A loss for words

NOTE: This and the next 5 posts are from 2008 or before…
We are currently (Sep.2009) making another attempt to re-start the MSFC Amateur Radio Club (MARC)

From 2008 0825

I am at a complete loss of words, to describe how I feel about what I’m saying . . .

I really thought that this was going to become something, even a fraction of what it once was – would have been an accomplishment. I’m sure that there is more to this story than what I am aware of – but it seems we are fizzled out. Call it a lack of interest, whatever – but it was not a lack of interest on the part of the dozen or so volunteers that were actively involved in cleaning up and trying to get something going on here. We had made enough progress that I was able to establish a two-way voice contact with the JPL Amateur Radio Club station during their anniversary special event… I had setup a 2 meter station with an APRS beacon so that the WA4NZD callsign was echoed thru the digital repeater onboard the International Space Station, and showed up on maps around the world… We had cleaned out the rat crap from the desk drawers, and extracted the dead rodent carcasses from various places where the poison had left them lifeless (and stinky) . We swept and swept, and shuffled and tried to make sense of what was working, what was not – what might be useful and what should not – but at some point we had to ask ourselves – for why ??

HF station is functional again

HF station is functional again

We knew that new hams were interested in having a place to operate, with even the old stuff here it was more than they might have at home. We knew that we could all benefit from a place to design, build and experiment with antennas. We knew that us old-timers would welcome a place where younger hams would want to come hang-around and ask questions about how to make things work, or how to do one thing or another… We knew that this place had a tradition of being a part of the history of the space program as it was being created – and we wanted to continue that tradition. We knew that there was a lot of important history contained in that building, echoes of literally thousands of two-way radio contacts with individuals from all around the globe, file drawers full of QSL cards and requests from hobby radio operators world-wide for a commemorative certificate – as confirmation that they too had been a small part of this legacy of human space flight. This was our vision, to help preserve and continue that tradition.

VHF/UHF satellite station has antennas

VHF/UHF satellite station has antennas

Apparently, this operation of a ham radio station was at one time considered a valuable asset to MSFC – as was reflected in official status as a formal club operating with a budget under the umbrella of the MSFC Exchange. In the past the club was entirely civil-servants, but over the years had evolved to a requirement that the club officers would all be NASA employees, but contractors were welcome. Somewhere over the years we have failed to continue that perception that this could still be of value. We have failed ourselves. There does not appear to be enough interest even in our own ranks to bring this dream to life. In order for this to go anywhere, we needed just a few people in a position to be of value (Gold-Badges) that are willing to ‘go to bat‘ or ‘carry the torch‘ as it were. I found minimal support or even interest in making this happen. I need be careful here, or the wrong impression may be taken… I think that Don and Paul have done everything that they felt that they could, and they likely felt that there was not enough support to make anything happen. Too many years have passed since the club did any thing of value for anyone… It is sad.

Who knows, something may come of it yet. I feel the need to back out and quit pushing on the rope. I prefer to plant my seeds and expend my energies where they can make a difference. Maybe I’ll look back on these words in a few days and find something different to add. Today tho, I feel the loss – a project I couldn’t complete. A difference I couldn’t make. Thanks to those who tried with me.

I am at a loss for words . .. … …. …..


One response to “A loss for words

  1. Gosh, that sounded pretty bleak……….

    That was just over a year ago, and I had just taken on a project to develop a web site with database content for the Madison County Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES).

    I felt that it would be best to back away from the MARS project and not use up all of my ideas on how to get this thing going again. Since that time I have also become an Assistant Emergency Coordinator for the Madison County Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES), and have been helping to update their Operations Plan, and general organization. Their new web site is a powerful tool that has already improved internal communications with an interactive forum environment.

    With the 40th anniversary of Apollo-11 and the first manned lunar landing, some discussion watered the thought seeds we planted last year, and it seemed like a good time to re-fresh-up the web site and give this another go.

    Continue reading the posts on here, and join us if you can. With just a little effort from each of us, WA4NZD can return to MSFC.

    Thanks /;^)