January 31, 1999

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AMSAT-NA Strategic Planning Team Formed

Under the guidance of Bill Burden, WB1BRE, AMSAT-NA Vice President for Strategic Planning, AMSAT's strategic planning process is about to re-commence.

The initial idea is to review the current AMSAT-NA mandate and then present those findings to the Board of Directors, either confirming the current AMSAT-NA mandate -- or to make appropriate changes.

This action will require a considerable amount of work by those involved, but according to AMSAT-NA Executive Vice President Robin Haighton, VE3FRH, "both AMSAT-NA President Keith Baker and I consider this to be an essential action that must be completed before the next annual AMSAT-NA meeting in San Diego." At that time, added VE3FRH, "any proposed changes may be placed in front of the general membership."

Team members were chosen from active members of AMSAT-NA, representative of the general membership and the geographical areas served by AMSAT-NA itself.

Current team members are:

Bill Burden WB1BRE
Keith Baker KB1SF
Russ Tillman K5NRK
Ken Ernandes N2WWD
Bdale Garbee N3EUA
Dan James NN0DJ
Steve Bible N7HPR
Robin Haighton VE3FRH

Stay tuned to ANS for further developments of the Strategic Planning Team.

[ANS thanks Robin Haighton, VE3FRH, AMSAT-NA Executive Vice President for this information]

Mir/APRS School Roundup

Bob Bruninga, WB4APR, tells ANS the annual ARRL School Club Roundup (SCR) event will take place from February 8-13, 1999, with the objective to get as many schools on the air as possible using all amateur bands all modes.

With that in mind, WB4APR notes that the Mir space station orbit during that week over North America makes this an ideal opportunity for students to participate in satellite communications as well.

As part of the ongoing APRS/Mir/School experiments, MIREX president Dr. Dave Larson has endorsed the maximum participation of all schools to use the Mir digipeater to exchange communications between schools during the weeklong event. APRS style operations can handle as many as 100 stations per pass, so any school with a 2-meter FM radio, simple antenna and a TNC should be successful. The frequency will be 145.985 MHz.

Bob reminds everyone the APRS/Mir portion of this event is not a contest, but an "opportunity for students and schools to learn about space communications." WB4APR encourages amateurs to contact a local school science teacher and schedule a time period during the event when you can help set up and/or operate a school club station.

The live APRS/Mir downlink is always visible on the Naval Academy/MIREX web page at the following URL:

The ARRL School Club Roundup contest is described in detail on page 92 of the January 1999 QST. For more information visit:

[ANS thanks Bob Bruninga, WB4APR, for this information]

W1B Special Event Station

Mike Seguin, N1JEZ, has informed ANS that again this year, the W1B special event station will be active during the Vermont QSO Party. W1B is operated in commemoration of Wilson 'Snowflake' Bentley.

The station will be active on all high frequency bands and several active analog satellites, operating from grid square FN34. Operation will start at 13:00 UTC on Saturday, February 6th, and will end at 23:00 UTC the following day.

Mike tells ANS that a group of local AMSAT folks are planning W1B operation on the active analog satellites during this period. According to N1JEZ, operation is currently planned for FO-20, FO-29, AO-10, AO-27, RS-13 mode A and RS-15 mode A.

W1B will issue a colorful certificate for 2-way confirmation.

Mike notes during past operations, over 100 satellite contacts were made during the event. On HF, worked all states (WAS) was achieved in the first 6 hours of operation!

[ANS thanks Mike Seguin, N1JEZ, for this information]

SUNSAT Launch Delayed

Proving that the satellite launch business is actually rocket science -- and frustrated by numerous weather-related delays -- the Boeing team that's attempting to launch a Delta II rocket carrying the Sunsat amateur satellite (and two other payloads) ran into a technical snag during the January 28th launch attempt.

Eric Lemmon, WB6FLY, reports that at 1044 UTC on Thursday, January 28th, the Delta II rocket experienced a main engine cutoff immediately after the engine start command was issued. The shutoff is sent automatically when an anomaly in the engine sequence is detected.

The cause is of the shutdown is currently under investigation. No damage occurred to the rocket or to the three satellites that comprise the payload.

