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President's April Letter

Several important activities have taken place in the last few weeks, which  
affect the future of the AMSAT organization and where we are going in the  
Firstly, a meeting of the International ARISS committee at the European  
Space Agency in the Netherlands gave a starting approval for two new projects as  
1) Approval of the Russian Shadow project, which is an experiment to  
determine the effect on RF of a Plasma Propulsion unit i.e. will RF, and hence  
communications. be interrupted by the plasma field.
2) Fast Scan -TV, (Digital) This  would involve one or more color  cameras, 
placed externally at suitable locations on the ISS, Cameras would be  capable 
of pan/tilt and zoom and be capable of amateur control - UK to  co-ordinate 
proposals for this.
These projects can now be developed and presented to the Hardware committee  
for safety evaluation.
While this work is proceeding we are all awaiting for the return of the  
shuttle to provide additional lifting capability to and from the ISS. The  current 
estimate of availability of the Shuttle is spring 2005.
The AMSAT Strategic Planning committee is working to develop a more  
effective means of operating the organization, and to provide improved  communications 
between the Board of Directors, the Officers and the  Members.
A new "Team approach" is being developed which will reduce the day to day  
activities of the President, that I and my predecessors have done for many  
years. I believe that this initiative will be a very positive one for  AMSAT.
By now four hundred of you will have received a membership survey, we need  
you to return that survey to us for evaluation. The survey was generously paid  
for by one of our members, who is anxious that AMSAT should be able to meet  
the needs of our membership. This survey should define our membership  
requirements. Names were taken at random  and the number of 400 is  statistically 
very accurate to present a good picture of membership needs.
With the publication of our Annual Report we are now in a position to  
present AMSAT as a charitable organization to selected Foundations based  
principally on Educational aspects of AMSAT.  This may reduce the time  involved in fund 
raising, however it is still important that our membership be  involved in 
providing AMSAT with funding for the Special Amateur Radio aspects  of our 
Only a few weeks too Dayton, and of course we will be prominent again in  the 
"Ball Arena" at the usual place. I look forward to seeing you there, and  
hope that you will participate in the various draws that we have for equipment.  
All money received will be put toward the ECHO launch fund. You will have the  
opportunity to re-new your regular membership, make your President's Club  
donation, and contribute directly to the ECHO Launch Fund.
The fund is still about $40K short of it's goal and we need you  to help 
"Give ECHO a Lift"
ECHO launch Pins will be available at the AMSAT booth for anyone donating  
$20 or more to that cause.
Well enough from me for this month, - see you in Dayton
Robin Haighton VE3FRH
President AMSAT-NA
Sent via amsat-bb@amsat.org. Opinions expressed are those of the author.
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