Ugly or not?


Which is it? Personally, I think they are fantastic.  The are a lot nicer looking than some of the other structures visible from the same spot, and far more functional.  What really surprised me though was how quiet they are in operation.  The traffic moving along the road from Kilmeaden to Portlaw was easily able to drown out what I think was the noise from them.

Last Monday, Tipperary Amateur Radio Group were on top of Slievanamon (the Mountain pictured behind the wind turbines), participating in the Spring Leg of the Irish Radio Transmitters Society’s 2 Meters Counties Contest.  After some generator trouble, we got going and spend an enjoyable few hours up there (pictures), making approximately 57 unique contacts in 24 counties. It was great to see so much activity on the band.

Last week I was in Innsbruck, Austria, helping Miguel at the Tridentcom conference.  There was lots to take in and lots of folks to meet, too much in fact. I briefly managed to get outside for a look around and take some pictures on Tuesday evening.  The rest of the time was spent either attending technical sessions, or continuing technical discussions afterwards.

Getting set up for the contest was a technical challenge of a different kind (one could consider it therapy almost!).

Geosynchronous Birds.

At the Symposium AMSAT President Rick Hambly, W2GPS, along with Vice President of Engineering Bob McGwier, N4HY, were able to make public the results of their recent work, which will change the face of Amateur Radio going forward. AMSAT has been in consultation with Intelsat regarding an application of Intelsat communications satellites carrying our Amateur Radio satellites into geosynchronous orbit.

Bob described changes in Department of Defense (DoD) policies that will require DoD-subsidized launches to allow secondary payloads to fill in excess launch capacity of the primary mission. During his talk, “Where’s the Launch,” Lee McLamb, KU4OS, explained that factors such as the increased size and efficiency of launch vehicles results in excess lift capacity. Gone are the days where adding a pound to the payload meant removing a pound of fuel from the booster. Lee described how current missions on the schedule have 1000 to 1500 pounds of excess capability. These are slots AMSAT can fit into.

Bob, N4HY, made the following observation about the Phase IV Lite project, “There is enough in place at this time that AMSAT needs to begin planning engineering work and possible construction of a geosynchronous payload so we are ready if Intelsat says they have a ride for us.”

This is a fantastic opportunity for the hobby, read the full article here.