Call Search
     

New to Ham Radio?
My Profile

Community
Articles
Forums
News
Reviews
Friends Remembered
Strays
Survey Question

Operating
Contesting
DX Cluster Spots
Propagation

Resources
Calendar
Classifieds
Ham Exams
Ham Links
List Archives
News Articles
Product Reviews
QSL Managers

Site Info
eHam Help (FAQ)
Support the site
The eHam Team
Advertising Info
Vision Statement
About eHam.net

   Home   Help Search  
Pages: Prev 1 2 [3] 4 Next   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: So where does the satellite hobby stand now?  (Read 21456 times)
KO4MA
Member

Posts: 120




Ignore
« Reply #30 on: February 13, 2013, 04:56:05 PM »

but I still don't understand why FOX 1 is not a t least an LEO linear bird.
Michael, W4HIJ

We have three working linear transponders that rarely have anyone new on them, or are very busy. We have one FM bird.

There are at least 4 transponders set to launch in 2013, and only one bird with FM repeater other than Fox, and it's only a maybe.

Fox got it's free launch by being dual purpose, and that strongly favored an FM bird. Fox-2 will be capable of both.

Make more sense now?

73, Drew KO4MA
Logged
K7WDO
Member

Posts: 20




Ignore
« Reply #31 on: February 13, 2013, 08:15:19 PM »

Is the satellite hobby in decline?  From a construction standpoint, I find that hard to believe with all the new groups sending up a satellite for the first time.  It may not be as exciting as getting another AO-40, AO-51, or VO-52, but I'm sure that for all those hard working people who manage to get a satellite built, launched, and in orbit in an operational state, that has to be quite a thrill, even if it is as simple as a CW beacon.  AMSAT started that way with the early Oscar satellites so hopefully the successful ones will come back with more ambitious satellites capable of two-way communication that we all love.

And speaking of transponders, it's interesting to see how everyone has their favorite one:

Linear - Probably the "classic" one due to it's long history and is currently the best represented in terms of operational satellites (AO-7, FO-29, and VO-52).  It may be more challenging to operate than the FM sats and requires a SSB/CW capable radio, but the advantage is it can support multiple QSOs at the same time.

HEO - The Phase 3 satellites were a much more ambitious project.  They were more challenging to operate than the LEO linear birds, but the reward was a huge footprint and a pass that could be measured in hours instead of minutes thanks to their elliptical orbit.  Sadly, fate has not been kind to the Phase 3 project ranging from the loss at launch of P3A to the problems that led to the early demise of AO-40.  And it sounds like AMSAT-DL is certainly having to deal with plenty of challenges with P3E be it ITAR restrictions or finding a launch for a large satellite weighing several hundred pounds that doesn't cost a fortune.  Hopefully their luck will improve and P3E will see orbit someday soon.

FM - Probably the easiest satellites to work with a less expensive hardware requirement and a simpler mode of operation than the linear or HEO birds, it's easy to see how these are very popular satellites with the rapid fire stream of contacts that I always heard on AO-51.  We're down to SO-50 as the sole remaining FM transponder but Fox-1 should give some relief those longing for another FM sat.

Of course, everyone has their favorite and going by some of the comments here, it's with a passion that rivals a Ford vs. Chevy debate to make the automotive analogy.  Some enjoy the frantic pace of the FM sats while another group may prefer the more laid back linears.  Then there are others that long for the DX opportunities which were available on the Phase 3 birds.  It just shows what a diverse groups we are.  Thankfully, it sounds like we have something in the works for everyone, be it P3E, Fox-1, or KiwiSat.

Until then, have patience, enjoy what's up there now, and support your favorite satellite-in-progress!
Logged
KQ6EA
Member

Posts: 609


WWW

Ignore
« Reply #32 on: February 13, 2013, 08:32:38 PM »

Well put, Scott!

73, Jim
Logged
W5PFG
Member

Posts: 81




Ignore
« Reply #33 on: February 14, 2013, 05:45:13 AM »


Until then, have patience, enjoy what's up there now, and support your favorite satellite-in-progress!

Your entire posting was great.   I want to highlight your comment specifically about support.  

