AMSAT December President's Letter: 100th anniversary of the first transatlantic radio communication by Marconi


Wednesday, December 12, 2001 is a very special day for AMSAT members and for anyone with an interest in radio communications.

Wednesday marks the 100th anniversary of the first transatlantic radio communication by Marconi, from England to Newfoundland. The event was a historic achievement in the annals of radio communications. An equally historic event took place 40 years ago on Wednesday, the launch of the first Amateur Radio satellite - OSCAR-1.

From my archives I find that OSCAR-1 was a 10 pound package of electronics which transmitted the word "HI" back to Earth, along with telemetry in the form of a temperature measurement (which controlled the timing of the CW). The satellite was constructed by members of Project OSCAR, a group organized at Foothills College in Los Altos, California, along with the Lockheed Amateur Radio Club in Sunnyvale, California.

I would like to pass my congratulations to all of the members of Project OSCAR (most of whom are still active in Amateur satellites). They were the forerunners of AMSAT and we have to thank them for their vision in developing this exciting aspect of Amateur Radio only four years after the flight of the first Sputnik.

On December 12, 2001 yet another first will take place, the introduction of a new website from the latest member of the AMSAT world community. AMSAT-India has announced that their web page will become available on this day, and I look forward to reading their information.

As the senior officer of AMSAT-NA, I get a great deal of e-mail from many of you, and the variety of topics seem endless. I try to reply directly to as many as I can, providing some insight into AMSAT and what goes on in the organization. However, several of you have written to complain about frequency use, or bad operator etiquette by some stations. It is important to note that AMSAT is not a regulatory body and we do not have any control over how people use a satellite, we can only provide "moral persuasion" and hope that operators will use the minimum power required to get the communications through and not try and control the limited frequency space available on such satellites as AO-27 and UO-14. Many operators try to use these satellites with small antennas and a handheld transceiver, and do not appreciate some of the "big guns" operating with high-gain antennas and home stations.

Finally, to all of you from the Board of Directors and Officers of AMSAT-NA at this festive time of the year, may I wish you all the very best of the holiday season. May you and your family have a great holiday and a very happy New Year.

73,

Robin Haighton, VE3FRH
President AMSAT-NA

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