AMSAT-NA AMSAT News Service

December 28, 1997

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Happy New Year

From the staff at the Amsat News Service and the folks at AMSAT-NA, we all wish you a very happy and prosperous 1998.

[ANS thanks Bill Tynan, W3XO, President AMSAT-NA and BJ Arts, WT0N, Amsat News Service editor for this announcement.]

SKN Reminder

Amateur radio operators worldwide are cordially invited to join in the 26th annual Straight Key Night on OSCAR, sponsored by AMSAT-NA for ham radio satellite enthusiasts.

According to Ray Soifer, W2RS, it's entirely unofficial with no rules, no scoring and no need to send in a log. Just call CQ SKN in the CW passband segment of any OSCAR satellite from 0000 to 2359 UTC on January 1, 1998, or answer a CQ SKN call from another station. OSCAR Zero (EME) contacts count too.

Of course, all SKN operating must be done with a straight hand key. Those participating are encouraged to nominate someone they worked for recognition as having the "best fist." To send in a "best fist" nomination, please send it to:

e-mail - w2rs@amsat.org

packet radio - W2RS @ WA2SNA or W2RS @ GB7HSN

Regular mail can also be sent to the W2RS callbook address. Those nominated will be featured in a bulletin sent to many of the amateur radio publications and posted via ANS, packet radio and the Internet in early February.

[ANS thanks Ray Soifer, W2RS, for this information]

AMSAT-UK News

Amsat-UK has informed the ANS that RJC Broadbent, G3AAJ, will retire from the position of Amsat-UK Secretary as of 31st December; he continues as a member of the Amsat-UK Committee (BoD) as representative to various worthy bodies such as IARU, ISS etc.

The demanding task of Honorary Secretary has been taken on by Fred Southwell, G6ZRU, (g6zru@amsat.org). And Fred's beautiful XYL, Jenny, G1LIT, has taken the position of Honorary Treasurer.

Consequently the telephone and fax numbers are changing. AMSAT-UK's telephone number changes to +44 1273 495733 and Fax to +44 1273 492927.

Other changes to the Amsat-UK Committee can be found in the most recent issue of Oscar News which members should have received before Christmas. In particular, folks renewing their annual donation should note that it should now be sent to Fred's address (or rather Jenny's - which is the same):

  F S Southwell G6ZRU
  40 Downsview
  Smalldole
  Henfield
  West Sussex BN5 9YB
  United Kingdom

An announcement by G2UK in Oscar News (No 20) of January 1978 hailed G3AAJ's arrival as Amsat-UK's first Secretary; the grapevine said he "did things to light-houses" for a living.

The very next edition of Oscar News saw Ron taking us to task for various matters; let it never be said that he doesn't start out as he means to carry on.

That edition also announced that Amsat-UK's minimum donation would be three pounds for the ensuing year. It is no small tribute to Ron that now, twenty years on, the amount has only risen by a small amount (to fourteen pounds); his ability to extract money for the amateur satellite program from all and sundry has been nothing short of phenomenal.

Ron's efforts over the years led to him receiving the MBE three years ago; everyone is agreed that the award was well earned but, to Ron, someone saying "thanks for your hard work" and buying him a beer is appreciated almost as much.

[ANS thanks Richard W L Limebear, G3RWL, for this news.]

Online QSL Controversy

Goran Fagerstrom, SM0DRD, informed the Amsat News Service that in ANS Bulletin 355.06 (December 21), which included an item on the DXCC admissibility of online QSLs from their Cuban expedition (using the call T49C on satellite), citing that 'they were easy to modify'. The issue is not new, it was discussed over several reflectors and in email to them since they started their QSL Server at SK0UX this summer. For those unfamiliar with the concept, it means that you may search for your QSOs on the Internet and then download your QSL as a file for printing on your local printer, thus bypassing SASEs, IRCs, green stamps and saving a lot of work, money, and speed.