A lot of people want to gripe, complain, and whine....But do they put their money where their mouth is?  Heck no!  I've met personally with some active satellite operators who openly admit to not sending a dime to any of the current projects or joining a supporting organization.  Why is that?  Do they want someone else to fit the bill?  Apparently so.

If you enjoy operating satellites, please remember there is a cost associated with putting them in space  ...even with a so-called free launch.  You'd maybe pay $8 for a movie ticket, a pack of cigarettes, a fishing lure, or your favorite beverage... Why not support a long-lasting satellite that will provide joy to you and thousands worldwide by donating $5?
Logged
AE5QB
Member

Posts: 272




Ignore
« Reply #34 on: February 14, 2013, 08:14:08 AM »

The issue is just cost and luanch vehicles.  While there may be a great number of projects in progress, finding launch vehicles is just a nightmare.  I understand why, but it is still a fact.  The FM birds made it easy for new folks to dabble in it and then jump in whole heartedly if they liked it.  This gave critical mass to this aspect of the hobby.  It was cool to make that first contact through an FM bird and easy and inexpensive.  Not so much anymore.

Why don't people send more money.  I don't know for sure, but I suspect there are numerous reasons.  Not with standing, it is difficult to see a return on investment no matter how small.  There is just too much uncertainty.  Sending off even $5 or $10 on a "Maybe" is hard for many people especially the old folks on fixed incomes.

What we are seeing is a tremendous uptick in high altitude balloons.  They are relatively inexpensive and offer a tremendous amount of educational and ham radio value.  Payload design and experimental design is well within the budgets and abilities of every college, most high schools, and even middle and elementary schools.  We want to do a launch next year.  After we get our ARISS contact done this year.

We are definitely interested in Sats, but I am very skeptical about the future of broadbased satellite appeal in ham radio.  I certainly don't want to rain on the parade, but I equally won't be shamed into feeling guilty about not financially supporting Sat programs enough.  I just spend $3K of my own money to get the equipment necessary for our ARISS contact.  My wallet is a bit empty right now.  Maybe next year.

Regards,

Tom/AE5QB
Logged
W4HIJ
Member

Posts: 367




Ignore
« Reply #35 on: February 14, 2013, 09:00:18 AM »

I'm not against FOX 1 or any other repeater type project. I operated  AO-51 through much of it's lifespan. I had AO-7, FO-29, VO-52 to operate linear if I wanted.  BUT I also had heard the tales of operating AO-40, even in her diminished condition, and the promise of great new projects like AMSAT Eagle and P3-E coming just around the corner. There were satellite rigs galore out there, DC to daylight, and HT's that would operate full duplex for the simpler birds. Then grim reality set in and it became painfully apparent that Eagle was a pipe dream and P3-E would languish and might never be launched. It's a totally different mood and outlook now and you'll excuse me if the FOX project doesn't particularly excite me. It's like anticipating a date with Marylin Monroe and then having Joan Rivers show up at the door. As far as supporting AMSAT, I will when I can. I can't afford to renew ARRL membership right now much less AMSAT or making a donation.
Michael, W4HIJ
Logged
W5PFG
Member

Posts: 81




Ignore
« Reply #36 on: February 14, 2013, 09:21:06 AM »

We are definitely interested in Sats, but I am very skeptical about the future of broadbased satellite appeal in ham radio.  I certainly don't want to rain on the parade, but I equally won't be shamed into feeling guilty about not financially supporting Sat programs enough.  I just spend $3K of my own money to get the equipment necessary for our ARISS contact.  My wallet is a bit empty right now.  Maybe next year.

Hi Tom.

I don't mean to shame anyone but reality is it's "pay to play" in the satellite world..or repeaters..or D-STAR.  Any time there is infrastructure to be covered, someone has to cough up the dough.  A lot of folks conveniently sit back in the comfort of their homes, griping on the Internet, and doing absolutely NOTHING.  "I'm too broke to buy X, but I can afford Y."  A man's pleasures can easily by identified by looking at his checkbook register.   Take half of the complainers and you'll find their vices seldom get sacrificed for anything when someone else can pay for it.  I recognize some people are on fixed incomes.  There's ways they can contribute, too, without shelling out a dollar.  But nooooo -- they want to gripe online because there's a convenient 24/7 soapbox.

