July 26, 1998

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League Proposes Simplified License Structure

The ARRL has proposed a simplified Amateur Radio license structure featuring four license classes and reduced Morse code requirements for full HF access. In approving the plan July 18th, the ARRL Board of Directors said the hobby no longer needs six license classes. In their discussions, Board members emphasized that the objective was to rationalize and simplify the amateur licensing structure without reducing the requirements for any class of license.

Among its recommendations, the plan would eliminate the current Novice and Tech Plus class licenses and merge those operating privileges into a new license class equivalent to the current General ticket. The plan would replace the present named license classes with Class A, B, C, and D tickets, revise written examination requirements and content, and set 12 WPM as the highest Morse code test requirement. Most of the spectrum freed up by the elimination of the current Novice CW bands would be 're-farmed' into expanded HF phone segments. Segments would also remain available for digital and CW work.

Announcement of the Board's plan generated a tumult of opinions -- both pro and con -- within the Amateur Radio community. Comments received at League Headquarters have ranged from angry opposition to enthusiastic support, however, most Board members reported receiving somewhat more comments in favor than opposed. The plan has been a hot topic of discussion on many e-mail reflectors, including the AMSAT-NA electronic bulletin board.

The League has forwarded details of the plan in a letter to the FCC but will not petition for a rulemaking as it awaits public release of the Commission's own ham radio restructuring plans. Before the July meeting, the ARRL Board had twice voted down motions to consider changing the licensing structure. This time, the impending FCC rulemaking provided the impetus for the Board to issue its own plan, in time to stimulate debate on the topic and possibly serve as a counterpoint to the anticipated FCC proposals.

In developing its plan, the Board tied proposed reductions in Morse code requirements to corresponding increases in written examination standards. On the other hand, Board members were adamant that simplifying the structure should not come at the expense of privileges amateurs have already earned. This was the rationale to recommend granting the new entry-level Class C HF license to present Novice and Technician Plus licensees, who already have earned entry-level HF operating privileges.

Nearly lost in the discussion over the ARRL Board's plan to restructure Amateur Radio licensing is the fact that the FCC soon plans to make its own 'streamlining' proposals public. Release of the FCC proposals are expected in the next few weeks.

At a national meeting of Volunteer Examiner Coordinators July 9th, FCC Wireless Telecommunications Bureau chief D'wana Terry hinted at what hams can expect from the FCC. "Some things will probably be concrete proposals; other things will be discussion topics," she told the gathering. But Terry said none of the FCC's proposals should be considered "carved in stone," and she urged hams to comment constructively. "We want to do things that make sense," she said.

Terry encouraged hams to not just complain but to tell the Commission what will work and offer solid suggestions.

[ANS thanks the ARRL for this information]

ARRL Calls for Withdraw of LMCC Petition

The ARRL has called upon the Land Mobile Communications Council (LMCC) to withdraw its request for reallocation of segments of the 420 to 450 MHz band to the Private Mobile Radio Service. Such a move would permit the FCC to focus its attention on portions of the LMCC petition that "might have more merit," the ARRL said. The League's suggestion is contained in reply comments filed July 16th with the FCC in response to the LMCC petition for rulemaking, RM-9267, filed earlier this year. Amateur Radio shares the 70cm band on a secondary basis with the federal government. As ANS has reported, the LMCC seeks immediate reallocation of the segments 420-430 and 440-450 MHz from the federal government (and amateur radio) to the PMRS.

The League asked that the FCC dismiss those portions of the LMCC petition dealing with the 420 to 450 MHz band as "plainly not deserving of further consideration."

The ARRL said that comments from Amateur Radio operators -- the vast majority of those filed in response to the LMCC petition -- establish that the LMCC proposal for a PMRS allocation in the 70cm band "was ill-conceived." Hams told the FCC that the band is heavily used and vital to amateur public service activities. The League noted "a complete absence of support" for the 420 to 450 MHz proposal in particular. One LMCC member, the Association of Public Safety Communications Officials (APCO), opposed any reallocation in the band.

The League urged the FCC to pay close heed to the comments of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration. NTIA told the commission that national security and other federal interests would preclude sharing on the band. Those comments, the League noted, were "clearly protective of its own use of the 420-450 MHz band, and that of the Amateur Service as well."

A complete copy of the League's reply comments is available on the ARRL web page at the following URL:

[ANS thanks the ARRL for this information]

Alan Shepard Dies at 74

As reported worldwide, Alan B. Shepard, Jr., the first American to fly in space and one of only 12 humans who walked on the Moon, died July 21, 1998 after a lengthy illness in Monterey, California. He was 74. The cause of death was not disclosed. Funeral services are pending.

"The entire NASA family is deeply saddened by the passing of Alan Shepard. NASA has lost one of its greatest pioneers; America has lost a shining star," said NASA Administrator Daniel S. Goldin.

Named as one of the nation's original seven Mercury astronauts in 1959, Shepard became the first to carry America's banner into space on May 5, 1961, riding a Redstone rocket on a 15-minute suborbital flight that took him and his Freedom 7 Mercury capsule 115 miles in altitude and 302 miles downrange from Cape Canaveral, FL.

Shepard was also the fifth man to walk on the Moon, and the oldest, at the age of 47. Near the end of his second moonwalk, and just before entering the lunar module for the last time, Shepard (an avid golfer) hit two golf balls with a makeshift club. The first landed in a nearby crater. The second was hit squarely, and in the one-sixth gravity of the moon, Shepard said it traveled "miles and miles and miles."

