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Mars Relay UHF tests Aug 26-29 2003



During the period August 26-29 2003, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL)
in cooperation with the Stanford Research Institute (SRI) will be conducting
a test of the Mars Relay transmitter aboard the Mars Global Surveyor (MGS)
spacecraft currently in orbit around Mars.  The test involves the spacecraft
transmitting a 1 watt 437.1 MHz CW carrier for reception by the 46 meter
dish at SRI.  Amateurs with 70cm EME class stations using DSP techniques may
be able to detect this signal also.  Andrew Bachler, N9AB, was able to
detect a similar transmitter aboard Mars Odyssey while it was on its way to
Mars in June of 2001.   This test will be somewhat more challenging as MGS
will be 3 times further away.

Dr. John Callas of JPL explains some of the difficulties involved: "MGS will
be entering and exiting occultation (blockage by Mars with respect to Earth)
with each 118-minute orbit.   Furthermore, its UHF antenna (with about 0 dBi
of gain, EIRP~30 dBm) will only be viewable from Earth for a few minutes (5
to 15 minutes) just before ingress and just after egress as it orbits."

Full details of the test timeline are available at
http://members.verizon.net/~km1p/ .  Antenna pointing information can be
generated with the JPL HORIZONS system
http://ssd.jpl.nasa.gov/horizons.html.   Announcements and discussions are
available on the mars-net e-mail reflector.  To join the list, send a
message to majordomo@alum.wpi.edu with the words "subscribe mars-net" in the
body of the message.


-Joe Fitzgerald KM1P
----
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