2019 AMSAT Board of Directors Candidate Statements

2019 AMSAT Board of Directors candidates and their statements are listed below in alphabetical order.

Jerry Buxton, N0JY

As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of AMSAT, our Board of Directors must continue the work described in our Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws to assure reaching our 100th anniversary.

AMSAT is a corporation, no different from any other U.S. non-profit corporation, and in my opinion requires the full attention and dedication of the Directors. Directors must dedicate significant personal time and work together for the good of the corporation. The Board of Directors is a single authority, not a showcase for egos. The Board sets direction and policy, but does not execute it. That falls upon the officers, and the volunteers they enlist. The Board’s direction must attract the all-volunteer officers willing to dedicate often-significant time to effect the goals and policy of the Board. Volunteers must be enabled and happily invested in the plan, willing to achieve AMSAT’s goals. We have seen the successes of this harmony in Echo and Fox; we have seen failure, fragmentation and dissent when volunteers do not work together, with Eagle.

I believe that this Board has brought AMSAT respect and opportunities not seen in years. Our accomplishments are substantiated by facts and outcomes. Further, I endorse Paul, Drew, and Brennan who bring demonstrated experience and successful leadership.

As a Director and Vice President of Engineering for AMSAT, I

  • Established well-respected relationships with NASA, launch integrators and providers, and educational entities
  • Submitted two CSLI proposals, selected by NASA
  • Led the successful completion of five satellites for launch
  • Championed collaborations to fly AMSAT transponders on other CubeSats
  • Developed and implemented goals influenced by our volunteer engineers with missions that entice their interest, including innovations by ASCENT, gaining their commitment and enabling them to succeed
  • Am representing AMSAT-NA in ARISS’ Amateur Radio Experiment project

I humbly ask for your vote, to continue my volunteer work for AMSAT for another full term. Please take the time to read, question, and learn the details of all candidates’ claims and positions. AMSAT’s founders allowed ample time to make informed choices. Your vote is the most important contribution a member can make.

Thank you.

Questions? election@n0jy.org

YouTube Channel N0JY

Howard (Howie) Defelice, AB2S

My name is Howie DeFelice, AB2S. I am currently a Sr. Principal Engineer with Intelsat General Communications, LLC where my primary responsibility is designing satellite based solutions for U.S. government customers utilizing our fleet of over 50 geostationary satellites and network of fiber interconnected teleport facilities. I have worked in wireless communications for over 40 years.

I became involved with the AMSAT effort to be part of the NASA Lunar Cube Quest Challenge. This was the kind of cutting edge challenge that had been missing from AMSAT for a long time.  This was my first time working as part of an AMSAT project and I learned allot about inside workings of the organization and has led me seek a position on the board

I feel the dwindling membership is a function of the focus of the organization. The mandate that the majority of the current membership, which is focused on traditional operating activities i.e. collecting grid squares, counties and other certificates, requires that all new satellites service this constituency. New people coming into the hobby are not excited by talking to someone far away with a wireless device. They grew up in an age of instant always on communication. These new people are interested in facilitating their curiosity with new forms of digital communication.  Amateur satellites provide a whole new medium beyond the restrictions of Part 15. These new hams are looking for new ways to interconnect their Arduino’s and Raspberry Pi’s and create applications we haven’t even thought of yet. If we want these people we can’t keep feeding them LEO FM and analog satellites.

It’s time to show industry that AMSAT has the ability to build payloads that are truly state of the art and worthy for inclusion in commercial launches.

One person on a board cannot change anything. It takes a team of like minded individuals to be effective. Please help us move AMSAT forward by selecting the team of Michelle Thompson W5NYV, Patrick Stoddard WD9EWK, Jeff Johns WE4B, Brennan Price N4QX and myself.

73,

Howie AB2S

Drew Glasbrenner, KO4MA

Thank you AMSAT members for the nomination to serve on the Board of Directors. I am excited to have the opportunity, if elected, to continue to serve AMSAT. As you decide who should guide the organization forward, I would like to share with you some of the work that was accomplished as part of my previous and ongoing efforts both as Director and VP Operations.

  • Conceived and negotiated Fox-1Cliff and Fox-1D commercial launch contract
  • Developed AMSAT’s first online crowdsourcing for Fox-1Cliff and Fox-1D launch
  • Developed Membership drives featuring free digital “Getting Started” books timed around our satellite launches.
  • Led AMSAT into social media across several platforms
  • Initial contact and negotiations to fly a Fox-1E linear transponder copy on Huskysat-1 launching this year
  • Represented AMSAT at Cubesat Developers Workshop, resulting in at least two more Fox-1E linear transponder flight opportunities to LEO, and continuing discussions for a MEO/HEO rideshare (shared with Jerry Buxton, N0JY, VP Engineering)
  • IARU satellite frequency coordination panel member, including advising university cubesat teams on frequency coordination and licensing issues
  • On -orbit checkout and general operation of AO-85, -91, -92, -95 as licensee and command station. Weekly mode change duty (shared with Mark Hammond, N8MH)
  • OSCAR Number Administrator
  • Reassignment and operation of Falconsat-3 satellite BBS and digipeater from Air Force Academy to general amateur use
  • Moved AMSAT to PayPal Here for secure electronic credit processing and sales tracking for Dayton and large hamfests.
  • Interfaced with equipment manufacturers for AMSAT discounts and web site sales (Arrow, M2, Gigaparts)
  • Created and managed loaner gear program for DXpeditions and gear donations for unique DX stations

I also try to remain an active operator, which is important to remain connected with the membership needs. 27 years of activity have resulted in Satellite DXCC and 1700+ grids worked via satellite for VUCC.

