AMSAT-NA AMSAT News Service

April 26, 1998

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Space Fair '98 Part 2 a Success

Keith Pugh, W5IU, AMSAT-NA Vice President of Operations, tells ANS that the amateur radio satellite demonstrations at the Riverside Applied Learning Center was a huge success. As ANS reported last week, Riverside Applied Learning Center is an elementary school for 'special kids' in the Fort Worth, Texas area. The school has placed emphasis on learning about outer space this year. Last week approximately 200 students and parents from the school attended a 'Mir Visual Sighting Party' and were treated to a "perfect 60 degree elevation Mir pass," said W5IU.

Satellite demonstrations took place on Friday, April 24th. Operators participating from Riverside were W5IU, WB5QLD and KG5OA. Satellites utilized in the on-air demonstrations included FO-20, FO-29, AO-27, AO-16, LO-19, UO-22, KO-23, KO-25 and Mir. Contacts were made on the analog (voice) satellites and messages were also received on the digital satellites from the USA, Canada, United Kingdom and Austria. W5IU and crew also uploaded several digital messages. Keith also tells ANS it's not too late to send greetings to the school, just send a message to W5IU on any of the current pacsats.

In addition to satellite operation, high frequency contacts were made with AD6P, AA0QP, KI0MN (at W0WR), the Kansas Cosmosphere Station in Hutchinson, Kansas, with WA4SIR (at WA3NAN), the Goddard Space Flight Center Radio Club in Greenbelt, Maryland and with WB8IMY at W1AW, the ARRL Headquarters Station in Newington, Connecticut. W5IU passes on a special thanks to Ron Parise, WA4SIR, for the patience and grace he displayed in answering the many questions from the students about his experiences as an astronaut.

Space Fair '98 is not over yet. Mike, WB5QLD, will be back at the school on Monday, April 27th to participate in the next MIREX school test through Mir.

W5IU closes his report by saying, "for those of us that worked at the school, the enthusiasm displayed by these young children was the best reward we could possibly receive. Thanks again to all that participated."

[ANS thanks Keith Pugh, W5IU, AMSAT-NA Vice President of Operations and all who had a hand in making this event a success]

Successful Mir-School Series Continues

Pupils at Newman Elementary School in Needham, Massachusetts were the latest to get a chance to speak with US astronaut Andy Thomas, KD5CHF, aboard the Russian Mir space station. On April 13th, some 14 fifth graders asked questions about life aboard Mir, Mir-shuttle dockings, and the duties of the Mir crew. AMSAT/SAREX Technical Mentor Randy Becnel, KC5YJI, called the contact "highly successful." The QSO was made possible via a telebridge with Ellen Baker, KB5SIX, in Houston, Texas. Students got to speak with Thomas for the full 10-minute pass and without interruptions.

Becnel said having Baker as the station operator turned out to be "an added and unexpected bonus" for the youngsters. A relative of hers attends Newman Elementary, and she has visited the school previously to talk to the students about life in space. Teacher-coordinator Angela Dinapoli also had met with Baker during a visit to Johnson Space Center. After the contact ended, Baker talked about ham radio and encouraged the kids to consider it as a hobby.

On hand for the occasion were local media as well as parents, other teachers and students. In an effort to involve as many of the youngsters as possible, teachers assigned several student reporters to cover the contact and write an article for the school's magazine, called the Dragonfly.

Since Mir-school contacts resumed earlier this year after a one-year hiatus, schools in several states have had a chance to chat with Thomas, a native of Australia. Two Connecticut schools remain on the schedule for Mir contacts in May. Additional contacts are possible before Thomas returns to Earth in June. As it now stands, Thomas will be the last US astronaut to serve a tour of duty aboard Mir. Thomas' Russian crewmates, Talgat Musabayev, RO3FT, and Nikolai Budarin, RV3FB, have performed a series of space walks in the past couple of weeks, to make repairs to the aging space outpost.

[ANS thanks the ARRL for this information]

MIREX School Test

Bob Bruninga, WB4APR, reports over 40 schools have signed up for the upcoming MIREX School Test. This test will allow amateur radio stations, especially school club stations, to transmit APRS position reports through the Mir Space Station on Monday, April 27th. MIREX has authorized APRS packets for most passes that day between 10:00 and 23:00 UTC.

