hope of connectivity.
I understand the "trill" of connecting to some distant user via the satellite, one one one, or the excitement of connecting to a BBS that is only accessible via a up / down link. But think the the challenge and euphoria of maintaining a stable and useable link to the global information infrastructure via satellite.
Amateur radio is far from dead, it only has to advance with the rest of the technological wave.
Robin Stubbs, Network Administrator
Visual Systems Development Group
* Suite 680 - 70 University Avenue, Toronto ON, M5J 2M4
( (416) 591-0005 x 228
Robin Stubbs (E-mail).vcf