January 3, 1999

Latest Bulletins
Last Week's Bulletins
1999 Bulletins
These Bulletins in plain text format
Subscribe to bulletins by e-mail
Submit your News for ANS

Kansas Kids Test NASA QSO Project

With a big lull looming for Space Amateur Radio Experiment (SAREX) school contacts, NASA is toying with the idea of launching a more earthbound version of the SAREX program that puts youngsters in direct contact with astronauts via Amateur Radio.

Last November, a group of pupils at the Pleasant Valley School in Winfield, Kansas, gave the idea a test flight during a 20-meter QSO with NASA astronaut Laurel Clark, KC5ZSU. Clark, a NASA mission specialist, spoke to the kids from the W5RRR station at the Johnson Space Center in Houston.

Helping out with the arrangements was John Nickel, WD5EEV, an early member of the SAREX Working Group. "I set up a portable station at the school, so we were all in a very full class room," WD5EEV explained.

The sole SAREX mission scheduled for 1999 is currently scheduled for early April, and construction of the International Space Station is only now under way. Amateur Radio is considered 'required crew equipment' aboard ISS, but the first Earth-to-ISS school contacts are not scheduled until permanent crew occupation aboard the station.

ARRL Educational Activities Department Manager Rosalie White, WA1STO, of the SAREX Working Group said similar terrestrial but space-related contacts could fill the impending gap in the SAREX program. "This terrestrial QSO was a test to see how this new project involving astronauts and schools can work," she said. "These exciting school contacts can tide us over until we're all set for future International Space Station contacts."

SAREX Working Group Chairman Roy Neal, K6DUE, agreed. He called the idea "an excellent way to stay in touch with our schools while SAREX converts into ARISS facilities over the next few years."

Matt Bordelon, KC5BTL, SAREX Principal Investigator at NASA, also helped with the arrangements. He said the current plan is to attempt these types of contacts on an occasional basis, spending about 30 minutes with a school via HF or using one of the current analog amateur satellites. "It gives the astronauts practice with school contacts via Amateur Radio, and it keeps ham radio visible," he said.

[ANS thanks the ARRL and NASA for this information]

SKN-99 Success

The AMSAT 27th Annual Straight Key Night (SKN) sponsored by AMSAT-North America for Amateur Radio satellite enthusiasts Worldwide -- was a great success this year.

From Helena, Montana, Bill, KA7YAO, told ANS he "had a blast on the birds during SKN-99." Bill worked K7MQ, WL7WH, WB7AEA, W7DQS, VE5SWL and IK5NTE -- all on RS-13. On FO-20, Bill heard K5OE and W2RS. On F0-29, KA7YAO worked Frank, K9CIS, and told ANS that Frank had the best fist of all the stations he worked. Bill said the last RS-13 pass was a real pleasure -- working Brent, VE5SWL -- an old friend.

Cliff, K7RR, agreed with KA7YAO, telling ANS "SKN-99 was really good this year, especially with AO-10." Cliff reports he even made one contact via OSCAR Zero (EME).

SKN is entirely unofficial; there are no rules, no scoring and best of all no need to send in a log. Ray, W2RS, would like to thank all the stations who participated in OSCAR SKN-99.

W2RS reports some nominations for 'best fist' have already been received. Ray tells ANS that participating SKN-99 satellite operators are encouraged to nominate someone they worked for recognition as having the 'best fist'. To send a nomination, please address it via e-mail to: (or) via packet radio to:


Nominations will also be accepted via the W2RS callbook address.

Those nominated will be featured in a future W2RS bulletin to be sent to all the Amateur Radio publications and posted via ANS to packet radio systems and the Internet -- in early February 1999.

[ANS congratulates all stations that participated in OSCAR SKN-99, and thanks Ray Soifer, W2RS, for his dedication to SKN each year]

Satellite Update

ANS has received updates on several of the current Amateur Radio satellites in orbit.


