AMSAT-NA AMSAT News Service

May 24, 1998

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League Calls Members to Action on 70cm Petition

The ARRL says the recent Land Mobile Communications Council petition seeking access to 70 cm is "incompatible with continued amateur use of the band" and urges members to comment in opposition -- not only to the FCC but to the LMCC's members. The LMCC has petitioned the FCC for immediate reallocation of 420 to 430 MHz and 440 to 450 MHz from the federal government to the Private Mobile Radio Service. Amateur radio enjoys the use of 70 cm on a secondary basis to government radiolocation (military radar). The LMCC has proposed to share the two subbands with amateur radio, but has not said how sharing would be possible. The LMCC also seeks additional UHF reallocations in the intermediate and long term.

For those planning to file comments, specific information and recommendations plus a copy of the LMCC petition and a list of LMCC members are available on the ARRL web page at the following URL:

http://www.arrl.org/

Amateurs sending comments should explain how the loss of access to 420 to 430 and 440 to 450 MHz would affect them personally and how it would affect the ability of hams to provide needed public service. "Even if you do not use these segments yourself, it is likely that loss of access would result in more crowding and interference in the part of the band, or in another band, that you do use," said ARRL Executive Vice President David Sumner, K1ZZ. "Don't overlook the fact that if you use linked voice or packet systems, it is quite likely that some of the links you rely on are in either or both of these segments."

Additionally, amateurs involved in public service communication can ask the government and nongovernment agencies they assist for written statements of support. Hams also should urge Amateur Radio organizations, especially those with interests in the 420 to 450 MHz band, to comment as well.

The LMCC, a nonprofit association, includes several well-known organizations such as the American Automobile Association, the American Petroleum Institute, the International Association of Fire Chiefs, and the Association of Public Safety Communications Officials-International (APCO), a frequent Amateur Radio supporter. The League suggests that ARRL members who also belong to one of the LMCC member organizations consider writing to inform the organization that the LMCC is acting contrary to your interests and requesting them to disavow the LMCC petition insofar as it affects Amateur Radio.

Sumner says ARRL members should not complain to members of Congress nor write angry letters to the FCC. "The LMCC petition is a private-sector initiative, not a government proposal," Sumner said. "By law, the FCC has to put the petition on public notice and invite comment. That's all the FCC has done with it." Sumner says that criticizing the FCC at this stage would be "inappropriate and counterproductive."

Sumner reminds members that nothing is going to happen overnight with the LMCC petition, and there will be at least one more opportunity for public comment." "Before the FCC can take the next step to reallocate this spectrum, it must get the federal government to agree," he explained, because the government is the primary occupant. Then, the FCC would have to issue a Notice of Proposed Rule Making and solicit public comments on its proposal.

The FCC is accepting only written comments in response to RM-9267. Comments are due by June 1, and reply comments are due by June 15. Address comments to:

  RM-9267
  Secretary
  Federal Communications Commission
  1919 M St NW
  Washington,   DC 20554

Formal comments must be submitted with an original and four copies.

[ANS thanks the ARRL for this information]

Mir School Contacts Continue

Astronaut Andy Thomas, KD5CHF, has been busy recently, making several successful school contacts as he also prepares for his return flight home. in a few weeks. Thomas spoke with students at Hampstead Academy in Hampstead, New Hampshire. Father-and-son team Tony Callendrello, N1QGR, and Casey Callendrello, N1QGQ, managed the ground station. The contact began on 70 cm, but a problem arose and the QSO moved to the 2-meter backup frequency and continued. "Their crew did an outstanding job with this contact as did the school and school district. I suspect the school will remember this high noon contact for a long time," said AMSAT mentor Charlie Sufana, AJ9N. "After the contact Tony and his radio ground crew were mobbed by the school kids." Nine students got to ask questions as a "spellbound" audience of nearly 200 looked on and many others listened in.

On May 8, Thomas chatted with students in South Africa during a QSO arranged especially to coincide with the Africa Telecom 98 conference. Nine students asked questions. The entire contact took place on 2 meters.

Thomas is the last US astronaut scheduled for a tour of duty aboard Mir. In the short time remaining before his return to Earth, the Space Amateur Radio EXperiment, SAREX, is lining up as many Mir-school contacts as possible, with schools in Texas, Tennessee, Connecticut, and Australia on the list. SAREX still hopes to fit in additional schools prior to Thomas' ride home currenly scheduled for early June.

[ANS thanks the ARRL and SAREX for this information]

Fly Your QSL Card Campaign Continues

The 'Fly Your QSL Card on P3D' campaign continues. As ANS previously reported, AMSAT-NA is collecting QSL cards, which will be scanned and converted into digital images. These images will then be saved onto a computer CD-ROM, which will be secured to the Phase 3D spacecraft and launched with it.

AMSAT-NA Vice President Keith Baker, KB1SF, calls the program "a unique and relatively inexpensive way to encourage people who haven't already donated to the Phase 3D project to do so. Participants are also welcome to contribute more than the suggested minimum," Baker said, adding, "we'd be most grateful for the support."

