Hi! I'm Jeff WE4B. I am an Extra class amateur radio operator. My favorite aspect of amateur radio is space communications using amateur radio satellites to facilitate contacts (QSOs) with other radio amateurs. There is nothing quite like the thrill and enjoyment of contacting someone thousands of miles away, using simple equipment while transmitting through a satellite that is orbiting the Earth and travelling at 17,500 miles per hour.
It sounds complicated and expensive but it doesn't have to be that way. Many amateurs start-off using just a couple of inexpensive HTs and a homebrew Yagi antenna. In fact, it is possible to hear some satellites with just an HT and the stock antenna. If you are an amateur radio operator and have never explored satellites, you really should give it a try. To see the equipment that I use, click on the Station Info tab.
Currently in orbit are FM satellites, linear (SSB) satellites, digital satellites (APRS), telemetry only satellites (no uplink) and satellites that broadcast SSTV images.
If you happened to work me during a satellite pass, please note that I typically upload to the ARRL's LoTW and eQSL (I don't log on QRZ, I only import from LoTW to QRZ) and try to do so after each pass or as soon as I possibly can. I record each satellite pass that I work. If you ever need a copy of a recording, just send me an email and I'll provide you the recording. I also try to send all new contacts a paper QSL card in the mail. I always enjoy getting cards in the mail and hope that others enjoy getting one from me. My home grid is EM62 but I often activate several other grids depending on where I happen to be throughout the day. I can easily activate EM61, EM71 and EM72 so if you happen to need one of those grids, feel free to send me an email and lets set-up a day and time where we can make the contact.
If I can ever answer any questions that you may have, my email address can be found by clicking on the contact tab here on my web site. I look forward to having a QSO with you via an amateur radio satellite.
73 Jeff WE4B
This blog exists to bring news and information to amateur radio operators, especially those that are interested in space communications via amateur radio satellites. Information presented here is sourced from information that is freely available to the public. Unfortunately, most of this information is often not reported by mainstream amateur radio news sources. My goal is to make this news and information available to all while offering some comentary and opinions.
It's been a couple of months since I updated this blog, I apologize. Sometimes life just gets in the way of doing so. Regardless, AMSAT-NA 'leaders' have now forced new bylaws down the throats of members. These bylaws are designed to deny membership to people like me that are willing to speak out against the beta-male, BoD members. These AMSAT-NA BoD members and their appointed cronies are true, beta males that must have been picked-on as children and now find themselves only feeling important if they have an AMSAT-NA 'title'
The new AMSAT-NA bylaws state that AMSAT-NA can deny membership to someone that is undesirable. The AMSAT-NA 'leaders' thought that they could be 'slick' and just copy-and-paste some verbiage from the ARRL bylaws but that seems to have blown-up in their faces. It seems that many members have spoken-out against these new bylaws. What's funny is that AMSAT-NA hasn't clearly defined what they consider to be undesirable in a member. Let's be real here for a moment. The only reason these people came-up with new bylaws is an attempt to remain in 'power' and to not be threatened by anyone willing to speak out against them.
AMSAT-NA has an AMSAT Ambassador that loves to self-promote and is known by the masses to be a braggart. This particular 'Ambassador' is quite vocal on social media. In fact, on social media, this Ambassador has called for the assassination of elected, public officials; posts quotes from Hitler and posts things that no AMSAT-NA member would want their children or grandchildren to read. I must ask. Is this Ambassador going to be denied membership to AMSAT-NA for his controversial social media posts? I would think that most 'normal' members of AMSAT-NA would not want this person representing AMSAT-NA but it seems that the 'leaders' of AMSAT-NA fully support this person's threats of domestic terrorism and love of Hitler along with his use of words that shouldn't ever be spoken in mixed company.
Here's some of what this AMSAT-NA Ambassador has recently posted on social media. Will AMSAT-NA 'leaders' choose to not let this person be a member of AMSAT-NA or an AMSAT-NA Ambassador? If they choose to let this person be both a member and representative of the of the organization, why did they write new bylaws? AMSAT-NA has set itself up for some major litigation for both denying membership to some and allowing it for others. This is going to be an interesting ride. Now, here's what the AMSAT-NA Ambassador has recently posted on social media:
So... today was HamCation and it was a virtual affair. AMSAT-NA had two presentations. The VPE was unable to properly use the presentation software and the President, also had some issues. People were commenting in the chat box that AMSAT-NA was the only one that seemed to be having any issues... go figure...
Can you imagine the surprise and shock that so many felt when the AMSAT-NA President displayed this slide which he claims are the core values of AMSAT-NA:
Folks, if you honestly believe these are the core values of a group that supports domestic terrorists, violates their own bylaws, ignores and refuses to enforce their own rules, spends tens-of-thousands of members' money in an attempt to silence people, then I've got some ocean front property (located in North Dakota) to sell to you.
It never ceases to amaze me the depravity of some AMSAT-NA 'leaders'. Luckily, they have been well exposed and most people see them for what they really are.
I have previously blogged about the horrendous, extremist, domestic terroristic Tweet that an AMSAT-NA Ambassador published. I have blogged about how members of the organization called for this Ambassador to either resign or for AMSAT-NA to remove him as an Ambassador. Well, he didn't resign. AMSAT-NA didn't remove his as a representative of the organization. In fact, I showed how AMSAT-NA is actively censoring any mention of this event from their public archives. Fortunately, AMSAT-NA can't censor my words here and I will ensure that the world knows about it.
The Ambassador tried to explain his words as just 'innocent' but they weren't. They were a call to incite violence against politicians. There's no way to explain away a call for people to be assassinated. Well, even if AMSAT-NA thinks it's okay to have a representative of the organization that calls for violence against politicians, Twitter didn't seem to think that it was okay. In fact, Twitter locked the Ambassador's account:
As it stands now, the Ambassador was able to delete the Tweet and have his Twitter account reinstated. Luckily, we all now know how truly disturbed this person in real life. The fact that AMSAT-NA chooses to have someone such as this represent the organization is beyond belief. What makes it worse is that members called for action to be take and, once again, AMSAT-NA 'leaders' have done nothing other than attempt to hide that this has happened. It's up to members to change the organization. As long as members refuse to remove the legacy, incumbent members of the Board, we will continue to see the controversies due to a total lack of leadership.
AMSAT-NA continues to get black-eye after black-eye in public. It can all be directly traced back to a lack of leadership. If you were a parent, would you want a representative of AMSAT-NA, that has called for politicians to be assassinated anywhere near your family? I certainly don't.
Wow! I have discovered some more 'Tom Foolery' concerning the Radio Amateur Satellite Corporation aka AMSAT aka AMSAT-NA. Here's some information for those who don't know. AMSAT provides a mailing list called the AMSAT-BB. You don't have to be a paid member of the organization to subscribe to the mailing list. There is often some useful information and technical discussion on the list. Overall, it's a good list to subscribe to if you are interested in amateur radio satellites... but... as with all things AMSAT, it seems that 'things, they are a changing'.
There has never been a restriction on viewing the archives of the mailing list by anyone who wished to do so. In fact if you were to visit this URL:https://mailman.amsat.org/hyperkitty/list/[email protected]/
you would find yourself in the archives of the mailing list. But, as the saying goes, "wait, there's more". What you will find is not the entire archives of the mailing list. I have discovered that the 'powers that be' within the Radio Amateur Satellite Corporation aka AMSAT aka AMSAT-NA are censoring and removing posts so that they won't show-up in he archives. By censoring content, 'leaders' within the organization are not showing a true picture of members' wants, needs and desires. These 'leaders' are using powers in an attempt to change history and to put their own spin on what members have posted to the AMSAT-BB mailing list.
This just further goes to show that the 'leaders' of the organization have an agenda and are clearly involved in a conspiracy to keep the real story of AMSAT-NA to be known to the world. Sadly, these people don't even try to hide their actions as they seem to think that people must think the way they think... it you think otherwise or have an alternate opinion, you are wrong and you must be censored.
I discovered the fact that the censorship was taking place this evening after someone emailed me asking for a link to post about an extremist, terrorist AMSAT Ambassador. The post should have shown-up in the archive, along with any relevant replies to the original message. Guess what? The original post has been scrubbed from the AMSAT-BB history, along with replies to the original message.
