[aprssig] Frank Bauer, KA3HDO

Steve Dimse steve at dimse.com
Fri Mar 27 08:51:52 EDT 2009

It has been widely reported, but in case you were not aware, Frank  
Bauer, KA3HDO, has resigned as VP of manned space operations for  
AMSAT. For those not in APRS in 1997, that year Frank performed one of  
the bravest actions in the history of amateur radio. Frank presented a  
paper at TAPR's Digital Communications Conference detailing the need  
for APRS to vacate its primary frequency of 145.79 to make for for  
amateur operations on the (yet to be launched) International Space  
Station. In those days, APRS development was proceeding at a rapid  
pace, and DCC was where we all went to share our advancements. Frank  
fearlessly walked into the lion's den, and I can assure you the  
audience of APRS users and developers responded as you would expect a  
pack of lions to act!

I was impressed by Frank's bravery (his arguments were good too), and  
decided to throw my weight behind the proposal. Starting from his  
proposal, we worked together to formulate a plan which would work for  
both APRS and AMSAT, would not place financial strain on those unable  
to bear it, and which would include a place on the ISS for APRS.

We got AMSAT, TAPR, and the ARRL to cooperate in a way that has not  
happened before or since. Despite large numbers of dissenters who did  
not believe the promises of AMSAT and the ARRL, we ultimately were  
able to get the vast majority of APRS users behind the proposal, and  
this made the frequency transition work. This set the stage for the  
massive increase in APRS usage this decade.

Most importantly, in his role at AMSAT Frank exceeded every single  
promise he made to APRS. Even though he has never operated on APRS  
(AFAIK), APRS would be much-the-worse if not for him. We would not  
have a unified North American frequency, we would not have the space  
arm of APRS, and we would not have the number of users and the  
visibility space ops have brought us.

If you want to enjoy a bit of history, visit the QSY page at


Every APRS user should join me in thanking Frank for his contributions  
to APRS!

Steve K4HG

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