December 6, 1998

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ISS Construction Is Underway!

ANS is pleased to report that construction of the International Space Station is underway as five Americans and one Russian successfully lifted off aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour from the Kennedy Space Center with the first American-built component of the station -- a connecting module named Unity -- in the shuttle cargo bay. According to NASA, the shuttle's climb to orbit was flawless. Following the smooth launch, Commander Bob Cabana, Pilot Rick Sturckow and Mission Specialists Nancy Currie, Jerry Ross, Jim Newman and Sergei Krikalev began preparing the orbiter for 12 days of operations to begin ISS construction.

The STS-88 launch will begin the largest cooperative space construction project in human history as Endeavour linked with the U.S.-funded and Russian-built Zarya control module. Zarya was recently launched from the Baikanour Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, and has been circling the Earth since November 20th as flight controllers initially checked out the spacecraft. All systems aboard Zarya, which will provide the initial control and command capabilities for the space station, continue to function well with the minor exception of one of six battery charging systems. NASA tells ANS that Endeavour is carrying replacement parts for the system in the event they are needed.

AMSAT Area Coordinator Pat Kilroy, WD8LAQ, reported spotting Endeavour right after launch -- from his Bowie, Maryland front yard. "The light from the shuttle main engines appeared like a reddish-white star," said WD8LAQ, adding "the 'star' then dimmed and disappeared right at the time NASA announced main engine cut off (MECO)."

With the Russian-built Zarya Control Module orbiting about 16,000 nautical miles in front of Endeavour, Mission Specialist Nancy Currie first checked out the 50-foot-long robot arm that she would use to grapple the Unity connecting module. Following the successful test, Currie gently mated the 12.8-ton Unity connecting module to Endeavour's docking system, completing the first task in assembling the new International Space Station. Following this success, Endeavour's astronauts continued the assembly of the ISS late Sunday, mating the Russian-built Zarya control module with the U.S.-built Unity connecting module in the shuttle's cargo bay. This very important step followed a flawless rendezvous and grapple of Zarya.

The two ISS elements, Zarya and Unity, are now connected together -- creating the foundation for the new station. More than 100 elements will be added over the next five years, requiring a total of 45 assembly flights using the shuttle and two types of Russian launchers.

The two connected modules have a solar array span of about 78 feet and a combined mass of approximately 80,000 pounds. Several spacewalks will now follow the mating of Unity with Zarya, for initial crew entry into the new station and to connect power and data cables between the modules.

Amateur Radio aboard ISS begins with final flight qualification of the ARISS interim station expected to be completed this month. This station will allow the crew to operate on voice, packet and digital voice beacons at the beginning of station habitation in mid-1999.

Endeavour is orbiting the Earth at an altitude of about 240 statute miles.

The following is a two-line orbital element set for STS-88:

1 25549U 98069A   98341.83556482  .00002702  00000-0  32967-4 0   143
2 25549  51.5938  79.1572 0009100 273.3808 220.7453 15.59743724   561

TDRS Tracking and Data Relay satellites handle all shuttle ground-to-air communications. The easiest way to follow shuttle communications and activities is NASA Select TV, which can be viewed from several sources including the Internet. Two of the web sites that feature NASA Select TV are:

[ANS thanks NASA and ESA for this information]

SimSat Program Receives NASA Award

AMSAT Area Coordinator Pat Kilroy, WD8LAQ, tells ANS that the Simulated Satellite (SimSat) Project recently won a NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Director's Discretionary Fund (DDF) award. The Simulated Satellite project is an educational outreach program at NASA-GSFC.

According to Pat, "the award is good news for students and Amateur Radio alike." WD8LAQ reports the award includes funding (for the '99 fiscal year) a university student engineer -- working full time during the upcoming summer months helping further develop SimSat hardware -- and at least one (and possibly more) teachers -- helping to further develop the educational side of the SimSat program.

Pat recalls the original concept of SimSat was born during a local AMSAT-DC meeting. WD8LAQ and others were looking for a local project, admiring the balloon success of Andy MacAllister, W5ACM, Bill Brown, WB8ELK and Chuck Crist, WB9IHS. "The dream, " Pat said, "was wanting to do something bigger and better for student education -- all in a spirit of wholesome competition." The result was the SimSat program was born, based on the idea that designing, building and then flying, operating and recovering payloads by balloon is a great stepping stone for helping youngsters learn about Oscar satellites.

The NASA Director's Discretionary Fund award means there is ample opportunity for Amateur Radio operators to participate in ham radio balloon flights and to share the fun with students.

WD8LAQ tells AMSAT News Service that he will update ANS on the exciting developments that the DDF award will bring to the SimSat program in the future.

For general information and the latest updates about the program, visit the SimSat web site at:

Information on how the DDF award process works can be found at the following URL:

[ANS congratulates Pat Kilroy, WD8LAQ, and the SimSat team on the announcement of the NASA DDF award]

ANS in Brief

ANS news in brief this week includes the following:

Weekly Satellite Report

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


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 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.

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, or by packet at

[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).

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.

John, KJ6HZ, reports a "RS-13 horizon-to-horizon" chat with Don, W8TRX. Jerry, K5OE, Alan, WB4YCN, and Bill, KA7YAO, all report activity on the satellite.

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)

Bill, KA7YAO, reports recently hearing WA4SIE on the RS-15 downlink. Jeff, KB2WQM, tells ANS he recently copied his own RS-15 downlink and will be working on his uplink to improve his signal through the satellite.