The T49C team has consciously chosen the present technical solution instead of including 'unbreakable electronic seals', like check-sums, in the file representing the QSL which you may download and print. Some people have suggested such solutions to detect modification, but at present the T49C team feels they are overkill. The key idea is that any awards committee can verify a QSO *at any time* by looking up the QSO again. So this concept in fact offers *greater* proof against tampering than traditional QSLs, which hams have been known to falsify (isn't that amazing). They have emphasized this to the DXCC Advisory Committee in positive discussions.

Many hams have said that making cards available via the Internet is 'an idea long overdue' with huge potential gains. One U.S. ham has already received our source code and has set up a QSLs Online Server of his own.

Feel free to explore the concept at http://ham.te.hik.se/clubs/sk0ux (go to the 'QSLs Online by SK0UX' page and to the Cuba page)! Comments are very welcome (to goran@tjansteforbundet.se) and they feel that there is a lot to be gained by continuing the already ongoing collective brain-storming. Their implementation is not cast in stone.

Stay tuned to ANS for further information about this controversy.

[ANS thanks Goran Fagerstrom, SM0DRD, for this information.]

VHF Conference

The second annual Southeastern VHF Society Technical Conference will be held Friday and Saturday, April 3 and 4, 1998 in Atlanta, Georgia!

The dates and location of our inaugural Conference proved to be so popular that we are staying with the same weekend and location in 1998 - the Atlanta Marriott Northwest located between Atlanta and Marietta. A special Conference room rate of $69 per night plus tax is available to attendees. Fore reservations, please call the Marriott at 1-800-228-9290.

SVHFS Award: The Southeastern VHF Society will present the SVHFS Award annually in recognition of exceptional contributions and service to the Society or the VHF/UHF community in general. Presentation of the first SVHFS Award will take place at the Saturday evening banquet. For more information on the SVHFS Award, please contact Steve Adams, K4RF (ex-WS4F), SVHFS President at stevews4f@aol.com.

Call for Papers

Program Chairman Bob Lear, K4SZ, has issued a call for papers. If you are interested in making a technical presentation or having a paper published in the Proceedings, please contact Bob at:

  Bob Lear, K4SZ
  P. O. Box 1269
  Dahlonega, GA. 30533
  USA

Phone: +1 (706) 864-6229
k4sz@stc.net

Antenna Measurements

Antennas will be measured Friday, April 3rd starting with 144 MHz and working up in frequency - amateur bands only, please! A maximum of two antennas per band per individual may be tested. Please supply a female N connector or SO-239. Please indicate the antennas you will be bringing on your registration form. Walk-ups will be tested as time and space permit, so please pre-register! For more information, or if you would like to test a commercial antenna, please contact Antenna measurements Chairman Dale baldwin, WB0QGH, at wb0qgh@mindspring.com.

Noise Figure Testing

Noise figure testing will be conducted on Saturday, April 4th. Attendees will be assigned a time for testing based on receipt of their Conference registration form. For more information, contact Noise Figure Measurements Co-Chairmen Charles Osborne, WD4MBK, at cosborne@pipeline.com or Fred Runkle, K4KAZ, at engineer@rightmove.com.

In addition to technical presentations, antenna measurements and noise figure testing, activities will include:

Please make plans now to attend this fun event! We are determined to make our second Conference even better than our first - with your help! Register before March 14, 1998 and receive a discount!

For more information on the Southeastern VHF Society or our 1998 Conference, please visit our web site at http://www.akorn.net/~ae6e/svhfs.

[ANS thanks Tad Danley, K3TD, for the news about the conference.]

New Year's Software Tip

Richard W L Limebear G3RWL, gives ANS this software tip for 1998. When the new year starts, so do the day-numbers in the keplers; and some old tracking software refuses to cross between the years. A tactic to use in this instance, until 1998 keplers arrive, is to deceive the software by giving it a 1997 date; i.e. 2 January is 33 December etc.

Another problem comes in some software when the epoch in the keplers contains spaces, i.e. "1998__4.xxxxx"; the tactic here is to edit the kepler file before feeding it into the program so that the spaces are replaced by zeros -- extra zeroes do *not* affect the checksum of 2-line elements.