The original reply was in regards to the AMSAT Ambassador that has posted on Twitter calling for the assassination of elected officials by shooting them in the head. Here's the Twitter post that started the discussion on the AMSAT-BB mailing list:
Anyone that is a normal person, regardless of political affliation would be quite offended by that post. In fact, some members did speak-up about having an AMSAT representative say such horrendous things on Twitter. Here is one reply from an AMSAT-NA member:
Seems like a logical response to an extremist, terrorist who is representing the Radio Amateur Satellite Corporation aka AMSAT aka AMSAT-NA. I can't see why members would want to be represented by someone that speaks such hatred in public. This afternoon, another AMSAT-NA member spoke out against having such an extremist, terrorist representing the organization. Here's what they posted on the AMSAT-BB mailing list:
Angry members are speaking out against the AMSAT leadership that has empowered an extremist, terrorist to represent the organization but their complaints are quickly and swiftly being deleted and erased from the archives of the AMSAT-BB mailing list. You don't have to be political scientist to see that the AMSAT 'leaders' are not treating members, potential members and observers fairly. These 'leaders' are literally erasing history in an attempt to hide it from the world view. I will do everything in my power to keep exposing this. It is important that everyone knows what the AMSAT 'leaders' are doing. They are not good people. They are supporting someone that has called for the assassination of elected officials by shooting them in the head. They are deleting any evidence of members calling for this Ambassador to be removed from his position.
The eyes of the world are upon the Radio Amateur Satellite Corporation aka AMSAT aka AMSAT-NA. These eyes are seeing the leaders of the organization not following the rules/policies of the organization. These eyes are seeing the 'leaders' of the organization supporting extremist, terrorists. These eyes are watching the 'leaders' remove post in an attempt to alter history. This is not what the amateur radio community wants, needs or desired. AMSAT, it's a mess and it's just continuing to garner more bad publicity.
Predictably so, AMSAT-NA members are rightfully upset that one of the AMSAT-NA Ambassadors has posted on social media (Twitter) that politicians should be assassinated. In the real world, people go to jail for that and people lose their jobs but the Radio Amateur Satellite Corporation aka AMSAT/AMSAT-NA has this person as a representative of the organization. I don't care if someone is a Democrat or Republican but it is absolutely horrible for this person to be a representative of AMSAT-NA. I say mean things about bad people all the time but I have never called for someone to be assassinated. Wow. Just wow. Here's what one member posted on the AMSAT-BB mailing list regarding this offensive posting of the Ambassador:
My last blog post was about Ambassadors and their Code of Conduct. I must admit that I am wondering why someone that openly posts on Twitter that he wants to assassinate politicians by shooting them in the head is allowed to be an Ambassador. Does this not disqualify them from being an Ambassador? Is this what AMSAT-NA members want? I'm a member and I certainly don't want someone such as this representing the organization as an Ambassador.
Let's file this blog entry under the "wow, just wow!" title. As you can see below. I recently filed three complaints with the AMSAT-NA President. Members have the right to do so and, since I'm a member, I exercised my rights. Predictably enough, the appointed AMSAT-NA President (it's a non-elected position with nothing in the bylaws that says the position has to serve members), has chosen to deny my complaint. I knew this would happen. This particular President knows that he must answer to the legacy, incumbent AMSAT-NA Board members or he will be replaced.
Okay... here's where things get really weird. The appointed, AMSAT-NA President sent me an email telling me that there isn't such a thing as an AMSAT-NA Ambassador program:
So the AMSAT-NA President says there's not an AMSAT-NA Ambassador Program... oddly enough the AMSAT-NA web site plainly states that there IS such a program. Here's a quick phone screenshot and URL:
Well, it does appear that AMSAT-NA does have an Ambassador program. If you go back up an read what the appointed, AMSAT-NA President emailed me, you can easily see the doublespeak he spouts. First he says there isn't an Ambassador program, then he goes further to say that there are Ambassadors. He goes even further to state that the AMSAT-NA Ambassador Code of Conduct isn't a policy. It's just an "administrative document". Here's the AMSAT-NA Code of Conduct:
Wait a second, the AMSAT-NA Ambassador program doesn't exist... but it does... and there are documents governing it but these documents don't allow anyone to actually file a complaint?. I'm not the smartest guy in the world. In fact, I'm just average but I have been blessed to be able to read. I have read on the AMSAT-NA web site that members are allowed to file complaints. I have read that there is an Ambassador program. I have read that Ambassadors must agree to a Code of Conduct.
Sounds simple enough, right? I mean, I have minor children that live here at home with me that can read and understand all of this. Sadly, the appointed AMSAT-NA President has chosen to email me lies and doublespeak in an effort to keep from enforcing rules/policies of AMSAT-NA. Once again, we have more documented proof of how legacy AMSAT-NA 'leaders' and their appointed puppets choose not to enforce rules and tell lies to members.
Based on this communication from the appointed (not elected) President of AMSAT-NA, I have no issues stating that he is nothing more than a puppet of legacy, incumbent Board members and a proven liar. If he will lie about the AMSAT-NA Ambassador program, what else will he lie about?
As you can see in the blog entry below this one, I filed three complaints with the AMSAT-NA President this past weekend. It's now been almost 3 days since the complaints were filed and the AMSAT-NA President has yet to acknowledge them. Once again, this proves AMSAT-NA does not follow the rules and policies of the organization. This also shows that the appointed, AMSAT-NA President is nothing but a puppet to those that appointed him. Trust me, he doesn't care about members. It's very obvious that he doesn't follow rules and policies of the organization. He is just a puppet. By not following rules of the organization, the puppet President of AMSAT-NA makes it even clearer to members and the IRS that the organization does not exist to help members and to further its mission. Why won't the AMSAT-NA President follow the rules of the organization which are plainly stated here:
Members deserve leaders that follow rules. Not sad, pathetic people that refuse to do so. This is another example of AMSAT-NA, its legacy, incumbent 'leaders' and its appointed President not following rules. The eyes of the world are upon AMSAT-NA due to its most recent spacecraft failure. The eyes of the world now clearly sees how AMSAT-NA is simply a clubhouse for a few people and, no longer, an organization that is responsive to members.
It's the weekned as I write this. During the weekend, I have grown weary of the lack of leadership from those within AMSAT-NA which were elected or appointed to be leaders. Trust me, none of these people are leaders. They don't even pretend to be leaders. They are simply people that enjoy having a title behind their name. That and about $2.50 will get you a cup of coffee at Starbucks.
Members and stakeholders of AMSAT-NA have rights. These rights are disclosed on the AMSAT-NA web site. As a paid member of AMSAT-NA, I have, once again, have used my rights to file complaints. These complaints, as directed by information on the AMSAT-NA web site, have been sent to the President of AMSAT-NA. For those that don't know, or realize, the President of AMSAT-NA isn't an elected position. It's an appointed position. The President, as someone that's appointed, has to only answer to those that appointed them, not to the membership. This is why the AMSAT-NA President is not responsive to members. He doesn't have to be. You didn't elect him. He's under no obligation to answer to you.
Even though the AMSAT-NA President is under no obligation to answer to members (crazy, isn't it but the bylaws of AMSAT-NA do not state that the President has to answer to members), the President does have to follow rules and policies. Let's take a look at what AMSAT-NA publishes on its web site:
According to the AMSAT-NA rules, the President will investigate complaints and will include a "private interview" with the person filing the complaint. I've filed complaints in the past and, trust me, I have never been contacted by the AMSAT-NA President. This goes to show that AMSAT-NA leadership is faulty and that AMSAT-NA leadership doesn't follow their own rules. Should anyone be surprised? Nope. Remember the AMSAT-NA President only has to answer to those that appointed him, not to the membership. That makes it easy for the AMSAT-NA President to avoid following rules.
I tell you all of this because I filed three formal complaints with the AMSAT-NA President this weekend. Two were against the ever abusive, rule breaker, K6LCS and one against KJ4JIO. Both of these individuals have violated the AUP of the AMSAT-BB mailing list and K6LCS has violated, multiple times his contract of being an AMSAT-NA Ambassador. I have no issues signing my name to a formal complaint. Unfortunately, not everyone feels the same and isn't willing to file a complaint. That's okay, one complaint from a paid member should be enough to get results, right? Sadly, this isn't true.