With your support and vote, I would be honored to continue to grow and diversify AMSAT’s membership, missions, and opportunities as Director. I humbly ask you also consider voting for my fellow directors Jerry Buxton and Paul Stoetzer, as well as Brennan Price. Questions and concerns are welcome to ko4ma@amsat.org

Jeff Johns, WE4B

Hello! I am Jeff WE4B. I am running for a position on the AMSAT Board of Directors because I feel that it is time for the organization to modernize its operations. I have an extensive background in operations management and feel I am uniquely suited to use my skills to modernize the organization.

New members and renewing members are at the mercy of a quasi-manual system. This is 2019, this should be totally automated. It’s not uncommon to see people posting on social media that they are having issues joining or renewing their memberships, including myself. If we can build and launch satellites, why can’t we have an automated membership process?

As a businessman, I am concerned about the future of the organization based on low membership numbers and inbound revenues. Based on what I can find posted online, I don’t see how the organization can continue to exist while not having enough inbound revenues to support the research, design and launching of future satellites. Also based on what has been posted online, reserve funds are low, and should there be a downturn in the stock market, investments could be adversely affected. AMSAT-NA must find a way to reverse this situation. I want to see this historic organization to continue to flourish but we must have change NOW or the organization will find itself unable to exist. AMSAT-NA is no longer the only game in town when it comes to the design and launching of amateur radio satellites. Competition is fierce to find launch opportunities. I feel that AMSAT-NA needs to build better partnerships to increase our chances of launches.

AMSAT needs a President that is active on satellites to understand what everyday users are hearing and experiencing. If you work satellites, when was the last time you heard the President? Odds are, it is never. I would advocate for a President that is active on satellites and on social media interacting with the membership of the organization instead of simply being a figurehead.

Thank you for considering casting your vote for me.

Jeff WE4B
we4b@amsat.org

Brennan Price, N4QX

I am an attorney who has worked in domestic and international spectrum management since 2008, serving as ARRL’s Chief Technology Officer from 2010-2016. I have spent the last few years in the commercial satellite industry, and I currently serve as Director of Regulatory Affairs in the Washington, DC, office of Inmarsat.

Satellite communication is neither easy nor inexpensive, but we (and the broader amateur community) do with little what others do with much more. We do so because we have an abundance of passion for what we do, leading to worthwhile results.

The amateur-satellite service is a vital component of the vast benefit amateur radio brings to society. Our present fleet of amateur satellites may be operated by a United States amateur holding any class of license. As the broader amateur community seeks new ways to engage new radio amateurs (illustrated by ARRL’s consideration of revised privileges for Technician Class licensees), amateur satellites offer all a chance to do something out of the ordinary with low barriers to entry. AMSAT does itself and the broader amateur community a service when it promotes this aspect of our field.

Commercial (and amateur) spectrum management requires consensus building among a variety of stakeholders. My ability to build consensus has been recognized by appointments to chairs of ITU technical groups and industry coordination posts. I am particularly proud to have chaired the WRC-12 sub-working group that reached consensus on the relatively new 630-meter band (admittedly not an amateur satellite band, but hard won nonetheless).

To a person, all of my fellow candidates have made significant contributions to the cause, and I am honored to stand among them. If you feel, as I do, that spectrum and orbital management expertise would be a valuable addition to the collective skill set of our Board of Directors, I would welcome and appreciate one of your votes. Whether elected or not as either a member or an alternate, I pledge to promote congeniality and consensus among the varied interests within the amateur satellite community as we seek to add to our fleet and continue to grow.

Patrick Stoddard, WD9EWK

Statement by Patrick Stoddard, WD9EWK/VA7EWK – patrick@wd9ewk.net

I am Patrick Stoddard.  I hold the amateur licenses WD9EWK and VA7EWK. I am a life member of AMSAT, and have represented AMSAT since 2006. I have held other AMSAT appointments over the years, and was an alternate on the AMSAT Board of Directors between 2011 and 2013. I have supported AMSAT with my time and money over the years. Professionally, I have been an I.T. systems administrator for over 2 decades.

