September 26, 1999

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Straight Key Night on OSCAR

Wondering just how to welcome the new millennium? Ray, W2RS, has one suggestion - SKN!

Ray invites satellite operators to participate in the 28th annual Y2K edition of Straight Key Night on OSCAR, sponsored by AMSAT-NA. The event is open to all radio amateurs worldwide.

As always, there are no rules, no scoring and no need to send in a log at the end of the event. W2RS tells ANS that SKN is simple - all operators need to do is operate using the continuous wave (CW) mode of transmission (with a hand key!) on any OSCAR satellite, or the moon (OSCAR-Zero), between 00:00 and 23:59 UTC on 1-January-2000.

All participants are encouraged to nominate the operator with the best fist among those they heard or worked.

Please send your nomination to W2RS:

via e-mail:
via packet radio: W2RS @ WA2SNA.NJ.USA.NA (or)

Ray also tells ANS that his listed callbook address is correct.

Best Fist nominees will be featured in an AMSAT News Service bulletin in early February and in the next available issue of the AMSAT-NA Journal following the contest end.

[ANS thanks Ray Soifer, W2RS, for this information]

League Opposes 2.4 GHz Video Proposal

The ARRL has asked the FCC to deny an experimental license application by Los Angeles County, California, to develop a public safety video system on the 2.4 GHz band. The frequencies in question could pose potential harm to Amateur Radio satellite communication channels, as well as terrestrial ground transmission and reception.

In its objection, filed September 23rd with the FCC, the League called the LA County proposal a "foot in the door" toward gaining a permanent berth in the 2.4 GHz band. "It is obvious from the experimental proposal that the County wishes to construct the entire system and then simply stay there," the League said. The ARRL said the FCC should authorize nothing more than a single 10-MHz video channel for a single transmitter aboard a single helicopter, to allow interference studies to be conducted.

The decision to grant the proposed experimental license is up to the FCC Office of Engineering and Technology's Experimental Licensing Division. In making its decision, however, the OET is expected to consult with the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau, which oversees Amateur Radio and the other affected services on 2.4 GHz.

Stay tuned to the ARRL and ANS for more information as this story unfolds.

[ANS thanks the ARRL for this information]

Mars Orbiter Missing

Mission managers at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory know that the Mars Climate Orbiter (MCO) reached the red planet, but unfortunately, it didn't last long.

The spacecraft fired a braking rocket last Thursday morning and initial telemetry indicated that 'all was well' as the orbiter passed behind Mars and out of touch with Earth. However, MCO's radio beacon was not received when it should have reappeared about 20 minutes later.

According to Project Manager Richard Cook, data obtained several hours before arrival indicates that the spacecraft was going to pass only 30 miles from the Martian surface, much lower than the planned approach. Initial speculation is that the craft seriously overheated as it passed through the planet's upper atmosphere and perhaps broke apart from aerodynamic stress.

An investigation continues to determine how the spacecraft got so far off course as it approached Mars.

MCO was to serve as the telecommunications relay for the Mars Polar Lander (which will arrive at the red planet on December 3rd). The Lander is scheduled to perform a soft touch down near the planet's south pole. Fortunately, MPL carries a radio for direct communication with Earth (though at a slower data rate).

The Mars Global Surveyor, which has been orbiting Mars for two years, can also serve as a data relay.

[ANS thanks Sky & Telescope and NASA for this information]

KO-23 and IO-26 Status Update

With the sad news of the loss of the Mars Climate Orbiter, ANS is pleased to report on the recovery of two amateur radio satellites: KITSAT (KO-23) and ITAMSAT (IO-26).


Nearing its 6th year in orbit, IO-26 ground controllers IK2XRO and IW2EGC have reloaded the high level code and turned on the IO-26 435.822 MHz PSK transmitter. Analysis of returned telemetry shows a healthy satellite with a fully charged battery (after 4 months of stand-by MBL mode).

A Whole Orbit Data (WOD) survey is currently underway, collecting data on array current, battery voltage and onboard temperature. Following the WOD collection, control stations plan to activate the digipeater function and experiment using the APRS system.


ANS has learned from KyungHee Kim, HL0ENJ, that satellite downlink telemetry is showing two of KO-23's ten battery cells to be very unstable. However, ground control stations have been successfully operating KO-23 with only minimum systems. Attitude control has been lost and power failures are still being experienced. Even with these problems, operation of the BBS has been recently achieved.

Jim Weisenberger, AA7KC, reports KO-23 returned to service on September 21st. "The satellite was missed by many users while it was out of service," said AA7KC, adding, "congratulations to the control team for correcting the operational problems."

Stay tuned to ANS for further updates.

[ANS thanks Jim Weisenberger, AA7KC, KyungHee Kim, HL0ENJ, and ITAMSAT Project Manager Alberto E. Zagni, I2KBD, 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).

RS-13's Robot CW auto-transponder is 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, tells ANS that Ron, KA2HZO, has been experimenting with SSTV through RS-13.