Some amateurs still use "old" tracking software which requires a sidereal time offset and it is necessary to update it at the beginning of each year. The number for 1997 was 0.27693880 and the number for 1998 is 0.27627570.

Of course, it would be better to buy new tracking software from your local Amsat organization; all recent software calculates sidereal time routinely.

[ANS thanks Richard W L Limebear G3RWL, for this software tip.]

Weekly Satellite Report

Mir . SAFEX . RS-12 . RS-15 . RS-16 . RS-17 . 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

(Uplink 437.850 MHz FM, Downlink 145.800 MHz FM)

MIREX chief Dave Larsen, N6CO, reports that an announced crossband "experiment" has been abandoned for now because of problems with the antenna on Mir. The crossband test was to have begun December 1 and was to have involved a 70 cm uplink and a 2-meter downlink. US astronaut Dave Wolf, KC5VPF, has been on 145.985 MHz FM simplex from the Russian space station, but only sporadically.

A space walk at the end of December will check and -- if necessary -- repair the 2-meter/70-cm antenna that might have been damaged during a space walk in November. The Kenwood TM-733 aboard Mir has been connected to the spacecraft's SAFEX repeater antenna.

The Russian MAREX team and North American based MIREX team are aware of the problem with the new TNC on Mir. They know exactly what the problem is, they just need to wait for the crew to have time to make the adjustments. Mirex has had detailed discussions with MAREX on which settings need to be changed to restore full operations. The MIREX team was informed that the crew was very busy and it may take a few days for them to make the changes. When they do have time, they will make the adjustments. So, everyone is asked to be patient in the meantime.

[ANS thanks the ARRL and MIREX team for this information]

SAFEX, Mir 70cm Repeater

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

The SAFEX activity very intermittent.

[ANS thanks the MIREX team for this information]

RS-12

(Uplink 145.91-145.95 MHz CW/SSB, Downlink 29.41-29.45 MHz)

Operational, now in mode A.

RS-15

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

Operational.

RS-16

At this time, only the beacons are on.

Transponder information:

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

RS-17

(Beacon 145.820 MHz FM)

Operational.

12/28/97 20:46 UTC
1360 Hz => 49.5C => 121F

[ANS thanks Glenn Bock for this report.]

New Sputnik-40 QSL Address

QSL Information for SWL (Short Wave Listener)

  Sergey Samburov (RV3DR)
  P.O. Box 73
  Korolev-10 City
  141070, Russia

[ANS thanks the MIREX team for this information]

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.

FO-20, like many LEO's is in a "sun synchronous" orbit. The precession in the RAAN of its orbit due to the earth's oblateness matches the earth's rotation around the sun so that FO-20 always has about 33 minutes of eclipse time each orbit and the rest in sunshine. A sun synchronous orbit is a retrograde LEO polar orbit with an inclination of about 98 degrees. At this inclination RAAN precession = 360 degrees in 365 days. The stability in temperature and solar energy is, needless to say, very helpful. The ratio of eclipse to sunlight can be adjusted by varying initial orbital elements. FO-29, for example, is virtually always in sunlight, UO-11 has about 22 minutes of eclipse, most seem to run about 33 minutes eclipse per orbit.

This also means that FO-20 (and other sun synchronous sats) appear at your location at about the same "sun time" every day. At my QTH FO-20 goes over about 1:30 PM and 3:30 PM every day. UO-11, AO-16, DO-17, WO-18, LO-19, UO-22, KO-25, AO-27, FO-29 etc are also in sun synchronous orbits. KO-23, RS-12/13, RS-15, though in highly inclined orbits, are not sun synchronous.

[ANS thanks Stacey Mills, W4SM, and 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.

[ANS thanks Jim Weisenberger, AA7KC, for this report]

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 this report]

AO-27

(Uplink 145.85 MHz FM, Downlink: 436.792 MHz FM)

Operational.

[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..

