AMSAT-NA AMSAT News Service

August 3, 1997

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DC Area AMSAT Meeting

All are invited to the Fall 1997 semiannual Local Maryland-DC Area AMSAT meeting and seminar. They are gathering on Sunday afternoon, November 2, at 1 o'clock in Greenbelt, Maryland in the beautiful Visitor Center auditorium at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

All topics relate to amateur radio, the amateur space program, and balloon and aerospace experiments. The format will be a combination of presentations and informal "show 'n' tell" demonstrations as well as a social period. The GSFC Visitor Center is open to the public on this meeting day between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Something for the whole family!

Informal talk-in on WA3NAN/R 146.835 MHz Greenbelt. The phone number at the VC is 301-286-8981. Free parking.

Members are invited to bring in a "show 'n' tell" item or project that you have been working on. Please contact me (WD8LAQ) in advance if you'd like to speak at the gathering.

Volunteers are sought to help:

  1. monitor the repeater for talk-in starting before 11 a.m.,
  2. set up the auditorium shortly after noon,
  3. act as a greeter at the door of the auditorium,
  4. bring beverages and/or munchies,
  5. act as a speaker timekeeper for the host,
  6. take notes and then mail a summary to amsat-dc@amsat.org within about a week or two, and
  7. act as our official photographer or videographer.

This meeting is open to all. Please spread the word. Check for the latest developments by browsing the "Local Maryland-DC Area AMSAT Web Page" at http://garc.gsfc.nasa.gov/~simsat/ssamsat.html

The gathering is scheduled to end at 4 p.m. In the past, the security folks have allowed us to drag out the ending until almost 5 p.m. but it is always variable. Someone may suggest a place to dine immediately afterwards for those who wish to participate.

[ANS thanks Pat Kilroy, WD8LAQ, AMSAT Area Coordinator Maryland-DC area for this news.]

ARRL National Convention

The ARRL National Convention was held August 1st through 3rd in Jacksonville, FL. AMSAT had a major presence under the able leadership of Barry Baines WD4ASW. A Beginner's Satellite Forum were among the several satellite-related events. The Saturday evening Convention Banquet featured two after-dinner presentations. In one, WD4ASW talked about the Amateur Satellite Program, including P3D. There was also a talk on the VK0IR Heard Island DXpedition.

Plans were also underway for Gerald Schmitt KK5YY to demonstrate amateur satellite communication by working AO-27 during the course of the Convention, using just his HT with amplified speaker and an Arrow Antenna.

[ANS thanks Barry Baines, WD4ASW, VP-Field Ops AMSAT-NA for this update.]

Mir Staff Change

NASA announced this week that Astronaut Wendy Lawrence (Cmdr, USN) has been replaced by her backup, Dr. David Wolf, for the next long duration stay on the Russian Mir space station. The change will enable Wolf to act as a backup crew member for spacewalks planned over the next several months to repair the damaged Spektr module on the Russian outpost.

They stated that reason for the change is that Lawrence does not fit in the Orlan suit which Russian cosmonauts use for spacewalk tasks and never undergone spacewalk training. It was stated that Wolf does fit in the Orlan suit. Lawrence will continue training in the backup role according to normal procedures, in the unlikely event that she is needed.

To enable Wolf to complete spacewalk training at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center outside Moscow, the launch of Atlantis on the next Shuttle-Mir docking mission, STS-86 in September, could be delayed approximately 10 days. Wolf had been scheduled for launch in January on STS-89 as the prime crew member for the final long duration increment on Mir.

NASA will be conducting their normal safety reviews in preparation for the transfer of a U.S. astronaut to Mir as was done before the last shuttle docking mission. This review will include an evaluation of all the events that have occurred aboard Mir since the last docking mission. That final determination is expected at the conclusion of the formal U.S. review process at the shuttle program Flight Readiness Review in September.

NASA and Russian space officials have discussed a variety of options for backup spacewalk capability since the Spektr module was damaged in the collision of a Progress resupply craft on June 25. It was jointly agreed by both sides that it would be mutually beneficial to have all three crew members on Mir qualified for spacewalks in the event additional assistance is needed from the U.S. astronaut on the station.