I'm not saying you need to be a rich man to operate satellites.  A modest portable station can be had for under $200.  I'm just saying instead of being another mooching freeloader like most of society today, those that get joy out of this aspect of the hobby should at least consider kicking in a buck or two.  When I was a poor ham in my youth, in college, and at the start of my career, I always relied on a discretionary budget line item to fund my ham habit.  Sure, at times I couldn't buy a PL-259 when I got started but now with budgeting I can afford anything my heart desires -- in time.

I applaud you committing your time, energy, and $$$ funds to supporting ARISS.  Now that's one good investment!  I wish you great success with your school contacts. 

73
Clayton
W5PFG
Logged
W4HIJ
Member

Posts: 367




Ignore
« Reply #37 on: February 14, 2013, 09:49:13 AM »

Well I hate to say it but when I say I can't afford AMSAT membership or donations, it means just that.... I can't afford it. It doesn't mean that I won't give up my cigarettes or my beer ( neither of which I actually indulge in) to support it. I work hard for a living and have a family to support. Buying a PL-259 of a roll of solder is a purchase that has the figured out exactly when  it can be done. Buying a roll of copper wire or some coax is considered a major hobby expenditure in my household. So it's not a question of my "vices" being put in front of AMSAT. I mean maybe I shouldn't eat so I can afford to support AMSAT hunh? Yes, I'm being sarcastic, but don't paint with such a wide brush.
Michael, W4HIJ
Logged
W5PFG
Member

Posts: 81




Ignore
« Reply #38 on: February 14, 2013, 10:00:11 AM »

Michael, I'm sorry to have offended you but my comments were not directed to you personally.

You asked "where the satellite hobby stands?" and my summary response is:

1. Ham satellites are not the same as it was 40, 30, 20, or even 10 years ago.  Change is constant.
2. It's what you make of it. 
3. If you want to see change, make it happen.  Contribute (time/talents/funds.)
4. The LEO/HEO FM/SSB debate lives on and probably forever will.
5. There is an EXCELLENT group of active amateurs on the satellites in North America who are friendly, helpful, and genuinely want to help others enjoy and succeed in this facet of radio.

Yes, I have pet peeve about incessant whining and attacks on AMSAT & other organizations TRYING to do the best they can with limited volunteers and shrinking coffers.  I'll step off the soap box now and go back to something more productive ;-)

Logged
W4HIJ
Member

Posts: 367




Ignore
« Reply #39 on: February 14, 2013, 10:13:32 AM »

Michael, I'm sorry to have offended you but my comments were not directed to you personally.

You asked "where the satellite hobby stands?" and my summary response is:

1. Ham satellites are not the same as it was 40, 30, 20, or even 10 years ago.  Change is constant.
2. It's what you make of it. 
3. If you want to see change, make it happen.  Contribute (time/talents/funds.)
4. The LEO/HEO FM/SSB debate lives on and probably forever will.
5. There is an EXCELLENT group of active amateurs on the satellites in North America who are friendly, helpful, and genuinely want to help others enjoy and succeed in this facet of radio.

Yes, I have pet peeve about incessant whining and attacks on AMSAT & other organizations TRYING to do the best they can with limited volunteers and shrinking coffers.  I'll step off the soap box now and go back to something more productive ;-)


I wish I had something to contribute. We've already covered money. I'd love to be able to design a 2m/70cm all mode SDR and donate the circuit to AMSAT but I don't have the talent to do so. I did not start this thread to attack AMSAT, I was truly wondering what the state of  projects like P3-E were. I applaud AMSAT on their efforts even though I disagree somewhat with the direction they have chosen to pursue. No matter how difficult, getting P3-E in the air would jump start this portion of the hobby like nothing else will. Short of that, yet another FM bird is just a ...yawn....zzzzzzzzzzzzzz..... Oops, sorry just drifted off there! And you didn't really offend me, I just wanted to make the point that some of us out their would LOVE to do more if we only could. If I win the lottery anytime soon, I'll pony up the 10 mill for the P3-E launch!! Cheesy Cheesy
Have a good one and 73,
Michael, W4HIJ
Logged
KO4MA
Member

Posts: 120




Ignore
« Reply #40 on: February 14, 2013, 12:28:15 PM »

No matter how difficult, getting P3-E in the air would jump start this portion of the hobby like nothing else will. Short of that, yet another FM bird is just a ...yawn....zzzzzzzzzzzzzz.....

