June 21, 1998

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Phase 3D Launch Date Unknown

As announced earlier this week via the AMSAT-BB, the Phase 3D satellite will not be launched on the third test flight of Ariane 5. The bad news reached Karl Meinzer, DJ4ZC, Phase 3D Project Leader and AMSAT-DL President on Monday, June 15th. He immediately informed the P3D Project workers of the unfortunate news.

AMSAT-NA President Bill Tynan, W3XO, had the following explanation for the decision:

"It is important to point out that the decision was actually made by Arianespace, not ESA. As everyone should know by now, ESA is the European Space Agency. It is similar to NASA in the United States except that it is multi-national. Arianespace is the organization set up to market Ariane launches. So, naturally, its prime interest is money. Because of the failure of the first Ariane 5 test, A-501 in June of 1996, and the less-than-expected performance of the second flight, A-502 last October, all concerned have been understandably anxious to complete a fully successful test as soon as possible. Arianespace cannot begin to sell Ariane 5 launches until a successful test actually takes place. The failure of 501 and the lower-than-expected performance of 502 have caused an extension of the program and hence have increased the cost of the development phase. ESA has been anxious to recoup some of these additional costs. As a result, they asked Arianespace to try very hard to find a paying customer for A-503. A figure of somewhere around $35,000,000 was mentioned. This is about half of the amount usually paid to launch a present-day commercial satellite on an operational launcher. The lessor amount is indicative of the fact that Ariane 5 is not yet fully operational. ESA even signaled a willingness to delay the flight until a suitable customer could be found. This shows how serious they were in wanting to recoup some of the financial losses they have suffered as a result of the delays and problems that have befallen the Ariane 5 program."

"Arianespace, apparently in order to get the A-503 flight off as soon as possible, and so that they could begin to sell future Ariane 5 launches, agreed to pay ESA some $40,000,000 in order to control the payloads on the mission and get A-503 launched as soon as possible. It is not known at this time what Arianespace will chose to put on the 503 flight; it may even be a dummy satellite of some sort. The bottom line is that Phase 3D will not ride on Ariane 503," Tynan said.

"While we are disappointed, Tynan continued, "crying and gnashing of teeth never accomplishes anything." He emphasized that "AMSAT is taking steps to complete the testing of Phase 3D and have it ready for any launch that we might be able to obtain," adding, "naturally, ESA and Arianespace are still prime candidates for our presentations."

Tynan emphasized that Phase 3D was designed and built "with the then very real prospect of a launch on an Ariane 5 vehicle." It was later determined that with an appropriate adapter, it could also be accommodated by an Ariane 4 launch vehicle. "But, because it was built to go on an Ariane, it just can't be put on any rocket that's going up," said Tynan. Continuing, he noted that Phase 3D is a "rather large spacecraft and also quite massive, in the order of 600 kilograms or about 1200 pounds when fully fueled. As such, it requires a launcher with a large volume under the shroud and a launch vehicle with substantial performance."

"The orbit that the launcher puts us into is also very important", Tynan continued. "Generally a geostationary transfer orbit is what we need. A launch into a circular low Earth orbit would be much less than optimum. Many launches, including the Shuttle, go to such LEO orbits. There are, of course, other launchers that go to GTO besides Ariane, and we will be looking at them. However, nothing can be promised at this time," he concluded.

Tynan told ANS that he hopes that AMSAT-NA members, and all who have contributed to the Phase 3D project to such a great extent, will keep the faith and continue their support while efforts to secure a launch for Phase 3D continue. He also made it clear that AMSAT is beginning to embark on other projects as Phase 3D is being completed. These include assisting with a number of university satellite projects, some of which are to include amateur transponders. Effort is also getting under way in connection with developing amateur radio equipment for the International Space Station. "In addition, I'd like everyone to remember that there are several satellites preparing for launch which will carry amateur transponders," said Tynan.

The AMSAT-NA president wrapped up his statement with; "there's lot's to keep all satellite enthusiasts occupied while waiting for the launch of Phase 3D, which will come in time. Just because Phase 3D will apparently not be launched this year, AMSAT is very much alive and kicking!"

[ANS thanks AMSAT-NA President, Bill Tynan, W3XO, for this information]

TMSAT Launch Update

TMSAT-1 is now safely bolted to the RESURS-O1 #4 spacecraft at the Russian Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, ready for launch at approximately 0200 UTC on the June 23, 1998. The microsatellite was recently integrated to the RESURS housing following the completion of electrical tests. The satellite will not be touched again except for the final battery charging with will occur just prior to the rocket being rolled out to the launch pad.

TMSAT-1 will stay attached to the RESURS housing until approximately 7 to 12 hours following launch, when it will be released by ground control in Moscow. The satellite housekeeping systems will be activated during the first few orbits after the deployment.

The satellite is scheduled for an 821-km sun-synchronous orbit.

Further information about TMSAT will be posted to UO-22 as the launch draws near, and updates on the commissioning itself will be uploaded to TMSAT and UO-22 following the launch.