"The Russians usually only fly two people trained for spacewalks," said Frank Culbertson, Manager of the Shuttle-Mir Phase One program. "Because of the number and the nature of spacewalks under consideration by the Russians to repair the Spektr, we have discussed at length the advantage of having another astronaut qualified for those tasks."

Culbertson added, "The fact that Wendy does not fit in an Orlan suit is not unusual. When first selected to fly on the Mir, it was absolutely normal that she would not be considered to be a spacewalk qualified crew member. Only because of subsequent events have requirements on board the Mir changed. As a result, the joint decision was made to have all three crew members on board qualified to handle spacewalking tasks."

Lawrence was informed of the decision by Culbertson, who is in Russia for meetings with Russian space officials.

Because of her knowledge and experience with Mir systems and with crew transfer logistics for Mir, NASA will fly Lawrence on STS-86 in September which will deliver Wolf to the Russian station. Wolf is fully trained on both Mir and Soyuz capsule systems.

[ANS thanks NASA and Philip Chien, KC4YER, for this bulletin.]

IPS Documentation Available

James R Miller , G3RUH has received many requests for further practical information about the operating system IPS (Interpreter for Process Structures) as used in the flight computer of the forthcoming P3D spacecraft, and which flew in P3A, Oscar-10 and Oscar-13. To satisfy this demand, Miller has placed a number of documents in a ZIP file at:

http://www.jrmiller.demon.co.uk/IPS/ipsdoc.zip (51K)

This zip contains a dozen useful files, including a full IPS source, IPS Language Reference Manual as well as known errata in the IPS book.

This information, together with the book "IPS - High Level Programming of Small Systems" by Karl Meinzer (1978), ISBN 0-9530507-0-X is enough to enable anyone to create an IPS operating system for their favorite platform.

[ANS thanks James R Miller, G3RUH, for this information.]

AO-27 Hardware and Use

Michael Wyrick, N4USI, AO-27 Control Operator answers the following questions regarding operation of AO-27:

When can AO-27 operate?

The satellite contains batteries and solar panels and it could run the transmitters during ANY portion of a pass. Due to power budget limits, the AO-27 transmitter can not run all the time. If it did, the batteries would run down in a week's time. Therefore the AO-27 TX is on only for 17 minutes a pass. This is a difference in the Amateur and Commercial sides. The Eyesat-1 commercial transmitter could be left on all the time at different power levels.

What hardware is on-board?

The satellite contains 3 transmitters and 7 receivers. It also has 5 FSK demodulators, 2 GMSK demodulators, 2 GMSK modulators, 1 G3RUH modulator, 1 AFSK modulator and 3 analog modulators for sending received analog to any of the 3 transmitters. There is no DSP on-board.

What are the differences between the Amateur and Commercial sides of the satellite?

For all practical purposes any RX can be switched to any demodulator and any TX can be switched to any modulator. AO-27 and Eyesat-1 can both be used to send packet (any of the modulations the modems support) and voice. There is no real difference from the Amateur AO-27 side and the Commercial Eyesat-1 side as far as modems are concerned. Both AO-27 and Eyesat-1 can run the AO-16 microsat style software and can be used as a digital store-and-forward satellite. The Commercial TXs have 16 power levels and the Amateur TX has only 4 levels.

What can the analog mode do?

The Analog mode simply hooks the discriminator of the receiver to the varactor of the transmitter. Tests before launch showed about 30 kHz can be passed through in this mode. If you can fit it into 30 kHz (well almost) you can send it through AO-27. Slow-scan TV, 1200 baud GMSK, 1200 AFSK, let's not forget voice, DOVE (DO-17) telemetry and a host of other modes have been sent through AO-27 in analog mode.

What should we be sending through AO-27?

AO-27 in analog mode is not a very good way to send packet. There are enough packet satellites out there that do a better job. Voice is the preferred use as it reaches the most people. But from time to time, other modes should not be ruled out. The slow-scan TV worked very well, and I for one like to see new ways to use the satellite that we did not think of when we built it.

So if we should not use packet, who is sending packet to AO-27?

