October 20, 2002

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ANS Weekly Operating Update

ANS has expanded this section. We will continue to welcome and will publish your good news of success in working a new satellite, new DX, new mode, etc. We also want to add reports about what space related activities your local satellite groups and ham clubs are doing. As such, we have changed the title of this section to the "Weekly Operating Update". Send your operating reports to ANS Editor JoAnne Maenpaa ( and they will be printed here.

[ANS thanks and congratulates WB4YDL and KC2GDG for this week's Operating News.]

ARLB063 FCC Opts for Status Quo at 2300 to 2305 MHz

The FCC has dismissed an ARRL petition that sought primary status for amateurs at 2300-2305 MHz. At the same time, the Commission turned down petitions from AeroAstro and MicroTrax -- commercial interests that had hoped to share the spectrum with amateur radio. The action, taken October 9, maintains the status quo on the band.

"That the commercial petitions were dismissed is, of course, good news," said ARRL Chief Executive Officer David Sumner, K1ZZ. "We had argued for that outcome."

Sumner called the outcome of the League's petition, RM-10165, "mildly disappointing" because, as he explained, a status upgrade "would provide some measure of protection against future commercial proposals." Sumner pointed out that the FCC did not altogether rule out a future status upgrade, but he cautioned that the band "is still vulnerable."

In turning down the ARRL's petition, the FCC said that since it was also dismissing the MicroTrax and AeroAstro petitions for access to 2300-2305 MHz, "amateur operators' weak-signal communications in the 2300-2305 MHz band will be protected if the amateur allocation remains secondary." The FCC said the band "will remain in the Commission's reserve, and the status quo in the band will be maintained until the Commission reevaluates the spectrum status for the amateur service that may be appropriate."

The FCC turned down the MicroTrax and AeroAstro applications in part because appropriate spectrum already was available elsewhere and neither company had demonstrated a need for an additional allocation. MicroTrax had proposed to establish a Personal Location and Monitoring Service (PLMS) at 2300-2305 MHz under FCC Part 27 rules.

The AeroAstro petition went further, proposing to share the band on a co-primary basis with the amateur service subject to technical and service rules. AeroAstro wanted to establish its Satellite Enabled Notification System (SENS) messaging service under the FCC's Miscellaneous Wireless Communication Service rules. The FCC also expressed concerns that NASA's Deep Space Network would not be protected by the modified out-of-band limits AeroAstro had proposed.

Internationally, the 2300-2305 MHz band is allocated to Fixed and Mobile services on a primary basis and to the amateur service on a secondary basis in all three International Telecommunication Union regions. The radiolocation service has a secondary allocation in the band in Region 1, and a primary allocation in Regions 2 and 3.

A copy of the Order is available on the FCC Web site

[ANS thanks The ARRL Bulletin 63 for the above information.]

ISS <--> PCsat Dual-Hop Digipeat Succcessful

Last week a short-term test of the ISS packet system operating as one of the nodes in a dual-hop, satellite to satellite constellation with PCsat was announced. This meant that the ISS packet system would be temporarily moved from its usual 145.800 MHz split-mode frequency to the 145.825 MHz simplex frequency of the PCsat digipeater so that the two satellites could operate together. The objective of the test has been to see if the satellites can be used to relay packets from each other to extend the range via a dual-digipeat hop.

When the test was first announced the precise scheduling was hard to predict. However, on Friday evening USA time (11 October) when ISS first came onto 145.825 and while it was 180 degrees out of phase with PCsat, those people sitting on 145.825 were greeted with almost 10 hours straight of almost 14 satellite passes averaging every 45 minutes or so. Bob Bruninga WB4APR said, "It was a busy night. Seems like I couldn't get anything much done, because there was always another pass just coming up, or just having ended."

Bob also commented about the future, "With only two satellites flying in constellation on the same frequency with the same generic UI digipeating mission, we were getting a sample of what I hope to show as the future of UI digipeating in space. That is, if we can get some of those contemplating the construction of a LEO satellite to include a UI digipeater on 145.825, then we would have an amateur radio satellite system capable of on average providing communications support to mobiles and handheld operators anywhere on the planet at least once every 15 minutes or so around the clock."

This test has been able to report several dual-hop digipeat successes. On a pass of ISS over USA with PCsat almost directly 500 miles overhead of ISS over Newfoundland dual-hop packets were copied that looked like this:

[15:56:16] KB1GVR CQ,RS0ISS*,W3ADO-1/1:=4436.18N/06826.92W-QSL TEST
[15:56:46] WB4APR APRS,RS0ISS*,W3ADO-1,ARISS/1::ALL :TEST in progress

The dual-hop packets went both ways as this copy shows:

[15:56:23] KB2M-3 SYQQ0W,W3ADO-1*,RS0ISS/1:

One other station, KB1EAA inadvertently got a triple hop, but with a ground station in between because he had a WIDE on the end of his path (which we have recommended for better IGate success once the packet reaches the ground). But in this case, with ISS also having the WIDE alias, it went back up via satellite!

