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Russian cosmonauts successfully launched a second mini-Sputnik satellite on November 10, 1998, during a spacewalk from the Mir space station. The launch of Sputnik 41 -- also being called RS-18 -- comes as Mir celebrates the 10th anniversary of Amateur Radio activities aboard the spacecraft. Mir, which has been home to several ham operators over the years, including several US astronauts, began ham radio operation on November 6, 1988. Over the intervening years, more than 60 cosmonauts and astronauts aboard Mir have made thousands of radio contacts with earthbound hams.
Sergei Sambourov, RV3DR, chief of the Cosmonaut Amateur Radio Department, expressed thanks "to all who have promoted and participated in ham radio communication with Mir."
The newest Sputnik was tossed by hand at the start of the spacewalk by Cosmonauts Gennady Padalka and Sergei Avdeyev. According to news reports, Padalka told Avdeyev to "toss it gently toward the moon."
Frank Bauer, KA3HDO, AMSAT-NA Vice President for Human Spaceflight Programs, speaking on behalf of AMSAT-NA and the ARISS US delegation, issued the following statement; "I want to take this opportunity to congratulate Sergei Samburov, RV3DR, Gerald Auvray, F6FAO, and the entire Russian/French team who have made RS-18 a tremendous success. I've had an opportunity to hear RS-18 since it was deployed from Mir and I must say that the signals are spectacular. RS-18 has already stimulated tremendous interest in amateur radio in space and opened the world of satellite communications to countless school children. I look forward to your continued support and participation in amateur radio's next major endeavor -- Amateur Radio on the International Space Station. Again, Congratulations!
Following the launch, the AMSAT-BB virtually became alive with reception reports. "New signals from space," said Paolo, IW3QBN, who, along with Claudio, IK1SLD, heard the new bird on the first pass after the deployment from Mir. Francisco, CT1EAT, reported "great fun" hearing RS-18 on his handheld. One of the first stateside hams to copy the junior Sputnik was Bruce, KK5DO, who caught the first pass over Texas. "It sounded great", he said, adding, "it's always exciting to hear a new satellite." Mike, N1JEZ, heard the satellite "loud and clear in Vermont", recording a portion of the pass into his computer sound card and analyzing the internal temperature-telemetry tone. Mike, WB8EJR, turned RS-18 into a family event, helping his daughter hear the new bird. Leo, KB2TIY, involved a young neighbor, Andy, in hearing the satellite, telling ANS that Andy "thinks his babysitting money may be spent getting an Amateur Radio Station together." Farrell, W8ZCF, who played a large part in analyzing signals from RS-17, also copied the new model. "Congratulations to all concerned," he said, "especially to Gerard, F6FAO, and Sergei, RV3DR. I hope this Sputnik's voices and beeps will be heard for many weeks."
Reports of Sputnik 41 being heard worldwide have been sent to ANS. Richard, G3RWL, copied multi-lingual voices and beeps from RS-18 during a pass over the United Kingdom. SP6QKP in Poland, OH8UV in Finland, DL9QJ and DH3NBC in Germany, F6FAO and F1HDD in France all reported hearing the satellite, as did VK2KUR in Australia, ZS5GMT and ZS6RSW in South Africa, KH2MH in Guam and LW5DJD in Argentina.
Stateside reception reports also flowed in. KF4KG, N1WED, KC5TRB, KK2L, N1QQV, N9YXA, N7BFS, KB4LCI, KD7MW, KC6ING, KE6ZGP, KC8CMQ and KF4TUK all posted reception reports to the AMSAT bulletin board.
Sputnik 41 is just under 8 inches in diameter and weighs almost 9 pounds. It carries a 200-mW transmitter that transmits on or about 145.812 MHz. The spacecraft has no solar cells. Its expected operational lifetime is approximately 30 days.
Bernard, F6BVP, tells ANS that he has updated the RS-18 web page, including a temperature equation and a set of unpublished photographs. His Sputnik 41 information is available at the following URL:
A computer .wav file of the actual received signal can also be found at the IK1SLD web site by pointing you web browser to:
Gerard, F6FAO, suggests the following address for RS-18 QSL requests:
AMSAT-France RS-18 QSL Manager 14 bis rue des Gourlis 92 500 Rueil-Malmaison France
In addition, RS-18 temperature reports are being requested by F6FAO. Date, time in UTC, frequency of the tone, name and location should be included in the report. Stations may e-mail this information to:
Peter, DB2OS, suggests that satellite ground stations wanting to make an accurate temperature measurement using the transmitted tone from RS-18 should use the shareware 'Spectrogram' program. Peter says it runs in a Windows 95 or 98 format and is available at:
[ANS thanks the ARRL, Frank Bauer, KA3HDO, AMSAT-NA Vice President for Human Spaceflight, and the many hams worldwide that sent RS-18 reception reports, for this information]
During the past few months several new Amateur Radio satellites have been launched, in addition to the recent RS-18.