1) The uplink 145.850 is very close to other satellite uplinks. LO-19 has uplinks at 840 and 860 that pass through the analog passband. When LO-19 is in the sky at the same time AO-27 is, you can hear uplinks from ground stations.

2) There is a ground-based packet station that don't pay attention to band plans, it comes up on the analog passband. (you can decode some packets with a TNC to see who).

What can we do?

Just enjoy the satellite when you can. Most people enjoy making contacts and don't worry about the interference picked up by the receivers. If we had built deaf receivers so only 5 kW EIRP could make it into the satellite, there would be far less contacts from low power stations and many of you would never have known that AO-27 was available.

If you do happen to decode a packet callsign, just drop them a nice note. I have called several stations that were using packet and some that were using simplex voice that never knew they were operating on a satellite frequency. If you demand they move, you might be surprised just how strong their signal becomes in the following weeks.

[ANS thanks Michael Wyrick, N4USI, AO-27 Control Operator for this news.]

K2BSA Mir Contact

K2BSA, the official callsign of the Boy Scouts of America used at the National Boy Scout Jamboree in Fort A.P. Hill Virginia, has for the last week been contacting amateurs on all frequencies including satellites RS-12, FO-20, and FO-29. Over 30,000 scouts are attending the Jamboree and many of those have been introduced to amateur radio, earned their Radio Merit Badge, or have passed their amateur exams.

Of particular interest was the contact arranged with Mike Foale, KB5UAC, aboard the Mir space station on the morning of August 1st. Over 200 scouts, some hiking for more than an hour from their campsites, came to the K2BSA demonstration station at 4:30 am EST to witness the contact.

Mike was able to talk to 10 scouts during the Mir pass. He also had a conversation in Russian with one of the visiting scouts from Siberia.

During the contact, Mike made note that this was the first time that he was able to make a group contact and that this was the first time that the Moscow ground station could simultaneously listen to the contact. Mike also mentioned that he was involved with scouting in Germany at one time. This was the first ever amateur contact between Scouts at a National Boy Scout Jamboree and a Scout in orbit.

Scouts were amazed at the strong signals and that Mir could be viewed with the naked eye. A staff member overheard one of the scouts commenting after the Mir contact, "this kind of makes you want to look up in the sky more often..."

Thanks to Dave Larsen, N6CO, president of the MIREX team, for arranging the Mir QSO. This contact has made a significant impact on the scouts that is sure to be felt around the country as the scouts return to their hometowns on August 7.

[ANS thanks Chris Anderson, NK8W and Jim Ingle, N4PBX, for this item.]

Weekly Satellite Report

Mir . SAFEX . RS-10 . RS-12 . RS-15 . RS-16 . FO-20 . KO-23 . KO-25 . AO-27 . FO-29 . AO-10 . UO-11 . AO-16 . DO-17 . WO-18 . LO-19 . UO-22 . IO-26

Mir

Mike Foale, KB5UAC, has been active on amateur radio.

Frequencies with activity have been 145.985 MHz and the 145.200/800 MHz split.

Stat : PR
Posted : 07/28/97 23:19
To : ALL
From : R0MIR
Subject: MIR status
TNC froze again, this time the PMS. Waiting for a replacement with MIR
24, Anatoli and Pavel, docking on 7th. Crew is preparing for their
arrival, getting Progress loaded with trash, to be undocked before next
crew. Greenhousing, but not yet showing cotyledons. Mike.

[ANS thanks Claudio Ariotti, IK1SLD, for this report.]

SAFEX, Mir 70cm Repeater

(Uplink 435.750 MHz FM, Downlink 437.950 MHz FM, Subaudible tone 141.3 Hz)

Not operational at this time.

RS-10

(Uplink 145.865-145.905 MHz CW/SSB, Downlink 29.36-29.4 MHz CW/SSB)

RS-10 still silent.

RS-12

(Uplink 21.21-21.25 MHz CW/SSB, Downlink 29.41-29.45 MHz or 145.91-145.95 Mhz CW/SSB)

Operational.

The passes will remain somewhat inconvenient through July for those of us with day jobs, occurring in the late morning and the very late evening as they do. August will result in more convenient times during the weekdays."

