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As May begins much is happening with AO-40!
First, Peter, DB2OS, reported the RUDAK system had been activated for the first time following the December incident. Command station operator W4SM reported the power budget stayed positive and everything looked normal during the first test. The RUDAK team then began uploading programming to the RUDAK CPU's.
Jim, WD0E, reported the RUDAK-A processor was commanded through a series of tests. Commanding was quite reliable using the L-band uplink. Some initial software was loaded and executed, the real-time clock was set, a short text message was put in the downlink queue and some tests to measure deviation and frequencies were completed. RUDAK-A is now sending telemetry and a pass-through of the IHU downlink information -- on its own downlink at 2401.72 MHz. Telemetry values look normal at first glance.
James, G3RUH, reported good copy of the RUDAK beacon, which is about the same signal strength as the IHU middle beacon. Testing and commissioning plans will continue.
DB2OS then broke the big news on Thursday, May 3rd -- AO-40 was going live! Here is Peter's announcement:
AO-40 experimental transponder operation will start on Saturday morning, May 5th, at approximately 08:00 UTC when the U-band and L1-band uplinks will be connected to the S-2 transmitter passband downlink via the matrix switch. If there are no problems, the transponder will be usable until MA=240. It will be turned on again in the same configuration around MA=135. Schedule changes will be announced in the telemetry beacon.
Please note that this is experimental transponder operation and as such the transponders may be shut off at any time without warning and the schedule may change without prior notice. The window for transponder operation is about 10 days, before we move to try to raise perigee using the arcjet.
Also, +/- 5 kHz around the Middle Beacon (MB) must be avoided. If the beacon cannot be copied due to interference with users in the passband, the passband may be disconnected and transponder operation stopped.
It is also planned to test the U-band and V-band transmitters again when squint angles allow good visibility.
Needless to say, we all are very excited!
Peter, DB2OS, and the AO-40 Command Team
The uplink frequencies are 435.550-435.800 MHz and 1269.250 to 1269.500 MHz. The downlink passband is 2401.225-2401.475 MHz. The transponders are inverting, so a downward change in uplink frequency will result in an upward frequency shift in the downlink.
ANS Principle Satellite Investigator N1JEZ was first to report contacts on the AMSAT bulletin board. "Things are working quite well," said Mike, "I've successfully logged a dozen contacts in the first hour of operation including two contacts using the Mode-L uplink. I also logged my first DX contact with IZ8EDE. The comment I heard most often was how weak the S-band downlink was for some stations. In these situations, the natural tendency is to increase uplink power. Without the benefit of the LEILA system, I'm sure a few of us were running too much uplink power, but, it will take a bit of time to get a good feel for uplinks and downlinks. My final tally was 24 contacts including some DX. A great first day! Let's hope for many more."
Ed, K9EK, echoed Mike's comments. "Wow, AO-40 was terrific on this first morning of transponder operation," said K9EK, "after almost 10 years, what a thrill! Heartfelt thanks to all those who have busted their backends for so many years. You are appreciated!"
Maggie, K3XS, in all likelihood made the first YL contacts through AO-40 working KB8VAO, W5VZF, W4AD, WC0Y and N4IP. Pieter, N4IP, reported signals at 51,000 km were about S-3 above the noise at his QTH. Pieter worked I8CVS using the 70cm uplink. Jerry, K5OE, told ANS that KB8VAO and N1JEZ were among the best sounding signals. Roger, W3SZ, reported working a number of stations including AB9V, KK2L, VE7BBG, G3WDG, K5QXJ, W7AM and others.
AMSAT-NA President Robin Haighton, VE3FRH, released the following to ANS:
It was with great pleasure that I worked AO-40 early in the morning of Saturday, May 5th. Signals were generally good. To satellite enthusiasts there is nothing quite as exciting as working a new bird, especially when we have all watched and waited as AO-40 went through its troubles and (now) is returning to us as a great satellite. The very hard work that Project Leader Karl Meinzer, AMSAT-DL President Peter Guelzow and the worldwide supporting group of command stations and technical individuals - is providing us with a great satellite. Thank you all!
Robin reported working N1JEZ, WL7BQM, KB8VAO, VE3NPC, W5ACM, W3PM, W0OQC, W4AD, W4SM, K9EK, KB2WQM, KA0YOS, W3HH, AC9R and VE3BCG.
