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Later this week in the United States, many citizens, some of them Amateur Radio satellite operators, will celebrate a national holiday called Thanksgiving. For our international audience, Thanksgiving is a time when we give 'thanks' for the important things in our lives, such as family and friends.
Our ANS editor would also like to reflect on the many satellite operators and organizations that have become close friends with ANS through the weekly ANS bulletin activities. Many, many stations worldwide continue to send satellite news and reports that in turn become the main body of information and data presented each week in ANS. Without the help of such dedicated individuals and national/international organizations, ANS would simply not exist.
From ANS, happy Thanksgiving and thank you one and all!
The first module for the new International Space Station was successfully launched on the morning of November 20, 1998, aboard a Russian Proton rocket from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. The successful liftoff took place under overcast skies and strong winds.
The Zarya module -- which reached orbit less than 10 minutes after launch -- will serve as a space propulsion engine and power station during the early stages of the ISS project, providing propulsion, power and space-to-ground communications. Later modules will take over these functions and Zarya will eventually serve as a storage facility, holding fuel and other needed supplies.
The module does not currently have any life-support systems such as oxygen, plumbing or any of the other essentials for living in space. Astronauts will be able to move around inside (without spacesuits) only after the living quarters are attached to one of the three docking ports. Using the published construction schedule, the living quarters are to be installed in July 1999.
Zarya (Russian for 'daybreak') is a cylinder-shaped module just over 41 feet long and almost 14 feet wide with solar panels extending some 35 feet on both sides of the exterior. The module weighs 42,600 pounds and is actually based on a modified and updated design of the earlier Soviet Salyut space stations.
The International Space Station, scheduled to be completed in 2004, will be the largest complex structure in space, sprawling across an area the size of a football field. ISS construction activities will start with the STS-88 shuttle launch from the Kennedy Space Center on December 3rd.
Amateur Radio aboard ISS begins with final flight qualification of the ARISS interim station expected to be completed in December. This station will allow the crew to operate on voice, packet and digital voice beacons at the beginning of station habitation.
Ken, N2WWD, has posted orbital data for the Zarya module and the upcoming STS-88 mission on the AMSAT Shuttle Orbital Information web page at the following URL:
[ANS thanks ESA, NASA, and Ken Ernandes, N2WWD, for this information]
Although successfully viewed across many parts of the globe, all reports are pointing to the Leonid meteor shower peaking ahead of schedule, with the highest rates apparently about 15 hours earlier than expected. European observers may have had the best show as dazzling fireballs came every few seconds -- sometimes several at the same time. Clear skies in Ichon, South Korea gave crowds in that location very good seats for the spectacle.
Based on dozens of reports from observers and satellite operators throughout the United States, meteor watchers under clear skies were not disappointed on the nights of November 16-17, but rates were markedly lower then had been hoped for.
No damage to any Earth-orbiting satellites has been reported to ANS.
Late night operation and long early morning hours was a small sacrifice to the many VHF and UHF enthusiasts who got the thrill of a lifetime working meteor scatter during the event. Larry, NW7N, told ANS his group was treated to "excellent visual conditions in southern Arizona," adding, "we saw between 1000 to 1500 meteors during the first night". According to NW7N, the meteors came in all sizes, many emitting a green glow and leaving visible ionization trails.
"For nearly all radio operators, it was spectacular," said Shelby, W8WN, "this was the year of the fireballs." W8WN and others also seem to agree that this was also the year for long-distance contacts, possibly a few record-setting ones. "My biggest thrill was working Vermont on 2-meters, which is over 1400 miles away," said Larry, N0LL, who lives in northern Kansas. He said he encountered one "burn" -- or trail -- that lasted nine minutes, during which he was able to work 11 different stations.
Several e-mail reflectors were busy with Leonid reports and information, including the AMSAT bulletin board. W4WHN, PA2CHR, KO0U, WZ1V, VE6BPR, K5NRK, WB4APR, GW6KZZ, N2NRD, K7RR, N0JK, N1LTV, PE1OGF, WA9JML, WB8ELK, N1JEZ and DF9CY all posted reports or information about Leonid operation for others to see and read.
The Leonids balloon launched from Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama was located a day after landing in Georgia. Real Video from the flight camera is available at the following URL:
[ANS thanks Sky and Telescope, Morrock News, the ARRL, and Larry Brown, NW7N, for this information]
ANS news in brief this week includes the following:
Mir . RS-12 . RS-13 . RS-15 . RS-16 . RS-18. 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.
Jeff, KF4KGQ, reports Mir digi operation is again active. Jeff made unproto contacts with N5WUP and WB9JEJ recently.
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, beacon only.
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 K (from Jerry, K5OE).
Cristi, YO3FFF, has been active on RS-12/13 recently, reporting RS-13 is now in mode K. Marco, IK5NTE, worked W8TRX and heard N0IBT and W3QFK on RS-13. Marco will continue to look for stateside stations.
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.