The TMSAT-1 micro-satellite was successfully launched from the Russian Baikonur Cosmodrome on July 10, 1998. Chris Jackson, G7UPN, tells ANS that the commissioning procedure for TMSAT was recently completed. Jackson said that ground controllers are happy with the initial results, which are showing that most of the spacecraft systems are operating correctly. A minor problem has been identified with the downlink transmitter, and currently, this is limiting the use of the downlink to periods when the satellite is over Europe and Thailand. According to G7UPN, "over the coming months, ground controllers at Surrey and Bangkok will work to resolve the problem to allow the satellite downlink to be switched on over other areas. It will then be available to the general amateur community."
The TechSat-1B micro-satellite was also successfully launched from the Russian Baikonur Cosmodrome last July. The satellite does not have a continuous beacon, but does transmit a 9600-baud burst every 30 seconds (for a continuous 3 seconds in length), currently on 435.225 MHz. The commissioning procedure is continuing at this time and the satellite is expected to be available for general amateur use in the future.
SEDSAT-1 was successfully launched and placed in orbit on Saturday, October 24, 1998, flying as a secondary passenger along with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory's Deep Space One mission aboard a Delta II booster. Efforts to uplink to SEDSAT-1 are continuing with little success. The satellite has developed a major power drain problem, indicating that two primary systems, solar panels and batteries, are apparently not performing to specifications. Efforts to correct the negative power cycle problem will continue. Chris Lewicki, KC7NYV, tells ANS that for those interested in SEDSAT data, all of the received November information is now on-line at the following URL:
PANSAT, the Petite Amateur Navy Satellite recently launched from the space shuttle Discovery, is apparently alive and well as it continues to orbit the Earth. The 150-pound Amateur Radio satellite carries a spread-spectrum communication package fabricated by student officers and faculty members at the Naval Postgraduate School. Dan Sakoda, KD6DRA, PANSAT Project Manager, tells ANS two attempts to contact the satellite were recently made, and both attempts "were successful." Sakoda said that ground station modems were able to lock onto and verify PANSAT's signal and send an acknowledgment back to the satellite. Telemetry was downloaded from both passes showing that the satellite was successfully operating on its own. A commissioning plan will be the next step that ground controllers hope to accomplish.
[ANS thanks Chris Jackson, G7UPN/ZL2TPO, for the TMSAT update, Chris Lewicki, KC7NYV, for the SEDSAT status, and Dan Sakoda, KD6DRA, for the PANSAT update]
Astronomical anticipation will peak November 16-17th as astronomers and satellite operators around the world watch the Leonid meteor showers. Astronomers predict that an intense shower, last seen in 1966, will happen again this year. The Leonids get their name from the constellation Leo, which appears to be their source in the sky. The meteors originate from debris and dust in the wake of the comet Tempel-Tuttle. They show up on the same day every year, and approximately every 33 years, the shower can reach storm proportions.
North American viewing opportunities are not optimal this year, since our side of Earth likely will be in daylight when it passes through the meteor stream. The best viewing sites will be in China and Southeast Asia. Regardless, stateside viewing should be from around 1 AM local time until dawn, after Leo has risen in the eastern sky. The actual peak of the shower or storm lasts only a few hours and predictions vary widely.
Several professional astronomers have made elaborate plans. Avoiding any clouds is the goal of two research aircraft that will be circling above Japan hoping to record the possible meteor 'storm'. According to the Sky & Telescope news bulletin, the planes will carry various equipment including high-definition TV cameras.
Controllers of many of the satellites in Earth orbit will also be taking precautions against the cosmic debris. The Hubble Space Telescope will be aimed 'downstream' from any incoming Leonid tide, but it won't be dormant. The Space Telescope Science Institute announced that Hubble would be taking pictures of a distant quasar during the expected showers. The Goddard Space Flight Center reports that many other spacecraft will be reoriented to minimize the chances of damage.
During their recent spacewalk, the cosmonauts aboard the Russian Mir space station attached a meteorite trap on the spacecraft to collect data on the Leonid storm. While it's not believed that the storm will threaten Mir, the ARRL reports the cosmonauts will board the Soyuz escape capsule during its peak, just to play it safe.