Shepard's death leaves only four survivors among the original Mercury 7 astronauts: Sen. John Glenn, Scott Carpenter, L. Gordon Cooper and Walter Schirra.

[ANS thanks NASA News for this information]

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 . TMSAT . TechSat-1B


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

VK4GAZ reports his first packet contact with R0MIR-1 using a FT-26 HT at 5 watts into a 1/4 wave vertical antenna. "What a great feeling for a first timer," said Gary.

The current crew onboard Mir are Talgat Musabayev and Nikolai Budarin. They speak and read Russian only. Any messages addressed as personal to R0MIR will not be understood unless it is in Russian. MIREX is again allowing R0MIR-1 for store and forward message traffic.

WA6LIE reminds all stations that in order to send Personal Mail to other stations you must address it to a valid callsign. Any personal mail addressed to a non-amateur callsign can not be read by anyone and is a waste of TNC memory. WA6LIE asks all stations to please read your TNC manual on how to address messages.

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

MIREX has announced an on going APRS School Days Test. MIREX is allowing schools to use APRS for position and status reports via R0MIR. Non-school stations are asked to refrain from using APRS type transmissions or beacons via R0MIR.

[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.

RS-12 continues to be the most popular of the current RS 'easy sat' series.


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

The RS-15 TLM beacon has apparently started working again, although intermittently. Mike, N1JEZ reports he monitored the satellite recently and noticed the same beacon sequence of carrier on/off transmissions. Mike says the transponder is acting exactly the same way, adding, "the transponder is only on when the beacon is transmitting."


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

DX continues to be heard and worked as good downlink signals are still being received from the satellite, however, NN0DJ notes FMing of the beacon has become more pronounced lately.

Stacey Mills, W4SM, has more information about the satellite 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

FO-20 in mode JA continuously.

John, G7HIA reports UA4HTJ has been active on FO-20 and FO-29 using a special callsign, RZ4HWF. UA4HTJ's locator is LO43vk.

[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 error investigation continues.

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


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

The telemetry is nominal.

[ANS thanks Jim Weisenberger, AA7KC for this report]


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

The telemetry is nominal.

[ANS thanks Jim Weisenberger, AA7KC for this report]


Downlink 145.825 MHz FM, 1200 baud PSK
Beacon 2401.500 MHz

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

Beacon reception reports should be sent to:

[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.

Time is Sat Jul 25 12:10:00 1998 uptime is 1406/06:37:13	
+X (RX) Temp	6.654 D     RX Temp	-4.842 D  	
BCR Set Point  132.508 C  BCR Load Cur     0.320 A	
BCR Input Cur   0.328 A     BCR Output Cur   0.309 A	
Bat 1 Temp       1.814 D      Bat 2 Temp         -0.002 D  	
Baseplt Temp    1.209 D     RC PSK TX Out    0.457 W  	
RC PSK BP Temp   3.024 D  RC PSK HPA Tmp   3.024 D  	
+Y Array Temp       -4.237 D  PSK TX HPA Tmp   1.814 D  	
+Z Array Temp   18.756 D	
Total Array C= 0.258 Bat Ch Cur=-0.012 Ifb= 0.070 I+10V= 0.251
TX:010B BCR:88 PWRC:59E BT: A WC:25 EDAC: C

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. 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 Jul 25 10:57:51 1998 uptime is 1130/20:52:41	
+10V Bus          11.150 V    BCR Set Point  125.877 C	
BCR Input Cur    0.217 A     BCR Output Cur   0.220 A	
Bat 2 Temp      -0.991 D      Baseplt Temp    -0.991 D	
RC PSK TX Out    0.630 W  RC PSK BP Temp   3.496 D	
+Y Array Temp   -4.357 D    PSK TX HPA Tmp   2.374 D	
Total Array C= 0.174 Bat Ch Cur= 0.068 Ifb= 0.043 I+10V= 0.108
TX:017 BCR:7F 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.


Downlink 436.923 MHz

The TMSAT-1 micro-satellite was successfully launched from the Russian Baikonur Cosmodrome on July 10, 1998 and has now completed its second week in space. The satellite is in an 821km sun-synchronous orbit. Current output power is approximately 1.7 to 2 watts. The satellite is still undergoing ground control tests and initial loading of flight software. The satellite is expected to be available for general amateur use shortly.

Stations that can capture telemetry from the satellite are asked to send a report to:

A brief overview of the TMSAT satellite and commissioning plan is available at the following URL:

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


Downlink 435.325 435.225 MHz
HDLC telemetry framed so a TNC in KISS mode will decode it

The TechSat-1B micro-satellite was successfully launched from the Russian Baikonur Cosmodrome on July 10, 1998 and has now completed its first full week in space. The satellite is still undergoing ground control tests and initial loading of flight software. The satellite is expected to be available for general amateur use shortly.

The satellite does not have a continuous beacon, but does transmit a 9600-baud burst every 30 seconds (for about 3 seconds in length), currently on 435.225 MHz.

The TechSat team has also constructed a new home page about the TechSat bird, and promise they will add more information in the next few weeks. To view the new site, point your web browser to:

[ANS thanks Shlomo Menuhin, 4X1AS for this information]

[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,