Dave, WB6LLO, reports he has prepared a "quick and dirty" set of operating instructions for RS-15 at the following URL:

RS-18/Sputnik 41

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 SP6QPK. The satellite was even copied by ANS editor NN0DJ, who was mobile at the time!

Hank, N1LTV, tells ANS he has put together a 'Sputnik-41 Telemetry Assistant' software program that may be of help to those monitoring RS-18. The software tacks the internal temperature of the spacecraft, recording the report in Fahrenheit and/or Celsius rounded to a tenth of a degree. The free program is available for downloading at:

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:

  RS-18 QSL Manager
  14 bis rue des Gourlis
  92 500 Rueil-Malmaison

The list of received QSL's by the French QSL manager is available at the following link (note: the list changes daily as cards are received):

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)

Nick, W0CA, recently reactivated his AO-10 station and reports a nice roundtable QSO with VE5FN, KF4FDJ and KD2JF. He then worked Xaever, F6FXU. Jeff, KO6RD, reports AO-10 has been working extremely well with 17 recent contacts (15 from Europe with some signals reaching S-9 or better). Jerry, K5OE, has been active as has Frank, PE1KNL, John, K6YK, Selva, 9V1UV, and Dejan, 9A4ZD.

AO-10 continues to function well with the exception of the periodic deep QSB, which can be partially eliminated by switching antenna polarization. Strong signals have been heard even at apogee. Also note that AO-10's apogee is approaching its most northern point (ArgP = 270). This gives the satellite track on a rectangular (Mercator) map projection a distinctly symmetrical pattern. The apogee will begin a slow migration southward.

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.

Note: This element set may have to be entered by hand or cut and pasted line by line into a tracking program, rather than automatically extracted. They are not in the complete AMSAT format, orbit# (Epoch rev), Element set#, and Checksum are not included.

Satellite: 	            AO-10
Catalog number: 	14129
Epoch time:      		98334.41402
Inclination:        		26.8570 deg
RA of node:         	56.2190 deg
Eccentricity:     		0.59993
Arg of perigee:    	269.7500 deg
Mean anomaly:      	218.2590 deg
Mean motion:     	2.05837914 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

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.

Jeff, KF4KGQ, tells ANS he was "more excited than the day I got my drivers license" after making a contact on AO-27 using his handheld. Jeff reports that much of his AO-27 information came from ANS and the AMSAT-BB.

[ANS thanks Michael Wyrick, N4USI, for AO-27 information]

JAS-1b FO-20

Uplink 145.900 to 146.000 MHz CW/LSB
Downlink 435.800 to 435.900 MHz CW/USB

FO-20 in mode JA continuously.

Peter, NH6VB, in BL01 on the island of Oahu, Hawaii, has been active on FO-20 and FO-29 recently. Bill, KA7YAO, is a new operator to both FO-20 and FO-29 using a FT-847 and yagi antennas. Bill thanks Jerry, K5OE, Randy, N7IFF, and Brent, N6EMI, for help with the FO birds.

[ANS thanks Kazu Sakamoto, JJ1WTK for the 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 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

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

Jim, AA7KC, reports KO-23 downlink response has been very good. AA7KC uses the WiSP tracking program and TAPR radio and antenna control.

[ANS thanks Jim Weisenberger, AA7KC, and G3RWL, WA4SCA, G8UFN and N1QQV for KO-23 reports]


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

[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

No additional information is available at this time.

ANS has not received any recent updates concerning the current status of UO-22.

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. Telemetry has been nominal.

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

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.

General information and telemetry WOD files can be found at

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
Currently semi-operational.

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.

No telemetry report was received by ANS.

General information and telemetry samples can find 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.

ANS has not received any recent updates concerning the status of IO-26. No additional information is available at this time.


Downlink 436.923 MHz

TMSAT-1 is now open for general access by Amateur Radio operators worldwide. TMSAT commissioning has been completed and shows that most of the spacecraft systems are operating correctly. Normal access will allow operators to use the store and forward communications on the spacecraft and also download the high-resolution multispectral images.

It is hoped Amateur Radio operators will take advantage of the high-resolution multispectral images available from TO-31 and keep other traffic to a minimum. Due to current limitations with on-board memory, images will only be available on the satellite for a few days after they are taken. Software to display the thumbnail images from the WAC (Wide Angle Camera) will be released shortly.

Testing will continue and access may be limited to command stations only. If at any time the BBS is in a 'SHUT' mode as displayed in WiSP (or any of the digital programs), do not attempt to access the satellite as it may delay any command string that is underway.

Francisco, CT1EAT, reports he has successfully connected with TO-31, receiving a S-7 (peaking S-9) signal from the satellite. Other reports of successful TO-31 operation have been received from Rick, KB0VBZ, Gilbert, N3RZN, and John, G0ORX.

A set of TO-31 orbital elements has been received from G7UPN:

1 25395U 98043 B  98328.21943061 -.00000045  00000-0  00000-0 0   872
2 25395  98.7827  37.8397 0001975 294.4856  65.6119 14.22294128 19489

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

TechSat-1B GO-32

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 in the future.

ANS has not received any recent updates concerning the current status of GO-32. No additional information is available at this time.

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]

The following satellites are non-operational at this time:


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.

DO-17 (DOVE)

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, 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,