WB4APR tells ANS that it was successfully demonstrated in the last test that more than 30 stations per footprint can be sending APRS position reports through Mir, and Bob says there is room for a few more experimenters, especially in Europe. However, Bob reports that to keep from saturating the channel, MIREX must be selective in asking other stations to participate. MIREX is asking non-school APRS stations to transmit UI position reports via Mir (only) if they are included in any of the following categories:

MIREX is asking all stations not to send any conventional traffic to the Mir Crew via the PMS System regarding this experiment. Mir does not have MIRMON or APRS software on board and are not familiar with the test. They are being informed via MIREX (only).

The following URL's will be of interest during the MIREX School test:

Live capture of existing Mir downlinks -- http://web.usna.navy.mil/~bruninga/mirex.html

Live APRS Map Display of Mir downlinks -- http://www.mirex.net

[ANS thanks the MIREX Team, MIREX President Dr. Dave Larsen, N6CO, and Bob Bruninga, WB4APR, for this information]

ANS News in Brief

Weekly Satellite Report

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

Mir

SAFEX II 70cm Repeater
Uplink 435.750 MHz FM with subaudible tone 141.3 Hz
Downlink 437.950 MHz FM
Not operational at this time.
 
SAFEX II 70cm QSO Mode
Uplink 435.725 MHz FM with subaudible tone 151.4 Hz
Downlink 437.925 MHz FM
Semi-operational.
 
Packet Radio PMS
Uplink/Downlink 145.985 MHz FM, 1200 baud AFSK
Operational. The modem is a Kantronics KPC-9612 Plus, Revision 8.1.

Chris Edmondson, VK3CE, reports working Andy Thomas, VK5MIR, on voice recently. Chris reports they spoke for quite a few minutes, with Andy saying he was very busy, although he hoped to spend a while longer at the mic. KC2BBU monitored a R0MIR voice contact on April 24th at 15:00 UTC. Costa, CT1EAT, reports working Andy recently on 145.985 MHz with 5X9+20 signals. WB4APR reports from the US Naval Academy Satellite Lab that during the annual review (and) while the Admiral in charge of Naval Space Command was touring the facility, WB4APR conducted a completely at random two-way chat with Andy. Bob reports most of the VIP's at the Naval Academy were in attendance, and yes, they were impressed. Bob says that even the best planning could never have accomplished this kind of luck, adding, "thank you ham radio!"

[ANS thanks the MIREX team for Mir status information]

RS-12

Uplink 145.910 to 145.950 MHz CW/SSB
Downlink 29.410 to 29.450 MHz CW/SSB

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

RS-15

Uplink 145.858 to 145.898 MHz CW/SSB
Downlink 29.354 to 29.394 MHz CW/SSB

Semi-operational. CW appears to be the most successful mode on RS-15. AB2CJ has been QRV on RS-15 CW recently.

RS-16

Beacons (only) are operational. The 29 MHz beacon has not been operational for some time. Recent attempts to command the Mode A transponder on have been unsuccessful.

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

AO-10

Uplink 435.030 to 435.180 MHz CW/LSB
Downlink 145.975 to 145.825 MHz CW/USB

Semi-operational.

Stacey Mills, W4SM, reports solar illumination on AO-10 appears to be way down and the satellite is nearly "comatose." W4SM can hear the beacon (with FMing) and can hear his downlink as well, but the signals are very, very weak.

This condition is in keeping with W4SM's best guess regarding attitude, which shows less than 50% solar panel illumination at the moment. Given the age of the panels, that's probably enough to cause significant performance degradation.

Things will probably continue to get worse for the next month and may not be any better by Field Day. However, they should improve again later in the summer and peak in August.

W4SM has more information about the satellite on his AO-10 web page, using the following URL:

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

[ANS thanks Stacey Mills, W4SM for his AO-10 status information and web site]

AO-27

Uplink 145.850 MHz FM
Downlink: 436.792 MHz FM

Operational. Widely used especially during weekend passes.

Eddie, N5JGK, will be active via AO-27 from the rare grid square of EM41 on Saturday, April 25th.

[ANS thanks Eddie Pettis, N5JGK, and Michael Wyrick, N4USI, AO-27 Control-op for this update]

FO-20

Uplink 145.900 to 146.000 MHz CW/LSB
Downlink 435.800 to 435.900 MHz CW/USB

Operational. FO-20 in mode JA continuously.

[ANS thanks Kazu Sakamoto, JJ1WTK for his FO-20 status reports]

FO-29

Voice/CW Mode JA
Uplink 145.900 to 146.000 MHz CW/LSB
Downlink 435.800 to 435.900 MHz CW/USB
Operational.
 
