August 29, 1999

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Mir Crew Returns to Earth

News agencies around the world all reported the same story: for the first time in over 10 years, there's nobody in space. Todd Halvorson of the newspaper Florida Today told ANS that "in an emotional overture to a fiery grand finale, an international crew left Russia's aging space station Mir early Saturday morning, reducing Earth's orbital population to zero." The crew's departure also signaled an end to amateur radio operation aboard the Mir station.

Mir had been occupied for 3,641 consecutive days.

The departure followed a hectic two weeks in which the crew shut down station laboratories, filled up its garbage scow and switched off all but essential systems. A new crew, meanwhile, is being trained for a short mission that might be needed to make final preparations for what would amount to a burial-at-sea. The schedule calls for cosmonauts to fly to Mir in February or March of 2000 and to oversee the arrival of a fuel-filled Russian space freighter. The freighter would periodically fire onboard thrusters, nudging Mir into a lower orbit of about 125 to 135 miles above Earth. The crew then would abandon ship and return to Earth before the freighter gives Mir a powerful last push into the upper atmosphere.

Mir has placed some incredible numbers in the record books, starting with orbits. Mir orbits the Earth about 16 times a day, for total of more than 77,000 to date. The station has been aloft for almost 5,000 days going back to the core component launch and has seen nearly 100 passengers, including seven NASA astronauts, a Japanese journalist, a British candymaker and several other foreign visitors. Mir was also the setting for the longest stay in space by Cosmonaut Valery Polyakov (recording 438 days in 1994-95). Many of the visitors were ham operators who were very 'radio-active' from the station during their stay.

Many satellite operators posted comments on the AMSAT-BB about Mir. Jeff, W4JEF, essentially captured the thoughts of many with his posting, "may the memory of the fun we've all had with Mir remained etched in our minds for years to come."

[ANS congratulates the Mir space station and all who flew on her for their outstanding achievements]

StenSat Launch Update

Amateur radio satellite operators around the world are watching, with much interest, the upcoming launch of the very small (and very intriguing) StenSat amateur radio picosatellite. StenSat is a tiny (12 cubic inch) FM crossband repeater in the sky, which will operate much like the popular AO-27 satellite. StenSat will use an uplink frequency of 145.840 MHz and a downlink of 436.625 MHz.

Hank Heidt, N4AFL, tells ANS that StenSat will be part of the Stanford University's OPAL (Orbiting Picosatellite Automated Launcher) experiment, currently scheduled for an October 4, 1999 launch.

Stay tuned to ANS for launch details as they become available.

N4AFL and his team are looking for volunteers to monitor and control the StenSat picosatellite. The team is particularly interested in getting AX.25 style telemetry reports from the satellite in the first hours after launch. In addition, N4AFL is looking for volunteer control operators who can help switch the operating modes of the bird (using standard DTMF tones).

If interested in volunteering, contact N4AFL at

Details on the StenSat picosatellite is available on the web at

[ANS thanks Hank Heidt, N4AFL, for this information]

ARISS Antenna Update

The ARRL is reporting that hardware key to ham radio involvement in the International Space Station program has been sent to the flight processing facility at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. According to SAREX Principal Investigator Matt Bordelon, KC5BTL, "once all the equipment is in hand, the antenna system components will be integrated and undergo flight qualification testing."

KC5BTL tells ANS that the ARISS program calls for eventually providing HF capability from ISS. "We haven't done HF before from the shuttle or Mir and a lot of hams have really wanted us to go in that direction." Running HF gear from the space shuttle was deemed impractical before, said Bordelon, because the SAREX program depended on a window style antenna.

Things will be different with the four, externally mounted antennas on the ISS Service Module. The ARISS Italian team has built and shipped L/S-band antennas, diplexers and radomes which comprise part of the four antenna packages. Each antenna system consists of either a VHF/UHF, HF, or L/S-band antenna, diplexer, mounting plate, mounting clamp and antenna cable.

The antenna systems, scheduled for delivery aboard shuttle mission STS-101, will make use of four Russian-provided bulkhead feedthroughs on the Service Module. Astronauts aboard ISS will connect the initial ARISS radio transceivers and associated hardware to the antenna systems.