FO-29 Schedule 1997/1998
Dec 26 Fri 07:42 UTC JA  
Jan 9 Fri 07:14 UTC JD 1200
Jan 16 Fri 07:52 UTC JD 9600
Jan 23 Fri 08:30 UTC JA  
Jan 30 Fri 07:24 UTC JD 1200

[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.

Mark Fossum, N0NSV, reports he just completed a QSO with VE7LKA at 0652z 12/27/97. AO-10 was at a range of 37,981 from his location in Rugby ND (DN98). AO-10 is still doing the job!

[ANS thanks Mark Fossum, N0NSV, for this update on AO-10.]

OSCAR-11

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

Operating normally.

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. This beacon is a useful test source for those testing mode-S converters, prior to the launch of P3-D. It is considerably weaker than DOVE, which should be used for initial testing. Any reports of reception on 2401 MHz would be most welcome. Please e-mail reception reports to 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, Surrey, 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 the G3CWV 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.

State of the batteries at the end of a nocturnal orbit:

uptime is 1196/17:02:06. Time is Sat Dec 27 22:30:54 1997
Bat 1 V= 1.252 V Bat 2 V= 1.248 V
Bat 3 V= 1.254 V Bat 4 V= 1.257 V 
Bat 5 V= 1.250 V Bat 6 V= 1.248 V 
Bat 7 V= 1.253 V Bat 8 V= 1.279 V
Bat 1 Temp 6.654 D
Bat 2 Temp 6.654 D

Total Array C= 0.000 Bat Ch Cur=-0.458 Ifb= 0.182 I+10V= 0.299
TX:010C BCR:1E PWRC:59F BT: A WC:25 EDAC: C

Information about telemetry values and WOD files 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 beacon is on. The frequency is 2401.220 MHz. The 2 meter transmitter is also on, 145.825 MHz. Telemetry is being sent about every 30 seconds.

A scanned image of the Dove's QSL at 425DXNews Web Site:

http://www-dx.deis.unibo.it/htdx/

[ANS thanks Jim White, WD0E, for this update]

WEBERSAT (WO-18)

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

Bob Argyle, KB7KCL reports that WEBERSAT-OSCAR-18 is gathering and sending Whole Orbit Data. The PHOTO task is being uploaded and the command team hopes to have pictures and spectra by about the 12th of December. WO-18's return to service is suspected to be seasonal in nature. Bob sends thanks to all those who have sent telemetry received from WO-18.

[ANS thanks Bob Argyle, KB7KCL, and SpaceNews for this update.]

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.

State of the batteries at the end of a nocturnal orbit:

uptime is 921/08:02:34. Time is Sat Dec 27 22:07:44 1997
Bat 1 V= 1.306 V Bat 2 V= 1.302 V
Bat 3 V= 1.316 V Bat 4 V= 1.308 V 
Bat 5 V= 1.316 V Bat 6 V= 1.310 V 
Bat 7 V= 1.312 V Bat 8 V= 1.302 V
Bat 1 Temp 4.057 D
Bat 2 Temp 4.057 D

Total Array C= 0.008 Bat Ch Cur=-0.270 Ifb= 0.119 I+10V= 0.158
TX:109 BCR:38 PWRC:333A31 BT:34 WC:35

General information and telemetry samples 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.

Roy Welch, W0SL, and Jerry Smyth, N8ULU, have been helping out a ham, Ron Ross, KE6JAB, who has taken a trip to Antarctica. He is now active on UO-22 with his portable station. He plans on sending pictures when he can get his digital camera going. If Ron gets the camera going, you should be able to view at the following URL.

http://www.thistle.org

Chris Jackson, G7UPN / ZL2TPO, has reloaded the Store and Forward communications task on the UO-22 On-Board Computer. This task includes incremental checksums which should make uploading slightly faster.

[ANS thanks Chris Jackson, G7UPN / ZL2TPO, Groundstation and Operations Manager of UO-22, 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.)

No report at this time.

[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 AMSAT News Service Editor BJ Arts, WT0N, wt0n@amsat.org.

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