June 30, 2002

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OSCAR 7 Heard Around the World

As reported last week in ANS-174, Oscar 7 seems to have made a comeback! It was first heard by Pat Gowan G3IOR. 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.

Many new amateur operators, including some who were not even born when Oscar 7 was launched reported working the satellite for the first time this past week. Reception reports have been received from around the world. Approximately 100 AO-7 related messages per day have been logged on the AMSAT-BB discussion list during the past week.

Also, members of the original Oscar 7 project team are delighted to see their satellite return to life. Dave, W6OAL commented in an e-mail to AMSAT, "It gives me chills as I was a launch crew member on that project. Between AO-6 and AO-7 I made some 25,000 contacts all over the world - even one using both birds. After the launch of AO-7 we watched the contrail that formed a perfect "7" in the sky then a few of us rushed over to the Vandenberg ham station where I'd previously set up a 70 cm station and listened to the beacon on its Orbit #1. What a neat thing to happen! I'm sure Jan King and Dr. Perry Klein will be thrilled. 'It ain't even over till it's over!'"

Jan King, W3GEY, the AO-7 Project Manager confirmed this, "I'm blown away. So, this old war horse of a spacecraft seems to have come back from the dead if only for a few moments."

Oscar 7 seems to be running on power from its solar panels. The on-board batteries failed two decades ago. One likely scenario is that a short-circuit in the batteries opened, allowing enough power to operate the spacecraft while it is in sunlight. The satellite shuts down when it is in the eclipse portion of its orbit. When once again exposed to sunlight it comes back to life randomly selecting its mode of operation. Amateur operators have been monitoring the beacons at 29.502, 145.975, and 435.1 MHz to determine its operating mode: Mode A (2 meters up/10 meters down) or Mode B (70 cm up/2 meters down).

Amateurs from around the world have been reporting successful contacts through Oscar 7. The on-line Keplerian element sites have begun to include data for AO-7 again. For those without tracking software provides the times of the AO-7 passes for the user's specified location in its list of amateur satellites.

Because the power budget is limited to what is provided by the solar panels the transmit power from AO-7 is extremely low -- in the range of one watt. Users have been reporting the best success when they operate with low power on the uplink frequencies. Too strong of an uplink signal (greater than 10 watts) seems to cause distortion, instability, and FMing for the remaining users.

The AMSAT News Service will continue to provide updates as events warrant.

AMSAT-NA President's Mode B Message

To All AMSAT Members,

With the sudden emergence of AO-7 there are several requests on AMSAT-BB for a mode B satellite. One of my jobs as President is to listen to you, the members and supporters of AMSAT-NA, and I know that it is you who pay AMSAT's expenses and bills.

Therefore your requests are uppermost in our thoughts when we design and build satellites. Since we first started talking about "Eagle" we have always emphasised that Eagle will have Mode B in addition to its other capabilities. The date of Eagle's launch has yet to be settled, - that is dependent on several things but chiefly how fast the contributions to the project are made.

At this time it is impossible to change Oscar-Echo to mode B, due to the many technical and financial factors, and any attempt to do so would cost a great deal of time and money which would result in the probable loss of a favorable launch. In addition it would have been very difficult and expensive to design "Echo" as anything but the FM/data bird that it is. This is because it is based on an existing design with which SpaceQuest has considerable experience. It is because of this that we were able to negotiate the deal we have with this company.

Yes, your Board of Directors and Officers do listen! and we try to provide the best satellite services we can with the limited support available, but we also need your continuing support and assistance if we are to continue to provide satellites to the Amateur Radio Community.

Robin Haighton VE3FRH
President AMSAT-NA

RUDAK Test Results Are Encouraging

On the morning of 6/27/2002 we did some additional testing on communications hardware in RUDAK-A. The DSP board was turned on for the first time in several months and 'sleep' code was loaded into each of the DSP modulators and demodulators. This code essentially 'idles' the processors to reduce power consumption.

Then code that generates a carrier at the IF frequency of 11 kHz was loaded into each modulator in turn. Each one produced a nice clear carrier at the appropriate level on 2401.640. The processes of loading and executing the sleep code and the test carrier code was exercised several times and worked without fail.

Additionally the 153k6 modulator on RUDAK-A was turned on briefly and its output could be heard on the downlink. The whole orbit data (WOD) collection function was also tested along with the CAN/LAN temperature nodes that gather 14 temperatures from around the satellite. Both worked properly and will be exercised further in the next few days.

