January 27, 2002

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January 2002 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 January 2002 installment:

The holiday season has come and gone and during this time the AMSAT-NA Board of Directors has been busy looking at an exciting new proposal for a satellite.

As many of you are aware, our membership is comprised of people from all walks of life, including those who earn their living designing and building satellites. A company who builds satellites - with AMSAT-NA members as senior officers - approached the Board with a proposal to build a microsatellite in conjunction with AMSAT. This microsatellite, based on a design with several receivers and high power transmitters will enable users to:

There is also room on board for one or two secondary payloads. This is quite a lot for a small satellite, but with shrinking electronic components it is possible to get so much more into a small space. Personally, I am very excited by this opportunity, which the BOD has accepted in principle. We anticipate that the satellite will be designed, constructed, and undergo all its tests in 2002-2003, and be ready for launch in late 2003. A suitable launch has not yet been defined, however, there are several opportunities that are being investigated.

It is important to note that during the development of this bird, the design of the Eagle satellite project will continue. Eagle, being a larger satellite (and to be launched into GTO) will take longer to design and build. Currently, we hope that Eagle will be launched sometime in 2004, and we are still negotiating launch requirements.

As you can see AMSAT-NA has a full agenda for the next few years, and we are making every effort to meet the operating requirements of our members as well as the expectations of the designers and builders. Your support of these programs is essential, and financially absolutely necessary.

We now have more than 30 members of the President's Club and are looking for many more to be able to keep this exciting work going. Are you able to participate at any one of the three President's Club levels, or send regular donations to the AMSAT-NA office?

Now for a few special notes:

My congratulations to Bob Bruninga, WB4APR, and the excellent work done with PCSat. Bob and his group have worked very hard on this project and it is always a pleasure to see such outstanding results, and a satellite usable by so many of us.

Also, my congratulations go to Frank Bauer, KA3HDO, and the ARISS Working Group who developed and built the new antennas that are being deployed on the International Space Station. Much of the construction work was done by Lou McFadin, W5DID, in the AMSAT-NA lab in Orlando. These new antennas will provide enhanced communications with ISS, a good example of your AMSAT-NA dollars at work!

Finally, another thank you to the AO-40 command team who very successfully operated the onboard GPS system, providing NASA with very interesting data from AO-40. This was the first time that data has been received from a satellite outside of the GPS ring. Yet another first for amateur radio! My congratulations to Stacey Mills, W4SM, Jim White, WD0E, Bdale Garbee KB0G, and Mike Kingery, KE4AZN, who were all involved in the AMSAT-NA part of this operation.

See you on the birds!

Robin Haighton, VE3FRH
AMSAT-NA President

[ANS thanks AMSAT-NA for this information]

17th AMSAT-UK Colloquium Announced

The 17th AMSAT-UK Colloquium will be held at Surrey University, Guildford, Surrey, United Kingdom, July 26-28, 2002.

AMSAT-UK invites speakers to submit papers about amateur radio space and associated activities, both for the event and for the proceedings document to be published following the event.

Authors are asked to present the papers themselves, but event organizers also welcome un-presented papers.

Offers of papers should be submitted as soon as possible; the final date for full documents to be received is mid-June 2002 in order that the proceedings document is available to participants.

Submissions should be sent to Richard, G3RWL, via the following routes:

Internet e-mail:

Terrestrial mail:

R W L Limebear, G3RWL
60 Willow Road
Enfield EN1 3NQ
United Kingdom

AMSAT-UK also invites anyone with requests for program topics to submit them to G3RWL. Invitations for any papers on specific subjects will be included in any future call. Additionally, AMSAT-UK will also be running sessions specifically for beginners to amateur radio satellite operating.

[ANS thanks Richard Limebear, G3RWL, for this information]

New Version of Predict Available

John, KD2BD, informed ANS that he has released the latest version of his PREDICT tracking software (for Linux operating systems). This new version is available from the AMSAT-NA web site.

In the new release (version 2.1.5):

In addition to these and several other changes, the program documentation was also updated.

Further information is available at

[ANS thanks John Magliacane, KD2BD, for this information and his excellent work in this area]

Mystery Satellite Identified

A mystery satellite transmitting AFSK, frequency modulated, CW on 144.100 MHz for several days has been identified as MAROC-TUBSAT, an Earth-sensing spacecraft owned by the Royal Center for Remote Sensing, a Moroccan government agency.

The satellite was placed into a polar orbit by a Russian launcher on December 10, 2001.

Upon being informed of the interference being caused to amateur operations, Professor Udo Renner informed Norbert Notthoff, DF5DP (of the German national radio society DARC), that the 144.100 MHz transmitter had been turned off immediately.

MAROC-TUBSAT also has a downlink at 436.075 MHz, which is on over North Africa and Europe when the control stations in Rabat and Berlin are active. It has not been heard elsewhere.

Talks are continuing. In addition, IARU Satellite Adviser Hans van de Groenendaal, ZS6AKV, has written to the Moroccan national radio society (ARRAM) to ask for more information from their side.

[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.