The TMSAT-1 telemetry configuration file is available using the following URL:

Stay tuned to ANS for further updates as the launch date draws near.

[ANS thanks Chris Jackson, G7UPN/ZL2TPO, for this information]

SEDSAT-1 Update

Dr. Mark W. Maier, University of Alabama tells ANS that the SEDSAT-1 satellite recently passed several tests, including an important three-axis vibration test. For each axis an up/down sine diagnostic sweep, a body dynamics sine test and a random vibration test was completed. Dr. Maier reports all modes were at a constant frequency before and after the test.

A shock test is scheduled in the near future.

SEDSAT-1 will carry a Mode-L digital transponder as well as a Mode A analog transponder. The planned orbit is 500 by 1000 km at 28.5 degrees inclination. The satellite is now scheduled for launch on a Delta II space vehicle sometime in October of this year. The exact launch date has not been confirmed.

Stay tuned to ANS for further developments.

[ANS thanks Dr. Mark W. Maier, Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Alabama/Huntsville, for this update]

APRS Experiment Days on AO-16

Bob, WB4APR, reports the AO-16 command team has authorized an APRS experiment on AO-16 to explore the use of the 1200-baud PACSAT for APRS position/status reporting. The test periods will run each Tuesday from 0000 to 2359 UTC. APRS experimenters will uplink on 145.940 MHz FM, with a 437.0513 MHz SSB downlink. TNC's must be capable of 1200 bps Manchester FSK transmission and RC-BPSK 1200 baud PSK reception. Non-Manchester style TNC's can be easily modified to send and receive this style of transmission. The May/June 1997 AMSAT Journal has full details on the modification.

The intent of the experiment is to provide a channel for travelers and wilderness position/status reporting (1 or 2 packets per station per day). Bob says existing users of AO-16 need not fear a deluge of activity, since most APRS users are already connected nationwide via VHF, UHF, HF or Internet gateways. "Ham truckers, RV hams, offshore boaters and cross-country mobile travelers in the wilderness may find AO-16 perfect for their needs," reports WB4APR.

Bob says the Tucson Amateur Packet Radio organization has established a special interest reflector for AO-16/APRS experimenters. To subscribe, send an email message to:

In the body of the message, put the words:

subscribe ao16aprs Your Name

WB4APR says the long term objective is daily coverage, but to test this concept, the once a week APRS test day will gather data on the optimum transmission rate and on the details of making the Manchester modification on a variety of TAPR-2 style TNC's. The AO-16 command team is also hoping the experiment may lead to developments in using digital signal processing (DSP) to automate the reception of the PSK downlink.

Stay tuned to ANS for further developments.

[ANS thanks Bob Bruninga, WB4APR, for this information]

New ANS Assistant Editor Named

AMSAT-NA recently named Michelle Ervin, KA9FUL, as the new ANS Assistant Editor. Michelle brings to AMSAT a wide variety of experiences involving newsletter writing, public relations, and during the last decade, significant involvement with both the Dayton Amateur Radio Association (DARA) and the Dayton Hamvention. Michelle has held various media, financial, and leadership positions within DARA and Hamvention, and in 1996/1997, she became DARA's first female President at the age of 29.

KA9FUL was first licensed at the age of 12 and has held an advanced class license since 1980. Her interest in satellite technology began in high school when she proposed two experiments to NASA through the Shuttle Student Involvement Project, with the hope that they would one day be flown aboard the Space Shuttle.

Michelle currently lives in Springfield, Ohio, and enjoys her career in marketing and finance.

[ANS welcomes aboard Michelle Ervin, KA9FUL, to the ANS editorial staff]

ANS in Brief

ANS 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


SAFEX II 70cm Repeater
Uplink 435.750 MHz FM with subaudible tone 141.3 Hz
Downlink 437.950 MHz FM
SAFEX II 70cm QSO Mode
Uplink 435.725 MHz FM with subaudible tone 151.4 Hz
Downlink 437.925 MHz FM
Packet Radio PMS
Uplink/Downlink 145.985 MHz FM, 1200 baud AFSK

The PBBS is running a Kantronics KPC-9612+ V.8.1 TNC. The commands a similar to most PBBS and BBS systems.

[ANS thanks Scott Avery, WA6LIE, and the MIREX team for Mir status information]


Uplink 145.910 to 145.950 MHz CW/SSB
Downlink 29.410 to 29.450 MHz CW/SSB
Operational, mode KA.


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

RS-15 has apparently lost its TLM beacon, however the transponder remains on and working.


The 435 MHz beacon (only) is operational. Attempts to command the Mode A transponder on have been unsuccessful.


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

AO-10 DX reports continue to come in. Jim, K0SBH reports AO-10 is "like the old days all over again." Jim worked PZ1EH and NH6DB recently. Peter, DB2OS, reminds everyone that AMSAT OSCAR-10 is now 15 years old and "the 2m/70cm transponder still works nice!" Jon, N0JK, reports "great DX on AO-10", working OH5NM, OH2BDQ, UR5MID and 5B4/EU1AA. Dan, NN0DJ, has been busy on AO-10 with KH2EI, HL1MKT, SP5FKW, ES2RJ and PZ1EH, among others.