I told the AMSAT-NA President that I would be making the complaints public so I am posting them here.
Once again, the ball is in the court of the AMSAT-NA President. He only has to answer to those that appointed him as President. Let's all watch to see if he follows the rules as stated by AMSAT-NA and contacts me for a private inteview or if he avoids doing so and just makes those that apointed him happy.
Here are the complaints filed with AMSAT-NA President Robert Bankston. You may need to use a desktop of laptop PC to view the complete text of the complaints.:
It has now been two weeks since AMSAT-NA Fox-1E has been put into orbit. As of today, the satellite isn't functioning. As of today the only real communication from AMSAT-NA has been "listen for it". Members deserve better. This is the third failure of an AMSAT-NA satellite. It's obvious that the legacy 'leaders' of AMSAT-NA don't really care about the wants/needs of members or members and stakeholders.
After many delays by Virgin Orbit, supposedly due to COVID-19, Fox-1E, the final AMSAT-NA Fox cubesate was lifted into orbit on Sunday January 18, 2021. All of the satellites that were carried into orbit on the rocket were sucessfully deployed into orbit and many of them have been heard from by their respective owners and are in the process of being commissioned. AMSAT-NA's Fox-1E, however, has not been heard and is not being commissioned. Many AMSAT-NA members view this as just another failure of AMSAT-NA to have a sucesseful, modern, satellite program.
If we look at the last three satellites AMSAT-NA has had placed into orbit, we can see a disturbing trend. AO-95 was launched and was deaf and was not able to be commissioned. HO-107, while strictly not an AMSAT-NA satellite, carried an AMSAT-NA transponder that failed after only a few days of being activated and now we have Fox-1E in orbit which doesn't seem to be functioning.
As is the status-quo with legacy, incumbent Board members and other 'leaders' mum seems to be the word about this latest, apparent failure. I have only seen one mention of it from the anointed AMSAT-NA President on the AMSAT-BB mailing list. These legacy, incumbent, leaders are quick to claim a success but are mum when it comes to their continued failures. An AMSAT-NA election will take place in the Spring/Summer of 2021. It's time for AMSAT-NA to finally open their eyes, admit that the incumbent, legacy leadership is not acting in the best interest of members. There's just too many failures, controversy and evidence of wrongdoing by these, so called, 'leaders'. It's time for new blood, ideas and successes. AMSAT-NA continues to fail its members. The organization cannot withstand much more of this. This is not hyperbole, it's fact.
Here's the only communication that I have seen about Fox-1E from an AMSAT-NA 'official' since it was launched two days ago. The words "low to no signal" can be translated to mean that the satellite isn't operational. If it was, AMSAT-NA members would have seen the legacy, incumbent members telling all of the AMSAT-NA member what a wonderful job they did and we would see them giving each other virtual hugs and pats on the back on social media. Once again, the silence from AMSAT-NA leaders and this latest satellite is quite deafening. Wake-up AMSAT-NA members. It's time for a change!
I posted a few days ago about Open Research Institute's rebuttal to AMSAT-NA published article about Open Source. Today on the AMSAT-NA there was some more discussion about Open Source and an interesting response from someone on the AMSAT-NA engineering team.
During a discussion of how AO-91 is failing and will soon die (like all of AMSAT-NA's Fox FM cubesats that have prematurely ceased to operate) someone mentioned in response to a post about Open Source that they are fully capable of writing code that might have helped to extend the life of the batteries which were installed on the Fox cubesats. Here's his post:
It seems a shame, to me, that nobody from AMSAT-NA would never respond to an email request from someone wanting to volunteer their time and talent to AMSAT-NA but this is a common response from people that have applied to be a volunteer. In response to this post, a member of the AMSAT-NA team has responded that anyone can apply but even if a newcomer has views that are "valid" that AMSAT-NA will not being willing to correct any issues with software. Yes, they really said this on the AMSAT-BB mailing list. Here's a screenshot of it:
AMSAT-NA has a history of prematurely failed satellites and satellites which didn't operate once launched but the engineering team isn't even willing to change anything to help prevent this in the future. Is this why AMSAT-NA members pay membership dues? This is absolutely ridiculous. It's rare that a week or, sometimes a day, that AMSAT-NA doesn't have a organizational representative telling the world that AMSAT-NA is a clubhouse for legacy, incumbent Board members and their friends. If I'm not mistaken, this engineering team member is very chummy with the VP of Engineering (the one that doesn't know about Open Source, isn't a real enginner and is a a legacy, incumbent Board member). They don't even pretned to be open. This AMSAT-NA representative just told everyone that subscribes to the AMSAT-BB mailing list that outsider's, valid views, opinion and concerns don't matter.
On the eve of AMSAT-NA launching another satellite, AMSAT-NA members find themselves with news of another satellite beginning to fail and, predictably, the VP of Operations just shrugs it off as no big deal. Here’s what he had to say about AO-91 which is exhibiting the beginning signs of failure. It’s the same symptoms that other AMSAT-NA Fox satellites exhibit right before they die:
I’m going to ask, once again, why the heck does AMSAT-NA keep spending money to launch satellites when we keep having the same type of premature failures? AO-95 was launched and never worked. HO-107 (not a true AMSAT-NA satellite but carried an AMSAT-NA transponder) died after only a few days. AO-85 died of battery failure. AO-92 died of battery failure. Now AO-91 is dying of battery failure. AMSAT-NA has a documented recent history of satellites either not working or dying prematurely. We have all of these failures but not one failure analysis. If Chevrolet, Ford had cars that consistently failed, their engineers would be under fire from stakeholders to find and correct the problems. If SpaceX had continued failures, Elon Musk would ensure his engineers fixed the problems. What does AMSAT-NA do? Nothing. If members ask about it, they are ridiculed and told that “space is hard”. Yes, space is hard but it’s made harder when people don’t learn from mistakes.
So, as AMSAT-NA prepares to launch another satellite, I’ll, once again, ask for failure analyses for all of these failed satellites. I’m not an engineer but I am a businessman. As a businessman, I know it’s ridiculous to keep spending money on assets or technology that fails prematurely. What is it going to take for AMSAT-NA members to care enough to replace the leadership that continues to fail members and the organization? It’s sad to see AO-91 begin to fail, but it’s not unexpected based on the other Fox satellites.
As of late, there has been a lot of talk in the amateur radio satellite community about Open Source. Unfortunately, some of this talk has had some misinformation and outright ignorance associated with it. Michelle Thompson W5NYV and Bruce Perens K6BP have released, on the Open Research Institute website, a rebuttal to what the AMSAT-NA VP of Engineering, Jerry Buxton N0JY published in the Sep-Oct 2020 AMSAT Journal. It clears-up questions about Open Source since the VP of Engineering for AMSAT doesn’t seem to have a clue about Open Source hardware and software.
As an AMSAT-NA member, I was shocked when I read what was published in the AMSAT Journal. I’m not the sharpest tool in the shed but I obviously know a lot more about Open Source than the AMSAT-NA VP of Engineering. AMSAT-NA continues to take a stance against Open Source, even as the rest of the world seems to be moving in that direction. By choosing this path, AMSAT-NA has alienated itself from millions of dollars in possible donations and grants. Fear not though, the legacy, incumbent AMSAT-NA Board members and their friends who are appointed as Officers of the organization know what’s best for the organization (please read this sentence with the sarcasm I intended).
Here’s what has been published with links to the original article which attacked Open Source in regards to amateur radio satellites and the rebuttal from Open Research Institute:
“When confronted with negative and ignorant speech, it's important to respond with a positive and informative letter.The original article, an attack on open source in the Amateur Radio Satellite Service, by Jerry Buxton can be found in the Sept-Oct 2020 AMSAT Journal linked here:
The rebuttal is shared with you here:
Your feedback, comment, and critique is welcomed and encouraged.”