[ANS thanks Dick Montgomery, N3DV, for this update.]

RS-15

(Uplink 145.858-145.898 MHz CW/SSB, Downlink 29.354-29.394 MHz CW/SSB)

WT0N reports that downlink signals are still weak from RS-15, but the bird is still workable.

(Hint: If SSB doesn't work for you, try CW. CW is very easy to hear on the downlink!)

RS-16

At 1605Z on July 24, 1997, RS-16 had both 70cm beacons on. The 504 beacon was downlinking its normal telem data at a +10 signal level. The upper beacon was only S2. No ten meter beacon and no transponder.

[ANS thanks Bennie Hall, WY4D, for this report.]

RS-16 CW Telemetry
P PSU voltage V x0.1  
O Solar panel voltage V x0.1  
N Solar panel current mA    
M TX 29 MHz Output Power mW x10 Valid in FM mode only
L TX 29 MHz current mA   Valid in FM mode only
K TX 29 MHz voltage V   7V nominal
J TX 435 MHz Output Power mW x10 Valid in FM mode only
I TX 435 MHz current mA   Valid in FM mode only
H TX 435 MHz voltage V x0.1  
G U of the transponder V x0.1  
F U of stabilizer V x0.1  
E Temperature of the charger C deg    
D Temperature TX 29 MHz C deg    
C Temperature TX 435 MHz C deg    
B Temperature RX 145 MHz C deg    
A Temperature of the stabilizer C deg    

Transponder information on RS-16:

Uplink = 145.915 - 145.948 MHz
Downlink = 29.415 - 29.448 MHz
Beacons = 29.408 , 29.451 MHz
Pwr 29 MHz Down = 1.2 W / 4 W

Beacon 1 = 435.504 MHz
Beacon 2 = 435.548 MHz
Pwr 435 MHz Beacons = 1.6 W

FO-20

(Uplink 145.9-146.0 MHz CW/LSB, Downlink 435.8-435.9 MHz CW/USB)

Operational. FO-20 in mode JA continuously.

[ANS thanks Kazu Sakamoto, JJ1WTK, for this report.]

KO-23

(Uplink 145.85, 145.9 MHz FM, Downlink 435.175 MHz FM, 9600 Baud FSK.)

KO-23 operating normally.

KO-25

(Uplink 145.980 MHz FM, Downlink 436.5 MHz FM, 9600 Baud FSK.)

KO-25 operating normally.

[ANS thanks Jim Weisenberger, AA7KC, for his reports on KO-25 and KO-23.]

AO-27

(Uplink 145.85 MHz FM, Downlink: 436.792 MHz FM (As of April 1, 1997) )

Operating normally.

This information can be found at www.umbra.com.

AO-27 TEPR (Timed Eclipse Power Regulation) States are as follows as of July 6, 1997

TEPR State Time TX Status
1 N/A Off
2 N/A Off
3 --- Off
4 21 Off
5 17 On at Medium Power
6 --- Off

The TEPR States are defined as follows:

Tepr 1 Started when the satellite Enters the Eclipse
Tepr 2 Started at (tepr 1 time) after the satellite enters the eclipse
Tepr 3 Started at (tepr 1 time) + (tepr 2 time) ...
Tepr 4 Started when the satellite enters the Sun
Tepr 5 Started at (tepr 4 time) after the satellite enters the Sun
Tepr 6 Started at (tepr 4) + (tepr 5) ...

You should note that TEPR states 1, 2 and 3 happen during the Night Time passes and TEPR states 4, 5 and 6 happen during the Day time passes. These occur during EVERY pass, not just over the U.S.A.

The times assigned to the TEPR states are chosen for the health of the satellite over operation convenience. Therefore, during parts of the year the satellite will turn on late or turn off early as seen by ground stations.