Stacey Mills, W4SM, reports this bodes well for this year's field day activities on AO-10 as "the satellite will also be orbitally well positioned for field day use this year." More information about the satellite is available at the following URL:

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


Uplink 145.850 MHz FM
Downlink: 436.792 MHz FM

AO-27 TEPR States are currently:
4 = 36 = 18 Minutes
5 = 72 = 36 Minutes

This means AO-27's transmitter turns on 18 minutes after entering the Sun and stays on for 18 minutes. AO-27's transmitter is turned off at all other times during the orbit. N4USI reminds stations that this happens on every orbit, approximately 14.2 times a day. The current TEPR settings will cause the satellite to be on during the daytime at northern latitudes.

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


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]


Voice/CW Mode JA
Uplink 145.900 to 146.000 MHz CW/LSB
Downlink 435.800 to 435.900 MHz CW/USB
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, JJ1WTK, tells ANS that OBC bit errors were detected again on June 8th, and the on-board computer was reset on June 9th. Investigation of bit error frequency continues.

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


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

Downlink efficiencies are in the 90% range.

[ANS thanks Jim Weisenberger, AA7KC for this report]


Uplink 145.980 MHz FM
Downlink 436.500 MHz FM, 9600 Baud FSK
Not operational.

The satellite was observed to be in full operation on June 15 @ 0423 UTC.

[ANS thanks Jim Weisenberger, AA7KC for this report]


Downlink 145.825 MHz FM, 1200 baud PSK
Beacon 2401.500 MHz

During the period of 16-May to 14-June reasonable signals have been received from the satellite. It appears to have been another uneventful period. Telemetry is nominal. The battery voltage is rather low, averaging 13.5 volts, with one value of 13.2 volts observed. The internal temperatures have fallen by about 2.5C to 2.2C and 0.6C for battery and telemetry electronics respectively.

A single WOD survey of channels 1, 2, 3, 61 (magnetometers) has been transmitted. A quick plot of this WOD showed reasonable agreement with the theoretical field and nominal attitude. Reports of Mode-S beacon reception have been received from W3SZ, AF9A, OH2AVE and W9JIU.

The operating schedule is unchanged.

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)

Beacon reception reports should be sent to:

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

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


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 AO-16 command team has authorized an APRS experiment on AO-16 to explore the use of the 1200-baud PACSAT for APRS position/status reporting. The test periods will run each Tuesday from 0000 to 2359 UTC.

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

Time is Sat Jun 20 12:30:48 1998 uptime is 1371/06:58:22.	
+X (RX) Temp     3.024 D  RX Temp                -7.868 D	
Baseplt Temp      1.814 D  RC PSK BP Temp   3.024 D  	
RC PSK HPA Tmp   3.024 D  +Y Array Temp   -1.212 D  	
PSK TX HPA Tmp    3.024 D  +Z Array Temp   12.705 D	
RC PSK TX Out    0.502 W	
Total Array C= 0.326 Bat Ch Cur=-0.001 Ifb= 0.045 I+10V= 0.284
TX:010B BCR:82 PWRC:59E BT: A WC:25 EDAC:81

General information and telemetry WOD files can be found at

[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 reported to be working on the problem. No additional information is available at this time.


Downlink 437.104 MHz SSB, 1200 Baud PSK AX.25
Currently non-operational.

WO-18 is in MBL mode after a software crash. No additional information is available at this time.


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 Jun 20 11:32:43 1998 uptime is 1095/21:27:33.	
+X (RX) Temp     0.692 D  RX Temp          0.131 D	
Baseplt Temp     -0.430 D  RC PSK BP Temp   4.618 D  	
RC PSK HPA Tmp   3.496 D  +Y Array Temp    0.131 D  	
PSK TX HPA Tmp    3.496 D  +Z Array Temp    1.252 D	
RC PSK TX Out    0.630 W	
Total Array C= 0.317 Bat Ch Cur= 0.114 Ifb= 0.016 I+10V= 0.142
TX:017 BCR:82 PWRC:36E BT:3C WC: 0

General information and telemetry samples can be found at:

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


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

More information on the satellite is available at the following URL:

[ANS thanks Chris Jackson, G7UPN/ZL2TPO, Operations Manager of UO-22 for this report]


Uplink 145.875, 145.900, 145.925, 145.950 MHz FM
Downlink 435.822 MHz SSB, 1200 Baud PSK

Telemetry is reported as being downloaded on 435.822 MHz at 1200 baud PSK. No additional information is available at this time.

[Please send any amateur satellite news or reports to the ANS Editors at, or to ANS Editor Dan James, NN0DJ, at]

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This week's AMSAT News Service bulletins were edited by AMSAT News Service Editor Dan James, NN0DJ,