Due to the fact that AMSAT-NA is refusing to uphold their own harassment policy regarding one of their representatives, AMSAT-NA has placed themselves in an awkward position. They have confirmed that they don't follow their own bylaws and policies. This affects how organizations which may have considered making a donation might feel about AMSAT-NA. I will continue to update my blog about the toxic, unsolicited communications I receive from this OM. I will also provide any additional updates regarding the official complaint I filed with AMSAT-NA regarding their Ambassador. It seems that AMSAT-NA just falls further and further down a black hole each day. I was speaking with an ARRL official recently (off the record) about AMSAT-NA. I was reassured that the ARRL is very aware of what is occuring with AMSAT-NA. What was once a great, well respected organization, now finds itself as the butt of jokes and as a laughing stock of the worldwide amateur radio community. The current situation can be blamed on the legacy, incumbent Board members that use the organization as their clubhouse and the apathetic members that keep re-electing these incumbents even though it is well known what they have done and continue to do.
As I stated in my previous post, I filed an official complaint against AMSAT-NA Ambassador Clint Bradford due to his constant harassment in the form of unsolicited emails and from posts on eHam.net. Having read the AMSAT-NA Harassment Policy, I knew to be expecting someone to contact me to do an invesigation. The Policy does explicitly state that contact will be made with the complaintant as part of the investigation. You can read the Policy here:
To my surprise, I received an email on 11/27/2020 from the AMSAT-NA telling me that there had been no harassment and that my complaint had been dismissed "with predjudice". Here's the email I received:
Wait a minute. Shouldn't someone from AMSAT-NA have contacted me to start an investigation? Doesn't the Harassment Policy clearly state that complaints will be investigated and that will start by contacting the complaintant? I'm being sarcastic with my questions. Yes, I should have been contacted as per the policy. I wasn't contacted. This is just another example of AMSAT-NA leadership NOT following bylaws and rules of the organization. I don't know how many times I have to state, with clear evidence, that the leadership of AMSAT-NA is really just a bunch of clubhouse members. This leadership (I shudder to call it that) does NOT follow bylaws or rules and policies of the organization. Members should be disgusted by the continual breach of trust and complete failure to abide by rules. Rules don't apply to the legacy, incumbents and the puppets they install as President. You don't have to be a lawyer to understand the Harassment Policy. It clearly states that complaintants will be contacted. This Policy was NOT followed.
I immediately responded to the the email I received telling me that the complaint was dismissed "with predjudice" and pointed out that the Policy was not followed and that I consider the matter to still be open. It will be interesting to see if I get a response. I will post here if I do or don't.
The harassment by AMSAT-NA Ambassador Clint Bradford has not lessened and still continues. I received, yet another, unsolicited email from this AMSAT-NA representative yesterday (11/28/2020). It is obivious that this OM cannot control himself and, as such, is a poor choice for an AMSAT-NA representative. As I have previously noted and docummented, the OM has a history of harassing not only me but others as well. This OM is a very poor choice for an AMSAT-NA representative but because he is willing to follow the directives of the legacy, incumbents and their puppets, he is allowed to continually harass members and potential members. Here is the unsolicited email that AMSAT-NA Ambassador Clint Bradford sent to me on 11/28/20.
So here's more evidence that AMSAT-NA leadership is, once again, failing members through their actions and inactions. All members of AMSAT-NA should be ashamed and embarassed of how this leadership brings shame on the organization. Trust me when I say this, other organizations have taken note of what has happened to AMSAT-NA and they are not impressed.
After receiving, even more, unsolicited and harassing communications from AMSAT-NA Ambassador Clint Bradford K6LCS, I have filed a formal complaint with AMSAT-NA. I am not the first person to be harassed by this person and I'm sure I won't be the last. In fact, I even gave evidence in my complaint of this person harassing others. I encourage anyone who has been harassed by this individual to do as I have done and file a complaint. He is a representative of AMSAT-NA and the burden is on AMSAT-NA to maintain control of their representatives. I will NOT continue to be harassed by this AMSAT-NA representative. If AMSAT-NA cannot, and will not, take appropriate measures to contain this individual, it will further go to show that AMSAT-NA condones this type of behavior from their representatives. Here is a copy of my complaint:
For the purpose of this blog entry, please note that it is being written on November 24, 2020 @ 22:57 UTC. There is always a lot of discussion about AMSAT-NA's ability to remain a leader in the amateur radio satellite field (they aren't). To highlight why AMSAT-NA isn't a leader, let me point out one of the simplest things that AMSAT-NA can do. What is it you ask? Well, it's to simply maintain an up-to-date organization web site. There's one glaring thing that really sticks out to me right now about the AMSAT-NA web site. It's the fact that there is a welcome message from a President that quickly resigned under extreme controversy after he was faced with potential legal action from two, newer Board members still showing as the welcome message on the AMSAT-NA web site. This President, many of whom called him Hobo Joe, Joe Spier K6WAO was announced on the AMSAT-BB mailing list on January 31, 2020 @ 15:01 UTC. Even funnier is the fact that since this President was forced to resign under the threat of legal action, there has been another President and now even another President. If AMSAT-NA can not even keep their web site updated with who is President of the organization, how can anyone have any confidence in the building and launching of amateur radio satellites? It will be interesting to see how quickly AMSAT-NA updates the web site now that I have, once again, pointed out one of their deficiencies. I will update the blog when they, finally, do so. Here' a screenshot I took right before writing this blog entry:
Since I last posted a blog entry, the thread I mentioned on eHam.net, AMSAT-BB Censorship, has had a LOT of posts and views by the amateur radio community. It's been very funny watching one of the legacy, incumbents' shills, K6LCS (a known liar and snake oil salesman) attempt to deflect from all the facts that have been posted. The snake oil salesman is doing all of this with his AMSAT-NA Ambassador title so most people reading or participating in the forum thread assume that he is speaking as an official representative of AMSAT-NA. It's a shame that the legacy, incumbent Board members condone and encourage this behavior from Ambassadors. It's not really a good way to attract to people to the organization, is it?
Discussion in the thread has opened the eyes of many who had no idea what has been occurring witin AMSAT-NA. There has been much talk of the the over $10K that was spent by the legacy, incumbent Board members. The money which was spent was the result of a conspiracy and spent in violation of AMSAT-NA bylaws and Washington DC corporate code. The spending of this money was NOT the only thing the legacy, incumbent Board members conspired about and what led to the spending of the money. When Michelle W5NYV and Patrick WD9EWK were elected to the AMSAT-NA Board of Directors, they were denied access to corporate documents including mailing list archives by the legacy, incumbent Board members. It took Michelle and Patrick hiring and paying-for their own attorney in order to gain access to AMSAT-NA documents in which they had a right and duty to access. I thought it would be in the public interest to post the demand letter which Michelle and Patick's attorney sent to AMSAT-NA. Shortly after this letter was received by AMSAT-NA's attorney, Joe Spier K6WAO quickly tendered his resignation as AMSAT-NA President. It's quite natural to assume that Joe must have been concerned about personal liability since he was an active member of the conspiracy. Why were the legacy, incumbent Board members trying to hide things from Michelle and Patrick? Here's a link the demand letter:
AMSAT-NA doesn't really like negative publicity but they seem to keep creating it for themselves. This time, we have learned that 'the powers that be' aka the Drew Crew have censored another member. This member isn't happy and, pretty much, is echoing what I've been saying. This censored AMSAT-NA member has taken to eHam.net to express his displeasure of how he's been treated. It's a shame that the Drew Crew treats members in this manner. AMSAT-NA must really enjoy all the negative press that they generate for themselves. Folks, this is why AMSAT-NA is continuing in a #DownwardSpiral. Here's the link to eHam.net where the AMSAT-NA member tells the world how he, too, has been censored for simply having a view that doesn't agree with the Drew Crew:
As I stated in my last post, AMSAT-NA has officially anointed the replacements for Clayton (who always quits and never seems to be able to finish what he starts when it comes to AMSAT-NA) and Brennan Price. Clayton has been replaced with Robert Bankston KE4AL. I'll come-up with a fun nickname for him soon. Let's talk about Mr. Bankston for a moment. There was a point in time where I considered him to be my friend. In fact, I actually defended some of his actions but that has changed. Much like the Borg on Star Trek, Robert was assimilated by the Drew Crew. It started when Robert just wanted to be friends with those in charge and grew to a full-on power trip.
