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Greetings from a new op - help me wet these feet

Hi, KC4YLV here and it's been a dream of mine ever since I was a young kid
to get on the amateur satellites.
Well, close to two decades later and I can finally start dabbling with it.

Can anybody give me a primer as to what the hottest satellites are right
now? It unfortunately seems as though a lot of the info
on the amateur satellites is outdated or at least 2, more often 5 years ore
older. Given the lifespan-limited nature of our precious birds,
it's really tough for me to figure out just what's still operating and
what's gone. The mailing list seems dynamic and gives me hope -
I know Amateur Radio is declining somewhat and wanted to be reassured that
the birds are still being used and experimented with.

I have 40 watts of all-mode 2m TX, 55 watts of 2m/70cm FM TX, and extra
receivers (unfortunately I do not have 435 SSB capability but am
working on that angle presently). I'm also set up for packet via MixW and
can build whatever interfaces I'd need for that angle - I am quite
in playing with digital modes.

I've found plans for 'eggbeaters' and 'texas potato mashers' and feel that I
would like to get started with omni antennas before I worry about gain
antennas and tracking. Am I going to have enough ERP to have fun, or will I
just be disappointed?

Also, can anybody clue me in to the status of any high orbit or molniya
satellite projects? the phase 3e pages seem to be dormant, have conflicting,
or sometimes incorrect info.

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