June 23, 2002

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President's Letter - June 2002

Summer is finally here and for those of us who live in the Northern States or Canada, it did not come any too soon. The reason that I mention summer is that now I can get outside in good weather and set up a portable AO-40 station for demonstration purposes. Many of the ideas that will go into this station were obtained at Dayton when I was able to see many ideas and talk to AMSAT members from around the world. Certainly one of the many strengths of AMSAT is that it is an international organisation and that we can discuss many ideas with each other. Dayton lives up to its billing every year and we had a very good attendance at the AMSAT booth with many members renewing their membership and others joining for the first time. One of the highlights, at least for me, was that several members chose to rejoin AMSAT-NA after being away for a few years. Another highlight was the AMSAT forum, with standing room only (over 300 attended). The topics were an insight into Oscar-E by Rick Hambly - see your June /July issue of The Journal for a repeat of this information, Ed Krome gave an excellent review of how to work Mode S and available equipment, and Frank Bauer introduced Owen Garriot and Tony England, our first two astronauts to work amateur radio from space. A fantastic program well orchestrated by Vice President of Field Operations, Barry Baines WD4ASW and Vice President of Human Spaceflight Programs Frank Bauer. I would also like to thank our new "Manager of Dayton Operations" Ed Collins N8NUY for organizing the booth assembly and takedown. Now we are looking at some new ideas for next year ideas, which are dependent on finding a new booth space in a different location in the Hara arena, more on this later, if our ideas become practical!

As most of you are aware Russ Tillman K5NRK has stepped down as the Journal Editor, after 7 years, this is a record for an AMSAT Journal editor. Russ has introduced many innovations into The Journal and on behalf of you all I thank Russ for his time, effort and devotion over the seven years. Dan James NN0DJ our ANS editor has now become the new Journal Editor and with the assistance of our assistant editors will produce the July August issue. JoAnne Maenpaa WB9JEJ and Harrison Faust WW4HF have volunteered to become co-editors on a team of 4 who will share the production of ANS. I am still looking for 2 more co-editors who would like to join this team, and thereby relieve Your President and Executive Vice President from this part of the operations. (we still have plenty to do on your behalf!)

During the Summer months, work will be continuing on our two satellites, Oscar-E and Eagle. I understand that our structural/thermal engineer, Dick Jansson is moving ahead in the design of Eagle and is working closely with the Vice President of Engineering Stan Wood, our big question here is the need for propulsion to achieve the right orbit, and how to do it ... if necessary. Of course our preference would be not to do it.

Robin Haighton VE3FRH
President AMSAT-NA

AMSAT Miracle

STOP PRESS - Announcement....

First heard by Pat Gowan G3IOR, Oscar 7 seems to have made a comeback! Pat copied and downloaded CW telemetry. This information was confirmed by several AMSAT members as coming from OSCAR-7. This satellite was launched on November 15 1974, giving it a life of 27 and one half years. The receive frequency was 145.9738.

Jan King W3GEY commented, "G3IOR's telemetry frame is interesting. Apparently he did hear the AO-7 mode B beacon tonight.

"I got out my December 1974 and looked up the telemetry equations for the Morse Code Telemetry Encoder and what I found is in the attached spreadsheet.

"I'm blown away. Most of this stuff makes pretty good sense. In particular, the temperatures make sense and I would have guessed that they would be the most solid IF the reference voltage held (which it did). Interpreting some of this for those who may not understand or don't remember, the telemetry says the spacecraft was in Mode B; all the other beacons and Mode A were off. It is possible that the thing had just turned on because the old 24 hour timer just reset it to Mode B. The damn thing may think it is still on an every other day cycle. The power output of the transponder is 1.16 watts which may mean it is transmitting white noise plus beacon power. That seems about right, but a little low as I recall. The instrumentation switching regulator is in the middle of its normal range and seems to be working fine. The internal temperatures are around 15 deg. C; the external temperatures are around 5 C and the transponder PA temp, which should be the warmest - IS - it's 35.1 deg. C. The array current value is bust. I think maybe it always was. Need to look for some old telemetry to confirm that. The array current calibrations looks off. The array currents are in the normal range but all four show current. This can't be. Only two at a time should show current. Without a battery on line, this is entirely possible. The big find is that the battery voltage telemetry shows a voltage of 13.9 volts. Normal is 13.6 to 15.1 volts. So that would suggest the battery was normal BUT, the 1/2 battery voltage is measuring only 5.8 volts. That can't be. This imbalance probably means that the 5.8 volts is the correct value for the lower half of the battery (which is a low value for that half, if the cells were normal - they are probably not) and there is a break somewhere in the upper 1/2 of the battery string. My guess is the indicated voltage is really what the BCR is putting out with only the spacecraft load as a real load and the battery string has an effective break (or a pretty high resistance) somewhere in the upper half.