Users are reminded that as an FM-mode repeater, AO-27 is subject to FM "capture effect" and can only transmit one signal at a time. Users are asked to cooperate, keep calls short, give breaks so as many stations as possible can work a pass, and above all, listen before and while transmitting. The satellite has a very sensitive receiver, and stations running approximately 25 watts power to moderate-gain omnidirectional antenna can get a good uplink signal into the satellite. A sensitive UHF FM receiver with a preamplifier and an omnidirectional antenna can receive AO-27's downlink with some fading; moderate-gain directional arrays should provide a solid receive signal. Remember to correct for the +/- 9 kHz of Doppler shift on the 436 MHz downlink signal during a pass. No Doppler correction is needed for the 145.850 MHz uplink signal.

Users are asked not to transmit on 145.85 MHz if they do not hear the satellite's downlink so as to avoid possible interference to other satellite uplinks and downlinks on adjacent frequencies.

[ANS thanks Michael Wyrick, N4USI, AO-27 Control-op, for this update.]

FO-29

Voice/CW

(Uplink 145.9-146.0 MHz CW/LSB, Downlink 435.8-435.9 MHz CW/USB)

Digital

(Uplink 145.85, 145.87, 145.910 MHz FM, Downlink 435.910 MHz FM 9600 baud BPSK)

Operational.

The latest FO-29 Schedule is as follows:

FO-29 Schedule 1997
Aug 1 Fri 08:17 UTC JD 1200
Aug 8 Fri 00:30 UTC JD 9600
Aug 15 Fri 01:08 UTC JA  
Aug 22 Fri 08:26 UTC JD 1200
Aug 29 Fri 00:40 UTC JD 9600
Sep 5 Fri 01:18 UTC JA  
Sep 12 Fri 00:13 UTC JD 1200
Sep 19 Fri 00:51 UTC JD 9600
Sep 26 Fri 08:09 UTC JA  

[ANS thanks Kazu Sakamoto, JJ1WTK, for this report.]

AO-10

(Uplink 435.030-435.18 MHz CW/LSB, Downlink 145.975-145.825 MHz CW/USB)

Operational. Many stations from Japan heard and worked during the previous week. AO-10 still is in great shape.

[ANS thanks BJ Arts, WT0N, for this report.]

OSCAR-11

(Downlink 145.825 MHz FM, 1200 baud PSK. Beacon 2401.500 MHz.)

Operating normally.

An uneventful month for OSCAR-11. During the period 20-June to 17-July excellent signals have once again been received from the 145.826 MHz beacon. The improved signals may be partly due to increased power output resulting from lower beacon temperatures. In the UK the change to Summer time, and the lighter mornings make the early morning passes more socially acceptable. There is less electrical interference and splatter from mobile radios in the early mornings than in the afternoons.

The mode-S beacon has been heard by Dean, AL7CR in Anchorage, Alaska, and from Joe, K0VTY, located near Omaha, Nebraska. Joe used a 60 cm dish, Down East converter, into a Kenwood TR-781, with a Timewave DSP-9 filter. Telemetry nominal. The battery voltage generally around 14 volts. The internal temperatures reached minimum values (battery -0.4C telemetry electronics -1.6C), and have now started to rise. The minimum value of solar illumination was about 72% of full sunlight. Temperatures should now increase, as the solar illumination reaches a peak of about 97% in October.

Two WOD surveys of channels 10, 20, 30, 40 (+Y, -X, +X array currents, array voltage) dated 07-June, and 25 June respectively, have been transmitted.

A single AMSAT-UK bulletin by Richard G3RWL has been uploaded. This featured Sputnik-1 40th anniversary, Mir frequencies, and RS-10 news. Bulletins always include current Keplerian elements for OSCAR-11, and often Keps for satellites featured in the bulletin.

Richard always welcomes short news items for inclusion in the OSCAR-11 bulletin. His e-mail address is g3rwl@amsat.org.

The operating schedule is unchanged.

Transmission Duration
ASCII status 210 seconds
ASCII bulletin 60 seconds
Binary SEU 30 seconds
ASCII TLM 90 seconds
ASCII WOD 120 seconds
ASCII bulletin 60 seconds
Binary Eng 30 seconds

There are also additional status blocks after each bulletin is transmitted, and between ASCII TLM and WOD.

The mode-S beacon is ON, transmitting an unmodulated carrier, but telemetry indicates that it has partially failed, and delivering half power. Any reports of reception on 2401 MHz. would be most welcome. Please e-mail g3cwv@amsat.org.