Scientists from the NASA Space Sciences Laboratory plan to launch a balloon carrying a digital camera for a clearer view of the meteor shower. The balloon will carry an Amateur Radio package with live downlinked fast-scan ATV on 426.250 MHz. Both still images and low-resolution television captured by the on-board camera will be available online during the flight, at the Space Sciences Laboratory Web site:
Shelby Ennis, W8WN, tells ANS the 'Hot News and Announcements' section of the W6/PA0ZN web site has interesting information about the Leonids shower, along with several links. The web address for the W6/PA0ZN site is: http://www.nitehawk.com/rasmit/ws1_15.html
Bob, WB4APR, reports the Leonids should be an excellent opportunity to experiment with meteor scatter using very brief grid square packets. Bob reports during the Persieds shower in 1995, APRS stations recorded over 18 DX packets on paths between 600 to 1200 miles. Bob says station requirements include "a beam and power," and suggests that participating stations operate on 145.79 MHz, the known APRS frequency. Contact WB4APR for more information on APRS at the following e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Additional information about the Leonid meteor shower is available at any of the following sites:
[ANS thanks NASA, the ARRL, Sky and Telescope, and Bob Bruninga, WB4APR, for this information]
ANS news in brief this week includes the following:
Mir . RS-12 . RS-13 . 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 . TO-31 . GO-32
The PBBS is running a Kantronics KPC-9612 + V.8.1 TNC. The commands are similar to most PBBS and BBS systems.
Cedrick, N9YXA, reports he recently made his first Mir contact via R0MIR-1.
November, 1998 marks the 10th year of Amateur Radio activity from Mir. ANS congratulates MIREX and everyone associated with the wonderful experience of ham radio activity aboard the Mir space station.
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.
Scott, WA6LIE, has a set of instructions on how to work the Mir space station. Copies of the instructions are available from Scott by e-mail at email@example.com, or by packet at wa6lie@wa6lie.#wcca.ca.usa.noam.
[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
Last reported to be semi-operational.
Uplink 21.260 to 21.300 MHz CW/SSB
Uplink 145.960 to 146.000 MHz CW/SSB
Downlink 29.460 to 29.500 MHz CW/SSB
Downlink 145.960 to 146.000 MHz CW/SSB
Beacon 29.504 MHz
Robot Uplink 21.140 MHz, Downlink 29.458 MHz
Last reported in mode KT.
The RS-12/13 satellite has seen many recent changes in operation during the past weeks. Modes K, T, KT and simultaneous RS-13 operation have all been reported by a number of stations.
No official word from the satellite controllers has been received. ANS recommends monitoring each satellite carefully to determine the transponder in operation and which mode it is operating in.
Tom, AD1B, reports working W1IKI, W3QBK and N0IBT recently on RS-12.
RS-12/13 command is now in the hands of Alex Papkov, in Kaluga City, Russia.
Uplink 145.858 to 145.898 MHz CW/SSB
Downlink 29.354 to 29.394 MHz CW/SSB
Beacon 29.352 MHz (intermittent)
Semi-operational, Mode A (2m uplink, 10m downlink)
Dave, WB6LLO, reports he has prepared a "quick and dirty" set of operating instructions for RS-15 at the following URL:
Uplink 435.030 to 435.180 MHz CW/LSB
Downlink 145.975 to 145.825 MHz CW/USB
Beacon 145.810 MHz (unmodulated carrier)
Semi-operational, currently in "sleep" mode.
W4SM tells ANS that he has, using ranging software (and hardware) developed by James Miller, G3RUH, recently made ranging measurements on AO-10 for the last week and have fed these measurements into an algorithm which generates modified Keplerian elements from a "seed" set of elements.
The Keplerian elements generated appear to be accurate within 16-25 km. More ranging measurements are being obtained from different Phase 3 command stations, and W4SM will update the AO-10 measurements as that data becomes available.
W4SM also reports that AO-10 continues to function well, with the exception of the usual QSB which is better or worse at different portions of the orbit. Strong signals have been observed, even out at apogee.
Satellite: AO-10 Catalog number: 14129 Epoch time: 98318.86783 Inclination: 26.7600 deg RA of node: 58.4820 deg Eccentricity: 0.59972 Arg of perigee: 265.8370 deg Mean anomaly: 216.5650 deg Mean motion: 2.05838221 rev/day Decay rate: 0.00 rev/day^2
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.
Mike, N1JEZ, reports working 6Y5MV on AO-27 for satellite DX country number 103.
[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 for the FO-20 status reports]
Kazu, JJ1WTK, tells ANS that the FO-29 Command Team has released the following announcement concerning FO-29 status:
The present JA mode of operation will continue to investigate the frequency of bit errors in the on-board-computer. Reports from Amateurs on the value of channel 2A are appreciated. The position of 2A is the fifth item after 'HI HI' in CW telemetry. The normal value is '00'. Reports should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
FO-29 is still in 'full sun illumination', this should end in December.
