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AO-16 reconfigured.

Since AO-16 was recovered approximately 6 months ago, the command team has 
attempted to reload the satellite software almost a dozen times without 
success. Subsequently a series of memory tests were performed which points 
towards a hardware failure which prevents restarting the spacecraft software 
successfully. This team included Bruce Rahn WB9ANQ and Jim White WD0E 
advising Mark Hammond N8MH as the primary groundstation. Mark put in many 
early hours during the multiple reloads and test sessions, with Bruce, Jim, 
and others advising. Thank you to all involved for your hard work.

After the conclusion that the spacecraft computer system was damaged and as 
discussions about decommissioning were taking place, Jim recalled a series 
of low level commands included in the spacecraft design by Tom Clark, K3IO 
during construction. One of these commands allows an uplink receiver to be 
directly tied to a downlink transmitter. The twist is that the uplink is 
regular FM but the downlink via the BPSK transmitter is DSB (Double 
Sideband). Mark placed the satellite in this mode early this week and some 
testing was undertaken. The satellite hears VERY well, and the reduced 
bandwidth by using either USB or LSB on the groundstation receiver allows 
for a very robust downlink. Tuning the downlink is just like on a linear 
transponder, meaning it is tight and with fast Doppler. Uplink tuning is not 
required, just as with the FM mode V/U satellites. QSOs were made between 
N8MH, WD4ASW, KO4MA, K5QXJ, and WA6FWF. My personal observations include 
being able to access and hear the satellite within one degree of the 
horizon, much lower than any other current bird for my QTH. This should be 
an easy satellite with omni antennas and a 70cm preamp.

With that explanation, I'm happy to open the satellite to general use on 
voice for a test period. Please submit reports either to the -bb or to 
ao16@amsat.org . The uplink is 145.920 FM, and the downlink is 437.026 SSB 
+/- Doppler shift. Please restrict your uplink power to a reasonable level, 
and do not transmit without being able to hear the downlink. All the general 
single-channel guidelines apply. Enjoy this bird's new life!

73, Drew KO4MA
AMSAT-NA VP Operations 

Sent via AMSAT-BB@amsat.org. Opinions expressed are those of the author.
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