[FPSPACE] NASA explanation of weak SuitSat signals

satcom john at satcom.freeserve.co.uk
Wed Feb 15 08:15:59 EST 2006

Hi Julie,

Must say I entirely agree with the sentiment of your post.
Whilst I have just about heard the output from suitsat ( and only just ) I 
can imagine how much of a dissapointment it must be to students around the 
world who were eagerly looking forward to hearing the transmission and 
decoding the image.

I mentioned on this list  last week , that it might be an idea to re 
transmit the suitsat message , and SSTV signal from ISS itself.That way all 
the effort put in by schools and colleges would be rewarded.....perhaps not 
fully , but the technology would at least be demonstrated.
( I am aware that the signals are also relayed on UHF....but they too are 
far too weak to make any sense of )



----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Julie R. Miller" <juliermiller at earthlink.net>
To: <fpspace at friends-partners.org>
Sent: Wednesday, February 15, 2006 1:07 PM
Subject: Re: [FPSPACE] NASA explanation of weak SuitSat signals

> At 07:01 PM 2/14/2006, Jim Oberg forwarded:
>>February 14 ISS On-Orbit Status Report
>>    Update on SuitSAT (RadioSkaf):  The SuitSAT satellite
>>continues to broadcast but the signal is reported to be
>>extremely weak. Hundreds of reports from individuals
>>receiving the signal from all over the world have been logged
>>and there has been tremendous interest in this project with
>>nearly 4.5 million hits at the SuitSAT website (www.suitsat.org ).
> Big far hairy deal. If the number of hits on a website is the criteria for 
> determining popularity then www.playboy.com and www.disney.com should have 
> a bit of an edge over suitsat (or any other space website). Or a couple of 
> hundred thousand other high hit websites.
> What amazes me is how many folks are trying to spin the Suitsat failure as 
> a positive. Some hams have said that it's actually more interesting 
> because it's a challenge to receive even if they have to use an antenna 
> powerful enough to bounce a signal off of the moon (literally) to hear 
> Suitsat's signals or that the challenge because the signal is weak is 
> keeping students interested. Hundreds may have reported hearing the signal 
> but it should have been thousands, or even tens of thousands.
> My kids considered it an incredible disappointment. We used a scanner with 
> a ground plane antenna (not the original low gain rubber duck) and if 
> Suitsat had worked as promised should have been able to hear its signal 
> clearly.- Instead nothing. They had been promised that a simple setup 
> would be able to hear its signal - not that it would require an extremely 
> sophisticated and expensive setup with high gain antennas and preamps.
> With all of the hype and people trying to claim that the experiment is a 
> success because it got kids interested before it was even launched - I've 
> got to question -- how much would it have had to fail for them to come out 
> and openly admit that it was a failure? Or was it - by definition - 
> automatically a success no matter what happened by those who want to claim 
> that it was a success?
> Julie R. Miller
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