The on-board-computer (OBC) did accept commands from ground control before full illumination began. The FO-29 Command Team says digital (JD) mode operation may be available in December. Digi-talker operation is also being planned. The next announcement is expected November 20th.
John, K2JF, reports strong signals from FO-29 during orbit 11016. K2JF would like to see more activity during nightly US passes. Mike, KF4FD, has also been active on the satellite.
[ANS thanks Kazu Sakamoto, JJ1WTK, for this report.]
Uplink 145.850, 145.900 MHz FM
Downlink 435.175 MHz FM, 9600 Baud FSK
Richard, G3RWL, reports the KO-23 frequency is about 5 kHz lower than he would usually have expected. G3RWL says the satellite still appears to be in permanent sunlight. Ken, N1QQV, also reports the satellite was copied with a lower downlink frequency.
[ANS thanks Jim Weisenberger, AA7KC, and Richard Limebear, G3RWL, 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]
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]
Downlink 145.825 MHz FM, 1200 baud PSK
Beacon 2401.500 MHz
Two new WOD software packages have recently added to the Oscar 11 web site. The first package enables various WOD channels to be compared with the solar eclipse status of the satellite. The second package compares measured and calculated magnetic fields encountered by Oscar 11. Both packages are of an advanced nature, users will need experience using the other WOD packages on the web site and a spread sheet program.
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.
Kamal, 4S7AB, is setting up an AO-16 station from Colombo, Sri Lanka.
The telemetry is nominal.
Time is Sat Nov 14 12:30:06 1998 uptime is 1518/06:54:37 +X (RX) Temp -0.002 D RX Temp -1.817 D Bat 1 Temp 4.839 D Bat 2 Temp 4.839 D Baseplt Temp 4.839 D RC PSK BP Temp 0.603 D RC PSK HPA Tmp 1.814 D +Y Array Temp 3.024 D PSK TX HPA Tmp -0.002 D +Z Array Temp 3.024 D RC PSK TX Out 0.428 W Total Array C= 0.452 Bat Ch Cur= 0.015 Ifb= 0.011 I+10V= 0.309 TX:010B BCR:86 PWRC:59E BT: A WC:25 EDAC:D5
General information and telemetry WOD files can be found at http://www.arrakis.es/~ea1bcu/wod.htm
A graphic summary of the October WOD survey transmitted by AO-16, including spin-rate, rotation, voltage, current and other parameters, can be found at:
[ANS thanks Miguel A. Menendez, EA1BCU, for this report.]
Uplink 145.840, 145.860, 145.880, 145.900 MHz 1200 bps Manchester FSK
Downlink 437.125 MHz SSB, 1200 bps RC-BPSK
Miguel, EA1BCU, reports downlink signals show good modulation. The satellite is transmitting an ASCII message containing the following text:
No BBS service. On Board Computer reload in progress.
Digipeater active. Thank you - Norberto - LU8DYF.
The telemetry is as follows:
Time is Sat Nov 14 10:58:47 1998 uptime is 105/21:21:11 +10V Bus 11.379 V RX Temp -0.430 D Baseplt Temp 2.374 D RC PSK BP Temp -1.552 D RC PSK HPA Tmp -2.113 D +Y Array Temp 2.935 D PSK TX HPA Tmp -2.674 D +Z Array Temp -4.917 D +X (RX) Temp -3.235 D RC PSK TX Out 0.659 W Total Array C= 0.311 Bat Ch Cur= 0.118 Ifb= 0.026 I+10V= 0.138 TX:017 BCR:87 PWRC:62D BT:3C WC: 0
General information and telemetry samples can be found at:
[ANS thanks Miguel A. Menendez, EA1BCU, 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 received 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.
TMSAT commissioning has been completed and shows that most of the spacecraft systems are operating correctly. A problem was identified with the downlink transmitter and this is currently limiting the use of the downlink to periods when the satellite is over Europe and Thailand. Over the coming months, ground controllers at Surrey and Bangkok will work to resolve the problem to allow the satellite downlink to be switched on over other areas. It will then be available to the general amateur community.
[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. 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 home page about the TechSat bird, and promise they will add more information in the next few weeks. To view the site, point your web browser to:
[ANS thanks Shlomo Menuhin, 4X1AS for this information]
Attempts to command the mode A transponder 'on' have been unsuccessful to date. At this time the RS-16 transponder is non-operational. The 435 MHz beacon (only) is operational.
No additional information is available at this time.
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 reported to be in MBL mode after a software crash.
No additional information is available at this time.
[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.