[amsat-bb] Re: IRB's and Satellites.

Jeff Davis jl.davis at gmail.com
Thu Apr 26 10:29:52 PDT 2007

gOn Thu, Apr 26, 2007 at 04:39:24PM +0200, John Hackett wrote:
> Love 'em or hate 'em ... IRB'as are a part of amateur radio.
> So ... why would LA2QAA want to use one?. Well, they can! be used for 
> operating satellites.

Moving forward, we are going to see much more of this kind of operation in
amateur radio so it only follows that amateur satellite enthusiasts would
get onboard as well. It's use is, of course, not without debate. In the
radio (HF) contesting world there has been a long and vigorous conversation
about how contest rules should apply to a guy who builds a super station 
on one continent and operates it from another, etc.

But those pesky details have more to do with the competitive nature of that
radiosport than technicalities. Obviously, it works...

I went to the local university planetarium a few nights ago (Ball State
University) and learned that BSU has joined with an organization (SARA) of
schools that operates an observatory near Kitt Peak. It can be completely 
operated remotely via the Internet (open the dome turn and focus the
telescopes, take images, etc.). It seems like a marvelous way to co-op the
expense of an observatory.

But the goal of that exercise is to study the heavens -- not to learn how to
build telescopes and observatories, and being able to do it from a remote 
location is an advantage.

When it comes to amateur satellites, I think many of us would say that our
goal is to experiment, study, learn and enjoy the excitement of
communications via space-based assets. Without actually building a radio
station, I'm not sure how much can be learned from operating a station
remotely over the Internet?

[I'll completely leave aside the more obvious questions about the
sensibility of having untrained, unrestriced newbies making hash of the 
satellite passband]

Perhaps this is all about goals then ... if your goal is to simply
communicate via a satellite, then the remote base concept is perfectly valid
and it has been demonstrated that it works.

If the goal is to learn how to build a groundstation and then optimize it
for use with satellites, then I'm not sure this will do that (unless of
course you are the one building the station).

I see it like a calculator and a slide rule ... the calculator works great,
you just punch in some numbers and the correct result pops out. But the
slide rule allows one to see the underlying mathematics taking shape as it
is moved to the same answer.

Which way is "better" must be self-determined.

Jeff, KE9V

More information about the AMSAT-BB mailing list