Robert did a poor job as Treasurer. He spoke out of turn. He never told the whole truth as Treasurer. He also signed onto a document with the rest of the Drew Crew where they admitted that they broke AMSAT-NA bylaws, violated Washington DC Corporate Code and misspent members' monies. Now Robert has been anointed by the Drew Crew as President. He is the latest puppet which will be controlled by the Drew Crew. Robert will have to do his best to keep the Drew Crew happy or they will replace him with another puppet.
Robert's modus operandi is to attempt to come across to others as a 'nice guy' but, trust me, he is a wolf in sheep's clothing. I have experienced how quickly Robert (and the Drew Crew) can turn on you. He will never really be your friend. He is simply someone that bowed down to the Drew Crew in an attempt to gain favor. He did gain their favor but, by doing so, he sold his soul. I will never sell my soul in order to have the Drew Crew and their cronies 'like' me. My advice to others is to be careful when dealing with Robert and, remember, I warned you that he is a wolf in sheep's clothing. As an official of AMSAT-NA, Robert has to accept the criticisms of the organization's members. He didn't do a good job of dealing with criticism as the Treasurer and I'm sure he won't be able to deal with them as President.
The person anointed by the Drew Crew to replace Brennan Price as Secretary, is Jeff Davis, KE9V. I've written about this OM in a previous blog post. This OM also bows down to the Drew Crew. What's scary is this OM will be in charge of the next AMSAT-NA election. The OM has made it clear through his blog postings that he doesn't like some members (myself and others). This OM has made it VERY clear that he wants to control who can run for election. This OM is obviously not an independent thinker and it's obvious, to me, that unlike Brennan Price, he will do all he can to influence future elections. This is one OM that the membership needs to keep an eye-on as I'm sure he will do whatever he needs to do to make his puppet masters happy.
The person anointed by the Drew Crew to be Treasurer is Steve Belter, N9IP. Steve has always been decent to me but I do know that he was a strong supporter of the legacy incumbents during the last election cycle. Those were the legacy incumbents that were involved in a conspiracy (they don't deny it), that broke AMSAT-NA bylaws and Washington DC Corporate Code and wasted over $18K of members' money. When someone supports those that break the law, without speaking out against it, they are to be watched closely.
The anointing of these new Officers by the Drew Crew doesn't help how AMSAT-NA is viewed by outside organizations and many members at all. It's just more of the same-old-same-old. That really shouldn't surprise anyone that's keeping score. It's really sad that the Drew Crew remains in control of AMSAT-NA and will continue to use it as their personal clubhouse. Members don't really have anything to look forward to with this group in control. They refuse to seek grants. Clayton even said so during the Symposium. So, while organizations such as ORI have received over $600K in grants in 2020, the best AMSAT-NA can come-up with is to beg more money from members and ask them to join the President's Club. Oh yeah, they also sell some trinkets in a Zazzle store. There is no way an organization can thrive with these tactics and these leaders.
The 2020 Annual AMSAT-NA Space Symposium is this upcoming weekend (Oct 17). There will also be a Board meeting to install the newly elected Officers. It is also expected to be announced that the AMSAT-NA President, Clayton Coleman W5PFG will be stepping down as President and not serve another term. It is also expected that Brennan Price N4QX will also step down as Secretary and will not serve another term. It has already been announced that Sean Kutzko resigned the position of AMSAT-NA Volunteer Coordinator. Are all of these people stepping down from AMSAT-NA positions, basically at the same time, an indication of, even more, chaos within the leadership of AMSAT-NA? I don't know. It is curious though and the membership and other amateur radio organizations are taking notice of the turmoil within AMSAT-NA.
Because the Board will be made up of a majority of legacy, incumbents who did NOT receive a mandate from the membership during the 2020 election cycle, it's troubling to many of us that this majority will install another 'Manchurian Candidate' as President of the organization. The past two AMSAT-NA election cycles have been filled with mind-blowing, eye-opening revelations of malfeasances that have been committed by the legacy, incumbent Board members. As we slowly inch towards the 2021 AMSAT-NA election cycle, I feel quite certain that will be more revelations brought forth to the membership.
While a majority of the Board (legacy incumbents) have the right to install whomever they want as President, it will undoubtedly be, yet another, person friendly with the legacy incumbents (who have violated bylaws and Washington, D.C. Corporate Code) and, thus, will be a 'Manchurian Candidate' who will have to answer to these legacy incumbents in order to maintain the title of President. This new President will be just like the last two and will, most likely, not be a true leader but rather will lead in the manner in which they are instructed by the legacy incumbents. Is this really what AMSAT-NA members want and need? I predict that the membership will just subjected to just 'more of the same'.
AMSAT-NA members, please wake-up and remove the legacy incumbents during the 2021 election. AMSAT-NA is more than just getting new grid squares, it's about saving an organization which was once the world leader in amateur radio satellites. It no longer can make that claim. AMSAT-NA has not aged well and its decline can be directly traced to the legacy incumbents that continue to use the organization as a clubhouse while spending others' money. All we can do now is to wait until this weekend to see who the legacy incumbents anoint as the new AMSAT-NA President and Secretary.
I have previously blogged about how Open Research Institute (ORI) has received almost $600K in grants this year for the work on amateur radio satellite projects. I have blogged about how AMSAT-NA does NOT write grant requests and how AMSAT-NA does NOT have any clearly defined way to raise funds now that ARISS is no longer under the AMSAT-NA umbrella.
Today on the AMSAT-BB mailing list, there was a post from Bob McGwier N4HY, who is on the ARDC Grant Committee, stating that AMSAT-NA did NOT sign-up to attend a ARDC public meeting where they could get information about grants and to answer any questions. Basically, AMSAT-NA, once again, has missed another opportunity.
Here's a screenshot of the message from N4HY:
The beleaguered EVP of AMSAT-NA, Paul Stoetzer N8HM, responded to, what seemed to me to be once last plea from ARDC to have AMSAT-NA participate. The post by N8HM confirmed what I said all through the last AMSAT-NA election and what I continue to say. AMSAT-NA does NOT write grant requests. AMSAT-NA, rather than act like most non-profit organizations which constantly seek out ways to fund themselves, continues to just be apathetic about funding. Why would the beleaguered N8HM think that ARDC should contact AMSAT-NA? Shouldn't AMSAT-NA be constantly seeking funds? I cannot believe that the beleagured N8HM thinks that organizations should contact AMSAT-NA to give them money. N8HM, that's not how grants and funding works. I guess all the years that the beleaguered N8HM has worked in D.C. for the government has made him think that's how things work. In the 'real world' when a non-profit organization needs money, it writes grant requests. It doesn't sit around and wait for people to give it money. The beleaguered N8HM cannot seem to accept any responsibility for AMSAT-NA failures, even though, he is the direct source of many of them.
Here's screenshot of the message where N8HM confirms AMSAT-NA doesn't seek grants:
If YOU are an AMSAT-NA member you should be appalled by how the elected, legacy members of AMSAT-NA leadership continue to use the organization as their personal clubhouse. They can't be bothered by finding sources of income. They are more worried about trying to impress their 'buddies' and harassing AMSAT-NA members that speak-out against their malfeasances. It seems to me that the legacy, leadership of AMSAT-NA is relying on membership fees and from selling trinkets on an online Zazzle store as their source of funding for future satellites and launches. I'm not the sharpest tool in the shed but I know that selling some t-shirts and coffee mugs is not a way to fund spacecraft and their associated launches. AMSAT-NA members need to ask their elected officials why other organizations are getting millions of dollars while AMSAT-NA doesn't even apply for any grants. Everything I said during the last AMSAT-NA election is true. Today's post by N8HM confirms what I was saying about AMSAT-NA not seeking grants is true. The membership of AMSAT-NA needs to wake-up and demand accountability from those in leadership roles. If these people can't (or won't) lead, they need to step down and let those that can (and will) lead takeover before it's too late. The writing is on the wall.
AMSAT-NA members, will you please demand accountability from your elected leaders? If not, why? I don't understand why so many people think it's okay to let an organization continue to falter and fail in this manner.
