Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Candidate Statement - AMSAT-NA Board of Directors 2019

Greetings! I'm Michelle W5NYV. I'm an engineer with a MSEE in Information Theory. I'm a specialist in error correction, signal processing, and communications theory.

I co-founded Open Research Institute. ORI is a non-profit (501c3) research and development organization which provides all of its work to the general public under the principles of Open Source and Open Access to Research. My fellow officers are Bruce Perens and Ben Hilburn, President of GNU Radio Foundation.

I'm a Distinguished Visitor for IEEE. I lecture on open source amateur satellite technology and algorithmic music composition. I'm founding an information theory chapter of the IEEE in San Diego, and have spoken at and organized demonstrations to showcase AMSAT-NA at multiple IEEE conferences.

I was awarded the 2018 Don Hilliard award from Microwave Update for service to and innovations in amateur satellite communications.

I am a life member of AMSAT-NA. I have written and mentored many articles about satellite communications. I co-designed the FOX DUV telemetry with Phil Karn and Paul Williamson. I contributed to AMSAT Eagle engineering. I ran the Ground project for the AMSAT-NA GEO proposal from 2007-2009. I currently run Phase 4 Ground, a multiple-user microwave digital amateur radio system that supports both space and terrestrial use. This project implements a fully open source DVB-S2/X protocol for amateur radio. The air interface allows any payload to use Phase 4 Ground radios. This project has produced several "world's first" amateur radio implementations of various technologies. Our companion project is Phase 4 Space, an open source HEO/GEO 6U payload project.

I'm a member of AMSAT-UK, AMSAT-DL. I am active in JAMSAT and actively support and promote SatNOGs, Libre Space, and many other open source projects that benefit amateur radio and the satellite service.

I am co-chair for the 2019 GNU Radio Conference, which has a special focus this year on amateur and space communications. I lead a project to add Japanese and German language support to GNU Radio Companion, for greater use in amateur satellite communities across the globe. I have been instrumental in representing amateur radio and ensuring that space communications remains at the very forefront of framework development.

I ask you to vote for me and the slate of candidates that is running with me. The slate is myself, Patrick WD9EWK, Howie AB2S, and Jeff WE4B.

We believe we can make significant positive changes in the organization that will benefit all members.
We do not believe that the current direction, policies, politics, and engineering accomplishments are up to the standard that members expect and deserve. If you want open source, open access, international collaboration, modern digital as well as all analog communications supported, and if you want a friendly and supportive club that is not opaque, authoritarian, or insular, then I am here to serve you and make that happen.

My highest priority is addressing the current proprietary-focused, secretive, and destructive ITAR/EAR policy at AMSAT-NA. I believe AMSAT-NA should take full advantage of the public domain and open source carve-outs in ITAR/EAR. Compliance with this appropriate and useful part of the regulatory framework would allow greatly increased participation, international cooperation and collaboration, relieves unnecessary compliance burdens, and fulfills the mission and motivation of the amateur satellite service. Repeated efforts to redirect AMSAT-NA towards this useful, legal, and relevant regulatory approach have fallen on deaf and hostile ears. If you want this aspect of AMSAT-NA to improve, please vote for our slate.

Next is firmly establishing a design framework for higher orbit payloads using modern satellite technologies and systems. There is a wealth of readily available open source options that are substantially farther ahead of GOLF and GOLF-TEE baseline designs. Being able to openly share and review AMSAT-NA engineering decisions and designs would dramatically improve our technology position from where it is today. I would like to be proud of what my home country AMSAT is doing. I believe open source is the best possible way to get us there. Things done in secret or out of fear are rarely done well.

Members of AMSAT deserve to see what is going on in engineering. Members deserve to know the financial and membership numbers. Members deserve to be able to communicate with and, when necessary, critique board members, without threats of retaliation and retribution. Members deserve to be treated fairly. Members should see problems acknowledged, explained, and addressed reasonably quickly. Whether the problem is a failed satellite or a failed website function, we need leadership that views questions as opportunities and not existential threats.

We on the slate are fully aware that the organization is composed of and is successful due to the volunteers. Excellent volunteer service experience from AMSAT-NA is achievable with competent leadership, improved policies, and clearly communicated expectations. Our slate is devoted to delivering a very successful future for AMSAT-NA. Your vote is appreciated and valued! Please get in touch with any questions or comments. You will be listened to.

Edit: Questions answered here. Thank you for the support!

-Michelle W5NYV

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