Cliff Buttschardt, K7RR, tells ANS the NBC news bureau near the Vandenberg launch pad featured a nice discourse on the number of delays occurring with the Delta launch. The NBC report mentioned upper air winds as the primary cause of the launch delay, but other excuses including abnormal wind direction (in which debris might fall over a populated area and ship channel traffic offshore) were also offered. The NBC story also had a very nice description of the Oersted and Sunsat satellites.

No further information on the Delta launch is available at this time. Stay tuned to ANS as this story unfolds.

[ANS thanks Cliff Buttschardt, K7RR, Eric Lemmon, WB6FLY, and the ARRL for this information]

ANS in Brief

ANS news in brief this week includes the following:

Weekly Satellite Report

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 . 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.

BV1AF, G0SFJ and NS1Z report SSTV transmissions from Mir. G0SFJ also reports hearing the Russian cosmonauts using 2-meter FM voice recently (the current Russian crew are not licensed amateur radio operators).

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).

John, KD2JF, tells ANS that an effective 10 meter antenna for mode A work is the turnstile. KD2JF reports he has been using a turnstile located about 8 feet above ground, noting it "is the best mode A antenna I have used." John says the turnstile has "a very low receive noise level and hears very well over the top."

Garie, K8KFJ, reports Bruce, ZF2CM, has been active on RS-13. XE2YVW in central Mexico (DL81) is looking for schedules on the satellite, as is VP5JM. RS-13 seems in good shape according to John, K6YK, who recently made several CW contacts on the bird. Waldis, VK1WJ, reports excellent downlink signals.

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.

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)

Many AO-10 activity reports have been received by ANS:

Charlie, VR2XMT, reports working VE6ITV, AL7OB, WL7BQM, W6VPH, K6YK and W7BRP with good signals. John, K6YK, reports VR2XMT, VR2LC, VU2IR, and VU2MKP contacts. John also reports a nice QSO with OH5LK when both stations were right at the edges of the footprint. From St. John, US Virgin Islands, Mal, NP2L, reports contacts with PS7JN, PA0DVM, DC2BB, OK2VLT, and OZ1MY. Frank, PE1KNL, reports contacts with K7XQ, NH6VB, VE6ITV and AL7OB.

JA6BX and OZ1MY both report that AO-10 has started FMing again indicating that another 'sleep period' maybe upcoming.

W4SM tells ANS that he has, using ranging software (and hardware) developed by James Miller, G3RUH, recently made ranging measurements on AO-10 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 and are now based on a 'best fit' of over 300 range measurements.

Satellite: 		AO-10
Catalog number: 	14129
Epoch time:      		99020.76950000
Element set:     		005
Inclination:         	26.927 deg
RA of node:          	46.982 deg
Eccentricity:       	0.60084
Arg of perigee:     	284.293 deg
Mean anomaly:        	119.137 deg
Mean motion:     	2.05867845 rev/day
Decay rate:        	0.0      rev/day^2
Epoch rev:            	11735
Checksum:               	256

NASA 2-line format:

1 14129U 00  0 0  99020.76950000  .00000000  00000-0  00000-0 0  0052
2 14129 026.9270 046.9820 6008400 284.2930 119.1370 02.05867845117354

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

Jerry, K5OE, recently operated portable from several grid squares, including EL19 and EM10. Jerry would like to thank everyone for all the cooperation on AO-27, telling ANS "it was fun."

NP2L, St. John, US Virgin Islands, is looking for contacts on AO-27.

[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.

[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
Operational, rotated with digital mode and digi-talker. See schedule below.
Digital Mode JD
Uplink 145.850, 145.870, 145.910 MHz FM
Downlink 435.910 MHz FM 9600 baud BPSK
Operational, rotated with analog mode and digi-talker. See schedule below.

The JARL has released the following FO-29 schedule:

Jan 25 to Feb 1 JA
Feb 1 to Feb 3 JD1200
Feb 3 to Feb 8 JA
Feb 8 to Feb 15 JD1200
Feb 15 to Feb 18 JA
Feb 19 to Feb 22 Digitalker

The JARL will announce the next FO-29 schedule on February 10, 1999.

Several station have reported the mode changes from analog to digital (and back to analog) including KF4FDJ, G7HIA and KA7YAO.

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


Uplink 145.850, 145.900 MHz FM
Downlink 435.175 MHz FM, 9600 Baud FSK
Not operational.