[15:54:19] KB1EAA APK002,W3ADO-1,SGATE,RS0ISS*/1::PCSAT :HI

For other stations who would like to try the dual-hop digipeating test here are the packet settings you will need to use: IF you are in range of ISS, and ISS can see PCsat, then set your unproto path to UNPROTO CQ VIA RS0ISS,W3ADO-1

IF you are in range of PCsat and PCsat can see ISS, then set your unproto path to UNPROTO CQ VIA W3ADO-1,RS0ISS

If you are not 100% knowledgeable about how UNPROTO path works, please do not transmit, but just see if you can capture one of the successful packets from someone else. Please do not transmit too much. Bob reminded packet operators that, "The probabilities of success are very very limited by QRM, so it would be best if each person only transmitted a few packets a minute and let others have a chance."

Due to the fact that PCsat has now entered eclipse season and ONLY works in full sunshine, do not attempt any transmissions via PCsat in the DARK or even in the first sunshine. Give it 10 minutes after entering the sun to charge up enough to be able to digipeat.

Amateurs should continue to monitor both 145.800 and 145.825 to determine whether dual-hop digipeating is possible on that pass. The ISS and PCSat must be range of each other and operating on 145.825 for a dual-hop to be possible. Also, if the crew wants to operate voice, they will QSY back to 145.800.

PCsat is a project of the United States Naval Academy Satellite Lab. ARISS is an international project, with US participation by ARRL, AMSAT and NASA.

[ANS thanks Bob WB4APR for the above information. This report was written by JoAnne WB9JEJ for ANS.]

The 20th Annual AMSAT Space Symposium and General Meeting

The Symposium will be held on 8-10 November 2002 in Fort Worth, TX. It kicks off with an early arrival activity on 7 November and ends with the conclusion of the Board of Director's meeting on 11 November. Please refer to the AMSAT web page ( for the latest information.

Most Symposium sessions will be held at the Lockheed Martin Recreation Area (LMRA) in Southwest Fort Worth, TX, on Bryant Irvin Road. The President's Reception, the Spouses Programs, the Field Ops Breakfast, and the Board of Directors Meeting will be held in the AmeriSuites Hotel.

Catering is planned at LMRA for lunch on Friday and Saturday, and for the dinner on Saturday. The Lockheed Martin Amateur Radio Club station, W5SJZ, will be open for operation and relaxation throughout the period at LMRA.

Program Schedule

All times shown are in Central Standard Time

Thursday, 7 November 2002

All day tour of electronic surplus stores in the Fort Worth/Dallas Metroplex for early arrivals. Maps will be provided. Participants are "on their own" for departure times and sequence. Distances to stores vary from 1 to 40 miles. Transportation is by shared rides.

1800 - 2100 Registration - at Hotel

Friday, 8 November 2002

All functions at LMRA

0800 - 1700 Registration, AMSAT Store, Exhibits, Flea Market
0800 - 1200 Antenna Gain Measurement - Bring your Antennas Kent Britain, WA5VJB
0800 - 1600 Noise Figure Measurement - Pre-amps, Down Converters, etc. Al Ward, W5LUA
0900 - 1700 Satellites in Education Program - Students and Teachers Antenna Contest, Satellite Demonstrations, Auditing Presentations. AMSAT Education Staff

Papers and Main Program

1000 - 1015 Opening Remarks Keith Pugh, W5IU
Robin Haighton, VE3FRH
1015 - 1100 AO-7 Status Report Mike Seguin, N1JEZ
1100 - 1130 Turkey's First LEO Small Satellite Ali Telli
1130 - 1200 Environmental Factors Affecting AO-40 Reception G. Gould Smith, WA4SXM
1200 - 1300 Lunch
1300 - 1345 A Disposable Antenna for Receiving AO-40 on S-Band Anthony Monteiro, AA2TX
1345 - 1430 The VSA: Thinking Big on a Small Scale Dr. H. Paul Shuch
1430 - 1500 How Kids Can Talk to Space People (Who are aboard the International Space Station)  Gene Chapline, K5YFL
1500 - 1515 Break
1515 - 1545 The P5 Special: A Satellite Station for North Korea Bruce Paige, KK5DO
1545 - 1615 Experiences Getting a Mode-S System Working and Tested Using the Sun to Verify its Performance Nick Pugh, K5QXJ
1615 - 1645 Dual-Band Dish Feeds for 13/23 cm (Friday) Gerald Brown, K5OE
1700 - 2200
  • Dinner on your own
  • Satellite Operations at W5SJZ
  • Entertainment on the Town
1900 - 2000 President's Club Reception
- by Invitation