Malcolm, VE5ZG, and Brent, VE5SWL, reported to ANS on December 30th that RS-13 is now operating in mode KA, with a 10-meter downlink and a 15-meter and 2-meter uplink. Mode A is considered an easy way to learn about satellite operation.

The current RS-13 frequencies are:

Downlink:     29.460 - 29.500 MHz CW/SSB
Uplink:     21.260 - 21.300 MHz CW/SSB
Uplink:     145.960 - 146.000 MHz CW/SSB
Beacon:     29.504 MHz

Similar reports of RS-13 mode KA operation have also been received by G8ATE, G7HIA, K5OE, KG8OC, VK3DXL, N0ZHE and KA7YAO.


Alan, WA4SCA, was wondering about the status of SedSat/SO-33, and Dennis, KD4ETA, responded.

SedSat is continuing to perform as it has since launch, transmitting telemetry until the batteries are depleted and then going into safe mode (for about ten hours) and then repeating the process. "The orbital geometry is such that we have had as much as 120 hours of continuous operation from the bird before the batteries die," according to KD4ETA.

Dennis reports recovery efforts are still underway. "We still have a couple of chances here. It turns out that one of the two receivers on SedSat were disabled before launch. The second receiver may or may not have been working before launch, however, we have a method of testing the receiver/receiver(s) on the bird. We will, in the next week or so, be sending up the reset command. This is a hard reset that does not require the intervention of the on-board-computer to function. Using this method we should be able to determine if either of the receivers are working. If they are then there are some things we can do to overcome a software bug that has been found. If the SedSat team can do these things then we may be able to recover the bird and place it into service."


Gustavo, LW2DTZ, tells ANS that Serge Samburov and Victor Kourilov were recent guests of AMSAT-Argentina. Upon leaving, they took the completed VoxSat satellite with them, and according to LW2DTZ, "they hope to have VoxSat integrated into a Russian Module-M launch vehicle for insertion into orbit sometime in 1999.

The latest VoxSat status can be found at the following URL:


From Arizona State University, Assi 4X1KX / KK7KX, tells ANS the status of ASUSat can be found at the following URL:

The web site information will confirm the ASUSat team at Arizona State University has been hard at work since a launch opportunity was offered aboard an Orbital Science (OSC) vehicle. The launch is currently scheduled for September 1999.

In mid-December 4X4KX reports structural shock and vibration testing at OSC's facilities in Phoenix were completed. According to Assi "the test went very well with testing conducted at almost 200 percent of the expected levels." At present the team is expecting to finish integrating the satellite's electronics systems by the end of January.


Russ, K5NRK, reports the latest information about SunSat shows a possible launch on January 14th aboard an Air Force Delta 2 rocket. The Advanced Research and Global Observation Satellite (ARGOS), a Danish satellite and the South African SunSat research satellite are due to be inserted into orbit from Space Launch Complex-2 West -- at Vandenberg Air Force Base. Stay tuned to ANS for further developments.

[ANS wishes success to the SunSat, ASUSat, VoxSat and SedSat satellite and launch teams]

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 . SO-33 . PO-34


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
Semi-operational due to SSTV transmissions.

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

John, N8ZYA, reports recently working the Mir personal message system (PMS) using a palmtop computer and a portable station. Mir 2-meter SSTV images have been received recently by N2YAC, W5HUQ, G1IVG, G0SFJ, KB0VBZ and M1BTR.

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 KA (10m downlink, 15m and 2m uplinks).

The RS-12/13 satellite has seen many recent changes in operation during the past weeks. Modes K, T, KT and now mode KA operation have all been reported by a number of stations.

Dave, VK3DXL, reports no trouble hearing his mode A downlink, using 10 watts on 2-meter CW into a vertical and a simple 10-meter ground plane on receive. Dave reports "the CW beacon was quite strong and the downlink was crowded with 15-meter stations who had no idea that the satellite was overhead." Greg, N0ZHE, reports great signals on mode A. Greg says mode A "is great way to get your feet wet if you want to get started in satellite operations with basic antennas." Bill, KA7YAO, reports a contact with Al, XE2YVW. "Signals were 5X5 to 5X7 and the beacon was a full 5X7 in Montana." Bill tells ANS he has been "having a blast on RS-13," working K5WNO, VE7STB, N1ZKB, W3FP, W7WLK and K5OE.

