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PCsat one month Status Report

PCsat has completed its first month in space and is performing well its
planned mission of mobile position and status reporting.  I believe over
140 users have been seen in the European footprint and probably a
comparable number in the USA and many "downunder".  PCsat is currently in
its maximum eclipse phase, and so the 9600 baud UHF receivers are turned
off and the GPS remains off except for a 8 minute period over the command
station once a day.

Lessons Learned:
1) Users seem to be following the user guidelines quite well thus assuring
that everyone gets a fair chance.  In fact, some users adhereing to the
once-every-2-minute uplink rate are showing as many as 5 to 7 successes
per pass and should consider further reducing their rate to one per 5
minutes.  My mobile seems to get in reliably at a one-per-5 minute rate.

2) Some users may not understand the significance of only using W3ADO-1
as the path and are also including long multi-hop terrestrial paths tacked
onto the end that can cause drastic uplink QRM in some areas.  We are now
posting bulletins on PCsat to try to educate these users.

3) The http://pcsat.aprs.org site is now on-line to allow browser access
to the downlink.  A big thanks to K4HG, Steve Dimse for maintaining this
page.  But this page only works if there are active SATGATES in your area,
so more feeds is a benefit, especially in some of the remote areas of the
world.  ALso we will need additional feeds for 9600 baud and for
Starshine/Sapphire and other soon-to-be simple AX.25 satellites.

4) We would be happy to see more actual "travelers" using PCsat such as
off-shore boaters, DXpeditions, big ham radio events and so forth.  If
people  will let us konw of any special events, we would be happy to add
them to our WEB page and/or downlink bulletins.

5) All of PCsat's hardware is working well except for the loss of the
experimental -Z solar array.  The only un-exercised features are the LED
communication experiment and the "synchronizer".  When optical conditions
are right in a few weeks (Early evening pass over the east coast on a
clear night), we may try to flash the LEDs for a visual.  The synchronizer
is a circuit that will bundle packets in transmissions of once every 8
seconds to improve T/R TX delays efficiency, but so far the light load has
not warranted this technique.

de WB4APR@amsat.org, Bob

PCsat WEB  page     http://www.ew.usna.edu/~bruninga/pcsat.html
ISS-APRS FAQ:       http://www.ew.usna.edu/~bruninga/iss-faq.html
CUBESAT Designs     http://www.ew.usna.edu/~bruninga/cubesat.html
APRS LIVE pages     http://www.ew.usna.edu/~bruninga/aprs.html
APRS SATELLITES     http://www.ew.usna.edu/~bruninga/astars.html

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