AMSAT-NA satellites are like Voldemort in Harry Potter. I say this because when they are properly functioning, everything is rainbows and sunshine BUT when they fail prematurely or never work, their names 'must not be spoken'. For some reason, it seems as if the most recent batch of AMSAT-NA satellites either fail prematurely or fail to function. If members ask questions about these satellites they are told that "space is hard" and "we don't have time to find out what happened". There is never a failure analysis performed to determine a root cause of the failure. AMSAT-NA leadership simply sweeps it under the rug and hopes that members don't say the names of the satellites whose names 'must not be spoken'. There are plenty of members that have asked why satellites are failing (or never functioned) but there are never any answers. Just remember, the names of these satellites 'must not be spoken'.
I blogged earlier today how a couple of well-respected AMSAT-NA members, K8YSE and WB4APR posted their thoughts regarding the most recent AMSAT-NA election. Their posts led to others posting as well. The discussion that was happening was quite civil and cordial. There's only one-problem... some of the discussion did not align with the thought process of the 'powers that be' and due to this they had to rely on the AMSAT-BB police to shut down discussion on the mailing list:
Here's the problem, the only place AMSAT-NA members have to discuss AMSAT-NA matters with other AMSAT-NA members is via the AMSAT-BB mailing list and via AMSAT-NA social media but... guess what... the 'powers that be' will not allow AMSAT-NA members that don't agree with them to have a voice on AMSAT-NA organizational media be it the AMSAT-BB, Facebook or Twitter. That's a fact and it was demonstrated, once again, today when members were told that there messages were going to be previewed and moderated before being allowed to be posted.
AMSAT-NA members deserve to have a voice. They deserve to be able to speak-out against what they view as wrong and to have open conversations with other AMSAT-NA members AND with the 'powers that be'. Unfortunately, the 'powers that be' view any alternate thought process or viewpoint as a 'personal attack'. Guess what, if you are an electected official, you need to grow-up and be able to handle criticism. If you can't/won't do that, you don't deserve the position to which you were elected. It's very obvious to AMSAT-NA members (even the ones who are scared to speak-out for fear of being punished) that the current crop of legacy, AMSAT-NA incumbents cannot handle ANY criticism. They continue to prove this by, once again, not allowing people to speak of alternate viewpoints and ideas.
Since the 2020 AMSAT-NA Board of Directors election was so contentious, I knew that the incumbents who be taking measures to help ensure that future elections would be even harder for challengers in future elections. This past weekend, I heard some rumors through what I like to call the 'AMSAT Underground' about how the incumbents are considering to vote to change the bylaws to make it more difficult for members to run for election.
In all fairness, the ARRL does have requirement that a member must have been a member for 4 continuous years before they can run. That may work well for the ARRL but the technologies regarding spacecraft change and advance almost daily. I think 4 years of membership in AMSAT-NA may be too much of a requirement. I would be okay will a change of bylaws to make it a requirement that anyone running for a Board position must have been a member for one year. That would be long enough for someone to find out about how AMSAT-NA is goverend and for them to develop a platform on which they would run. Also, anyone that has previously run for a Board position should always be allowed to run again. A better change for AMSAT-NA bylaws would probably be changing them to allow for true electronic voting for members and for term limits for Board members.
I believe in common sense management but, let's face it, the old saying, "common sense isn't always so common" comes into play. Just this past weekend, a member who was highly supportive of the incumbent form of AMSAT-NA governance during the 2020 election decided to post some Tweets on Twitter which confirms what I had heard about through the 'AMSAT Underground'. These Tweets were quickly deleteted as were his corresponding blog posts but not before I got screenshots of them. This member wants the following things to happen in order for a member to be able to allowed to run for a Board position:
1. He wants people to 'care' about AMSAT-NA in order to be a candidate.
2. He wants to disallow a member that has lost an election from running again for up to 5 years.
Okay, here's my response to these bizarre proposed requirements. First of all, how does someone prove that they 'care' about AMSAT-NA. Wouldn't it stand to reason that they do care or they wouldn't throw their name in the hat and then have to deal with the abuse from incumbents and their puppets? Better yet, how can AMSAT-NA prove that a member doesn't care? To suggest this as a requirement is simply ludicrous. Second, the only reason bylaws would be changed to keep someone that lost an election from not being able to run again for 5 years is another a way for an incumbent to maintain power. Every AMSAT-NA member needs to let each of the Board members know that this type of gatekeeping is extremely unethical and discriminatory. It is bad enough that the incumbents violated AMSAT-NA bylaws during the 2020 election by censoring challengers and not the incumbents are considering making it almost impossible for them to be removed from office. If I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times, incumbents are treating AMSAT-NA as their personal clubhouse all while spending others' money.
Here are the screenshots of the Tweets, which were freely available for anyone on Twitter to view before they were swiftly deleted. I guess the reason they were deleted was so that a post like this wouldn't be made and so that anyone that has an alternate point of view from incumbent AMSAT-NA Board of Directors wouldn't see them and get a whiff of what was being planned 'behind the scenes'. That's my opinion. You may have a different opinion but let's not forget that the legacy, incumbent AMSAT-NA Directors rule with an iron fist and they aren't scared to do what they have to do to preserve the clubhouse, even if it means violating bylaws or changing the bylaws to make it almost impossible for others to displace them:
Edit/Update: The OM that penned the Tweets and has relisted it on his blog and now he's deleted it again. I'll post a screenshot soon. I wonder why he keeps posting it and deleting it. Maybe the 'powers that be' didn't authorize him to post it. Who knows.
Personlly, I think gatekeeping by the old gaurd at AMSAT-NA is sad and does nothing to help the organization.
It has been a couple of weeks since the most previous AMSAT-NA election ended. For the record, only about a 1/3 of the membership cast a vote. Out of those that voted, 57% voted for incumbents and 43% voted for those of us that were challengers. Even though the incumbents won, it was only by a small amount and from less than half (1/3) of the AMSAT-NA membership.
Some members have begun to discuss the election results on the AMSAT-BB mailing list. The first to do so was John Papays K8YSE. John is one of the most prolific satellite operators and has almost 2,000 confirmed grids. John has questioned what this deep division within AMSAT-NA means as the organization moves forward with the newly elected Directors. He also mentions how some members have already announced that they have no desire to volunteer their time and talents within AMSAT-NA:
John's post was followed by a post from Bob Bruninga WB4APR (yes, he invented APRS). Bob has made mention that he was disappointed in the results of the election and that he thought that we, the challengers, were going to move the organization in the right direction. Bob also speaks to the point that AMSAT-NA does not write grant requests and, thus, isn't bringing in any grant money. ORI is writing grant requests and, so far, has been awarded almost $600K. It's good to see that somone of Bob's caliber and extensive engineering knowledge of building satellites wanting the organization to move in an opposite direction than what the incumbents do (they prefer the status quo with no progressive ideas). Here's Bob's post on the AMSAT-BB:
[amsat-bb] Election Results (diasppointing)Unfortunately, AMSAT-NA will remain divided until the next Board of Directors election in 2021. If there isn't a major change then, I don't know if the organization will survive much longer due to members not renewing memberships; donors not donating and a lack of incoming grant money. I guess time will tell but I do know that almost half of the membership (based on the results of this last election) are not happy with the governance of the organization.
My last blog posted focussed on apparent cost savings measures that AMSAT-NA has instituted by no longer printing and mailing a physical copy of the AMSAT Journal (without telling members, shame on you AMSAT-NA). This blog post also focuses on a way that AMSAT-NA could immediately reduce expenditures. As many know, AMSAT-NA is a volunteer organization but... AMSAT-NA does have one, paid employee, Martha. She is the office manager. I imagine 'back in the day' AMSAT-NA might have needed a person in this position to handle membership applications and to mail out some of the trinkets that AMSAT-NA sells. Now that we are in 2020, memberships are self-service and handled through the web site. Items such as apparel are handled through the third-party, Zazzle. If you order an antenna from AMSAT-NA, it will be drop-shipped to you directly from the manufacturer. My point, and question, is does AMSAT-NA really need a full time office manager in 2020?
Let's take a look at what a full time office manager is currently costing AMSAT-NA. These numbers are available for anyone to take a look at on the AMSAT-NA web site. AMSAT-NA, as a 501(c)(3) is required by law to make these disclosures to the general membership.
