March 14, 1999

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AMSAT Jewelry Contest

With preparations for the 17th Space Symposium and AMSAT-NA Annual Meeting in San Diego well underway, Dave, WB6LLO, informed ANS that the 7th Annual AMSAT Jewelry Contest, a long time favorite during past Symposiums, will again take place this year.

Dave tells ANS that although San Diego is well known for its air and sea military presence, satellite operators worldwide feel that the "pen is mightier than the sword -- hence, the 'Pen-tenna' will be the jewelry contest piece this year."

According to WB6LLO, think of the 'Pen-tenna' as "desk jewelry." The 'Pen-tenna' is a very ordinary style inverted-V antenna constructed from two stainless and gold plated Parker pens. The pens are removable and usable. The 'elements' are 6-15/32" long and a nominal 9/32" in diameter. They subtend an angle of 108 degrees. A modified BNC tee provides a connection for the 'elements'. Copper and brass tubing form the penholder/element attachment. The modified BNC is encapsulated in a cast resin base that is about five by six inches in size. Various IC's are 'floating' in the base along with an AMSAT logo.

The contest is to determine the resonant frequency of the 'Pen-tenna'! According to WB6LLO the "frequency band is obvious, but the exact frequency will determine the winner."

"The person who determines the exact frequency in megahertz will be declared the winner, and the winner will be announced at the Symposium banquet," said WB6LLO. Attendance at the banquet or the Symposium is not a requirement to win; anyone can enter -- but only one entry per person is allowed.

If not attending the Symposium the deadline for an official entry is 1-October-99. For those attending the Symposium the deadline is 1500 UTC on Saturday, October 9th.

Entries (and questions) may be sent to : (or)

Dave Guimont WB6LLO
5030 July Street
San Diego, CA  92110-1112

A description of the 'Pen-tenna' along with details can be found at

[ANS thanks Dave Guimont, WB6LLO, for this information]

2001 Launch Planned for Canadian Satellite

(Please note - portions of this story are used with permission of the Toronto Star newspaper)

From the very beginning, Canada's next-generation satellite has been audacious. It's no larger than a microwave oven, yet it will tackle a scientific controversy of cosmic proportions -- the age of the universe -- using the world's smallest space telescope. It's scheduled to be launched by the end of 2001, although not one circuit board has yet been put together. And the outside experts advising on the satellite design and construction are all amateurs.

But the most audacious part may be the birthplace. This quick, cheap and small marvel was conceived and is being nurtured in a bursting-at-the-seams suite of second-floor offices, up the stairs next to a Japanese restaurant. Welcome to Dynacon Enterprises Ltd., where cutting-edge technology beat out two bidders to get the nod from the Canadian Space Agency for the first in Canada's planned series of science micro-satellites. The satellite is called MOST, an acronym for Microvariability and Oscillations of STars project.

"The small satellite field is growing while the large satellite field is shrinking," says Kieran Carroll, Dynacon's manager of space projects and MOST sparkplug. "We are thinking very much about defining the market niche where we can compete and excel."

Dynacon has its eye on the full program of as many as 10 micro-satellites that the Canadian Space Agency is planning. And it has an unexpected partner in this ambitious plan - the University of Toronto Institute for Aerospace Studies.

At the institute, Robert Zee shows a visitor around a modest construction zone that will soon become the test and assembly area for the satellite and, eventually, also house the main ground station. "We're quite excited about MOST," he says.

So are the graduate students here, most only a few years younger than Zee, who manages the space flight laboratory. The institute is already the only place in Canada to study spacecraft design and it's now about to add hands-on spacecraft construction to the curriculum.

Inside the 50-kilogram suitcase satellite is the world's smallest space telescope, with an aperture only a little bigger across than a CD. It is supposed to keep the same star in sight for at least seven weeks so a super-sensitive light meter can record variations in brightness as faint as one part in a million.

The crucial expertise in fine-tuning the satellite is being provided free of charge by, of all people, ham radio operators. Not just any old operator, however, but ones who have had a hand in designing and building more than three dozen satellites since the 1960s. Quietly, with minimal recognition, the U.S. volunteers in the Radio Amateur Satellite Corporation have charted the technological path for today's constellations of commercial communications satellites.

About a dozen of the American amateur satellites are still operating today, acting as orbiting repeater stations for ham operators. And many more are in orbit built by Russian radio amateurs.

As the American operators proudly point out, they did it cheaply by keeping it simple. The flexible steel used for carpenter's rules springs out into antennas on their satellites. Surplus stores are scoured for suitable electronic components. "What we teach are ways of doing things, ways of thinking about spacecraft design," says Keith Baker, North American president of AMSAT the abbreviation for the non-profit corporation.

