July 29, 2001

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AO-40 Update

AO-40 command station Stacey Mills, W4SM, reported to ANS that AO-40's ALON/ALAT numbers have changed. With the latest YACE camera images analyzed, data is showing that AO-40 has drifted "backwards somewhat" to 309.8/7.4 (+/- 0.2) degrees.

Stacey reports the current data indicates that the mystery effect that the satellite is experiencing "is still very much active." Initial analysis by G3RUH shows that the effect is only slightly reduced when compared to measurements before the arcjet outgassing, even though the perigee height was increased from about 220 km to about 900 km.

W4SM reports more measurements will allow the AO-40 command team to further refine the magnitude of the mystery effect. Current data would appear to eliminate atmospheric drag as the source of the effect and also seem to make magnetic effects unlikely as well. Yet, the effect clearly exerts the bulk of its effect around perigee as observed in the solar angle values during pre- and post-perigee.

To prevent the squint angles from deteriorating further, the AO-40 command team has initiated a 3-orbit magnetorque to take the satellite back to the solar sensor edge (ALON/ALAT = 336/3). More information to follow.

RUDAK testing will continue on orbit 344 (which took place July 30th). Transponder passbands were off for this orbit. Excellent progress was made with RUDAK testing and software loading during the previous test, and command stations hope to continue with that success.

Keith, GU6EFB, was one of several stations reporting very good signals recently via AO-40. "I've been having a good time on AO-40 with lots of DX to be worked, including KK3K, DL6DBN, G3WDG, OK2UZL and N0ZHE. All were good, strong signals," said GU6EFB.

Stay tuned to ANS, the official source of AO-40 information.

[ANS thanks AMSAT-NA and AMSAT-DL for this information]

Helms Field Day Presentation

ARISS-International Chairman Frank Bauer, KA3HDO, reported to ANS about International Space Station operations during the recent ARRL June Field Day. Here is Frank's letter:


As all of you know, Susan Helms did a spectacular job as the first Field Day contestant from space. The ARISS team were so impressed with Susan's abilities on the air that we wanted to give her a little recognition for her efforts. Prior to the STS-104 flight, the ARISS team worked with STS-104 astronaut Jim Reilly to fly one of the ARRL 2001 Field Day pins into space with the intention of presenting this to her. Jim brought the pin up in his personal effects and made the presentation to Susan. In fact, she was later seen in several official NASA photographs proudly wearing the ARRL Field Day pin. In addition, the following statement was read as the pin was presented:

On behalf of the ISS ham team we present you with this ARRL Field Day 2001 pin. Thank you very much for participating in Field Day from the solar powered amateur radio station on ISS. Your pioneering efforts have set a high standard for future crews who will participate in this annual June event. The ISS ham station is a vital emergency communications link, just like the hundreds of thousands of amateur radio stations on Earth. Through your efforts on Field Day, you have demonstrated these capabilities to hams around the world.

73 from all the hams on Earth.

The ARISS Team

[ANS thanks the ARISS Team for this information]

PCSat to Launch Soon

Bob, WB4APR, reported to ANS that the launch of PCSat in early September 2001 will represent a new direction for amateur radio satellite communications. PCSat will offer distant travelers the ability to send and receive satellite message traffic and to report position and status from anywhere on Earth using only a handheld radio. "No ham traveler heading to the wilderness should leave home without his shirt pocket APRS handheld or other portable packet station," said WB4APR.

PCSat will use conventional APRS packets at 1200 or 9600 baud, and is designed to work with handhelds or mobiles using omni antennas.

WB4APR told ANS that PCSat has a specific mission, and will take an unusual step in the amateur satellite service by publishing user station requirements and asking users to adhere to those requirements. Bulletins from the satellite will inform users of current requirements.

As the launch date nears, Steve, K4HG, will be putting together a special PCSat web page. In addition, to see the current world map of APRS connectivity, visit

The design parameters of PCSat can be found at

Information about APRS satellites can be found on the WB4APR web site:

Stay tuned to ANS for more information on the launch PCSat.

[ANS thanks Bob Bruninga, WB4APR, for this information]

ANS in Brief

ANS news in brief this week includes the following:

Weekly Satellite Report

Link to the weekly report on satellite ...

All Satellites
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, 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.