December 16, 2001

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December 2001 President's Letter

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 December 2001 installment:

Wednesday, December 12, 2001 was a very special day for AMSAT members and for anyone with an interest in radio communications.

Wednesday marked the 100th anniversary of the first transatlantic radio communication by Marconi, from England to Newfoundland. The event was a historic achievement in the annals of radio communications. An equally historic event took place 40 years ago, the launch of the first amateur radio satellite: OSCAR-1.

From my archives I find that OSCAR-1 was a 10-pound package of electronics which transmitted the word "HI" back to Earth, along with telemetry in the form of a temperature measurement (which controlled the timing of the CW). The satellite was constructed by members of Project OSCAR, a group organized at Foothills College in Los Altos, California, along with the Lockheed Amateur Radio Club in Sunnyvale, California.

I would like to pass my congratulations to all of the members of Project OSCAR (most of whom are still active in amateur satellites). They were the forerunners of AMSAT and we have to thank them for their vision in developing this exciting aspect of amateur radio only four years after the flight of the first Sputnik.

On December 12, 2001 yet another first took place, the introduction of a new website from the latest member of the AMSAT world community. AMSAT-India has announced that their web page would become available on that day, and I look forward to reading their information.

As the senior officer of AMSAT-NA, I get a great deal of e-mail from many of you, and the variety of topics seem endless. I try to reply directly to as many as I can, providing some insight into AMSAT and what goes on in the organization. However, several of you have written to complain about frequency use, or bad operator etiquette by some stations. It is important to note that AMSAT is not a regulatory body and we do not have any control over how people use a satellite, we can only provide "moral persuasion" and hope that operators will use the minimum power required to get the communications through and not try and control the limited frequency space available on such satellites as AO-27 and UO-14. Many operators try to use these satellites with small antennas and a handheld transceiver, and do not appreciate some of the "big guns" operating with high-gain antennas and home stations.

Finally, to all of you from the Board of Directors and Officers of AMSAT-NA at this festive time of the year, may I wish you all the very best of the holiday season. May you and your family have a great holiday and a very happy New Year.

Robin Haighton, VE3FRH
President AMSAT-NA

[ANS thanks AMSAT-NA for this information]

ARRL AO-40 Update

AO-40 command station team member Stacey Mills, W4SM, provided ANS with current AO-40 status:

In order to complete some tests of the SCOPE cameras, CEDEX and other RUDAK functions (before we move to avoid the Sun), the RUDAK system must be on from MA 70 to MA 170 on orbit 518.

The Middle Beacon and transponder passbands will be off during this time. Command stations realize that this is prime weekend time, but the orbital conditions are such that we have no choice. To partially make up for this inconvenience, there will be no RUDAK session on orbit 519. Thus, orbit 519 will have the transponders active from MA=30 to MA=220.

Shortly after this, we must begin moving to a more negative ALAT.

Last week, ANS reported on upcoming adjustments to AO-40's attitude to compensate for unfavorable Sun angles over the next several months. The scheduled attitude shift to compensate for an unfavorable Sun angle will leave AO-40's antennas pointing away from Earth until next spring and will lead to a transponder shutdown period.

[ANS thanks AMSAT-NA for this information]

Straight Key Night on OSCAR

AMSAT-NA's W2RS cordially invites all amateur radio satellite operators to participate in the 30th annual Straight Key Night on OSCAR - conducted by AMSAT-NA for amateur radio operators around the world.

The event is entirely informal; no rules or scoring and no need to send in a log!

To participate just operate CW using a straight hand key through any OSCAR satellite (including the Moon, "OSCAR Zero") on January 1, 2002 between 00:00 and 24:00 UTC.

In keeping with the fun nature of this event, please nominate (from among those you worked), the operator with the best fist.

Nominations may be sent to W2RS:


Those operators receiving nominations will be recognized in an ANS bulletin in early February and in a future issue of the AMSAT Journal.

[ANS thanks Ray Soifer, W2RS, 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.