Joe, KA0YOS, is one of the latest to send in his QSL and check, noting "this is a great idea!"

More information on the 'Fly Your QSL Card on P3D' is available at the AMSAT-NA web site, using the following URL:

http://www.amsat.org

If you want to fly your QSL card on Phase 3D, send your QSL card along with a minimum donation of twenty-five dollars ($25 US) to:

  Fly Your QSL on Phase 3D
  c/o AMSAT-NA
  850 Sligo Avenue Suite 600
  Silver Spring, MD  20910-4703

[AMSAT-NA thanks all those who have participated in this fund raising event]

SkyQuest Balloon Launch

Hank Riley, N1LTV, tells ANS a "ham radio equipped weather balloon will be launched from the upcoming National Weather Service Open House in Taunton, Massachusetts, on Saturday, May 30, 1998. In case of a postponement, we'll try again on Sunday, May 31st."

The SkyQuest hamradiosonde will transmit on 145.610 MHz FM. During the flight, it should be able to be heard over eastern Massachusetts, Rhode Island, southern New Hampshire and northeastern Connecticut, using nothing more than a simple VHF receiver, such as a scanner radio. After gaining height, N1LTV hopes amateur radio operators with more sensitive receivers and directive antennas will be able to hear the radiosonde from as far away as southern Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Vermont, northern New Hampshire and Maine.

Two temperature channels reporting inside and outside temperature along with altitude measurements will be transmitted continuously by means of audio tones. The tones will be heard for the duration of the flight, going up and down in frequency as the transmitter switches among the three channels.

There is some preliminary information available at the North American balloon launch web site, and the SkyQuest mailing list will be active leading up to the launch, updating the latest conditions.

[ANS thanks Hank Riley, N1LTV, and SkyQuest, for this information]

ANS News in Brief

ANS satellite news in brief this week includes the following:

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
Semi-operational
 
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.

All operations on R0MIR-1 are normal. The PBBS is running a Kantronics KPC-9612+ V.8.1 TNC. The commands a similar to most PBBS and BBS systems.

Tony, VK5ZAI, reports during a recent QSO with Mir, Andy Thomas talked about the undocking of the old supply module and the fact that he has started preparing for his return trip home, packing around 30 bags! Rick, KB0VBZ, recently heard Mir on 145.825 MHz, noting "Andy was talking to the W5RRR club station."

[ANS thanks Scott Avery, WA6LIE, and 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.

John, K6YK, reports fair activity on both CW and SSB. The warbling signals appear to be caused only on 2 meter uplink signals, and is thought to be caused by a commercial transponder operating on the spacecraft. The 21 MHz uplink and beacon do not appear to be affected.

RS-15

Uplink 145.858 to 145.898 MHz CW/SSB
Downlink 29.354 to 29.394 MHz CW/SSB
Semi-operational.

John, K6YK, reports signals for the most part are weak, with SSB being unreadable at times. CW appears to be the most successful mode on RS-15.

RS-16

The 435 MHz beacon (only) is operational. 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 at present. W4SM's best guess is that conditions will probably continue to get worse leading up to Field Day. However, the satellite 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

The satellite is very active, both on weekday and weekend passes.

[ANS thanks 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. A status announcement will be on released soon.

[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.

KO-25

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

John, KD2BD, reports that KO-25 has gone temporarily deaf. During a descending pass over the Atlantic the satellite PB queue was "empty" for the entire pass, John says "all attempts to enter the queue and upload files failed." Wally, K4OGT, also reports a strong signal but with PB empty and no data is going up or down.

OSCAR-11

Downlink 145.825 MHz FM, 1200 baud PSK
Beacon 2401.500 MHz
Operational.

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

In response to many requests for information about methods of decoding OSCAR-11 signals, a package of hardware information has been added to the satellite web site. The site also contains some software for capturing data, decoding ASCII telemetry and WOD information. The URL is http://www.users.zetnet.co.uk/clivew/

[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 Fri May 15 23:03:55 1998 uptime is 1335/17:31:56
Bat 1= 1.244 V  Bat 2= 1.253 V
Bat 3= 1.249 V  Bat 4= 1.264 V
Bat 5= 1.242 V  Bat 6= 1.259 V
Bat 7= 1.253 V  Bat 8= 1.276 V
+10V Bus=       10.175 V

Total Array C= 0.000 Bat Ch Cur=-0.261 Ifb= 0.253 I+10V= 0.029
TX:0109 BCR:1E PWRC:59E BT: A WC:25 EDAC:F7

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. 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 Fri May 15 22:07:03 1998 uptime is 1060/08:01:53
Bat 1= 1.279 V  Bat 2= 1.273 V
Bat 3= 1.299 V  Bat 4= 1.287 V
Bat 5= 1.290 V  Bat 6= 1.287 V
Bat 7= 1.297 V  Bat 8= 1.265 V
+10V Bus=       10.200 V (*)

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
Semi-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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