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Veteran cosmonaut Sergei Krikalev, who will be one of the first full-time residents on board the International Space Station, will join the crew of STS-88, the first American assembly mission. Krikalev will join Commander Robert Cabana, Pilot Rick Sturckow, Mission Specialists Nancy Currie, Jerry Ross and Jim Newman when the Space Shuttle Endeavor launches this December. The seven-day mission will be highlighted by the mating of the United States built 'Unity' module to the Russian built 'Zarya' control module, which will already be in orbit. Zarya, which was built for NASA by Boeing and the Krunichev Enterprise, is scheduled for launch on a Russian Space Agency Proton rocket from the Baikonur Cosmodrome this November.
"Sergei's experience with both the U.S. and Russian programs and his familiarity with the Shuttle make him a valuable addition to this crew," said David Leestma, director of Flight Crew Operations at NASA's Johnson Space Center.
A cosmonaut since 1985, Krikalev has accumulated more than one year and three months in space as a member of two Mir space station crews. He has also flown on board the Shuttle once before, as a member of the STS-60 crew in February 1994. During that nine-day mission, Krikalev operated the Shuttle's robot arm and supported a wide variety of science experiments.
[ANS thanks NASA for this information]
Amateur Radio delegates representing seven of the eight countries involved in Amateur Radio aboard the International Space Station (ARISS) met in England in late July to continue plans to establish the first permanent Amateur Radio presence in space. The session, chaired by Space Amateur Radio EXperiment (SAREX) Working Group Chairman Roy Neal, K6DUE was held July 29-31 in conjunction with the AMSAT-UK 1998 Colloquium, held at the University of Surrey.
On hand or patched in via a teleconferencing hookup were 16 representatives from the United States, Japan, Italy, Germany, Canada, the United Kingdom and Russia. The representative from France was unable to attend because of a prior commitment.
ARRL Educational Activities Department Manager Rosalie White, WA1STO and AMSAT-NA Vice President for Human Space Flight Programs Frank Bauer, KA3HDO, served as the US delegate for the ARISS meeting. Participants to the sessions included AMSAT-NA President Bill Tynan, W3XO; Space Shuttle Payload Specialist Ron Parise, WA4SIR; and RSGB President Ian Kyle, GI8AYZ. IARU satellite frequency coordinators from Regions 1 and 3 also were on hand.
ARISS delegates formed two permanent working groups. The ARISS Hardware Group, chaired by Lou McFadin, W5DID, is charged with designing and building space station equipment. The ARISS Administrative Group is charged with setting up ground rules for operation, finding financing, and handling all other administrative details.
AMSAT-NA ARISS Delegate Frank Bauer, KA3HDO, said ham radio will be part of the ISS right from the start of construction. "What we're going to do is develop this in stages," he said. The first flight of hardware aboard STS-88 (at the end of this year) will include a 2-meter hand-held and packet TNC capability provided by the US team that will be coupled with an antenna system that will be a cooperative effort of the Italian and Russian teams.
The ISS service module, due to be launched next summer, is the section of the ISS in which astronauts and cosmonauts will live during construction. The interim station for the first ISS crew at that point would add (a US-supplied) 70cm capability, a German-designed "digitalker," and eventually a transportable station that could include SSTV and full-duplex VHF/UHF. The first crews to actually live aboard the ISS will graduate to mobile-type transceivers.
Bauer says the final ISS equipment complement is still in the conceptual stages but likely would include all-mode capability from 10 meters up through 13 cm. He was quite excited about the teamwork exhibited by the international partners, stating that "as an international team, we were able to quickly put together an interim station -- leveraging developments already in progress by Will Marchant, KC6ROL and Lou McFadin, W5DID in the US, Thomas Kieselbach, DL2MDE in Germany and Sergei Samburov, RV3DR in Russia."
Surrey ARISS delegates also discussed time-sharing and scheduling of the ham stations, crew training, educational opportunities, fund-raising, call signs, and frequencies. Details on these issues remain to be decided.
Neal credited SAREX Working Group Principal Investigator Matt Bordelon, KC5BTL, for "a superb job of lining up the NASA/ISS officials and channels for what's about to happen." A key player on the ARISS team, Bordelon is scheduled to travel to Russia soon to work out details of the station installation aboard the ISS service module with Serge Samburov, RV3DR, the Russian delegate.
Neal said he was gratified to see the plans coming together to put Amateur Radio aboard the ISS. "These meetings have gotten the worldwide Amateur Radio family on track," he said. "Amateur Radio is now getting ready to fly onboard!"
White said the most significant aspect of the session came on the afternoon of the second day, which was when countries stepped forward to accept responsibility for various aspects of each Amateur Radio station. "For instance, for the interim Amateur Radio station, the US took responsibility for the packet module, adapter module, radio, and associated cables," she said. White said Germany agreed to build the digitalker and to work with Russia to develop the antenna feed-through system. Italy will design and fabricate the antennas, and Russia will install the RF cables and antennas.
For the transportable setup, the US will handle the equipment integration and the NASA-required Safety Data Package, while Germany will design and build the system itself.
"The ARISS project will truly be an international project," said White. "It will be well worth our years of work, because each delegate believes ARISS is a wonderful resource for the Amateur Radio service and a great educational tool for our world's youth."
