Well I certainly stepped in it last night, so I'd like to respond to a few and state more clearly the reasoning behind the thoughts I so briefly expressed in that email. Having done so, I will return to a passive mode on this subject.
My statement about the "silent majority" is based on what I know from experience, be it with an organization or a population. I did not intend in any way to say that no one should express an opinion. It was a subjective observation, and if I am wrong, I would have no problem admitting it.
I am thoroughly familiar with the internet, having used it for the last 15 years or so. The reason I became interested in it was because of the wealth of information exchange available. Else I wouldn't have been reading and participating in Amsat-bb.
In answer to Bob WB5MZO's question, I don't know if Amsat membership is growing or shrinking. I don't feel that it has any direct bearing on what I believe anyway. I simply know that I am a member.
So here's my reasoning. I surely don't have the ability to build or orbit a satellite. Amsat does, so I joined way back when and now contribute to the President's Club and in sharing the message of the organization and satellite activities to my local club and friends. Not having grown up in the "gotta have it now" generation, I appreciate the fact that so many satellites have been successfully launched and available, that it is in fact rocket science to make that happen, and that Amsat still works to stretch the capabilities so that there is room for both average and higher skills operating frequencies and techniques. I grow by overcoming challenges, and learning on the way. I operated AO-51 mode V/S this past week with a homebrew attempt at a CP patch feed on the K5GNA BBQ dish, and it didn't work quite like I had thought it would, so I use the experience to improve that capability, I didn't just give up and go back to the easier V/U mode. I made some friends on the air during that week that have been very helpful in considering the situation and remedies or alternatives. I'm very glad that Amsat made it possible for me to have the S band available for use and learning. Since 1983 I have been interested in amateur radio satellites, I started out by simply listening to AO-10 and working some of the satellites in mode A until I finally got a house to set up a station, in 1993. I became active on many of the satellites but AO-13 was the most intriguing as I developed my skills, because it increased the challenge and therefore my knowledge and skill with the equipment and operating procedures. One humorous (to me) memory is of a truly "long path" QSO of about 72,000 km between myself and a station in a town about 20 miles away! Of course the DX possibilities were the real fun. I got some time on AO-40 too and although it was short, it was well worth it. Yes, I will still look forward to a new HEO. Whenever it happens. That's where I'd like to see things go. If I won the lottery, I would like to be able to help make that launch happen. In the meantime, I'll take what the men and women who can do it, give me. With pleasure. And I believe that the advancements of trying the SDR and such on SuitSat-2 are the right thing to do. We won't get better if we don't try it. They may lead to some neat stuff in the next HEO (whenever it happens). But if an HEO never happens again before I die, well I'm not gonna quit Amsat and I'm not gonna quit working satellites. I think about an analogy here with my local club. The big project now is to have a balloon launch. It's a lot of work, a lot of risk, relatively expensive (in the club bank account perspective) and I personally am not that charged up about it. But, the majority of the club is so I simply "get out of the way". I'm not going to tell them what I think we should be doing instead, and I'll contribute to the project if I can in a meaningful way. So that's where I'm coming from. And I appreciate the opinions of anybody else written here on the -bb. That doesn't necessarily mean I agree with them, but I will read them. I don't expect everyone (or even a small number) to agree with me. Nor should anyone else who voices their own, in my opinion. I plan to continue to contribute monetarily to Amsat, and in the next few years as I approach (hopefully early) retirement, volunteer my skills in project management, software requirements, and software testing if they can be of any help.
Thank you for your time.
Jerry I dont think you stepped into anything.
Look two points
First it would be easy to deflect the questions I (and others) have raised about suitsat or suitsat 2 by simply answering the questions. Someone must know what the total cost on suitsat 1 were, someone must have (I assume) run a failure analysis and figured otu what went wrong (or what the candidates were)...
But when the answers turn out to be "well if you wanted to be productive you wouldnt ask these questions" then sorry 3 decades of volunteering, professional aviation/aerospace, and raising kids tell me that there are no good answers.
Amsat is declining as an organization, some of it is how times change and other parts of it is that the BOD and others are not adapting to the changing times (or are in it to serve themselves).
second and just as an aside. I really dont care much for "the silent majority". It was J. Bartlett delegate from NH who when signing the DOI said "Decisions are made by those who show up". The silent majority is generally the most useless group of people ie they wont make their voices heard and are just like cows.
It was "the silent majority" who allowed Columbia to go up in a ball of flame, people who would, in the halls voice a lot of concern but when it came time to tell the powers that be, who had already said "things were fine"...well they were the silent majority.
One of the proudest moments in my life was when my father in law, a retired Navy Four star stood up and said going to Iraq was the dumbest thing he had ever heard of. That was pre boots on the ground. He was pilloried but in the end, he was correct.
Take care and thanks for your thoughts
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