September 22, 2002

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AMSAT Board of Directors Election Results

The results of balloting for election to the AMSAT-NA Board of Directors are as follows:

Tom Clark, W3IWI 708
Keith Baker, KB1SF 647
Bruce Paige, KK5DO 480
Rick Hambly, W2GPS 460
Steve Diggs, W4EPI 218

Thus, KB1SF, W3IWI and KK5DO retain their Board seats for the next two years. W2GPS is the First Alternate and W4EPI is the Second Alternate.

The ballots were bundled and counted as they arrived each week. Ballots and summary sheet are available for inspection at the AMSAT business office.

This information was provided by Bill Hook, W3QBC who was in charge of the count and certifying the results.

Congratulation to those who were elected and thanks to all who particpated in this important election, including all those members who voted.

Also, thanks to Bill Hook and Martha for their work in collecting and counting the ballots.

Bill Tynan, W3XO
Board Chairman

[ANS thanks Bill Tynan W3XO for the above information.]

Antenna Help Needed for US Naval Academy Satellite Lab Next PCsat

Bob Bruninga WB4APR of the PCsat Project Team this week put out a call for an antenna designer. Help is needed for a funded launch opportunity for the next PCsat in less than a year. The PCsat team, at the US Naval Academy Satellite Lab, needs a good RF designer and antenna modeler to help out.

The free ride is because PCsat must fit inside of a perfectly spherical but totally passive mirror surfaced 18" diameter ball. The antenna must be totally internal and have absolutely zero externals. Bob notes that, "Last year we built a 'split-sphere' model and EZNEC and our full size model showed that with a 1-inch insulated gap between the upper and lower hemispheres we can get the thing pretty close to a good match for 145.825 MHz with the whole thing pretty much acting like a dipole."

With three other satellites under design and construction at the US Naval Academy Satellite Lab, and Bob being the only ham/comm guy, he just doesn't have time to do all that he would like to to make sure this split-sphere design will tune up.

The Satellite Lab's design to date is on-line at

The PCsat style digipeater will run for 2 years with 8 kg of lithium primary cells because no external solar power is possible.

Bob summed up his help wanted with, "What I need is someone who really knows what they are doing, that is willing to give their 'life' to this antenna design over the next 9 months for the sake of getting another UI packet digipeater into space. I just thought I'd ask." Bob can be contacted via

[ANS thanks Bob Bruninga WB4APR for the above information.]

Last Hurrah for PCsat

PCsat entered full sun again this week on 18 September, and for almost two weeks, will have plenty of sun to support both day and night operations which include passes near sunrise and sunset, even though you may be in dark.

These full sun periods only happen about once every 3 months and we do NOT expect PCsat to remain viable into the fall and winter as solar angles degrade in the northern hemisphere (where our best solar panel points up). So consider this a last opportunity to conduct any experiments.

During this period:

  1. Use the digipeater path VIA W3ADO-1 on 145.825 (will always work)
  2. Or use VIA RELAY or VIA WIDE or VIA ARISS (should work if we load it)
    (This lets you simply QSY any APRS device to 145.825 and it will work (just like it does on your terrestrial frequency)).
  3. The side B transponder with un-published uplink and 144.39 downlink is also available for any special travelers or experiments in region 2 and 3.
  4. The onboard GPS may be enabled on most passes over the USA for our students to get GPS data. If the GPS is on, you should receive standard $GPGGA data on 145.825

Note, it is useful if you add an additional "SGATE" HOP on the end of your path after the packet is digipeated via PCsat so that it can be further digipeated on the ground one more hop. The recommended paths are VIA W3ADO-1,SGATE or VIA WIDE,SGATE.

The PCsat WEB page is at

[ANS thanks Bob Bruninga WB4APR for the above information.]

Message Collection Announced for VUSAT Voice Beacon

Nagesh Upadhyaya VU2NUD, Co-ordinator, AMSAT-India sent this request to the amateur satellite community this week.