The ISS 'initial station' ham gear recently passed qualification testing. This initial station setup will support amateur operation on voice and AFSK packet on 2 meters and 70 cm.

The ARRL is also reporting that testing is underway on the German built digitalker speaker-microphone, slated for manifest on a shuttle flight in 2000. The device functions as a digital voice memory beacon, reminiscent of the SAFEX digitalkers experimented with on Mir. ISS crew members will be able to record short messages in the digitalker's memory and the unit will then send the message as a beacon at specific time intervals.

Stay tuned to ANS for further developments.

[ANS thanks the ARRL, SAREX Principal Investigator Matt Bordelon, KC5BTL, and Frank Bauer, KA3HDO, AMSAT Vice President for Human Spaceflight Programs 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 . UO-36


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

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).

Brian, N9WJJ, will be active on RS-13 from EN46 through early September.

RS-13's Robot CW auto-transponder is currently active. For confirmation of an RS-13 Robot contact, send your QSL card along with the Robot QSL number to:

  Radio Sport Federation
  Box 88

Kevin, AC5DK, has information about RS-12/13 that contains a simple explanation on how to operate on the satellite, including a forum for operators to exchange information, pose questions or even set up skeds via RS-12/13.

AC5DK's RS-12/13 Satellite Operators Page:

AC5DK's RS-12/13 Satellite Forum:

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)
SSB meeting frequency 29.380 MHz (unofficial)
Semi-operational, Mode A (2m uplink, 10m downlink)

Dave, WB6LLO, has operating information for both RS-15 and RS-13 on his personal web site. In addition to satellite data, antenna information and AMSAT-NA Jewelry Contest information is also featured. The WB6LLO web site URL is


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

Dirk, ON1DLL, and William, PE1RAH, report they have been testing RTTY via AO-10. Both report that they achieved almost 100% copy even when using low power and invite others to use the mode. PE1RAH and ON1DLL also report DX on AO-10 recently including TR8CA, OX3DB, ZS2BWB, 5H3US, PY4AJ, T72EB and SV5BYR. John, K6YK, reports hearing YB0ARA/9, ZL2VAL, 7K4IIN, JA6BX and VK6ZAK. Bill, K7MT, recently tried AO-10 for the first time, working VK6ZAK, 7J7ABD, YB0ARA/9 and JM1KVW.

Masa, JN1GKZ, reports his web page shows the current AO-10 spin period and spin rate (by measuring the beacon with FFTDSP software). The JN1GKZ web site can be found at

Stacey Mills, W4SM, has more information about the satellite at

[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 performing well with heavy use on the weekends. John, K6YK, reports hearing many mobile and portable stations recently including N6KMR/m, K5OE/m, N0XLR/m, KC1TF/m and KB8WCJ/m. K6YK also tells ANS that N2YQP, KK5YY and N1JEZ have been active doing demos from hamfests around the country.

TEPR 4 is 42 and TEPR 5 is 78.

[ANS thanks Chuck Wyrick, KM4NZ, and 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 is in mode JA continuously.

FO-20 continues to function quite well.

[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.

Kazu, JJ1WTK, tells ANS that the FO-29 operational schedule (announced by the JARL) is as follows:

through Sep 9 (Thu) JA
Sep 10 (Fri) Digitalker

Mineo, JE9PEL, has updated his FO-29 satellite telemetry analysis program. The software will automatically analyze all digital telemetry from the satellite such as current, voltage and temperature. The JE9PEL FO-29/software update is available at

[ANS thanks Kazu Sakamoto, JJ1WTK, for the FO-29 status reports]


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

Jim, AA7KC, reports KO-25 is performing well with 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

Carol, W9HGI, reports UO-22 is performing within acceptable limits. W9HGI operates the West Coast Packet Satellite Gateway (WSPG) for the Worldwide Packet Network (WPN).

More information on the satellite is available at

[ANS thanks Carol Byers, W9HGI and Chris Jackson, G7UPN/ZL2TPO for UO-22 status information]


Downlink 145.825 MHz FM, 1200 baud PSK
Beacon 2401.500 MHz

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.