Please believe me, every single officer, director, and volunteer for AMSAT knows this. Unlike the US Govt., we cannot just print up 10 million dollars for a launch. It took a decade more or less to raise 2 million for P3D/AO-40. We are doing what we can, with the level of support we have. The other option is to fold.

Perhaps you missed my earlier post about four or more transponders due to launch this year. The last -NA project had a transponder, as will the next one after Fox-1. Balance is a good thing.
Logged
W5PFG
Member

Posts: 81




Ignore
« Reply #41 on: February 14, 2013, 01:36:48 PM »

Short of that, yet another FM bird is just a ...yawn....zzzzzzzzzzzzzz.....

Help me understand this...

If the linear transponders are so exciting, why are there far less people on them?
(and please give me an answer other than FM rigs are more plentiful and inexpensive..duh)

Taking into account all my contacts on AO-51, AO-27, SO-50, and SO-67, I would have to make at least a thousand unique contacts on the linear birds to catch up with my FM station log.

Not everyone makes the transition to linear birds.  It took me too long, admittedly. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XVCtkzIXYzQ
Logged
W4HIJ
Member

Posts: 367




Ignore
« Reply #42 on: February 14, 2013, 02:52:18 PM »

Short of that, yet another FM bird is just a ...yawn....zzzzzzzzzzzzzz.....

Help me understand this...

If the linear transponders are so exciting, why are there far less people on them?
(and please give me an answer other than FM rigs are more plentiful and inexpensive..duh)

Taking into account all my contacts on AO-51, AO-27, SO-50, and SO-67, I would have to make at least a thousand unique contacts on the linear birds to catch up with my FM station log.

Not everyone makes the transition to linear birds.  It took me too long, admittedly. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XVCtkzIXYzQ

Ahhh that's the catch .22. They are more exciting  because they are more challenging.  There are far less people on them because of that challenge. Maybe I'm the exception rather than the rule but I enjoyed every bit of the work and research that went into designing and building my antennas and their rotor and tracking system. Same with selecting preamps and getting them installed, learning about doppler and how to compensate for it or have your PC do it, which I wish more people did. Of course I operated AO-51, AO27 and SO-50 with the same system but simply seeing who was the quickest on the PTT button to exchange a grid square got boring pretty quickly. Once I had to sell my sat rig and associated equipment and store away a lot of my homebrew stuff I tried sitting out on my back deck with a couple of handhelds and a little homebrew dual band beam on a tripod. I was bored to tears within a few days and I hated it. That's just me, other folks may be different, I'm just stating how I feel. I'd rather watch paint dry than operate an FM only HT sat station. My current finances don't allow me to get any all mode capability and even if they did I'd be leery of the investment with the uncertainty surrounding this branch of the hobby.
Michael, W4HIJ
Logged
KO4MA
Member

Posts: 120




Ignore
« Reply #43 on: February 14, 2013, 05:15:03 PM »

I'd be leery of the investment with the uncertainty surrounding this branch of the hobby.
Michael, W4HIJ

Again, FOUR transponders launching this year, maybe more. (Delphi-N3XT, Funcube-1, UKube with FunCube-2, Turksat-3U, maybe Kiwisat)

I think you are overstating any uncertainty by an order of magnitude.

73, Drew KO4MA
Logged
W4HIJ
Member

Posts: 367




Ignore
« Reply #44 on: February 15, 2013, 03:02:27 PM »

It's a moot point because I can't afford the investment in gear right now but very quick research reveals the first sat listed is digital and the second will have limited amateur access with "educational" priorities first. Anyway, I tire of arguing the point.  I'll check the landscape again in a few months and go from there. Again, I'm not against AMSAT in any way shape or form, but that doesn't necessarily mean I agree with every decision they make either.
73,
Michael W4HIJ
Logged
Pages: Prev 1 2 [3] 4 Next   Go Up
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.11 | SMF © 2006-2009, Simple Machines LLC Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!