AMSAT-NA AMSAT News Service

March 1, 1998

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Mir School Contacts

It has been nearly a year since the last SAREX school group talked to an astronaut on the Mir Space Station. Since that time, the amateur radio community has witnessed first hand (through the Mir 2-way amateur radio link) several critical Mir events, including the collision between the 12 year old space station and the Progress resupply ship, and recovery operations by the various Mir crew members. Until recently, the crew aboard Mir had their full attention focused on recovery from the collision and restarting the scientific investigations that were abruptly stopped because of the accident.

Monday, February 23rd was a very special day as it marked a new era for Mir; the return of SAREX school group contacts. This past week, three schools across the United States, in California, Colorado and South Carolina, enjoyed successful two way amateur radio contacts with US Astronaut Andy Thomas, KD5CHF/VK5MIR, aboard the Mir space station.

On Monday, February 23, 1998 six youngsters from the Shell Beach Elementary School in Pismo Beach, California, made contact with Thomas aboard Mir. The students, in grades 1 through 6, were able to ask the astronaut a total of 10 questions during the approximately ten minute contact. Over 150 people attended the event including 75 students. When the radio contact was over, one of the students commented, "this was really cool ... a once in a lifetime experience."

The contact was made using the Houston, Texas, Telebridge station, W5RRR, with Matt Bordelon, KC5BTL, at the controls.

On Tuesday February 25th the Prairie Hills Elementary school located in Colorado Springs, Colorado, talked with Thomas as some 400 youngsters seated in the gym listened intently. According to Rob Roller, N7LV, who helped arrange the contact, the long wait to hear the space station was "definitely worth it," describing the contact as "quite a thrill! "

Roller said all the people in the gym were able to follow the track of the spacecraft on an overhead display as Thomas talked, first describing what he's doing on Mir, and then, several students were able to directly ask Thomas questions. His answers were broadcast over the school's PA system so that everyone could hear.

Following the contact, two speakers, Major Mike Caylor from the United States Air Force Academy and Eric Joern, an astronaut trainer, answered several more questions from the excited kids. Press coverage of this contact was extensive, with three major networks and several local newspapers in attendance.

The Space Amateur Radio EXperiment (SAREX) program had its third school group success on February 26th as the Buist Academy in Charleston, South Carolina enjoyed a very successful contact as well. A total of 12 questions were radioed to Thomas during the ten minute pass. This contact was made via the Adalaide, Australia Ground Station courtesy of Graham Ratcliff, VK5AGR. The students at Buist were very appreciative of Graham getting up in the middle of his night to support their Mir contact.

In addition to students and teachers, several members of the Charleston Amateur Radio Society followed the radio contact. The local Charleston media was represented by two local television stations and the Post Courier newspaper. The entire contact was also retransmitted live over the Charleston Amateur Radio Society 2 meter repeater.

The students at Buist were very excited about the contact and sent a huge "thank you" to Thomas that he may well have heard despite Mir being past Loss of Signal.

[ANS thanks the SAREX Working Group and Frank H. Bauer, KA3HDO, AMSAT VP for Manned Space Programs for this information]

Several Amateurs Work Thomas Aboard Mir

US Astronaut Andy Thomas, KD5CHF/VK5MIR, was not only busy talking with several schools, he also had time to QSO several earth bound amateurs as well. Mike Seguin, N1JEZ, reports he had the pleasure of briefly speaking with Thomas on February 15, 1998. Mike says Andy was using the RR0DL 70cm QSO frequencies. Allen Emer, N2YAC, also reports a QSO with Andy on the 70cm QSO channels. Both stations say that Andy seemed to be in very good spirits, is looking forward to more 'air time' in the near future, and that he enjoys ragchewing with earth bound hams. Tony Hutchison, VK5ZAI, tells ANS he had a six minute chat with Andy on February 22nd at 14:25 UTC. Unlike the American stations, Tony worked Thomas on the 2 meter Mir frequency of 145.985 MHz, also noting that Thomas was using his VK5MIR callsign.

Tony reports Andy informed him that things have now settled down and the Mir station is quite comfortable at the moment. Thomas also reports he has had some great views of Earth! VK5ZAI enjoyed his contact with Andy, mentioning the QSO was a bit special as Tony and Andy went to the same college.

Andy is settling in with his new Russian crewmates, Talgat Musabayev, RO3FT, and Nikolai Budarin, RV3FB (ex-RV3DB/R4MIR). Cosmonauts Anatoly Solovyov and Pavel Vinogradov along with French researcher Leopold Eyharts, have safely returned to Earth.

For those unfamiliar with the Mir QSO mode, MIREX lists the initial uplink frequency as 435.725 MHz, transmitted with a subaudible tone of 151.4 Hz, and the initial downlink frequency as 437.925 MHz, followed by Doppler correction. Earth bound amateur radio stations must correct for Doppler changes in order to communicate with Mir. N2YAC reports he programmed his radio in 10 memory channels with offsets for his QSO. N1JEZ concurs, reminding amateurs that frequencies are adjusted for Doppler exactly the same as when using the Mir UHF repeater.