More information on OSCAR-11 is available at the following URL:

[ANS thanks Clive Wallis, G3CWV, for OSCAR-11 status 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. S-band beacon off.

AO-16 has operated continuously for over 1,800 days since its last software reload.

Telemetry is as follows:

Time is Sat Aug 28 12:06:22 1999 uptime is 1805/06:25:33
+10V Bus        11.150 V  	+X (RX) Temp     6.654 D
RX Temp         -4.237 D  	Baseplt Temp     2.419 D
RC PSK TX Out    0.472 W  	RC PSK BP Temp   3.024 D
RC PSK HPA Tmp   2.419 D  	+Y Array Temp   -5.448 D
PSK TX HPA Tmp   1.814 D  	+Z Array Temp   18.756 D
Total Array C= 0.305 Bat Ch Cur=-0.001 Ifb= 0.069 I+10V= 0.259
TX:010B BCR:88 PWRC:59E BT: A WC:25 EDAC:F0

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 digipeater is active.

Telemetry is as follows:

Time is Fri Aug 27 22:55:09 1999 uptime is 392/09:20:31
+10V Bus        11.024 V  	Baseplt Temp    -0.991 D
RC PSK TX Out    0.547 W  	RC PSK BP Temp  -5.478 D
RC PSK HPA Tmp  -6.600 D  	+Y Array Temp  -18.940 D
PSK TX HPA Tmp  -6.039 D  	+Z Array Temp  -12.209 D
Total Array C= 0.430 Bat Ch Cur= 0.228 Ifb= 0.017 I+10V= 0.110
TX:016 BCR:7D 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]


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.

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

[ANS thanks Dan Sakoda, KD6DRA, for this information]

SunSat SO-35

Semi-operational. Modes of operation and uplink/downlink frequencies have yet to be officially established.

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]

UoSAT-12 UO-36

Downlink 437.025, 437.400 MHz

UoSAT-12 was successfully launched on April 21, 1999 from the Russian Baikonur Cosmodrome. UO-36 carries a number of imaging payloads, digital store-and-forward communications and mode L/S transponders.

The satellite is not currently available for general uplink transmissions.

UO-36 has been transmitting 9600-baud FSK telemetry framed in a VLSI format using a downlink frequency of 437.400 MHz. Chris, G7UPN, reports UO-36 is also transmitting on 437.025 MHz at 38,400 (38k4) baud. Presently the BBS is still closed.

S-band high speed downlink commissioning continues at rates between 128kb/s and 1Mb/s. The S-band downlink frequency has not been announced.

VK5HI TMSAT viewer software is available on the AMSAT web/ftp site at

Further information on UO-36 is available from:

[ANS thanks Chris G7UPN/ZL2TPO, and the University of Surrey, for this information]

The following satellites are in orbit but are non-operational at this time:

Mir Space Station

Ham radio activity aboard the Mir space station came to a close on August 28, 1999 as the crew returned to Earth, leaving the station unmanned. Mir is in a stable orbit with only essential systems running. All amateur radio activities have ceased. Currently, the station is being prepared for re-entry sometime in the first quarter of 2000. However, the final fate of the space station has not been formally announced. Stay tuned to ANS for further developments.

Current Amateur Radio equipment aboard Mir includes:

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
Not operational.


The 435 MHz beacon (only) is operational. Attempts to command the mode A transponder 'on' have been unsuccessful to date.

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.

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.

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.

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

Last reported, 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:

No additional information is available at this time.


Downlink 437.910 MHz FM 9600 Baud FSK
The satellite is not currently available for uplink transmissions. Recovery efforts have been unsuccessful.

Mineo, JE9PEL, reports he received one frame of telemetry from the satellite in the past month.

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.

For more information on SedSat-1 visit the satellite web site at

No additional information is available at this time.


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 for several months.

ANS has learned (from HL0ENJ) that satellite downlink telemetry shows one of KO-23's battery cells to be very unstable.

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

ANS would like to thank Mike Seguin, N1JEZ, ANS principal satellite investigator, for helping provide current satellite information for ANS.

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.