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:


Uplink 435.030 to 435.180 MHz CW/LSB
Downlink 145.975 to 145.825 MHz CW/USB
Beacon 145.810 MHz (unmodulated carrier)

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.

Waldis, VK1WJ, tells ANS that "AO-10 is still doing a splendid job." VK1WJ recently worked UA0CA on CW with AO-10 at 20,000 km. Charlie, VR2XMT, reports he will be active on AO-10 shortly. Scott, VE6ITV, reports a nice round table on AO-10 with NH6VB, WA6DIR and NS1Z. Dave, WB6LLO, tells ANS that he has set up a schedule with Hiro, JE2VVN, for SSTV on AO-10.

Mart, DL6UAA, tells ANS that he is planning AO-10 operation from 3B8 in March and April '99. If successful, Mart says this will be the "first satellite operation from 3B8 land." Stay tuned to ANS for details. Additional information on the operation is available at

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.

Satellite: 		AO-10
Catalog number: 	14129
Epoch time:      	99001.27000000
Element set:     	001
Inclination:         	27.020 deg
RA of node:          	50.903 deg
Eccentricity:       	0.60042
Arg of perigee:     	278.381 deg
Mean anomaly:        	67.554 deg
Mean motion:     	2.05837582 rev/day
Decay rate:        	0.0      rev/day^2
Epoch rev:            	11695
Checksum:               206

NASA 2-line format:

1 14129U 00  0  0 99001.27000000  .00000000  00000-0  00000-0 0  0019
2 14129 027.0200 050.9030 6004200 278.3810 067.5540 02.05837582116957

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 reset by Chuck, KM4NZ on December 7, 1998. 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.

Dirk, ON1DLL, reports working TK5GF via AO-27 on Christmas morning.

[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.

Bill, KA7YAO, reports working K9CIS and KB2WQM with better then 5X5 signals.

[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 soon. Digi-talker operation is also being planned.

Bill, KA7YAO, reports working WB6FZH/KH6 on CW via FO-29.

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


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

AA7KC reports KO-23 is non-operational at this time. Jim reports "there is no RF carrier available from this satellite." K0MDJ, W4SM and KO6RD all report no signals from KO-23. No additional information is available at this time.

[ANS thanks Jim Weisenberger, AA7KC, for KO-23 status information]


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

AA7KC reports KO-25 is operational with downlink efficiencies exceeding 90%.

[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

Chris, G7UPN, tells ANS the OBC186 flight software on UO-22 crashed recently after operating for well over 500 days. G7UPN switched the satellite into telemetry downlink to ensure that all systems looked nominal before starting the necessary reload. The software reload should be completed at this time.

More information on the satellite is available at the following URL:

[Chris Jackson, G7UPN/ZL2TPO, is the Operations Manager of UO-22]


Downlink 145.825 MHz FM, 1200 baud PSK
Beacon 2401.500 MHz

Telemetry has been nominal.

The mode-S beacon is ON, transmitting an unmodulated carrier, but telemetry indicates that it has partially failed, and delivering half power. This beacon is a useful test source for those testing mode-S converters, prior to the launch of P3-D. The 435.025 MHz beacon is normally off

More information about OSCAR 11 can be found at the following URL:

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.

Telemetry is nominal.

