We have what I consider to be a firm decision on how to proceed. I am
proud of where we are a year into my tenure. The details clearly need
to be fleshed out but we have a way forward that I suspect technical
people and user people can rally behind since it involves compromise and
calculation. Rick Hambly has provided some necessary leadership here
and I choose to get behind it to implement it. It is not everyone's
ideal choice but it is a choice I can support.
For your information, we need desperately to get our act together on
several different fronts and these are organizational in nature. I need
to modify my role significantly now. I believe Jim will be much more
comfortable now that we have a reasonably clear direction. He has fixed
my greatest concern in that he has demonstrated usable internet
connectivity that he can check wherever he is doing his normal daily
living which requires travel. I believed he was completely ineffective
when he could not communicate in a timely fashion. I saw emails get
answered that were clearly "four generations" old in a thread and it
aggravated me a lot. That has been completely fixed in my opinion
recently. It is clear that with team member scattered over the world
and the continent, effective telecommunications are absolutely required
to effectively manage this project. I did not view this as fixed until
two weeks ago. I now view it as fixed.
Since I am a known commodity to many of you, many of you come to me
with things that should go directly to Jim. This undermines Jim in his
attempt to manage the project. In addition, dealing with you
individually actively hinders me doing exactly those things I need to do
on an organizational level and slows some technical work that I
personally responsible for. Jim and I have repeatedly run into things
we thought the other was doing. Jim has fixed his telecom problems and
I am now a reflector. Jim works for me since Eagle is engineering but
this is going to be an organizational lead where I do composite budgets
and make facilities available from the organization but I am not going
to do daily management. Direct stuff to Jim.
Let me give three examples of those things I am going to be
concentrating on in the next 30 days.
1) IHU-3 code since P3E needs a control mechanism to integrate.
2) Finishing a top level mechanical analysis, laying out design
principles in spreadsheet form so we can place equipment inside our
chosen model, and put the attitude control system in. I will be
concentrating on helping the sensor team (welcome back Alan) get the big
3) SDR things that I am uniquely qualified to do, inextricably committed
to doing, or am required to help with in a "hands on" way.
It is clear that we have won the battle to get the kinds of transponders
we need to make this a new and different spacecraft. It will be
technically challenging and that will be the fun part! I am no longer
needed to lead the transponder team is my read and it needs someone who
can dedicate themselves to that aspect of this. The team I have helped
to assemble has an amazing collection of talent in it. Managed
correctly, this team simply cannot fail. I need someone to step up
and take over the transponder management and Jim should now take charge
of finding that person. I do not wish to do more than advise Jim on his
selection when he has some choices. For Jim to succeed in implementing
these transponders, he needs to find someone he can work with so I bow
out of the selection except to give solicited advise. Jim and I
discussed this and I agree with his assessment that the team is better
off being lead elsewhere. It would be my suggestion to Jim that the
person he picks understands that this is really two teams being forced
into the same "bucket": linear and ACP and they must be welded into an
I think we are close to announcing a construction, integration, testing
facility. We will know in 30-45 days. I need to budget time for doing
the planning on taking care of organizational business in the area of
getting this lab going and getting our engineering house in order
totally, not just for Eagle. This is exciting since I think we can set
up a long term facility that is closer to the corporate offices, and
can help our organization's educational status, and more. This is going
to require a serious effort to complete by the end of the year. I
believe this is the best use of my time for AMSAT in general and Eagle
in particular outside of those specific technical tasks I have undertaken.
HPSDR and GnuRadio are, in my opinion, the most important technical
projects outside of AMSAT for OUR future. They will have a large impact
on amateur radio in general, and AMSAT in particular. We have
engineering management things to get right with our sister organization
TAPR. This will heat up in the next few months.
After I get the top level mechanical analysis work done with Bob Davis
and Dick Jansson, I need to pass off that hat to someone who can live
with it day to day. Should we actually make the organizational move on
a laboratory that I think we are about to make, I will give my
recommendation to Jim but I will need to back out of making this
selection and limit my role to computation. The recommendation will be
obvious if this falls into place.
As V.P. Engineering I will insist on being on all peer review committees
and exactly how that will function will be worked out with Jim. Any
further advice to the teams will be directed to individuals but will ALL
contain CC to Jim. As an organizational matter, we need Jim to succeed
and he needs to take the lead. He will have my support (and my friendly
cattle prod) to do exactly that.
AMSAT VP Engineering. Member: ARRL, AMSAT-DL, TAPR, Packrats,
NJQRP/AMQRP, QRP ARCI, QCWA, FRC. ARRL SDR Wrk Grp Chairman
"You see, wire telegraph is a kind of a very, very long cat.
You pull his tail in New York and his head is meowing in Los
Angeles. Do you understand this? And radio operates exactly
the same way: you send signals here, they receive them there.
The only difference is that there is no cat." - Einstein