"So, this old war horse of a spacecraft seems to have come back from the dead if only for a few moments. And it is telling us, that even in a 1460 km high orbit a cheap spacecraft built by a bunch of hams, without very many high rel parts and without designing for a radiation dose like this, can last for 27+ years in space as far as a majority of its electronics is concerned. Even the damn precision reference voltage regulator is still in calibration!"

Like many of us, stunned by the announcement of the return of an old friend, Past President and BOD Chairman Bill Tynan added "Wow! Shades of Harry Potter and Steven King. It makes one believe in ghosts."

[ANS thanks President Robin Haighton for this item]

Nominations for Board of Directors

The following people have been nominated to fill three seats on the AMSAT Board of Directors:

Keith Baker, KB1SF
Tom Clark, W3IWI
Steve Diggs, W4EPI
Rick Hambly, W2GPS
Bruce Paige, KK5DO

Ballots should be in the mail by July 14th.

Martha Saragovitz
Corporate Secretary

Second Call for Papers (repeat item)

ANS has announced the 20th Space Symposium and AMSAT-NA Annual Meeting, scheduled for November 7-11, 2002 in Fort Worth, Texas. The event will chronicle recent and future amateur radio satellite technology developments, including an electronic surplus stores tour on November 7th; a Field Operations breakfast and a tour of the Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company on November 10th; and the AMSAT-NA Board of Directors Meeting November 10th.

This is the second "Call For Papers" to be presented during the 2002 Symposium.

Papers may be presented by the author during the Symposium, or simply offered for inclusion in the Symposium Proceedings publication.

The subject matter should be of general interest to amateur radio operators involved in satellite communications. Suggested topics include; operating techniques, antenna design and construction, spacecraft design and construction, current mission status, proposed satellite missions, telemetry acquisition and relay, satellite microwave projects, etc.

A brief abstract of the proposed paper (in outline format) should be submitted as soon as possible. The final date for abstracts is July 8, 2002. Copy-ready papers must be received no later than August 26, 2002.

Electronic submittal is preferred. The format must be either MS Word compatible or in plain text. Please e-mail your electronic submittals to Doug Howard at

[ANS thanks Keith Pugh, W5IU, the 2002 event chairman]

WRC-03 Includes Amateur Satellite Services

The World Radiocommunication Conference 2003 will take place in Geneva, Switzerland, next June and July. Several issues of importance to radio amateurs are on the conference agenda, including harmonization of the 7 MHz amateur and broadcasting allocations. Other amateur radio-related issues on the WRC-03 agenda include the revision of Article 25 of the international Radio Regulations -- the basic rules for the amateur and amateur satellite services.

[ANS thanks ARRL ARLB036 for the above information.]

NPRM Proposes Primary Amateur Allocation at 2400 MHz

Public comments on FCC proposals to create two new amateur bands and to create a new amateur service primary allocation in the vicinity of 2.4 GHz are due July 29, and reply comments are due by August 12. In response to an ARRL petition, the FCC last month released a Notice of Proposed Rule Making (ET Docket 02-98) that proposed to create a new 5 MHz HF allocation and a new low-frequency band in the vicinity of 136 kHz in addition to elevating amateurs from secondary to primary at 2400 to 2402 MHz.

The FCC adopted the NPRM May 2 on a unanimous vote. The NPRM was published June 14 in The Federal Register.