Time is Sat Jan 02 23:13:46 1999 uptime is 1567/17:37:37
+10V Bus        10.650 V  RC PSK TX Out    0.566 W	
Bat 1 V          1.282 V  Bat 2 V          1.295 V	
Bat 3 V          1.304 V  Bat 4 V          1.296 V	
Bat 5 V          1.293 V  Bat 6 V          1.303 V	
Bat 7 V          1.253 V  Bat 8 V          1.299 V	
Bat 1 Temp       7.260 D  Bat 2 Temp       7.865 D	
RC PSK BP Temp   0.603 D  RC PSK HPA Tmp   1.814 D	
+Y Array Temp  -17.550 D  PSK TX HPA Tmp   1.209 D	
+Z Array Temp   -6.053 D	
Total Array C= 0.000 Bat Ch Cur=-0.481 Ifb= 0.186 I+10V= 0.319

General information and telemetry WOD files can be found at

New telemetry WOD graphics corresponding to Dec-09 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.

No BBS service. On Board Computer reload in progress. The digipeater is active.

Time is Sat Jan 02 23:18:07 1999 uptime is 155/09:40:31
+10V Bus   	10.820 V  RC PSK TX Out    0.659 W	
Bat 1 Temp      	4.618 D  Bat 2 Temp       4.618 D	
Baseplt Temp    4.057 D  RC PSK BP Temp   3.496 D	
RC PSK HPA Tmp   1.252 D  +Y Array Temp  -15.575 D	
PSK TX HPA Tmp   2.374 D  +Z Array Temp  -11.087 D	
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.

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. Normal access will allow operators to use the store and forward communications on the spacecraft and also download the high-resolution multispectral images.

Chris, G7UPN, tells ANS that during software loading (and other command activities) ground control stations may close the satellite BBS to general users. This ensures that command activity is not obstructed or slowed by user traffic. This also allows ground control stations to complete these activities much quicker.

[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]


Downlink 437.910 MHz FM 9600 Baud FSK
The satellite is not currently available for uplink transmissions.

SEDSAT-1, signifying Students for the Exploration and Development of Space Satellite number one, was successfully launched and placed in orbit on Saturday, October 24, 1998.

SedSat is continuing to perform as it has since launch, transmitting telemetry until the batteries are depleted and then going into safe mode (for about ten hours) and then repeating the process. "The orbital geometry is such that we have had as much as 120 hours of continuous operation from the bird before the batteries die," said Dennis, KD4ETA. Recovery efforts continue.

For more information on SedSat-1, including Version 1.2 of the SedSat ground station software -- visit the satellite web site at the following URL:

[ANS thanks Dr. Mark Maier, KF4YGR, for this information]


Downlink frequency not established.
The satellite is not currently available for uplink transmissions.

PANSAT, developed by the Naval Postgraduate School, was launched from the shuttle Discovery. PANSAT spread-spectrum digital transponders will be available to amateur radio operators in the near future along with software to utilize this technology. The PO-34 command station is located in Monterey, California.

Dan Sakoda, KD6DRA, PANSAT Project Manager recommends 'The ARRL Spread Spectrum Sourcebook' as a good place to start in understanding the spread-spectrum scheme.

The PANSAT Team does not expect the satellite to be available to the Amateur Radio community for another few months.

For more information, visit the official PANSAT web site at:

[ANS thanks Dan Sakoda, KD6DRA, 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.

RS-18 (Sputnik 41)

Russian cosmonauts successfully launched RS-18/Sputnik 41 on November 10, 1998, during a spacewalk from the Mir space station. The satellite stopped transmitting early on December 11, 1998, meeting the 30 day projected lifetime.

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):

DO-17 (DOVE)

Downlink 145.825 MHz FM, 1200 Baud AFSK
Beacon 2401.220 MHz

DOVE stopped transmitting in March 1998. The 145.825 MHz and 2401.220 MHz downlinks are off the air and the satellite has not responded to ground station control. Command stations will again attempt contact in the near future.

When the satellite is operating, QSL cards for receiving DOVE may be obtained from:

Dianne White, N0IZO
45777 Rampart Road
Parker, Colorado 80138-4316

Dianne has received a few cards recently for what apparently is UO-11. Dianne handles cards for DOVE (DO-17) only.

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]

Return to top

This week's AMSAT News Service bulletins were edited by AMSAT News Service Editor Dan James, NN0DJ,