[ANS thanks Frank Bauer, KA3HDO, AMSAT-NA Vice President for Human Space Flight Programs for this information]
The 50 MHz and Up Group of Northern California and the Western States Weak Signal Society will be holding their annual VHF Plus Conference on October 3, 1998 at the Sunnyvale Hilton in Sunnyvale, California.
The groups have informed ANS that this conference will have two presentation paths -- one is for general interest and the other for technical specialties.
Conference planners are seeking papers or presentations of general VHF and/or higher band interest, or detailed technical content to be presented at the event. Many AMSAT members are active VHF/UHF operators.
If interested in taking part, AMSAT members should submit a paragraph outlining content to:
Jim Moss N9JIM 862 Somerset Drive Sunnyvale, CA 94087
(Or by e-mail to):
[ANS thanks the WSWSS and Newsline for this information]
On the international scene, ANS has learned that both Russia and Mexico are planning to auction off radio spectrum to the highest bidder, following the lead of the United States.
The Russian government has decided to charge mobile communication companies for the use of radio spectrum as a way to generate some cash for its strapped economy. Two recently released governmental decrees listed the communications services for which providers will have to pay for use of radio frequencies. The decrees also set rules for holding auctions to determine who gets the licenses for cellular telephone systems in Russia.
Under the decrees, 80% of money earned from the sale of spectrum would be used to support the Ministry of Defense and the Russian Space Agency.
The Russian government also indicated that it plans to sell off part of its reserved spectrum for licensed civilian operations. It also said it will review current usage of all other spectrum used for any purpose with an eye at generating even more revenue. This might even include some of the bands now used by Russian hams.
Mexico is also contemplating the reallocation of spectrum adjacent to the 2 meter and 70-centimeter ham bands and then selling the spectrum the highest bidders. It is unknown at this time how such actions would affect Amateur Radio satellite operations.
According to Bob Gonsett's CGC Communicator, Mexico will be auctioning 148-174 MHz and 450-470 MHz, along with other key frequency bands sometime before the end of 1998. The CGC report says it appears as if Mexico is also contemplating to auction off the 440 to 450 MHz Amateur Radio band and the frequency spectrum from 485 to 495 MHz. The latter spectrum overlays TV Channels 16, 17, and 18.
More information on can be found at the following Mexican government web site:
http://www.cft.gov.mx (look under SEBASTAS for Bulletin 37).
The web site has English and Spanish versions available.
[ANS thanks the CGC Communicator and Newsline for this information]
ANS news in brief this week includes the following:
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
Mike, N1JEZ reports the Mir/SAFEX repeater has been active recently. It appears that the repeater is not available on every orbit, but is being switched on and off at random. ANS does not have a schedule of when it will be available for amateur use. N1JEZ has a 'how to operate' article from the AMSAT Journal. For an e-mail copy, send a request to N1JEZ at Mike73@aol.com.
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
Uplink 21.210 to 21.250 MHz CW/SSB
Downlink 29.410 to 29.450 MHz CW/SSB
Downlink 145.910 to 145.950 MHz CW/SSB
Beacon 29.408 MHz
Robot Uplink 21.129 MHz, Downlink 29.454 MHz
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.
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
Stacey Mills, W4SM reports another sleep phase appears to be beginning. "I suspect that the rotational speed is so slow as to be incapable of holding a stable attitude heading. Hence, we may be entering a time of chaotic useful periods and sleep periods which cannot be predicted.
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.
[ANS thanks Kazu Sakamoto, JJ1WTK and the Hawaiian amateurs for the FO-20 reports]
Kazu, JJ1WTK, tells ANS that OBC bit error investigation continues. The JARL command recently issued two statements:
1) FO-29 will be stay still in mode JA because the frequency investigation of the OBC bit errors. The command team would like reports from radio amateurs who can receive the value of TLM channel 5. The information is the fifth item after HI HI on CW. The normal value of channel 5 is '00'.
Reports should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org
2) FO-29 will be in 'full illumination' (always illuminated from the Sun) starting in mid-August. The operation mode may be changed in part due to anticipated temperature rise of the satellite.
A new statement will be released from the JARL on August 17th.
[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 http://www.users.zetnet.co.uk/clivew/
Beacon reception reports should be sent to: email@example.com
[ANS thanks Clive Wallis, G3CWV, for this information.]
Uplink 145.900, 145.920, 145.940, 145.860 MHz FM, 1200 bps Manchester
Downlink 437.0513 MHz SSB, 1200 bps RC-BPSK 1200 Baud PSK
Beacon 2401.1428 MHz.)
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.
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.]
Downlink 145.825 MHz FM, 1200 Baud AFSK
Beacon 2401.220 MHz
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
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
Miguel Menendez, EA1BCU reports LUSAT/Oscar 19 apparently has stopped transmitting. Ground control station LU8DYF is attempting to regain control. No additional information is available at this time.
[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. The satellite is still undergoing 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 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 firstname.lastname@example.org, or to ANS Editor Dan James, NN0DJ, at email@example.com.]
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This week's AMSAT News Service bulletins were edited by AMSAT News Service Editor Dan James, NN0DJ, firstname.lastname@example.org.