April 14, 2002

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SaudiSat 1A Announcement

AMSAT-NA News Service (ANS) has received word via AMSAT-NA President Robin Haighton, VE3FRH, that SaudiSat 1A is now open for amateur radio communications. In a letter to VE3FRH, Turki Al-Saud, the director of the Space Research Institute in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia (the sponsoring agency) communicated the following:

Please announce the availability of SaudiSat 1A (SO-41) to AMSAT members and to follow amateur radio operators in your region. Saudi OSCAR-41 has been configured for operation in the amateur service. The spacecraft will automatically enable its UHF transmitter over Saudi Arabia and the United States for approximately 20 minutes each pass.

The spacecraft is operating in Mode J, centered on a VHF uplink and UHF downlink of 145.850/436.775 MHz, currently configured as an analog FM voice repeater. The spacecraft will operate in this mode intermittently, as power and spacecraft experiments permit.

SO-41's downlink RF power is 1 watt over both regions with left-hand circular polarization. The uplink antenna (located on top of the spacecraft) is linear in polarization.

Best regards,
Turki Al-Saud
Space Research Institute
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

SO-41 was launched September 26, 2000, aboard a converted Soviet ballistic missile from the Baikonur Cosmodrome.

Immediately following the announcement, signal reports were being noted on the AMSAT-BB mailing list. Don, KD4APP, reported signals were running S1-S2. Drew, KO4MA, reports working WA3WDR and N4TPY. Joe, KA0YOS reported "SO-41 sounded good in South Dakota."

SaudiSat 1B is not available at this time as experiments and software development continues with 1B.

[ANS thanks Turki Al-Saud and AMSAT-NA President Robin Haighton, VE3FRH for this information]

April President's Letter

Several times each year AMSAT News Service 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:

Firstly, I must apologize to all of you for the lack of a February or March 2002 President's Letter. As some of you may know I have been away from home on a personal vacation in Australia. During my time away, Executive Vice-president Keith Baker, KB1SF, has been acting as President - thank you Keith for keeping things moving during my absence.

On my vacation I met with many hams and AMSAT members, and I gave two talks on AMSAT activities, first to the Moorabbin Radio Club (in Melbourne), and to a group of hams in the western coastal town of Northampton (who were very interested in getting their local high school in contact with the International Space Station). The Melbourne presentation centered on AO-40, and ended with an auction of some AMSAT items to raise funds for AMSAT-Australia. I also had the pleasure of meeting with Graham Ratcliff, VK5AGR, who serves as an AO-40 control station and is also the National Coordinator of AMSAT-Australia.

In Perth, I met Chris Hill, VK6KCH. Chris is writing software in support of our new IHU2 computer.

Other AMSAT related parts of my visit included meeting with Darran Siu and the team from the University of New South Wales who are building BlueSat - an amateur micro-satellite which may be launched in 2004.

I also met Shaun Wilson of Aerospace Concepts. Shaun is a member of a group building JaeSat - an amateur satellite which is due for launch around 2005 or 06. I asked both Darran and Shaun to provide articles for the AMSAT-NA Journal.

What's next for AMSAT-NA?

You may remember that in the Apogee view column for the January/February issue I had commented that our financial support for Eagle and other AMSAT-NA projects have been reduced since 9/11. This continues to be the case.

AMSAT-NA really needs your support!

Accordingly, I have asked Chairman of the Board Bill Tynan, W3XO, to call a Board of Directors meeting on April 20th to review the situation and to decide on a proper course of action.

Meanwhile, the Echo project satellite design is progressing and I will make a full report on these satellites in my letter next month.

I would welcome any input from the AMSAT-NA membership (members only!) on these topics. Please send comments to by April 15th. I will summarize your thoughts and take them to the BOD meeting.

Another important event rapidly approaching is the Dayton Hamvention, May 17-19th. Don't forget the AMSAT Dinner on Friday evening at the Amber Rose Restaurant. Please contact Ed Collins, N4NUY, to book your seat in advance. Our guest speaker will be Bob Bruninga, WB4APR, who will talk on the latest advances in APRS.

The AMSAT-NA forum at Dayton will look at our new satellite projects, along with having two ISS astronauts present, both of whom have operated the amateur radio equipment from the station!

In closing, with the fears of recession virtually over and the effects of 9/11 hopefully behind us, I ask that you please support our building fund once more. I realize that not everyone can become a "Gold" member of the AMSAT-NA Presidents Club, but if you could choose a level that you could continue to support (Gold, Silver, Bronze) or possibly a one time direct donation - it will help to provide for the future enjoyment of your hobby and your donation will even be tax deductible for many of you.

Until next month,

Robin Haighton, VE3FRH
President AMSAT-NA

[ANS thanks AMSAT-NA President Robin Haighton, VE3FRH, for this information]

Atlantis ISS Mission Underway

With the International Space Station orbiting high overhead, the shuttle Atlantis lifted off last Monday afternoon on a complex mission to install a 43-foot long truss structure. The launch occurred with only 12 seconds left in the 5-minute launch window (due to a brief delay).

The Atlantis crew is made up of Commander Mike Bloomfield, Pilot Steve Frick and mission specialists Rex Walheim, Ellen Ochoa, Lee Morin, Jerry Ross and Steve Smith.

Atlantis closed the distance between it and the International Space Station and successfully docked on Wednesday. The linkup took place as the two spacecraft flew over south-central China, to the southwest of Shanghai.

Construction of a framework for expanded research began Thursday as the S-Zero (S0) truss segment was installed on ISS. The truss will provide support for the cooling and power systems necessary to attach additional laboratories to the complex. After successful installation of the truss, the focus has shifted to the transfer of equipment, supplies and experiments between the space shuttle Atlantis and the orbiting laboratory.

Systems on the S0 truss are functioning well after its installation Thursday.

[ANS thanks the ARRL 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 . RS-21 . 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 . NO-44 . MO-46

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.