[ANS thanks Mike Seguin, N1JEZ, Allen Emer, N2YAC, Tony Hutchison, VK5ZAI and MIREX for this information]

Crew Announced for STS-95 Flight

ANS was pleased to learn that a ham radio package will be aboard the STS-95 shuttle flight that will carry US Senator and astronaut John Glenn back into space this fall. Information from Matt Bordelon, KC5BTL, confirmed the SAREX payload would be aboard STS-95 as it flies in October carrying Glenn, the 77-year-old space pioneer who was the first US astronaut to orbit the Earth.

NASA also confirmed that two hams, astronaut Scott Parazynski, KC5RSY, and European Space Agency astronaut Pedro Duque, KC5RGG, of Spain, will be among the international crew aboard the STS-95 shuttle flight. Other members of the STS-95 crew will include Japanese astronaut and cardiologist Chiaki Mukai, and Americans Steve Lindsey and Steve Robinson. Commanding STS-95 will be shuttle veteran Curt Brown.

Senator Glenn who will be 77 years old when he goes into space again, has begun his astronaut training according to NASA. He has successfully completed extensive medical tests and recently spent time in a centrifuge, for the first time in decades.

[ANS thanks NASA , the ARRL and Matt Bordelon, KC5BTL, for this information]

G3AAJ Receives RSGB Honor

Ron Broadbent, G3AAJ, was recently honored by the Radio Society of Great Britain (RSGB), when he was presented with the Louis Varney Cup. Varney's callsign, G5RV, will be familiar to many. The cup is a gift of the RSGB's VHF Committee and presented annually for "advances in space communication."

Broadbent received the award Sunday, February 22, 1998, presented to Ron by RSGB President Ian Kyle, GI8AYZ.

According to Richard Limebear, G3RWL, AMSAT-UK Communications Officer, "Broadbent's twenty years of service as Secretary of AMSAT-UK made him a fitting recipient of this honor, based on his tireless work for the good of amateur satellites and the amateur radio fraternity worldwide." G3AAJ retired from his AMSAT-UK position last December.

AMSAT France echoed the RSGB comments, adding a "most sincere congratulations to G3AAJ for this well deserved award."

Complete details of this award will be featured in an upcoming issue of The AMSAT Journal.

[ANS thanks AMSAT-UK Communications Officer Richard Limebear, G3RWL, AMSAT France, the RSGB and Ray Soifer, W2RS for this information]

P3D 90% Complete

The Phase 3D amateur radio satellite is nearing completion at the Integration Lab in Orlando, Florida. AMSAT officials remain optimistic that the Phase 3D payload can hitch a ride into space soon.

AMSAT-NA Vice president Keith Pugh, W5IU, recently visited the Orlando lab, and activated the 20 meter AMSAT net from his temporary location, giving many amateurs an up-to-the-minute report on the progress being made on the spacecraft. Also at the Lab was QST Managing Editor and satellite columnist Steve Ford, WB8IMY. He reports being impressed by the way the AMSAT Phase 3D team has managed to keep down costs by manufacturing many expensive-to-buy items themselves. "In the best ham tradition," Ford says, "they also 'shopped smart,' getting donated gear and components whenever possible or procuring components at bargain prices."

WB8IMY, W5IU and other presenters attracted nearly three dozen satellite enthusiasts to a workshop during the Orlando Hamcation the weekend of February 13 and 14th. The workshop attempted to show that satellites are not hard to work and that setting up a satellite station can be done inexpensively. Other presenters in the five-hour session included Barry Baines, WD4ASW, Steve Bible, N7HPR, and Dick Jansson, WD4FAB.

[ANS thanks AMSAT-NA and the ARRL for this information]

AMSAT Net Information Needed

Attention all AMSAT Net managers, Andrew Reynolds, WD9IYT and the AMSAT Journal are looking for you! Actually, they're looking for information on your net. The AMSAT Journal editorial staff is working with AMSAT-NA Vice President for Electronic Publishing, Paul Williamson, KB5MU, to put together an up-to-date list of all operational AMSAT Nets. The Journal is hoping to publish this list on a regular basis, so that all satellite operators will be aware of net activity in their area, as well as help keep the AMSAT Web page information current.

Please forward date, time and frequency information of your net operation to Andrew Reynolds, WD9IYT, at his e-mail address:

wd9iyt@amsat.org

[ANS thanks AMSAT Journal editorial staff member Andrew Reynolds, WD9IYT for this information]

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

(PMS 145.985 MHz FM, 1200 baud AFSK)

Operational. The new modem is a Kantronics KPC-9612 Plus, Revision 8.1. Please note the command set for this TNC is different than the previous Mir TNC. MIREX suggests a copy of the KPC-9612 manual may help in understanding the changes.