Over the next few weeks, until sun angle changes necessitate turning RUDAK off for a while, we plan to further work with the DSP equipment and possible the 153k6 modulator as well as gather some WOD of the RUDAK telemetry as well as the CAN/LAN temperatures.

[ANS thanks Jim White WD0E for the above information.]

Nominations for Board of Directors (repeat item)

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]

Amateur Radio Key to Rocket Project

If all goes as planned, a group of amateur radio operators and amateur rocket enthusiasts is poised to make aerospace history this summer by putting the first amateur rocket into space. The Civilian Space Xploration Team (CSXT) is hoping the suborbital vehicle will carry its amateur radio payloads to an altitude of more than 60 nautical miles.

"Amateur radio is central to the whole flight," said Eric Knight, KB1EHE, of Unionville, Connecticut, one of the hams involved. He explained that the rocket's Automatic Position Reporting System (APRS), amateur TV and packet telemetry gear will enable the team to document its success. More information on the rocket project is on Knight's "Spaceshot 2001/Spaceshot 2002" Web site

[ANS thanks ARRL Letter, Vol. 21, No. 25 for the above information.]

ARRL to Offer Satellite Communications Course

The ARRL Certification and Continuing Education Program has announced its newest on-line course-Satellite Communications (EC-007). Registration for the new course opens Monday, June 24. This is the sixth course in a growing list of continuing education offerings from ARRL.

QST Editor and satellite enthusiast Steve Ford, WB8IMY, developed the curriculum. The course contains material from Ford's articles, as well as new material. Resources were also provided by AMSAT-NA. Ford has written many QST articles on amateur satellites and is the author of ARRL's HF Digital Handbook.

"Steve's extensive knowledge of satellites as well as other digital communications has proven invaluable. This is his second course for C-CE," said ARRL Certification and Continuing Education Program Coordinator Dan Miller, K3UFG.

The ARRL Satellite Course is intended for amateurs who have never operated satellites before. The course opens with a review of amateur satellite history. Students will move on to a study of satellite tracking, orbiting relay stations, FM repeater satellites and the International Space Station. It continues with lessons and exercises on FM satellites, the Fuji Sats, AMSAT-OSCAR 40 setup and operation. The final lessons cover store-and-forward digital satellites, APRS and future satellites.

Registration for the first on-line class opened Monday, June 24, at 4 PM EDT. There's a 50-seat class limit for July classes. As with most of the other ARRL on-line classes, students will have up to eight weeks to complete the course.

Tuition for Satellite Communications (EC-007) is $65 for ARRL members and $95 for nonmembers. More course information is 
available at the C-CE Course Listing Page:

Details about the ARRL Certification and Continuing Education Program are on the ARRL Certification and Continuing Education Web page

[ANS thanks the ARRL for the above information.]

NASA News Releases and Mission Status Reports

All NASA HSF News Releases and Mission Status Reports are available online at

Information on the crew's activities aboard the space station, future launch dates, as well as station sighting opportunities from anywhere on the Earth, is available on the Internet at

Details on station science operations can be found on an Internet site administered by the Payload Operations Center at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., at

NASA Johnson Space Center Mission Status Reports and other information are available automatically by sending an Internet electronic mail message to

In the body of the message (not the subject line) users should type "subscribe hsfnews" (no quotes). This will add the e-mail address that sent the subscribe message to the news release distribution list. The system will reply with a confirmation via e-mail of each subscription. Once you have subscribed you will receive future news releases via e-mail.

To unsubscribe from this list: send the line "unsubscribe hsfnews" in the body of a message (without the quotes) to

[ANS thanks Al KD4SFF and Robin VE3FRH for the above information.]

AMSAT-NA On-Line and Toll Free Telephone Service (repeat item)

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.]

ANS in Brief

With the change in Editors, ANS has made some changes in format. ANS has split the news section from the Satellite Report, for a trial period. Please send your thoughts on this to Both sections will be available to all subscribers of ANS. Mike Seguin N1JEZ the Principal Satellite Investigator, will continue to supply the satellite information section and all information should be sent directly to ANS is looking for two more co-editors to take turns in the development of ANS, If you are interested please send an e-mail to

[ANS thanks Robin Haighton VE3FRH for the above information]

Weekly Satellite Report

Link to the weekly report on satellite ...

All Satellites
ISS . RS-12 . RS-13 . RS-15 . AO-7 . 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,