If we take Martha's salary, of $71,000/year (yes, $71,000 dollars, not a bad gig, huh?) plus the contributions to her retirement fund of $10,00/year (yes, AMSAT-NA makes contributions to a 401K for Martha) plus the payroll taxes $6,000/year which must be paid in order to employ Martha it comes up to a total of $89,388 for 2019. This amount will go up each year since Martha has been receiving raises (look at the IRS tax forms). I predict when the 2020 tax forms are released ,in a year or so, that the total cost to AMSAT-NA of having an office manager will cross the $90,000 mark and may even inch closer to $95,000. Here's the information from the AMSAT-NA 2019 IRS tax forms:
I visited Glassdoor.com to see what is the average salary of an officer manager in Washington D.C. and found that it is $45,174 based on an average of 920 reported salaries. AMSAT-NA is paying almost the twice the average of others in the area>
These facts should not be used to discount Martha or to critique or question the caliber of the work she performs. She is simply an employee of AMSAT-NA and kudos to her for negotiating such favorable terms of compensation in return for the work she performs. As members of the organization, we ALL should be concerned with how AMSAT-NA spends our membership dollars. In the case of the office manager position, $89,388 is the equivalent of 2,031 AMSAT-NA memberships.
As a business person and a fiscal-conservative, I have to ask myself why AMSAT-NA continues to incur such an expense for an office manager? Could this position be filled with a volunteer or a group of volunteers? Could the position be changed to a part time position with a lower pay rate and no benefits? The world has changed and businesses have to adapt and become more savvy and efficient. This is an expense that, I totally believe could be removed from AMSAT-NA.Unfortunately, emotions often get in the way of sound, responsible business decisions. As AMSAT-NA continues to struggle with fund raising, it is going to have to address expenditures. The $90,000/year expenditure just seems the most logical thing for AMSAT-NA leaders to look at and reduce. AMSAT-NA leaders should be extremely conservative regarding expenditures. The membership expects them to do so.
Even though other amateur radio organizations such as the ARRL continue to publish their physcial publications (magazines). AMSAT-NA continues to state that they can't publish a physical magazine to members becuase of COVID-19:
I call BS on this. There is not ONE magazine that has refused to publish physical magazines during the COVID-19 pandemic. Not one. Wouldn't it just be easier for AMSAT-NA to admit that they are trying to preserve assets (money) by not publishing a print magazine?
A current Board of Director member of AMSAT-NA has even questioned why physical publications are not being mailed to members:
Look, I get it. It's expensive to physically print, and mail, a bi-monthly publication to AMSAT-NA members. In fact, the organization can save quite a bit of money by not doing so. I have been contacted by a lot of members that are very upset that AMSAT-NA has decided not to publish a physical copy of the Journal. AMSAT-NA has done this while still advertising that they will snail mail members a printed copy of the Journal. That's no longer happening. I understand some members will be frustrated with no longer receiving a printed copy of the Journal, but why is AMSAT-NA leadership so scared to speak out and say that they will no longer be sending out physical, printed copies? If someone signs-up for an AMSAT-NA membership, they are told they will receive a snail mail, physical copy of the Journal. This has now become false advertising. This is another expample of how AMSAT-NA does NOT respect its membership.
AMSAT-NA, if you will continue to lie about the publication of the Journal, what else will you continue to lie about? Members are tired of continuous lies from AMSAT-NA's leadership. The questions is, will you continue to snail mail physical copies of the Journal or will you use false excuses of COVID to avoid doing so while you tout it as a member benefit? Inquiring minds want to know.
I am using this article from the 2019 AMSAT-NA Journal under the fair-use carve out of US Copyright law. In this article, KE4AL speaks of the threat that AMSAT-NA faces from negative publicity. What he doesn't say in the article is that the negative publicity which AMSAT-NA receives is from actions (and non-actions) that the legacy leadership of AMSAT-NA takes. The legacy leadership is well-known for its violations of AMSAT-NA bylaws and for violating Washington, DC corporate code. None of the legacy leadership has ever denied doing this. The legacy leadership of AMSAT-NA is also very well know for their childish antics. They frequently create 'troll' accounts on social media and harass members. Even though the ARRL often has debatable, internal issues, I have never seen any of the ARRL leadership create 'troll' accounts to harass members. One would think that if you are on the Board of Directors or an Officer of AMSAT-NA that you would be mature enough to not act like a teenager on Snap.
The legacy leadership of AMSAT-NA views any alternate view of how the organization should be operated as a 'personal attack'. They aren't mature enough to be able to handle and respond to criticism. AMSAT-NA has no one to blame for negative publicity other than the legacy leadership that continues to embarass members which, in turn, costs the organization membership money, donations and grants. It's time to wake-up AMSAT-NA, you have been relegated to a second-class amateur radio organization by your own doing. AMSAT-NA, you have nobody to blame but your own legacy leadership.
Friends, this is too funny. Klint K6LCS, the person that gets his jollies from patting himself on the back; the person that is well known for his self-promotion antics; the person that is well known for his inability to be able to have proper QSOs on an amateur radio satellite; the person that is a complete laughing stock has now decided to make it 'appear' as if I posted to his web site. Let the record reflect that I would never waste my valuable time posting to his pathetic web site. What is totally laughable is that this putz would go to the trouble of attemtpting to make it look like he was some kind of 'Superman' that moderated a message. The fact is, that he does not have control of IP addresses on Groups.io and by stating that he does, he just continues to show what a putz he really is. Folks, this is the person that those in leadership positions of AMSAT-NA have appointed as an AMSAT Ambassador. By appointing a laughing stock of the amateur radio satellite community as an Ambassador, AMSAT-NA has only proven that they have become a second-rate organization. Klint, you'll have to do better than this. You really will. You're a joke. Nobody takes you seriously. It's okay that you want to be important. It really is. Guess what? Klint, you're not important. You're just a joke that is being used by the legacy leadership of AMSAT-NA. Klint, I don't like you, at all, but I feel sorry for you that you can't seem to realize that you are just being used. Right now, their motto is the trite phrase, "the enemy of my enemy is my friend." You aren't their friend, you are the butt of their jokes. Once again, Groups.io doesn't give you the abilities your are claiming. Once again, you are proven to be a liar and a fraud. P.S. Klint, I use a VPN and am rarely on the same IP for more than about 8 hours or so. Right now I'm posting from Israel so I will simply tell you "Shalom". Klint, you are a liar and a fraud.
As most people know, I was a candidate for the AMSAT-NA Board of Directors during the Summer of 2020. I did not win the election, nor did any of the challengers against the incumbent (legacy) members of AMSAT-NA leadership. With that said, we, the challengers, came very close to getting almost 50% of the total vote. I wasn't a political science major in college but I'm smart enough to know that the vote count tells me that many members are NOT happy with what has become of AMSAT-NA. AMSAT-NA is suffering from a major division of its membership right now. This division will, most likely, lead to challengers in the next election to receive even more votes. If the leadership of AMSAT-NA isn't changed within the next one, or two, election cycles the organization will probably fail to remain a viable organization.
Now, here is what is really telling about how what I call the 'Drew Crew' (the legacy members that blindly bow down and follow Drew KO4MA). Since I ran on a platform that spoke out against the malfeasances that have been committed by the legacy, AMSAT-NA Board of Director members as documented by a current AMSAT-NA Board member here amsat.wd9ewk.net, I have now been deleted and blocked from all AMSAT-NA social media. I was removed from the AMSAT-BB mailing list during the election cycle (a direct violation of AMSAT-NA bylaws), I was removed and banned from the AMSAT-NA Facebook group (I never really posted anything there but did read it) and have been blocked from viewing the AMSAT-NA Twitter feed. The AMSAT-NA Twitter feed is the main way that AMSAT-NA communicates with members. Want to know what all three AMSAT-NA social media accounts have in common? I'll tell you. The administrator of all three of these accounts is Paul Stoetzer N8HM. Paul was a candidate during the election, yet didn't give-up his admin duties of AMSAT-NA social media and ensured that challengers, such as myself, were properly censored. Folks, this is NOT how democracy works.
Democracy allows for the free flow of thoughts and ideas, even if they aren't popular. Maybe what I have said about the legacy leadership of AMSAT-NA isn't popular, but it's true and based on facts. It's impossible to debate facts. It is possible for Paul Stoetzer N8HM to block me from AMSAT-NA social media in an attempt to keep others from knowing these facts.
