The future of EME?

Sender: MOON-NET 
From:  Andrea Ghilardi, IK5QLO 
Subject: A future for EME ?(long)

A future for EME ?

This ideas come from some thought expressed by Frank NC1I in the last NL
about the low activity on the 70cm EME band, even a big gun like him
(48 yagis) get frustrated after having called cq for a long time without
any or very few replies.

Are we facing a crisis ?

Well in reality the whole amateur radio world is under attack by the
rising of new kinds of communications media, Internet, cellular, Lpd
The younger generation is fascinated by the digital revolution, and
considers "radio" just another mean of tramitting data.
Time goes by, and if we look at ourselves emers what we see?
EME is now a LOW-TECH activity, like the building of tube audio
amplifiers, except perhaps for the wolf pack of the few uWave EMErs.
Basically the setup of a station is the same of 20 years ago, only
thanks to the work of few  courageous , we had improvements in antenna
design and components (gaasfets, DSP).
EME is still a very good self-teaching way of life, but its way is going
farther from the nowadays trend of technological progress.
We see an increasing number of 144 Mhz EME stations , many coming from
the HF and Vhf DX rows, but this is due to the presence of some holy men
who dedicated their life to the mission (we know who they are).
In my opinion there are some possibly ways of boosting the EME trend:

1) attracting beginners to our activity

2) bringing back our technology near the up to date.

The main problem for the one who wants to start the EME activity is
the size of the antenna.
The major part of us poor boys live in urban and suburban areas, were
antenna size regulations and/or neighbours attitude is getting worse every
Moreover it is also taking force the concept of "Elecromagnetical pollution"
and some OMs already had a visit from the health bureau officials, here now
we have a law, and many people start to feel "menaced" by "big" antennas.

This can be done by optimizing the ones we had, and with the right choice of 
the frequency to use.
I think that perhaps the maximum acceptable size would be a 2 meter dish for
the uWave bands and 4 yagis on the 2-4 mts size range for the 2m/70 cm band.
See the excellent job done by F/G8MBI with his  cross pol. yagis.
May be the 2.4 Ghz band if found a common segment would be the right choice.

The use of DSP should be applied to reach  a two-way low speed digital
communication, there is a interesting work in course by IW5BHY that is
receiving signals in the range of -30 dB below the noise applied to the VLF
band (has been discussed at the Italian EME conference).
We should also concentrate on solid state designs of PA for every band,
are becoming available now surplus power modules for 100-150W
output in the 400-500 Mhz region at a very low price, and what about the DAB
transistors for the 23cm ?

A lunar microwave beacon trasmitting data and/or images to receive with a
simple setup would increase the interest for the deep space ham activity.
The main IARU leagues could every year offer funds/prizes to the people or 
groups who would work on this innovative projects, like it is happening
with the OSCAR project.

These are of course my own personal opinions, I'd like to stimulate a discussion 
on the matter.
I hope I made myself understood, pse excuse my so-so language.
EME is FUN, let's keep on doing it the right way.

Hope to hear you next weekend 12/13 sept for the 5th ITALIAN EME CONTEST

73 Andrea IK5QLO