Saturday, November 9, 2002

0800 - 0815 Opening Remarks Keith Pugh, W5IU
Robin Haighton, VE3FRH
0815 - 0900 AMSAT OSCAR-E Project Status Update Richard Hambly, W2GPS
0900 - 1000 So You Want to Build a Satellite! - Revisited Dick Jansson, WD4FAB
1000 - 1015 BREAK
1015 - 1045 Microsat Design - What Do People Want? Richard Hambly, W2GPS
1045 - 1115 Eagle Operational Changes Project Eagle Staff
1115 - 1200 ARISS Status Report Frank Bauer, KA3HDO
1200 - 1300 LUNCH
1300 - 1430 AO-40 RUDAK Description and Results AO-40 RUDAK Team
1430 - 1445 BREAK
1445 - 1530 Proposal for a FEC-Coded AO-40 Telemetry Link Phil Karn, KA9Q
1530 - 1600 A K-Band Receiver for AO-40 (For Less Than a King's Ransom) Gerald Brown, K5OE
1600 - 1700 AMSAT General Meeting
1700 - 1830 Prepare for Evening
1830 - 1930 Thruster Firings
1930 - 2230 Dinner, Speaker, Awards, Prizes

Sunday, 10 November 2002

All Functions are at hotel.

0700 - 0900 Field Operations Breakfast
0900 - 1200 Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company Tour
1200 - 1300 Lunch - On your own
1300 - 2200 Board of Directors Meeting

Monday, 11 November 2002

BOD Meeting will be in hotel.

0800 - 1300 BOD Meeting

Spouses and Family Programs

Friday and Saturday, 8-9 November 2002 - Meet in Hotel

0800 to 1700 Room Available for Meetings/Activities
0900 to 1600 Tour of Local Attractions - See Separate Agenda

[ANS Thanks Keith Pugh, W5IU Symposium Chairman for this information]

ARRL, IARU Continue Push for Limits to 70cm Spaceborne Radars

A just-completed draft revision to an International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Recommendation could result in reining in the potential for interference to amateur and other services from synthetic aperture radars (SARs) on 70 cm. Agenda item 1.38 at World Radiocomunication Conference 2003 (WRC-03) will consider a request to allocate up to 6 MHz of spectrum for SARs in the band 420 to 470 MHz to be operated by the Earth Exploration Satellite Service (Active) -- EESS-Active. At issue is whether the EESS allocation could be established without interfering with incumbent services, including radiolocation and amateur.

"ARRL and IARU (International Amateur Radio Union) will continue to oppose SARs operating in the most active portions of the amateur 70cm band," said ARRL Technical Specialist Walt Ireland, WB7CSL. The spaceborne SARs would be used to measure soil moisture, tropical biomass and Antarctic ice thickness, and to document geological history and climate change. EESS proponents contend that the best center frequency to penetrate jungle or forest canopies is 435 MHz.

"There is some hype starting up at this late date that gives the impression that the sky is falling," Ireland said, referring to recent reports in the amateur radio news media that, among other things, incorrectly claim that EESS proponents are seeking "exclusive use" of 430 to 440 MHz and that the EESS issue is a new one.

While some occasional interference from SARs to amateur systems would appear inevitable, Ireland said, efforts to minimize the impact of the EESS (Active) operations have been under way for several years. "Although the SAR interference criteria limitations in the revised Recommendation SA.1260 automatically would eliminate three of the SARs, amateurs can still expect to receive interference from some of the remaining SARs on a limited basis if WRC-03 allocates frequency spectrum between 420 and 440 MHz to EESS (Active)," he continued, "especially if the allocation is made primary." The revised draft would keep four of the proposed SARs and eliminate those with peak radiated power levels from 400 W to 10kW -- that is, average power levels above 25 W, he explained.

Work on the major rewrite to ITU Recommendation SA.1260, hammered out by ITU-Radio Sector Working Party 7C over the last several years, wrapped up October 4 following a weeklong meeting. The draft recommendation sets interference criteria limitations for SARs to be operated by EESS (Active) in the 70cm Radiolocation and Amateur and Amateur-Satellite Services band. Ireland represented the ARRL on the US Delegation to ITU-Radio Sector WP 7C. Ken Pulfer, VE3PU, represented the IARU. For the past two years, Pulfer has been chairing the drafting groups that worked on the revision and brought it to its present status -- along the way incorporating protection for amateurs.

