February 28, 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

SUNSAT Launched

ANS is pleased to report that on February 23rd, after more than a month of delays and aborted launch attempts, the Delta II rocket carrying the South African SunSat Amateur Radio satellite successfully lifted off from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

From the launch site, Cliff, K7RR, (via John, W7RAQ) first reported the good news to ANS:

"Success at last! The rocket carrying SunSat was launched this morning. The launch was a spectacular sight with the rocket lifting straight up, heading slightly west then turning south before disappearing from visual sight."

Following the launch, the AMSAT-BB was active with congratulations for the SunSat team. KD6PAG first reported receiving the downlink, noting "the bird was S-9 at times." John, G0ORX, passed on "congratulations to Sunsat!" Phil, KA9Q, reported seeing the launch from the front of his house in San Diego. KA9Q told ANS that he "picked up the yellow SRB plumes about a minute after launch as it rose above the usual low elevation haze."

Shortly after launch, AMSAT-NA President, Keith Baker, KB1SF, issued the following release:

"On behalf of AMSAT-NA, please pass along our sincere congratulations on the successful launch and activation of SUNSAT in orbit. I know there are many hams around the world who have been patiently waiting for the launch of this satellite and I am personally looking forward to the unique on-orbit capabilities that it will bring to us. Once again, our sincere congratulations and thanks to all the SunSat team for a job well done!"

SunSat, which stands for Stellenbosch University Satellite, takes its name from the South African university whose students constructed the payload. The University of Stellenbosch, situated in the second oldest town in South Africa, is not far from the southern tip of the African continent just east of Cape Town. The university has in excess of 14,000 students.

The SunSat package includes digital store-and-forward capability and a voice 'parrot' repeater system that will be used primarily for educational demonstrations. The satellite has two VHF and two UHF transmit-receive systems. Current downlink activity from SunSat is on 436.250 MHz, using a FSK Bell 202 format at 1200 baud. A complete description of SunSat (along with photographs) is available in the September/October 1998 issue of The AMSAT Journal.

The SunSat command team, headed by Garth Milne, ZR1AFH, reported signals were received from the new satellite during the very first orbit. "We uplinked commands to Sunsat and were overjoyed to hear UHF telemetry start at 1200 baud, just as we wished," said ZR1AFH. However, after 12 hours in orbit, uplinking would become much more difficult, mainly because the spacecraft was still tumbling. Cliff, K7RR, reported that after making many changes including increasing power and installing new antennas on the ground, the Vandenberg command team received loud and clear return signals from the bird. Ground control at Stellenbosch University is now currently busy with the commissioning of the satellite, including deployment of the gravity boom to help stabilize the bird.

During the commissioning phase, amateurs are kindly requested to avoid using SunSat uplink frequencies. The SunSat downlink will only be active when the satellite is within range of the ZS1SUN groundstation. Amateurs are invited to monitor or record these telemetry downlinks.

At this time the command team is planning general Amateur Radio service by the end of March.

For more information on SunSat, visit the following URL:

[ANS congratulates the SunSat team and thanks Clifford Buttschardt, K7RR, Garth Milne, ZR1AFH, Sias Mostert, ZR1MS, and the ARRL for this information]

It's 30 Years for AMSAT-NA

In 1969 the thought of an organization to build, fly and operate Amateur Radio satellites was just that -- a thought -- and from humble beginnings The Radio Amateur Satellite Corporation, known as AMSAT -- was born. Now, 30 years later, AMSAT North America, along with many worldwide partners, shares an active interest in designing, building, launching and communicating through analog and digital Amateur Radio satellites.

AMSAT-North America will celebrate its 30th anniversary on March 13, 1999 at the NASA/Goddard Employee's Recreation Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. The official festivities are slated to begin early that evening, but there will be related activities throughout the weekend including tours of the Hubble Space Telescope Center and the NASA Deep Space Communications Network. AMSAT President Keith Baker, KB1SF, and AMSAT Chairman of the Board Bill Tynan, W3XO, are planning to be in attendance. The public, along with Amateur Radio satellite operators worldwide, is cordially invited to attend.

A special patch commemorating the 30th anniversary is expected to be available at the Dayton Hamvention AMSAT booth. In addition, Rich Moseson, W2VU, CQ-VHF editor, is planning a complete 30th anniversary AMSAT story in the March '99 issue.

Information and/or reservations for the 30th anniversary celebration can be made by contacting AMSAT-NA at (301) 589-6062. Pat, WD8LAQ, reports the WA3NAN 146.835 MHz repeater will be used for "talk-in" during the festivities.

No AMSAT funds will be used for this event.