The 435.025 MHz beacon is normally OFF. However it can sometimes be heard when the satellite is being commanded by ground control, i.e. within range of Guildford, UK. When the 435 beacon is transmitting, the 145 beacon is normally off. The data transmitted is mainly binary.

OSCAR-11 users are welcome to visit Clive Wallis' web site. It contains some software for capturing data, and decoding ASCII telemetry and WOD. There is an archive of raw data (mainly WOD) for analysis, which is continually being expanded, as new data is captured. The URL is http://www.users.zetnet.co.uk/clivew/.

[ANS thanks Clive Wallis, G3CWV, for this information.]

AMSAT-OSCAR-16 (PACSAT)

(Uplink 145.9, 145.92, 145.94, 145.86 MHz FM, 1200 bps Manchester FSK; Downlink 437.0513 MHz SSB, 1200 bps RC-BPSK 1200 Baud PSK. Beacon 2401.1428 MHz.)

Operating normally.

Uptime is 1048/17:26:36.  Time is Fri Aug 01 22:52:18 1997
TX:010B BCR:76 PWRC:59E BT:3C WC:25 EDAC:CD

Graphic information about WOD/Telemetry values can be found at http://www.arrakis.es/~ea1bcu/wod.htm

[ANS thanks Miguel A. Menendez, EA1BCU, for this report.]

DO-17(DOVE)

(Downlink 145.825 MHz FM, 1200 Baud AFSK. Beacon 2401.220 MHz)

The DOVE S-band signal is 1200 PSK with no carrier suppression. The modulation is about 20 dB below the carrier. You should hear what sounds like a carrier with lots of Doppler. If you receive equipment is working well you will hear the 'buzz' from the flags and an occasional change in the sound of that modulation as a telemetry beacon is sent. If it's working really well and you run the received audio through a PSK demod then a tracking notch filter (DSP) you will clearly hear the flags and modulation. In the northern hemisphere there will be deep fades about every 30 seconds due to the rotation of the satellite. In the southern hemisphere there will probably be some fades but not nearly as deep because the antenna points down when below the equator.

[ANS thanks Jim White, WD0E, for this report.]

WEBERSAT (WO-18)

(Downlink 437.104 MHz SSB, 1200 Baud PSK AX.25)

No report available.

LUSAT-OSCAR-19

(Uplink 145.84, 145.86, 145.88, 145.9 MHz 1200 bps Manchester FSK; Downlink 437.125 MHz SSB, 1200 bps RC-BPSK.)

Operating normally.

Uptime is 773/08:58:23.  Time is Fri Aug 01 23:03:33 1997
RC PSK TX Out    0.520 W
Total Array C=0.473 Bat Ch Cur=0.227 Ifb=0.008 I+10V=0.106
TX:010 BCR:30 PWRC:313A31 BT:35 WC:37

Add 6.83 minutes to the clock of the satellite.

Graphic and general information about Telemetry values can be found at: http://www.arrakis.es/~ea1bcu/lo19.htm.

[ANS thanks Miguel A. Menendez, EA1BCU, for this report.]

UO-22

(Uplink 145.9 or 145.975 MHz FM; Downlink 435.120 MHz FM 9600 Baud FSK.)

UO-22 is operating normally. The Earth Imaging System (EIS) is being scheduled to take images 2 or 3 times per week.

[ANS thanks Chris Jackson, G7UPN / ZL2TPO, Groundstation and Operations Manager, for this report.]

IO-26 (ITAMSAT)

(Uplink 145.875, 145.9, 145.925, 145.95 MHz FM, Downlink 435.822 MHz SSB, 1200 Baud PSK.)

The satellite is in good shape.

Daniele Piercarlo, IK2XRO, will try to reload the BBS soon.

[ANS thanks Daniele Piercarlo, IK2XRO, ITMSAT Command Station for this report.]

[Please send your Satellite or News reports to ANS Editor B.J. Arts, WT0N, via e-mail, at bjarts@the-bridge.net or to wt0n@amsat.org]

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This week's AMSAT News Service bulletins were edited by B.J. Arts, WT0N, wt0n@amsat.org.

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