The radio operators share their expertise for two reasons. Education is part of the corporation's mandate and students often support the cause after graduation.

And if there's a tiny corner available, the ham operators will be allowed to tuck an amateur radio package into MOST.

[ANS thanks the Toronto Star and Science Reporter Peter Calamai 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 . SO-35


SAFEX II 70cm Repeater
Uplink 435.750 MHz FM with subaudible tone 141.3 Hz
Downlink 437.950 MHz FM
Seldom operational.  No operation in 1999 has been observed.
SAFEX II 70cm QSO Mode
Uplink 435.725 MHz FM with subaudible tone 151.4 Hz
Downlink 437.925 MHz FM
Seldom operational.  No operation in 1999 has been observed.
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.

Bill, K6AKO, reports hearing French astronaut Jean-Pierre in two-way voice contact on 146.985 MHz. SSTV reports have been received by Dave, VK3DXL, Rick, KB0VBZ and Mike Thompson.

AMSAT-France announced that Air Force General Jean-Pierre Haignere has been given a personal callsign to use aboard Mir: FX0STB. The QSL manager for FX0STB is:

Radio Club F5KAM
QSL manager Mir
22 rue Bansac
63000 Clermont Ferrand

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).

Tony, AB2CJ, fresh from his success with SSTV transmissions on FO-20, has been testing ROBOT 36 mode SSTV on RS-13, near 29.490 MHz (in upper sideband). Tony has been testing SSTV near the top of the downlink to avoid any possible QRM.

KG4OX in Guantanamo Bay has been active. Doug was worked by Don, KC4YRT, Garie, K8KFJ and Keith, N4ZQ, among others. QSL to Doug's home call, W4OX.

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)

John, K2JF, reports 559 downlink signals from the bird during a recent pass. 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. Masa, JN1GKZ, has measured the satellite's spin rate using FFTDSP software (and AO-10's beacon). The results can be found at:

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 on/off states of AO-27 were re-set on Monday March 1, 1999 by Chuck, KM4NZ. The TEPR states on AO-27 are now as follows:

TEPR 4 is 24
TEPR 5 is 60

This means that the transmitter will turn on 12 minutes after it enters the sun and shut off 18 minutes later.

Mike, N1JEZ, reports working CU3/DL7VTX and EB4DKA via AO-27.

Look for John, N8QGC, operating from St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands and from Puerto Rico as KP2/N8QGC and KP4/N8QGC later this month.

KM4NZ tells ANS that AO-27 "has exceeded it design life cycle and the control team is going to give it a physical to see how healthy it really is."

AO-27 is seeing 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, has been transmitting SSTV on FO-20 with good results. AB2CJ can be found using ROBOT 36 mode near 435.890 MHz (in USB).

[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
Semi-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
Semi-operational, rotated with analog mode and digi-talker. See schedule below.

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

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

The JARL will update this schedule on March 30th.

[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. HL0ENJ reports that KO-23 is in continual sunlight though 19-March and they are downloading battery information from the satellite using a synchronous 1200 baud data flow during each pass.

Bill, VK3JT, reports the last data he downloaded from KO-23 was on 17-January. Passes this week have the downlink signal at S-8 with no data. Rick, KB0VBZ, also reports good signal strength but no data from the satellite.

[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

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.

Telemetry is as follows:

Time is Sat Mar 13 11:02:09 1999 uptime is 1637/05:24:18
+X (RX) Temp     4.839 D  	RX Temp         -5.448 D
Bat 1 Temp         4.839 D  	Bat 2 Temp       6.049 D
RC PSK BP Temp   1.814 D  	RC PSK HPA Tmp   3.629 D
+Y Array Temp        1.209 D  	PSK TX HPA Tmp   0.603 D
+Z Array Temp       13.916 D  	Baseplt Temp     4.839 D
RC PSK TX Out    0.650 W
Total Array C= 0.311 Bat Ch Cur=-0.061 Ifb= 0.063 I+10V= 0.334

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 Mar 13 21:55:49 1999 uptime is 225/08:21:11
+X (RX) Temp    -6.600 D
RX Temp             4.618 D
RC PSK TX Out    0.674 W
Total Array C= 0.010 Bat Ch Cur=-0.273 Ifb= 0.128 I+10V= 0.155
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 145.925 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]

SunSat SO-35

Downlink frequency not established.

The satellite is not currently available for uplink transmissions. At this time the command team is planning general amateur radio service by the end of March.

SunSat was launched February 23, 1999 aboard a Delta II rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. SunSat stands for Stellenbosch University Satellite and takes it name from the South African university whose students constructed the payload.

The SunSat package includes 1200 and 9600 baud 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.

For more information on SunSat, visit the following URL:

[ANS thanks Garth Milne ZR1AFH, 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.


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.

[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,