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RS-15 revisited (pt 2)



Exactly as I predicted in my first email about RS-15, it was transmitting CW
telemetry on the very next pass! This reminded me of a general rule of thumb
concerning the beacon that I should have included in the first email but had
forgotten.

The RS-15 beacon is found at or around 29.352 MHz. Because of an erratic
battery, RS-15's operation is somewhat sporatic but it's beacon transmits
clues as to the current state of the satellite on any given pass. The table
I've worked out thus far is as follows:

Beacon            Meaning
----------------  ----------------------------------------------------------
----------
Solid carrier     Transponder is on, good for an attempt.
Broken carrier    Transponder follows the beacon. Probably not a good pass.
CW telemetry      Transponder is on, good for an attempt.
Broken Telemetry  Transponder follows the beacon. Probably not a good pass.
Nothing at all    Transponder is on, good for an attempt.

By "broken carrier" and "broken telemetry", I mean that the beacon will turn
on for a few seconds and then off for a few more, repeating this pattern as
has been mentioned lately in the AMSAT news mailing. The transponder tends
to follow the beacon and while you can use the pass to test an antenna or
practice finding yourself, you probably wouldn't want to attempt a QSO. Also
note that this is a very general table and the satellite is always good for
a surprise like switching beacon types in mid-pass.

RS-15 is often listed as a "daytime only" satellite which is also untrue.
Some of the best passes to date have been at night because the QRN and QRM
are much lower. I was also able to hear myself via SSB through the bird
today using the turnstile so it is entirely possible. Experiments with
Feld-Hell through the FO-20 satellite lead me to think it's even more robust
than good old CW and given the smaller doppler shift of RS-15 by virtue of
it's 10m downlink, it may prove to be a more reliable mode than CW. I'm game
for anyone who wants to give it a shot!

Thanks for all the great comments concerning my first book about RS-15! It's
nice to know that my assumption of it's being the "forgotten bird" is wrong.
I hope to talk to you soon one way or another via RS-15 soon!

73...Mark - KB3CWS



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