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Re: Amateur Satellites (definition?)



The recent postings about the uses to which Amateur Satellites, and Amateur
Radio in general, can be put, provoke much thought.

What is the different between an Amateur Satellite drifting (predictably in
orbit) - providing telemetry, perhaps a repeater, and even photos,... and a
telemetry buoy drifting (less predictably) providing much the same data
about the environment in which it finds itself? Both "self-education"
projects involving Amateur Radio?

Over the years much credit has been given to the Amateur Radio Service in
times of emergencies and other humanitarian needs. But what constitutes an
emergency? Human lives at risk? Property at risk? Or the environment (on
which the former depend) at risk? How much (if at all - not withstanding
the PCSat concept) have Amateur Satellites been involved with "emergency
communications?" (I may have missed it. But it seems Sats are different and
more... "exploratory" Amateur Radio.)

Much has been said on this list about the need to get the youth interested
in Amateur Radio. But many of the youth have been seemingly "sidetracked"
by "more important" things - like the internet and perhaps before that and
an ongoing (increasing critical?) concern - the environment.

In November of 2001 at the Ninth International Conference on the
Conservation and Management of Lakes, which was held Otsu, Shiga, Japan, it
was sadly pointed out that HALF of the world's lakes are likely to die
soon. A LOT of people depend on these lakes! How can Amateur Radio play a
role in the life of a young person living on this planet when such
catastrophes are increasing? See these links for more info on the Lakes
Conference:

http://www.enn.com/news/wire-stories/2001/11/11122001/reu_lakes_45550.asp
http://www.commondreams.org/headlines01/1112-02.htm

The question is really: Can the Amateur Radio Service be used (to some
degree) to avert disasters before they happen? Or ONLY after the fact? How
"bad" to things have to get before it's a "real disaster?" This seems this
is a much more important question than the recent (mis)placing of the
MAROC-TUBSAT downlink on 144.1! The answer to this question may have
something to do with recruiting potential Hams...?

Living as I do near Lake Baikal (21% of the world's freshwater), the recent
discussion about "drifters" is of interest to me. And perhaps it would be
of interest to school children around Lake Baikal, many of whom live in
villages - to some degree dependant on the lake for food! - but with no
communications (What's the Internet?) or a single old Soviet-made phone in
the new Russian (or Buryat) "Mayor's Office." A recent scandal here is that
the local scientists seemed to have "under-estimated" the actual pollution
happening to Baikal. No news to the conference participants in Japan. But
in the light of "world terrorism", the terrorism to the environment takes a
backseat. "But technology can always 'clean-up' the polluted water." But at
what cost? And for the fish too?

How many of you go fishing? Not a few! Hams in boats with radios! What a
life!!! What part does Ham Radio play in your fishing enjoyment in light of
the above?

Bob Bruninga pointed out that only 5% of PCSat was hardware. The rest being
costs to "qualify it" for going how and where it went.

So a question is: how many terrestrial or marine "remote Amateur Radio
telemetry stations" (call them satellites, buoys, drifters, whatever) could
be built for "self-education" and perhaps even to get some youth and spirit
back into Amateur Radio? Where are the Amateur Radio Drifter kits for
school projects and of course, the prerequesite: A Ham Ticket!

How can AMSAT and/or the people on this mailing list help to translate
"Space Technology for a few" (and a wonderful few! I might add) into "Earth
Technology for many?" And advance Amateur Radio at the same time?

Other ideas are always welcome.

73 - O.J. Lougheed (U.S. citizen) ex-N5JXU



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