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Suit-Sat still alive


Had another high (78 deg) SuitSat pass over eastern PA (FN20) in USA 
this morning
(20060206-0813Z).   Again using my NOAA WX sat monitoring setup but with the
addition of a ARR 2meter preamp  I was not able to hear SuitSat on 
145.99  but, after
doing FFT on recorded audio, I again was able to detect its doppler 
shifted signal
visually - detected at 08:24:45Z and lost at 08:15:10Z  - nothing heard 
on the possible
437.8 mhz ISS SuitSat repeater but the separation between SuitSat and 
the ISS is increasing.

As one of those folks who has been known to push packets thru the ISS, 
lets not be
too fast to create "lid lists" - while no portion of the ham population 
is perfect and I
have suspected that a few of the calls I've heard repeated thru the 
ISS's D700 are
robots that beacon 24 hours a day on 145.99, not everyone follows this 
message list
or is even aware that SuitSat exists.  Also the average station  
repeating thru the
ISS, even it is monitoring it 145.99 uplink to avoid stepping on other 
traffic, is very
unlikely to hear SuitSat.  Perhaps while the ISS and SuitSat are in 
close proximity
to each other a periodic message could be sent on the 145.8 packet 
downlink indicating
that the repeater is temporarily unavailable - this would not help with 
the robot stations
but at least it could reach those stations with real human operators 
(which I believe are
the majority of the stations using the ISS packet repeater - robots 
generally don't say
GM or address me by name or send a QSL list of stations heard).

If its any consolation SuitSat and the ISS seem to be about 4 minutes 
apart now and
the separation will continue to increase - the question is how long will 
the power
for SuitSat last.

On the topic of Toss-a-Sat / SuitSat this seems to be a low cost high 
visibility activity
for ham radio that as others have mentioned we could repeat by sending 
a  small (read
inexpensive and disposable) satellite on the order of a cube-sat on a 
Progress resupply
mission.  One suggestion that I think should be seriously considered is 
future Toss-a-Sat
missions could and should run the Toss-a-Sat on the antenna used by the 
ISS's D700 station
for several days to provide some baseline / proof of performance data 
before they get
tossed overboard.

One last thought/question - can anyone post authoritative info on how 
the ISS's D700
antenna is oriented with respect to earth - I assuming  that the 
orientation of the ISS
may be periodically altered for various reasons like optimizing solar 
energy collection.


Joe, K3FMA
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