In addition to anniversary activities, AMSAT-NA is also looking forward to the 17th Space Symposium and AMSAT-NA Annual Meeting. Slated to be held in San Diego, California from October 8th through 11th, both recent and future developments in ham radio satellites will be presented in detail. More information on this event is available from AMSAT-NA headquarters or from Symposium chair Duane Naugle, KO6BT, at the following e-mail address:

[ANS congratulates AMSAT-NA on achieving 30 years, and looks forward with great anticipation to the next 30!]

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.

Mir SSTV reports have been received from KB0VBZ, KC7ZRU, K5OE, N2YAC, WAOZBL, CT1EAT, I4XQG, AH6HH and WB6FZH. Al, N2YAC also reports that new Mir crewmember Jean-Pierre Heignere was heard calling CQ on 2-meter FM.

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).

Doug, W4OX, tells ANS he is planning a week RS-13 operation as KG4OX, starting March 4th. Brian, OZ1SKY, reports RS-12/13 is working very good on European passes. Brian reports a growing problem is "15-meter QRM" from stations that are unaware that they are operating in a satellite uplink band segment.

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)

The 29.380 MHz 'meeting frequency' used by most RS-15 operators is showing good results.

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)

W4SM reports AO-10 has entered another sleep period due to poor solar angle.

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 satellite is showing heavy usage, especially on weekends.

[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.

Tony, AB2CJ, recently experimented with SSTV via FO-20 and reports receiving several e-mail messages from those who copied the image. "I'd like to thank everyone for the messages and suggestions," said AB2CJ.

[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.

A new operation schedule for FO-29 has been announced by the JARL. Digitalker operation had been planned, however, the digital voice is experiencing problems. Digitalker operation is again planned starting March 19th.

The new operation sked for FO-29 as announced by JARL command is as follows:

through Mar 8 JA
Mar 8 to Mar 18 JD1200
Mar 19 to Mar 23 Digitalker
Mar 23 to Mar 30 JA

[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. The downlink transmitter has not been operational for any normal communication.

ANS has learned (from the KO-23 ground command team) that satellite downlink 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.

Jim, AA7KC, tells ANS that KO-23 has been putting out a few downlinks, "but nothing useful at this time."

[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

KO-25 is absorbing the additional traffic (due to the loss of KO-23) and is performing well under heavy usage.

[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

Reported to be semi-operational. ANS has not received any recent updates concerning the status of UO-22.

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, reports that good signals have been received from the 145.826 MHz beacon.

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

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 Feb 27 22:30:45 1999 uptime is 1623/16:52:54
+10V Bus        10.300 V  	+X (RX) Temp    -4.842 D
RX Temp          8.470 D  	Baseplt Temp     6.049 D
RC PSK BP Temp  -1.817 D  	RC PSK HPA Tmp   0.603 D
+Y Array Temp  -20.575 D  	PSK TX HPA Tmp  -0.607 D
+Z Array Temp  -11.499 D  	RC PSK TX Out    0.779 W
Total Array C= 0.000 Bat Ch Cur=-0.468 Ifb= 0.186 I+10V= 0.303

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. The OBC (on board computer) reload is reported to be in progress, however, both EA1BCU (and ANS) have not received any updated information for several months. The digipeater is active.

Telemetry is as follows:

Time is Sat Feb 27 23:52:09 1999 uptime is 211/10:17:31
RC PSK TX Out    0.659 W 	+Z Array Temp  -11.648 D
LU Bcn Temp A    1.252 D  	LU Bcn Temp D    1.252 D
Total Array C= 0.010 Bat Ch Cur=-0.277 Ifb= 0.123 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

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


Uplink 145.925 MHz 9600 baud FSK
Downlink 436.925 MHz 9600 baud FSK

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

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

The TechSat-1B micro-satellite was successfully launched from the Russian Baikonur Cosmodrome on July 10, 1998.

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.

Recovery efforts have been unsuccessful. The chances of SedSat-1 reaching full operational status is doubtful.

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.

Dennis, KD4ETA , reports SedSat is continuing to perform as it has since launch, transmitting telemetry until the batteries are depleted and then going into safe mode -- then repeating the process. Dennis reports the satellite downlink has been active for over four months of the stated minimum design life of six months. "It is just too bad we have problems with the receivers or we would have such a beautiful bird," said KD4ETA.

Dennis further noted "in my opinion we can claim now at least partial victory for our satellite. Most of the engineering goals have been met, but it is just a total shame that the imaging system has not been able to fulfill its mission due to the probable loss of both receivers."

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, and Dennis Ray Wingo, KD4ETA, 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]

Return to top

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