Interested parties may file comments via the FCC's Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS) website, Click on "Search for Filed Comments" and enter "02-98" in the "Proceeding" field. All comments and other correspondence -- plus a copy of the NPRM -- are available for viewing via the ECFS.

[ANS thanks ARRL ARLB035 for the above information.]

ISS Expedition 5 On-Air

ISS Expedition 5 crew chief active on air: Stan Vandiver, W4SV, in Indiana, reports he worked International Space Station Expedition 5 Crew Commander Valeri Korzun June 10 on 2 meters at 0222 UTC. "He was using call sign RS0ISS, and he complimented my Russian!" said Vandiver, who sprinkled a few Russian words into his exchange. "I hope this is a sign of things to come for this crew!" Vandiver said Korzun worked some other stations before his contact, which he recorded and posted on his Web site

[ANS thanks The ARRL Letter Vol. 21, No. 24 for the above information.]

AMSAT-NA On-Line and Toll Free Telephone Service

Members Applaud New AMSAT-NA On-line And "Toll Free" Telephone Services

In an earlier ANS bulletin, Keith Baker, KB1SF, AMSAT-NA's Executive Vice President announced that the AMSAT-NA Web site ( was being set up to accept requests for AMSAT's publications, as well as hardware and software items on-line via a secure credit card link. In addition, a new toll-free number at AMSAT-NA Headquarters in Maryland was launched to help make telephone requests for these items easier.

"The initial feedback from our members has been overwhelmingly positive," Keith said. "They really like being able to request items "on-line" or over the telephone toll-free. Requests for our latest offerings (including a newly designed AMSAT T-shirt and patch) are particularly popular," he said.

Those interested in using the new on-line service can do so simply by clicking on the various "AMSAT Catalog" links at the bottom of the main Web page and then following the prompts and appropriate links from there. The final "checkout" page uses full 128-bit security encryption and accepts both VISA and Master Card credit cards.

Anyone who still wants to request items "the old fashioned way" (via telephone or by mail) can continue to do so. If they are calling from the continental USA, however, they can now take advantage of the new "toll free" ordering number at AMSAT Headquarters. The new number is: 1-888-"FB-AMSAT" (1-888-322-6728).

Routine informational calls or calls from outside the continental USA can continue to use the AMSAT office telephone number +1-301-589-6062 Monday through Friday, 10 AM to 6 PM, Eastern USA time. Requests can always be placed by mail at: AMSAT, 850 Sligo Avenue, Suite 600, Silver Spring, MD, 20910-4703 USA.

[ANS thanks Keith KB1SF for the above information.]

OSCAR-11 Report

OSCAR-11 REPORT - 16 June 2002

The period from 17 May to 14 June 2002 has been an interesting time for OSCAR-11. In mid November 2001 the Z-axis attitude correction reached its saturation value of 1024, which stopped all attitude and spin correction magnetorquer pulses. The Z axis attitude was controlled solely by the passive gravity boom gradient. There was no control of the spin rate. Between November and March the spin period varied randomly between 179 and 237 seconds. During April and early May the spin rate started to slow down reaching a period of 1901 seconds (32 minutes per revolution) on 20 May.

On May 21 ground control reset the attitude counters, started a new WOD survey, and corrected the date anomaly in the status frames. Initially there was a steady stream of Z pulses, but very few negative spin pulses. This had little effect on the slow spin rotation, which even changed direction. An erroneous spin period of +87 seconds was noted on one occasion. However after 10 days the spin period quickly reduced to -343 seconds, and normal spin counts were observed. On 14 June the spin period was -363 with zero positive and 103 negative spin counts.

The SEU count rate has also been of interest this month. Since mid May 2001 the rate at which SEU counter changes had been steadily increasing as memory locations failed. However this rate has now stabilised at 1150 counts per day. Decoding the SEU binary telemetry shows six memory locations 39C0, 21C0 3EC0, 37B1, 180 and F96 have failed. These permanent memory failures tend to mask out the display of the less frequent failures, owing to the limited storage for this data in the satellite. A program for decoding the SEU packets (U2PKT.ZIP) may be downloaded from my website. URL details below.