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:
Downlink 145.812 MHz FM
Russian cosmonauts successfully launched RS-18/Sputnik 41 on November 10, 1998, during a spacewalk from the Mir space station. The spacecraft is just under 8 inches in diameter, weighs almost 9 pounds and carries a 200-mW transmitter. RS-18 has no solar cells and its expected operational lifetime is approximately 30 days.
Recent RS-18 reception reports have been received from KC8CMQ, KC8CUC, KB5SZO, N7UIE, NU3S, KE6ZGP, W2RS, KE4TIE, TA2NC, 9H1IF, KH2PM, KD9KC, SP6QKP, NU0C and EA4EKH.
Sputnik 41 information is available at the following URL:
A computer .wav file of the actual received signal can also be found at:
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
RS-18 temperature reports are being requested by F6FAO. Date, UTC time, frequency of tone, name and grid square location should be included in the report. Stations may e-mail this information to:
[ANS thanks Gerard Auvray, F6FAO, for this information]
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.
Tony, AB2CJ, reports good signals from AO-10 with the beacon peaking 5X5 and the satellite at 34,000 km. Tony worked I6DH and KW9M. Waldis, VK1WJ, reports good signals and no FMing, working YB0ARA/9 during a perigee pass. Kamal, 4S7AB, reports his first AO-10 contact, with Dom, I8CVS.
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.
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
Mike, N1JEZ, reports that the TEPR settings of AO-27 were recently reset by Chuck, KM4NZ. The new settings now reflect the Earth's position during the northern fall/winter season, and should provide more satellite 'on' time for AO-27 during each pass.
[ANS thanks Michael Wyrick, N4USI, for AO-27 information]
Uplink 145.900 to 146.000 MHz CW/LSB
Downlink 435.800 to 435.900 MHz CW/USB
FO-20 in mode JA continuously.
Al, N2YAC, reports a nice QSO with Paul, WB9IGB, on a recent FO-20 morning pass.
[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.
[ANS thanks Kazu Sakamoto, JJ1WTK, for this report.]
Uplink 145.850, 145.900 MHz FM
Downlink 435.175 MHz FM, 9600 Baud FSK
[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 satellite is not currently accepting uplinked data.
Ken, N1QQV, reports KO-25 was not broadcasting a directory or answering uplink requests recently. Ken says the 'PB:Empty' message did not change during the pass, although there was a line in quote marks after the HIT sequence -- "testing for checkout."
[ANS thanks Jim Weisenberger, AA7KC, for KO-25 status information]
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
Clive, G3CWV, reports an uneventful month for OSCAR-11. During the period of 14-October to 15-November, reasonable signals have been received from the 145.826 MHz beacon.
Telemetry has been nominal.
Battery voltage is nominally 13.9 VDC. The internal temperatures have been almost constant and are now 10.2 and 8.0 degrees Celsius for battery and telemetry electronics respectively. These values appear to have reached a maximum value and are now expected to fall slowly.
The present length of solar eclipses appears optimum for the satellite, maintaining an adequate power budget and not allowing internal temperatures to rise to excessive levels.
Magnetorquer spin correction counters have been of interest. Normally, the negative spin counter increments are at roughly half the rate of the Z-axis counter. Over the last two months there have been very few spin counter increments, although the spin period is nominal.
The ASCII bulletin is currently a static message, detailing modes and frequencies of the current amateur radio satellites.
The mode-S beacon is on, transmitting an unmodulated carrier, however telemetry indicates that it has partially failed, delivering half power. This beacon is a useful test source for those testing mode-S converters prior to the launch of P3D. The 435.025 MHz beacon is normally off.
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 spreadsheet 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 21 23:49:57 1998 uptime is 1525/18:14:28 +10V Bus 10.500 V RC PSK TX Out 0.566 W Bat 1 V 1.263 V Bat 2 V 1.309 V Bat 3 V 1.274 V Bat 4 V 1.287 V Bat 5 V 1.267 V Bat 6 V 1.259 V Bat 7 V 1.276 V Bat 8 V 1.282 V Baseplt Temp 4.839 D +Z Array Temp -12.104 D RC PSK BP Temp -1.817 D RC PSK HPA Tmp -0.002 D +Y Array Temp -21.180 D PSK TX HPA Tmp -1.212 D +Z Array Temp -12.104 D Total Array C= 0.000 Bat Ch Cur=-0.439 Ifb= 0.250 I+10V= 0.216 TX:010B BCR:1E PWRC:59E BT: A WC:25 EDAC:B4
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 21 23:53:07 1998 uptime is 113/10:15:31 +10V Bus 10.871 V Baseplt Temp 4.057 D +Z Array Temp -11.087 D RC PSK BP Temp 5.740 D RC PSK HPA Tmp 4.057 D +Y Array Temp -13.331 D PSK TX HPA Tmp 5.179 D RC PSK TX Out 0.644 W Total Array C= 0.008 Bat Ch Cur=-0.277 Ifb= 0.116 I+10V= 0.167 TX:017 BCR:1E 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.