Digital Mode JD
Uplink 145.850, 145.870, 145.910 MHz FM
Downlink 435.910 MHz FM 9600 baud BPSK
Not operational, the satellite is in JA (voice) mode.

Kazu Sakamoto, JJ1WTK, tells ANS that FO-29 was switched into mode JA because of 2 bit errors detected in the digital operation of the on-board-computer. Resetting and reloading software into the OBC will resume. FO-29 will stay in mode JA until a further notice. An updated status announcement will be made on April 28th.

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

KO-23

Uplink 145.850, 145.900 MHz FM
Downlink 435.175 MHz FM, 9600 Baud FSK

Operational. Jim, AA7KC, reports the satellite is operating normally.

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

KO-25

Uplink 145.980 MHz FM
Downlink 436.500 MHz FM, 9600 Baud FSK

Operational. Jim, AA7KC, reports the satellite is operating normally.

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

OSCAR-11

Downlink 145.825 MHz FM, 1200 baud PSK
Beacon 2401.500 MHz

Operational.

In response to many requests for information about methods of decoding OSCAR-11 signals, Clive, G3CWV, has added a package of information to his web site. The site also contains some software for capturing data and decoding ASCII telemetry and WOD. The URL is:

http://www.users.zetnet.co.uk/clivew/

Excellent signals have once again been received from the 145.826 MHz beacon.

The 435.025 MHz beacon is normally off. However it can sometimes be heard when the satellite is being commanded by ground control. The data transmitted is mainly binary.

The mode-S beacon is on, transmitting an unmodulated carrier, but telemetry indicates that it has partially failed, delivering half output power.

Beacon reception reports should be sent to g3cwv@amsat.org.

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

AMSAT-OSCAR-16 (PACSAT)

Uplink 145.900, 145.920, 145.940, 145.860 MHz FM, 1200 bps Manchester FSK
Downlink 437.0513 MHz SSB, 1200 bps RC-BPSK 1200 Baud PSK
Beacon 2401.1428 MHz.)

Operating normally. The telemetry is nominal. The S band transmitter is off.

Time is Sat Apr 25 13:08:58 1998 uptime is 1315/07:37:41
Baseplt Temp     1.814 D   RC PSK BP Temp    1.814 D  	
RC PSK HPA Tmp   3.629 D  +Y Array Temp    1.814 D  	
PSK TX HPA Tmp   1.814  D  +Z Array Temp    9.680 D	
RC PSK TX Out    0.487 W	
Total Array C= 0.330 Bat Ch Cur= 0.002 Ifb= 0.040 I+10V= 0.288
TX:010B BCR:84 PWRC:59E BT: A WC:25 EDAC:4A

General information and telemetry 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

Currently non-operational.

The 145.825 MHz and 2401.220 MHz downlinks are off the air. Command stations are working on the problem.

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

WEBERSAT (WO-18)

Downlink 437.104 MHz SSB, 1200 Baud PSK AX.25

Currently non-operational. WO-18 is in MBL mode after a software crash. Attempts are being made to find and correct the cause of the suspected seasonal crashes. Additional information is not available at this time.

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

LUSAT-OSCAR-19

Uplink 145.840, 145.860, 145.880, 145.900 MHz 1200 bps Manchester FSK
Downlink 437.125 MHz SSB, 1200 bps RC-BPSK

Operating normally. The telemetry is nominal.

Time is Sat Apr 25 12:23:30 1998 uptime is 1039/22:18:20
Baseplt Temp     0.131 D   RC PSK BP Temp   5.179 D  	
RC PSK HPA Tmp   6.301 D  +Y Array Temp   -3.235 D  	
PSK TX HPA Tmp   3.496 D  +Z Array Temp    1.252 D	
RC PSK TX Out    0.898 W	
Total Array C= 0.245 Bat Ch Cur= 0.001 Ifb= 0.035 I+10V= 0.204
TX:01A BCR:7D PWRC:36E BT:3C WC: 0

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 145.900 or 145.975 MHz FM
Downlink 435.120 MHz FM 9600 Baud FSK

Operational. The satellite 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, 145.900, 145.925, 145.950 MHz FM
Downlink 435.822 MHz SSB, 1200 Baud PSK

Operational.

Telemetry is downloaded on 435.822 MHz at 1200 baud PSK.

[ANS thanks Alberto Zagni, I2KBD, ITAMSAT Mission Director for this information]

[Please send your Satellite or News reports to the ANS Editors at ans-editor@amsat.org, or to 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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