Reception of the 145.826 MHz beacon has varied between good and poor. Poor reception sometimes occurred when the spin rate was very slow. The 435.025 MHz was heard on 21 May during ground control operations. Good signals were received, stronger than those received many years ago when this beacon was frequently heard (my equipment is unchanged).

The internal temperatures have decreased by one degree C. They are now 0.0 C and -1.2 C for battery and telemetry electronics respectively. However, during the spin rate anomaly the temperatures were depressed by a further one degree C, and changed at different rates.

The battery voltage observed during daylight passes has decreased by 0.4 volts. The average value observed was 13.0 with a range of 12.2 to 13.6 volts. The very low voltages were observed during the spin rate anomaly.

The WOD survey of channels 10, 20, 30, 40 (+Y, -X, +X array currents, & array voltage) dated 06 January 2002 was transmitted until 21 May when it was replaced by a new survey of channels 1, 2, 3, 61 (X, Z, Y magnetometers and status) dated 22 May 2002. This new survey shows the unusually long spin period of 1800 seconds. Both WODs may now be downloaded from my web site, details below.

The mode-S beacon on 2401.5 MHz. has been heard by Christian F1AFZ, Michael OH2AUE, Jerry K5OE, and Bruce SM0TER/K3ZAQ. Christian reported good signals, and observed two carriers separated by 1200 Hz, i.e., the modulation frequency. Michael received signals during an overhead pass, using a simple feed horn. Jerry received the beacon on a 20 degree pass using a 60 cm dish with a K3TZ patch and TSI 3731 converter. Bruce received S2 - S4 signals on his two metre dish, without AZ-EL control and without Doppler correction on his receiver. Many thanks for those reports.

The operating schedule is unchanged.

ASCII status (210 seconds)
ASCII bulletin (60 seconds)
BINARY SEU (30 seconds)
ASCII TLM (90 seconds)
ASCII WOD (120 seconds)
ASCII bulletin (60 seconds)
BINARY ENG (30 seconds)

The ASCII bulletin (number 115) is currently a static message, detailing modes and frequencies of some amateur radio satellites.

There are additional status blocks after each bulletin is transmitted, and between ASCII TLM and WOD.

The mode-S beacon is ON, nominally transmitting an unmodulated carrier on 2401.5 MHz. There is however a VERY low level of AFSK modulation which has been detected on strong signals. Telemetry indicates that the beacon has partially failed, and is delivering half power. This beacon is a useful test source for those testing mode-S converters, as an alternative to OSCAR-40. However the signals are very weak, and there is a lot of Doppler. Users should also note that the polarisation of OSCAR-11 is LHC. Even if you can't hear OSCAR-11, your equipment may still be OK for OSCAR-40. Any reports of reception on 2401.5 MHz. would be most welcome. Please e-mail

The 435.025 MHz beacon is normally OFF. However it can sometimes be heard when the satellite is being commanded by ground control, i.e., within range of Guildford, UK. When the 435 beacon is transmitting, the 145 beacon is normally OFF. The data transmitted is mainly binary.

Listeners to OSCAR-11 may be interested in visiting my web site. The web site contains details of hardware required and some software for capturing data, and decoding ASCII telemetry and WOD. There is an archive of raw data (mainly WOD) for analysis, which is continually being expanded, as new data is captured. Also included are some audio files, examples of each type of data transmitted by OSCAR-11, each one plays for about ten seconds. There are also examples of mode-S reception. All the audio files are zipped, so that they can be played off-line. These should help listeners identify the various types of data, and give an indication of the signal quality required for successful decoding.

The URL is

If you place this bulletin on a terrestrial packet network, please use the bulletin identifier $BID:U2RPT73.CWV, to prevent duplication.

73 Clive G3CWV

[ANS thanks Clive G3CWG and Dan James for the above 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 . NO-44 . NO-45 . MO-46

Please send any amateur satellite news or reports to the ANS Editors at

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This week's AMSAT News Service bulletins were edited by AMSAT  News Service Editor JoAnne Maenpaa WB9JEJ,