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Re: Phase 4 satellite(s)?

 >  >What Phil Karn has been saying makes sense except for the fact that everyone
 >  >must buy new equipment immediately. A hybrid approach that supports existing
 >  >equipment might actually work. It's interesting that he hasn't commented on
 >  >my email.
 > I haven't commented because I caught whatever bug has been going around
 > and fell behind on email.
 > Anyway, I feel strongly that the design and low-cost manufacture of
 > the required ground stations is an essential element of any advanced
 > amateur LEO constellation. Putting a "legacy" mode on the satellites
 > could certainly be done, but that would constrain the system design,
 > increase the cost, size, complexity and mass of the satellites and
 > divert resources from making the new ground station hardware as widely
 > available as possible.

My involvement in AMSAT to date has mostly been contributing $$$ since
until recently, I had no opportunity to install antennas to work the
existing satellites.  So, I have no "legacy" mode to be compatible

What I find remarkable is that people seem to be willing to invest a 
bunch of money on antennas, feedline, Az/El rotators, amplifiers,
pre-amps, polarity switchers and probably a bunch of other satellite
operation specific hardware.  Yet, investing in a computer (which
they probably already have) and a sound card or an external modem
for a new type of modulation somehow sets the bar too high.

Packet radio and AX.25 were pretty radical when it was introduced,
yet it seems rather commonplace and pedestrian now.  The growing
popularity of things like PSK31 for "RTTY-like" applications seem
to have no huge barrier to implementation.  But carrying voice
by other than SSB.. that's a different matter.  

Sure, it's *different*.  And perhaps these new "modes" don't
support quaint notions like "pile-ups" when trying to work that
elusive DX station. For those that are competative, perhaps new
contests would be more appropriate (e.g., fasted file transfer rate?
Highest fidelity sound/hz of bw?) that would help drive the
development of new techniques, rather than just the same old


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