AMSAT must improve its financial situation. The AMSAT President mentioned during the AMSAT Forum at the 2019 Hamvention that membership dues aren’t covering the costs of an office & manager. This should be sounding an alarm, but I sensed no urgency. You can see and hear that for yourself in the video of his talk on my YouTube channel. Other than a marketing VP, there was virtually no discussion on how AMSAT was addressing its financial issues. AMSAT also affects ARISS – another reason AMSAT leadership needs to address the financial situation. The next AMSAT President & Board should develop a plan for AMSAT’s financial solvency, where AMSAT doesn’t have to dip into its financial reserves every year to survive. This needs to be done not as part a five-year plan, but in a way that can yield results sooner. AMSAT’s continued survival is at stake.

I see less transparency from AMSAT than other organizations. One example I see relates to when Fox-1Cliff/AO-95 was launched a few months ago. After launch, and even 6 months later, it appears to me that there is little interest in finding the root cause of the failure. Why? Members, and Cliff, deserve better.

I would appreciate receiving your vote for a seat on the AMSAT Board of Directors, and encourage everyone to consider voting for those who are not currently on the Board (Howie DeFelice, Jeff Johns, Brennan Price, Michelle Thompson, and me). With four new members on the Board, there’s an opportunity to take on these issues. More information is on my web site.

Thank you, and 73!

Paul Stoetzer, N8HM

Thank you to the AMSAT members who have nominated me for another two-year term as Director.

As we celebrate AMSAT’s long history of achievement in our 50th Anniversary year, we must look forward to the next 50 years and beyond. The 2010s have seen the most launches carrying AMSAT satellites of any decade, AMSAT membership and interest in amateur satellites has grown significantly, and we look forward to countless opportunities in the next decade. We plan to return to higher orbits through the GOLF program and put amateur radio in lunar orbit with our ARISS partners on Gateway. We also plan to continue to support a stream of LEO satellites through our partnerships with universities and the CubeSat community. To accomplish these goals, we need to continue to promote AMSAT to both the amateur radio community and the broader community of space enthusiasts to grow our membership, we need to leverage our successes and value for STEAM education to secure new streams of funding, and we need to finish the work we have started to modernize the AMSAT membership database and begin to deliver more services, including a digital version of The AMSAT Journal, to our members through our website.

AMSAT also faces a number of regulatory challenges. We must continue our work to partner with foreign AMSAT organizations while remaining in compliance with ITAR/EAR regulations. As AMSAT’s Executive Vice President, I authored our public comments to the FCC on small satellite licensing and orbital debris mitigation. We must continue this work to ensure that amateur satellite service spectrum is protected and that any new orbital debris mitigation regulations do not place onerous restrictions on our satellite programs.

I would like to ask for your vote for re-election to the AMSAT Board of Directors and would be honored to continue to serve the membership. Together, we will continue to build on AMSAT’s accomplishments and work towards another 50 years of amateur radio in space. I encourage members to also vote for Jerry Buxton, N0JY, Drew Glasbrenner, KO4MA, and Brennan Price, N4QX. Please email me with any questions at n8hm@amsat.org.

Michelle Thompson, W5NYV

Greetings! I’m Michelle W5NYV. I’m an engineer with an MSEE in Information Theory.

I co-founded Open Research Institute. ORI is 501c3 R&D organization which freely publishes all of its amateur radio work.

I lecture at IEEE events about satellites, am co-chair for the 2019 GNU Radio Conference, and won the 2018 Don Hilliard award for amateur satellite work.

I am a life member of AMSAT-NA. I co-designed FOX DUV telemetry, engineered for Eagle, and ran AMSAT GEO Ground 2007-9. I lead Phase 4 Ground, an advanced microwave digital amateur radio system that supports both space and terrestrial use. Our companion project is Phase 4 Space, an open source HEO/GEO 6U payload project.

I ask you to vote for my slate consisting of myself, Patrick WD9EWK, Howie AB2S, and Jeff WE4B. We endorse Brennan N4QX.

We believe we can make significant positive changes in the organization that will benefit all members.

Trust

My highest priority is addressing the current proprietary-focused, secretive, and destructive ITAR/EAR policy at AMSAT-NA. I believe AMSAT-NA should take full advantage of the public domain and open source carve-outs in ITAR/EAR.

Compliance with this appropriate and useful part of the regulatory framework allows greatly improved participation, international cooperation and collaboration, relieves unnecessary compliance burdens, and fulfills the mission and motivation of the amateur satellite service.

Technology

Next is firmly establishing a design framework for higher orbit payloads using modern satellite technologies and systems. I believe open source is the best possible way to get us there. Things done in secret or out of fear are rarely done well.

Transparency

Members of AMSAT deserve to see what is going on in the organization. Whether the problem is a failed satellite or a failed website function, we need leadership that views questions as opportunities and not existential threats.

If you want open source, open access, international collaboration, modern digital as well as analog communications supported, and if you want a friendly and supportive club that is not opaque, authoritarian, or insular, then I am here to serve you and make that happen.

-Michelle W5NYV

w5nyv@arrl.net