You and I go all the way back to RS-12/13, Ray. (AC5DK back then). The problem is not people to build the satellites or the desire to build them... it's the launch opportunities. Educational & research birds have them at free or reasonable costs... private birds for hobby use do not. There are many that feel as you do, but don't understand the 'why'. Just thought it deserved being stated.
ANSAT-NA is still fighting the good fight, but most don't understand that the fight has changed over the years. It's not WHAT to put in orbit, it's IF we can find a way.
73, Kevin N4UFO
This past weekend, I made three ARRL/AMSAT Field Day QSOs via FO-29 (JAS-2). Nothing noteworthy about that, except that FO-29 will be 20 years old on August 17th. We're very fortunate that its linear transponder still works. The CW beacon and digital transponders are no longer functioning.
Two more of the satellites carrying the bulk of amateur satellite communication are well beyond their design lifetimes. SO-50, our main FM transponder satellite, will be 14 years old in December. Then, of course, there is AO-7, whose linear transponders miraculously are still functioning some of the time. In November it will be 42 years young.
Educational and research satellites are well and good, but amateur satellite communication is still overly dependent on aging space hardware. To those who are building new amateur communication transponders, especially linear transponders in the UHF and VHF bands, best wishes for success. I wish there were more of you. Maybe there will be.
73 Ray W2RS