If you are an AMSAT-NA member, you should be extremely upset that a handful of people on the AMSAT-NA Board of Directors have taken it upon themselves to censor members from having thoughts and ideas which go against the Drew Crew.
If you are an AMSAT-NA member, you may think all of this is just silly. On the surface, it really is but if you take a moment and honestly and openly think about it, you will come to the realization that NOBODY should be censored from having their own thoughts and ideas, even if they aren't popular. What if one day YOU have a thought or idea that goes against the Drew Crew? Will you be leary of making your thoughts and ideas known? You probably will since you know that you stand the chance of being censored by the organization of which you are a paid member. This is NOT how democracy works.
If you are an AMSAT-NA member you should NOT have to worry about stating what's on your mind about the organization. Does the ARRL censor people from their social media that speaks out against the ARRL? Nope. Only AMSAT-NA and the Drew Crew does that. As an AMSAT-NA member, doesn't that make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside? If it does, I feel sorry for you.
AMSAT-NA is suffereing a painful death. It can be saved but it will take people that are willing to not be popular for this to happen. It's really not hard to not be popular. It just requires that you be willing to take a stand against those that are willing to violate the bylaws of AMSAT-NA and to use AMSAT-NA's social media in an unfair and unethical manner. Trust me, if this can happen to me, it CAN happen to you. I was once 'one of the cool kids' until I spoke out against what I knew was wrong. Most people know what is right and what is wrong. Unfortunately, most people aren't willing to speak out against what is wrong. Once you speak out, once, against what is wrong, it gets easier each and every time you do it afterwards.
To end this blog posting, if you are an AMSAT-NA member, please know that the legacy leaders of the organization continue to operate in their status quo. They are willing to (and do) violate AMSAT-NA bylaws and, flat-out, operate in an unethical manner. They refuse to allow any opinion, other than their own, to exist. By doing so, the legacy members of leadership will cause the organization to fail sooner, rather than later.
Ever have a stalker? Someone that is abnormally obsessed with you? Unfortunately, I have such a stalker and this particular stalker is an AMSAT Ambassador. Since this person, is operating as an agent of AMSAT-NA, what responsibilities does AMSAT-NA incur from this person's unhealthy attraction to me? I constantly get emails from this person (I never respond so I don't know why he emails me). He follows me around on every amateur radio forum on the internet, often posting incoherently. At times, I think he may be under the influence of an intoxicant. He is definitely suffering from delusions of grandeur. He was appointed as an AMSAT Ambassador but now seems to think that he's an EE and an RF engineer. In fact, he now wants people to think that he is in direct contact with the ISS Operations Center. You can't help but feel sorry for someone like this. The problem is that he is obsessed with me and, in his mental state, I'm not sure if his obsession will move from the online realm to that of a real world encounter. Seriously, this guy is off his rocker and could be capable of almost anything. He is well known throughout the amateur radio community as a self-serving person who is obsessed with trying to impress others. Should I be worried about this individual? I guess time will tell but if he continues to send me unsolicited emails, I will be forced to contact his ISP and may need to invoke Alabama Code 13A-11-8(b). I am not asking for any form of communication with this AMSAT Ambassador but he just won't seem to stop emailing me. This is harassment in its most basic form. I've grown weary of it. If there is an update to this situation, I'll make another blog entry.
As ORI continues to move forward with amateur radio satellite development and research, a mailing list is being established in which radio amateurs can participate. Here's the announcement:
Today AMSAT-NA members learned that ORI (Open Research Institute) received a grant of over half-a-million dollars from ARDC. ORI is a member society of AMSAT-NA and all the work and research they do is a direct benefit for AMSAT-NA.
Rather than congratulating ORI for their success, the Executive Vice President of AMSAT-NA had a complete meltdown on Twitter:
What the heck is wrong with those in leadership positions at AMSAT-NA? The fact is that AMSAT-NA isn't writing grant requests and isn't getting any grant money. I'm not quite sure how AMSAT-NA will continue to support itself. It's not possible for the organization to exist on membership fees. Donations are down. ARISS has left the AMSAT-NA umbrella. One would think that AMSAT-NA leadership would be proud of their members that ARE getting grants but, nope, they just go into a meltdown and cry like babies. If it wasn't so sad, it would be funny. AMSAT-NA members, you need to hold your leadership to a much higher standard. When AMSAT-NA leadership acts like this and posts it in public, it's embarrassing. No wonder AMSAT-NA is currently being viewed as a second-class organization.
I am running for a position on the AMSAT-NA Board of Directors in 2020. I am running on a platform of changing AMSAT-NA to an organization that is open and transparent.
AMSAT-NA is, unfortunately, known for not being open and transparent to its membership. The legacy leadership of AMSAT-NA treats the organization as a clubhouse and not as a non-profit that should serve its members' interests.
During the 2020 BoD election, it has been revealed that incumbents and other legacy leadership members have conspired and misspent $18,503 dollars (http://amsat.wd9ewk.net ) in an attempt to silence the two, newest Board members, Patrick Stoddard WD9EWK and Michelle Thompson W5NYV. By spending the money in this manner, AMSAT-NA bylaws were broken as was Washington, D.C. corporate code.
During the election cycle, I have asked the following questions:
Why do so many AMSAT-NA satellites fail prematurely or never operate at all after being launched?
Why is there no failure analysis of failed satellites?
Why doesn't the Board of Directors have regular meetings?
Why is the organization treated as a clubhouse for the legacy leadership and their friends instead of a organization that serves the interests of its members?
How is AMSAT-NA going to raise funds with the exit of ARISS? Membership dues do not provide enough funds to support the organization.
I am of the opinion that until AMSAT-NA changes its way, it will continue to be seen as a second rate organization. Members deserve to be treated with respect by organizational leaders. Members deserve honest answers from leaders, not smoke and mirrors. Members deserve leaders that do NOT participate in conspiracies and violate bylaws and misspend the organization's money.
I wish I could claim the phrase that Patrick Stoddard WD9EWK used when he ran for a position on the AMSAT-NA Board of Directors. Patrick said, "AMSAT-NA members deserve better." That statement sums it all up. Members do deserve better. Unfortunately the incumbents and legacy leadership seem to think that members don't really matter until it comes to election time.
Friends, peers, AMSAT-NA members, do NOT let a handful of people further the downward spiral of AMSAT-NA. Make your elected officials be responsible and responsive to your needs as a member.
I am often asked what equipment I use to operate on the amateur radio satellites so I thought I would mention the equipment here on the web site. Because I don't have a home 'base' station with a tower and antennas, all of my operating is done handheld and portable. Regardless of which radio I happen to be using, I use an Arrow II antenna.
For linear transponder satellites and, often, FM satellites, I use a pair of Yaesu FT-817ND radios which are mounted in a Portable Zero mounting bracket. I use a repurposed, nylon strap that allows me to hang the radios around my neck, which allows easy access to the radio controls and for tuning. Here's a picture of the radios in their mounting bracket:
I have also had success operating on the linear transponder satellites using just one FT-817 as the transmitting radio and using an SDR as the downlink radio. I have used both a Nooelec NESDR Nano 3 and a Nooelec NESDR SMArTee XDR SDR combined with a Windows based laptop computer using CubicSDR open-source software to allow me to hear the downlink from the linear transponder satellites. I know that other SDR dongles will also work just as well. It's a great way to get started using linear transponder satellites if you only have one all-mode radio to serve as an uplink radio.
For a more convenient way to operate the FM satellites and for using the digital (APRS) satellites, I use a Kenwood TH-D7AG HT or a Kenwood TH-D72 HT. Both of these are full-duplex for FM voice communications via a satellite and both can utilize the APRS satellites such as the ISS digipeater and FS-3, when it's operating. The TH-D72 is the predecessor to the TH-D7 and features memory locations where APRS phrases can be stored in the radio. On the TH-D7, you have to type out messages, live, during a satellite pass using T9 text input. They are both solid radios for FM satellites and for APRS. You can often find the TH-D7 radios at hamfests or online at really good prices. Batteries are available for it from Batteries America.
I can be reached via email at [email protected]
You can find me on Twitter @WE4Bravo