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 schedules 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)

Kimo, 8J1RL has been active from Syowa Station, Antarctica. Operation will continue to the end of January 2000. Schedules with 8J1RL are welcome, arrange via JH3BJN ( Look for Kimo's CW downlink near 145.890 MHz. QSL to:

Kimio Maekawa
67-9 Shimo-Asoujima

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

Chuck, KM4NZ, recently reset the TEPR states on AO-27 (on September 3, 1999).

TEPR 4 is 34 and TEPR 5 is 70

[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. Tony, AB2CJ, has been QRV on FO-20 SSTV.

[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.

Mike, KF4FDJ, has put together a very informative document on FO-29, addressing analog, digital and digi-talker modes. To obtain a copy e-mail Mike at

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

through Oct 4 Digitalker
Oct 5 - Oct 7 JA

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

ANS has learned (from HL0ENJ) that satellite downlink telemetry shows two of KO-23's battery cells to be very unstable. Ground control stations are operating KO-23 with only minimum systems.

Attitude control has been lost and power failures have been experienced every few months. AA7KC reports the KO-23 BBS returned to service on September 21, 1999.

[ANS thanks Jim Weisenberger, AA7KC, and KyungHee Kim, HL0ENJ, for KO-23 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.

AO-16 telemetry is as follows:

Time is Sat Sep 25 11:37:50 1999 uptime is 1833/05:55:59
+10V Bus        11.050 V  	+Z Array V      22.506 V
+X (RX) Temp  -3.632 D  	RX Temp         -4.237 D
Array V            21.363 V  	+5V Bus           4.843 V
+8.5V Bus        8.905 V  	RC PSK TX Out    0.442 W
RC PSK BP Temp   0.603 D  	RC PSK HPA Tmp   1.814 D
+Y Array Temp        4.839 D  	PSK TX HPA Tmp   1.209 D
+Z Array Temp        3.024 D
Total Array C= 0.431 Bat Ch Cur= 0.017 Ifb= 0.035 I+10V= 0.278

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.

LO-19 telemetry is as follows:

Time is Sat Sep 25 12:14:29 1999 uptime is 420/22:39:51
+10V Bus          11.176 V  	+Z Array V      22.199 V
+X (RX) Temp    -0.991 D  	RX Temp         -0.991 D
Array V              21.748 V  	+5V Bus            4.937 V
+8.5V Bus        8.705 V  	RC PSK TX Out    0.659 W
RC PSK BP Temp   1.813 D  	RC PSK HPA Tmp   3.496 D
+Y Array Temp   -0.991 D  	PSK TX HPA Tmp   1.813 D
+Z Array Temp   -0.430 D
Total Array C= 0.147 Bat Ch Cur= 0.031 Ifb= 0.036 I+10V= 0.121
TX:017 BCR:86 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:

PanSat is the featured cover article in the July/August issue of the AMSAT-NA Journal (written by KD6DRA and N7HPR).

[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.

SunSat has been in mode-J recently. Bruce, KK5DO, has recorded several mode-J SO-35 passes in RealAudio, check out to listen.

The SunSat mode-J schedule is as follows:

October 2nd
Australia 02:19 - 02:35 UTC
Africa 10:38 - 10:54
Europe 10:58 - 11:14
USA 15:56 - 16:13

October 3rd
Australia 01:38 - 01:55 UTC
Africa 09:57 - 10:12
Europe 10:19 - 10:34
USA 15:15 - 15:33

October 9th
Africa 09:16 - 09:32 UTC
USA 16:15 - 16:30
USA 17:50 - 18:10
USA 19:34 - 19:48

The three successive passes over the U.S. correspond with the AMSAT Symposium.

October 10th
Australia 01:56 - 02:12 UTC
Africa 10:16 - 10:34
Europe 10:38 - 10:52
USA 17:11 - 17:30

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 a baud rate of 38,400 (38k4). G7UPN also tells ANS that UO-36 is severely power limited and Chris is working on a new protocol to allow the downlink to only be switched on over active ground stations. "Once we get this going, UO-36 will be running the 38k4 downlink, and will be available when spacecraft resources (primarily power) permit," said G7UPN. 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.

The VK5HI TMSAT viewer software is available on the AMSAT-NA web site at

Further information on UO-36 is available from:

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


Uplink 145.875, 145.900, 145.925, 145.950 MHz FM
Downlink 435.822 MHz SSB, 1200 Baud PSK

IO-26 was launched on the September 26, 1993.

Ground control stations are attempting to reload the software and activate the digipeater on IO-26. The spacecraft has been in MBL mode for more than 4 months and an overall check has shown the satellite to be in good condition.

[ANS thanks ITAMSAT Project Manager Alberto E. Zagni, I2KBD, 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.

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 TechSat. 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 has again received minimal telemetry (one frame) from the satellite recently, dated September 20th.

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.

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.