ANS has learned (from the KO-23 ground command team) that the satellite downlink transmitter first tripped off on August 18, 1998. Since that time, KO-23 has been tripped frequently. The transmitter was again off the air on January 17th and (again) turned back on. However, the command team noted the absence of KO-23's downlink on the very next pass. Telemetry shows one of KO-23's battery cells to be very unstable. The command team is analyzing the relationship between the battery life cycle and the downlink transmitter problem. The team has announced operation of KO-23 will be stopped until the team understands the problem completely and has found a workable solution.

Several stations have noted that KO-23's transmitter is once again silent, including W4SM.

[ANS thanks Jim Weisenberger, AA7KC, and KyungHee Kim, HL0ENJ, for KO-23 status information]


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

AA7KC reports the satellite is exhibiting good downlink efficiency.

[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 that the OBC186 flight software on UO-22 crashed recently after operating for well over 500 days.

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

Clive, G3CWV, tells ANS that apart from some ground control activity during the first week in January, it's been another uneventful month for OSCAR-11. During the period 16-December-98 to 16-January-99 good signals have been received from the 145.826 MHz beacon. Telemetry is reported as nominal. Battery voltage is usually around 13.9 volts.

The magnetorquer spin correction counters have continued to be of interest. Recently there have been very few spin counter increments, although the spin period remains around its nominal value of -300 seconds. The Z axis counter increments normally, and all the counters were reset by ground control when a new WOD survey was started.

The internal temperatures have fallen slightly, by about one degree C. They are now 7.6C and 5.8C for battery and telemetry electronics respectively. The current duration of solar eclipse times has continued to provide OSCAR-11 with near optimum conditions, maintaining an adequate power budget while not allowing the internal temperatures to rise to excessive levels.

The single WOD survey, of channels 1, 2, 3, 61 (magnetometers) dated 10-October-1998, was transmitted until 05-January when it was briefly replaced by a survey of the same channels dated 04-January-1999. This was then replaced by a WOD survey dated 06-January-99, detailing solar array currents and array voltage on channels 10, 20, 30, 40 (+Y, -X, +X, V).

The operating schedule is unchanged.

ASCII status (210 seconds)
ASCII bulletin (60 seconds)
BINARY SEU (30 seconds)
ASCII TLM (90 seconds)
ASCII WOD (120 seconds)
ASCII bulletin (60 seconds)
BINARY ENG (30 seconds)

The ASCII bulletin is currently a static message, detailing modes and frequencies of all the amateur radio satellites. There are additional status blocks after each bulletin is transmitted, and between ASCII TLM and WOD.

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 Fri Jan 22 21:49:27 1999 uptime is 1587/16:12:30
+10V Bus        	10.350 V  	RC PSK TX Out    0.798 W
+X (RX) Temp    -4.237 D  	RX Temp         10.285 D
Bat 1 Temp    	   7.260 D  	Bat 2 Temp       6.654 D
Baseplt Temp     6.654 D  	RC PSK BP Temp   0.603 D
RC PSK HPA Tmp   2.419 D  	+Y Array Temp  -19.365 D
PSK TX HPA Tmp   1.209 D  	+Z Array Temp  -10.288 D
Total Array C= 0.000 Bat Ch Cur=-0.461 Ifb= 0.197 I+10V= 0.285

General information and telemetry WOD files can be found at

A complete collection of WOD graphics corresponding to the year of 1998 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.

Telemetry is as follows:

Time is Fri Jan 22 21:38:09 1999 uptime is 175/08:03:31
RC PSK TX Out    0.659 W
Total Array C= 0.008 Bat Ch Cur=-0.270 Ifb= 0.116 I+10V= 0.161
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.

Recently, the secondary OBC-386 flight computer software was loaded. The OBC-386 will be made the primary OBC (with a number of advantages) including 128 MB of data storage available for storing images and the availability of two simultaneous uplinks.

ProcMail V2.00G has been released by G7UPN. This software permits the processing of image files from TO-31. ProcMail V2.00G is available for downloading on KO-23 and KO-25. It also has been posted to the AMSAT-NA FTP site at the following URL:

[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.

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. 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.

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.

QSL cards for receiving DOVE (when the satellite is operating) may be obtained from:

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

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,