As you all must be knowing by this time, VUSAT will carry a message beacon which will playback on command, pre-recorded voice messages. This will be on FM ham band. It can be heard by radio amateurs all over the world. It can also be listened to by all those who have simple FM receivers tuned to ham bands.

Hereby we want to invite your ideas regarding the messages. Think of short, crisp, meaningful, attractive messages of duration 15 seconds.

You may send one or more messages for selection. Messages may be related to ham radio, space, amateur satellites, famous quotes, patriotic songs or sayings, well-being of human race, etc.

If your message is selected, it will be recorded for VUSAT and will be beamed from the satellite!!

Please send your entries to Srikanth, VU2SBJ. Email with cc to me, Mark clearly in the subject: Message for Beacon.

The AMSAT--India website is at or

And, an e-mail discussion group is available at

[ANS thanks Nagesh VU2NUD and AMSAT-India for the above information.]

Guide for Viewing AO-40 Pictures

Because of the increasing ALON, it is now necessary to take pictures for attitude determination at the end of one orbit, and download them after apogee on the next orbit.

Many interested amateurs have asked whether these AO-40 photos available to be viewed and if so where?

The pictures taken by AO-40 are stored with the telemetry files. All telemetry captured from AO-40 is available online at

The telemetry archive is ordered by date down to the month level. Inside the month directory you will find zip files, 1 file per orbit. If you look at the zip file sizes, then you'll see that some are substantially larger than others. These will be the files containing D blocks. The D blocks are used to download the jpeg images (and other data) from the spacecraft.

Details of how to convert raw D blocks into images you can view can be found at

If the command stations have sent in the decoded and/or despun jpeg images to the archive, which they generally do. Then the orbit zip file will also include a zip file named something like; this file contains the images in viewable form.

The de-spun images often include markings showing angles etc. These are used in for attitude determination such as working out ALON/ALAT.

[ANS thanks Paul VP9MU for the above information.]

AO-40 Update

The eclipse period has ended so the middle beacon (MB) off segment has been terminated. The MB is once again on continuously. In addition, the transponder time has been slightly extended, and the N block has been simplified.

N  QST AMSAT AO-40        S2 Downlink               2002-09-19
                   MA      020   110   246   020
                   MB       |  *  |  *  |  *  |
                   RUDAK    |     |     |     |
                   V-Rx     |     |     |  *  |
                   U-Rx     |  *  |  *  |     |
                   Passband |     |  UL |     |

When the ALON/ALAT is significantly altered, the M block gets modified and also posted to the AMSAT-BB list. However, there has been no significant change in ALON/ALAT from the last posting.

The AO-40 command team is about to raise ALAT quite a bit, followed by about 3 weeks of "drifting" past the sun. During this time, the squints will be poor, as will the solar angles. The transponders may be off for much of this time because of the poor conditions and to conserve power. At the end of that time, ALON will be ~335 degs, we will be able to lower ALAT to 0, restore transponder usage, and have some steady improvement over current conditions. By about November 15th, if all goes well, we should be back to ALON/ALAT = 0/0, where we can stay for ~3 months. More details will follow in a few days.

[ANS thanks Stacey Mills w4SM and the AO-40 command team for the above information.]

ANS Good News Department

Here's this week's good news!

The ANS Weekly Bulletins has begun another publication project. We'd like to hear of your successes as you get things to work on a new satellite, work your first satellite DX, etc. Who heard AO-40 for the first time this past week? Who made their first AO-40 QSO? Did you get digipeated by ISS for the first time? We'd like to briefly recap the good news. Send your reports to JoAnne Maenpaa at

ANS in Brief

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 . LO-19 . FO-20 . UO-22 . KO-23 . KO-25 . IO-26 . AO-27 . FO-29 . TO-31 . GO-32 . SO-33 . PO-34 . 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 Senior Editor JoAnne Maenpaa, WB9JEJ,