Stay tuned to ANS, the official source for news and information about AMSAT OSCAR 40.
[ANS thanks AMSAT-NA, AMSAT-DL and the ARRL for this information]
Several times each year ANS will feature information from AMSAT-NA President Robin Haighton, VE3FRH. This feature is known as the 'President's Letter'. The following is the latest installment, originally broadcast last week as ANS Special Bulletin 120.01:
Dayton is nearly here, and I look forward to being there and renewing many friendships and contacts. Certainly, one of the important things about Dayton is to meet with suppliers and manufacturers to determine the latest and greatest on the satellite scene, to learn what is coming down the road and to advise our suppliers on our thoughts about the next generation of satellites. In other words - to carry out particular communications "one-on-one".
An equally important aspect is to see our members at the AMSAT booth and to discuss their needs and ideas for AMSAT. So, with this in mind, I am marking on my calendar specific times on each day at Dayton this year to be present at - or near - the booth to meet as many AMSAT members as I can and to hear your thoughts and ideas.
The schedule is as follows:
Friday, May 18th - 10:00-11:30 AM and 2:00-3:00 PM
Saturday, May 19th - 11:00 AM-12:00 and 2:00-3:00 PM
Sunday, May 20th - 10:00-11:00 AM
In addition, I will be at the AMSAT Dinner at the Amber Rose Restaurant on Friday evening and at the AMSAT Forum on Saturday morning (8:30-10:00), but these are more formal occasions and not always available for detailed discussions of your thoughts.
AMSAT is always looking for volunteers, people like you, who would enjoy contributing to the hobby, and if you feel that there is something within the AMSAT organization that you would enjoy doing, please let me know when we meet.
AMSAT has all sorts of opportunities available, some involve aspects which are not technical, but organizational, and we have a need for those as well as the technical functions.
However, whether you wish to volunteer or not I look forward to seeing you in Dayton!
Robin Haighton, VE3FRH
[ANS thanks AMSAT-NA President Robin Haighton, VE3FRH, for this information]
The Dayton Hamvention is quickly approaching and AMSAT-NA's activities at Hamvention will be extensive! AMSAT will be in the same booth location as previous years -- spaces 445-448. The booth theme this year is AMSAT: Pioneering the future of Amateur Radio on the ISS.
The booth will feature a variety of updated and new items, including:
AMSAT also has been offered a wonderful opportunity to build our membership base during Dayton. An AMSAT benefactor has offered to cover the cost of a providing a complete Mode-S and Mode-L system for use with AO-40! This includes antennas, a Mode-S downconverter and Mode-L transverter/amplifier. The user will need to provide an appropriate SSB/CW transceiver to serve as the exciter/receiver. The drawing for the AO-40 station equipment will be done at the AMSAT booth on Sunday, May 20th. The winner does not have to be present to win and AMSAT will cover the cost of shipping the radio to the member's address as shown on the membership form.
The annual AMSAT dinner will take place on May 19th at the Amber Rose Restaurant, the same location used for the past five years. A program will follow the dinner, featuring Jerry Schmitt, KK5YY, who will share his exploits of working the satellites from Alaska and assisting with the Iditarod dogsled race.
AMSAT will be involved with several scheduled presentations, including:
See you at Dayton!
[ANS thanks AMSAT-NA Vice-President of Field Operations, Barry Baines, WD4ASW, for this information]
ANS news in brief this week includes the following:
Link to the weekly report on satellite ...
ISS . RS-12 . RS-13 . RS-15 . AO-10 . UO-11 . UO-14 . AO-16 . DO-17 . WO-18 . LO-19 . FO-20 . UO-22 . KO-23 . KO-25 . IO-26 . AO-27 . FO-29 . TO-31 . GO-32 . SO-33 . PO-34 . SO-35 . UO-36 . AO-40 . SO-41 . SO-42
Please send any amateur satellite news or reports to the ANS Editors at firstname.lastname@example.org, or to ANS Editor Dan James, NN0DJ, at email@example.com.
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This week's AMSAT News Service bulletins were edited by AMSAT News Service editor Dan James, NN0DJ.