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Tracking Programs and Time Zones

Satellite Tracking program and Time Zones.

November 2, 2000

By Miles Mann WF1F,
MAREX-NA (Manned Amateur Radio Experiment, North American Division)

This is the time of year when many stations get confused about times
zones and how they effect their tracking program.  This morning a local
ham asked me to confirm the pass time of ISS Alpha.  His times were way
off.  The reason for the error, is he forgot to set the daylight savings
time flag on STSPLUS.  This is a common mistake and I look forward to it
each year, because it means that the Sunday after daylight savings time
hits, most of the satellites are empty and I can have a leisurely
rag-chew on a nearly empty bird.

Setting / checking time on STSPLUS

Start program and go to main menu.
Look at the times listed, local and UTC.
Make sure the local time is correct and then check the UTC time.
Do u have the correct off set?
Did it work last week?
If so, then you need to turn off the daylight savings flag, we only save
light in the summer.
Press F8 Set time
Press F10 Set daylight.
Turn off the daylight savings time.
Answer NO to adjust PC time.
Check the main menu display to see if the off set is correct.
For Boston Mass, we are 5 hours behind UTC, so my local time will be
10:00 am, and my UTC time will be 15:00.

Setting InstaTrack 1.0
I run windows and NT, so I need to start IT from a BAT file.  Otherwise
the DOS window that opens always defaults to Bill's time zone, even if
my PC is set for Boston.  You will need to set you own Time zone data in
the SET TZ= line. Then start the program and toggle the IT time by using
the Z key.

Bat file to start IT
cd c:
cd c:\it
set tz=est5edt

To double check your program is set correctly, down load new data from
the NASA web page. Then use the map display on the web page below to
double check your program.  First look at the space Station, if its in
the wrong spot, then look at the sun.  If your SUN and the Maps SUN are
in different time zones, then you still have a time zone issue.  Keep
adjusting your program to match the NASA web page.  When you are
finished, then you will be able to accurately tack all satellites you
have good keps for.


Copyright 2000 Miles Mann, All Rights Reserved.  This document may be
freely distributed via the following means - Email (including
listservers), Usenet, and World-Wide-Web.  It may not be reproduced for
profit including, but not limited to, CD ROMs, books, and/or other
commercial outlets without prior written consent from the author. 
Images received from the MAREX-NA SSTV system on the Russian Space
Station Mir are considered public domain and may be freely distributed,
without prior permission.

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