MIREX has created an Internet Web page containing information regarding Mir and the various ham radio experiments taking place from the space station. Please check out the pages for pending and proposed projects. URLs are:

http://www.ik1sld.org/mirex.htm
http://www.geocities.com/~ik1sld/mirex.htm

[ANS thanks the MIREX team for this information]

SAFEX, Mir 70cm Repeater

(Uplink 435.750 MHz FM, Downlink 437.950 MHz FM, Subaudible tone 141.3 Hz)
(QSO mode Uplink 435.725 MHz FM, Downlink 437.925 MHz FM, Subaudible tone 151.4 Hz)

Operational. The SAFEX II installation has been utilized recently in QSO mode.

RS-12

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

Operational, mode KA. The 15m ROBOT is operational.

RS-12 has been seeing recent heavy activity and good DX possibilities.

RS-15

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

Operational. CW appears to be the most successful mode on RS-15.

RS-16

At this time, only the beacons are operational.

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

Not Operational. RS-17 has been officially declared dead.

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 information]

KO-23

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

Operational. Jim, AA7KC, reports 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.)

Operational. Jim, AA7KC, reports 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. Widely used especially during weekend passes.

[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. Currently in mode JA. Kazu, JJ1WTK, reports an error has occurred in the digital operating platform and FO-29 has been returned to JA status for now. No operational schedule or status update has been listed on the JARL Web site for the satellite.

[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. Despite brief moments of deep QSB, AO-10's downlink signals have been excellent even at apogee. Activity on AO-10 has been increasing with many DX stations heard. NN0DJ recently worked DG4YFT, IK0WGF, F4APM, DC1JU, SM1LPU, JA3CG, VR2XRW and UA3PAB with good signals.

AO-10's apogee has continued to move into the northern hemisphere. Apogee will continue to rise higher to the north for the rest of 1998, peaking in December.

W4SM has updated his AO-10 web page, use the following URL:

http://www.cstone.net/~w4sm/AO-10.html

[ANS thanks Stacey Mills, W4SM, and Dan James, NN0DJ for this update]

OSCAR-11

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

Operational. During the period of January 14th, to February 16, 1998, Clive, G3CWV, reports good signals have been received from the 145.826 MHz beacon. Any reports of reception of the 2 meter beacon or on 2401 MHz should be sent to g3cwv@amsat.org.

The telemetry is nominal.

[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.)

Operational. The S band transmitter is off. The satellite is working normally, however, some depletion of battery levels has been noted.

Time is Fri Feb 27 23:57:46 1998  uptime is 1258/18:27:40.
+X (RX) Temp        -5.448  D   RX Temp  	    7.865 D
RC PSK BP Temp  -1.817  D   RC PSK HPA Tmp  -0.002 D  
+Y Array Temp    -21.180   D   PSK TX HPA Tmp  -3.027 D  
+Z Array Temp    -11.499   D  
RC PSK TX Out    0.798    W
+10V Bus              10.075   V    (*)value under minimal limit 

Total Array C= 0.000 Bat Ch Cur=-0.455 Ifb= 0.179 I+10V= 0.303
TX:010C BCR:1E PWRC:59F BT: A WC:25 EDAC:24

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)

Operational. The DOVE S band beacon is on. The 2 meter transmitter is on (145.825 MHz). Telemetry is being sent about every 30 seconds. A scanned image of Dove's QSL is available at the 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)

Not operational. WO-18 is in MBL mode after a recent software crash. Attempts are being made to find and correct the cause of the suspected seasonal crashes.

[ANS thanks the WO-18 Command Team for this news.]

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. The telemetry is nominal.

Time is Fri Feb 27 23:23:40 1998  uptime is 983/09:18:30
+X (RX) Temp        -9.405  D  RX Temp                 0.131 D
RC PSK BP Temp  -0.991  D  RC PSK HPA Tmp  -3.235 D  
+Y Array Temp    -18.940   D  PSK TX HPA Tmp  -2.113 D  
+Z Array Temp    -13.331   D
RC PSK TX Out     0.520   W
+10V Bus              10.300  V   (*)value under nominal

Total Array C= 0.008 Bat Ch Cur=-0.277 Ifb= 0.159 I+10V= 0.125
TX:005 BCR:36 PWRC:303833 BT:2F WC:39

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.)

Operational. Chris, G7UPN reports UO-22 is operating normally.

[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 is available at this time.

[Please send your Satellite or News reports to the ANS Editors at ans-editor@amsat.org, or to new ANS Editor Dan James, NN0DJ, at nn0dj@amsat.org.]

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This week's AMSAT News Service bulletins were edited by AMSAT News Service Editor Dan James, NN0DJ, nn0dj@amsat.org.

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