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RS-12/13 question

Here's the basic question, a small trestie on the frustrations of a newbe

What are the ROBOT DOWNLink frequencies?
How do you know?
Which bird is operational?
How do you know?
Is it operational on all passes?  All lattitudes?
All Longitudes?  Day and night?  Weekdays and Weekends?
And how do you know?
Are all 8 beacons operationall all the time? or just the 4 on the active
Which mode is it in?   K, T, A, KT, KA,
How do you know?

Thanks, Alf - W4ADS


Okay, I'm not a newbe, in the sense that I've tracked STS's since the first
ham mission.   I've tracked the Sputnik Jr's as well.  I'm more of what you
might call a "casual" satelliteer.   I'm probably typical of many hams that
don't have extensive setup and are not part of the "in crowd", but want to
try out or sample satellite work.  We might even become active, contributing
members of AMSAT.  (or maybe already are.)

I appreciate all the hard work that's been done to get these satellites up
there and operational.   I would hold no grudge, if the people who paid and
sweated to get them launched only reserved their usage for themselves.
However, I see articles in Amsat and other publications trying to get more
hames to use the birds.  Well, folks, it very frustrating trying to work
them.   I can see why many people give it a go and then just go on to other

The questions above are typical of my frustration.  I've read the official
AMSAT web page on RS12/13 and gone to the Kevin's web site as well.  (thanks
Kevin for hosting the information some good newbe stuff.)   They're good
stuff but just enough to be frustrating.   Of course one can ask on the
Amsat BB or other list serv, but many people are afraid to jump into these
discussions groups, especially since most of it is wasted on the license
structure and extras vs. no-coders stuff.  Here's a good example from
Kevin's page not just enough info(not picking on you, just an example):

     "From time to time the mode and even which of the two satellite packages
are active will change.
     "Sometimes the satellites are listening on either 15 meters, 2 meters or
     "It can transmit on either 10 meters, 2 meters or both."

The proverbial question for the new comer or casual user then is, "when."
When is this sometimes?  How do you find out?  Oh sure, I can subscribe to
Amsat BB and wait until the next "annoucement".   I can transmit back and
forth on 2 and on 15 HOPEING someone will respond.   I've did a search on
the Amsat Annoucments didn't find anything any titles last year or this year
on "RS-12".    You see the more someone has to "dig" for the info the more
likely it will be they go elsewhere.

So the long and short is, please, if you want to attract more supporters,
please make it easier to figure this out.  Instead of throwing 16 POSSIBLE
frequency ranges at a newbe, how about a simple "quick start guide".  (e.g.,
"For the week of 2/28, set you receiver on 29.460 and your transmitter on
145.960 USB for RS-xx")   Could someone keep an up-to-date site, with
operational times, frequencies, days of the week, modes?   Maybe it exists,
then could someone ensure links to such a page are readily available on
other pages?

Again, much appreciation for those who worked hard to advance Oscar where we
have it now.   Just a view from the "out crowd".

Alf - W4ADS

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