SARs and the Amateur Service can coexist at 430 to 440 MHz "by taking appropriate technical and operational measures," the draft revision states. The Amateur Service is primary at 430 to 440 MHz in Region 1 and secondary in Regions 2 and 3, which includes the US.

"It should be remembered, however, that an ITU-R recommendation is just that -- a recommendation, not a regulatory instrument," Ireland cautioned. He notes that 18 sharing or compatibility studies -- in which the ARRL and the IARU have actively participated -- have been conducted during the past seven years -- eight of them completed in the past two years.

During the Conference Preparatory Meeting next month as well as at WRC-03 next June in Geneva, the ARRL has pledged to maintain its stance against egregious interference from SARs to amateur radio. The US also has expressed opposition to SARs that could interfere with its radiolocation systems in the band.

Earlier this year, the FCC's WRC-03 Advisory Committee and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration's Radiocommunications Conference Subcommittee recommended no change to the Table of Allocations in the band 420 to 470 MHz as the US position. Both panels determined that SAR transmissions could periodically impact amateur reception and even held "the potential for significant interference."

[ANS thanks The ARRL Letter Vol. 21, No. 40 for the above information.]

Milestone Image

Mars Global Surveyor passed a milestone earlier this month when its 100,000th image was added to NASA's online image gallery for the mission. The total number of photographs is now more than twice the combined quantity supplied by the Viking orbiters in the 1970s.

[ANS thanks SPACE.COM Newsletter October 16, 2002 for the above information]

VP Publications

Robin Haighton, President of AMSAT-NA has made the following statement regarding Russ Tillman and his role as VP Publications.

"I am pleased to announce that Russ Tillman K5NRK, immediate past Editor of the AMSAT Journal, has agreed to maintain his role as Vice President Publications. Russ will act on special assignment with our satellite projects to bring the latest, up-to-date news to the AMSAT membership.

In addition Russ will review all of our many forms of communication and will present the Board of Directors with a comprehensive report on improving AMSAT's communication techniques. Russ will carry out this function with the aid and assistance of AMSAT's various communication VPs and Officers.

Robin Haighton VE3FRH
President AMSAT"

[ANS thanks Robin Haighton VE3FRH for the above information]

Stardust Will Fly By Asteroid Annefrank Next Month

Stardust will take advantage of flying near a small asteroid next month to test many procedures the spacecraft will use 14 months later during its encounter with its primary science target, comet Wild-2.

Stardust will pass within about 3,000 kilometers (about 1,900 miles) of asteroid Annefrank at 0450 GMT Nov. 2, (11:50 p.m. EST Nov. 1). The spacecraft will automatically image Annefrank using camera tracking of the mountain-sized rock as it speeds by at 7 kilometers (4 miles) per second.

"This is an engineering test," said Thomas Duxbury, project manager for Stardust at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. "We have no science goals or science expectations at Annefrank. It's an opportunity to try key procedures for the first time before we get to comet Wild-2. We may identify problems that we can address before we reach our primary target."

Annefrank is about 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) across. Given the flyby distance, that's too small for a picture that would show any surface detail, said JPL's Ray Newburn, leader of the imaging-science team. Also, the angle of the encounter relative to the Sun will give Stardust a view in which only a thin crescent of the asteroid will be sunlit during approach, providing an additional challenge for the optical-navigation system to recognize it as a guiding light.

Aerogel dust collectors that will gather comet dust from Wild-2 will stay open for the asteroid flyby. The Max Planck Institute dust analyzer and the University of Chicago dust flux monitor also will be operating. However, no dust from the asteroid is anticipated at the distance the spacecraft will pass.

"This will be our most challenging event since launch," said JPL's Robert Ryan, Stardust mission manager. "Our spacecraft team at Lockheed Martin is testing everything in the spacecraft simulation laboratory before we send the commands up to the spacecraft."

Chen-wan Yen, Stardust mission design manager at JPL, identified the opportunity for a flyby of Annefrank during the spacecraft's four-year cruise toward Wild-2. NASA approved the Annefrank test run this month, at no added cost.

The asteroid was discovered in 1942 and later named in honor of Anne Frank, author of an inspiring diary of the two years before she was taken to a Nazi concentration camp.

Stardust will bring samples of comet dust back to Earth in 2006 to help answer fundamental questions about the origins of the solar system. The mission's principal investigator is Dr. Donald Brownlee, professor of astronomy at the University of Washington, Seattle. Lockheed Martin Astronautics, Denver, Colo., built and operates the Stardust spacecraft.

Stardust is a part of NASA's Discovery Program of low cost, highly focused science missions. JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the mission for NASA's Office of Space Science, Washington, D.C.

[ANS thanks NASA/JPL NEWS RELEASE October 17, 2002 for the above information]

ISS Facing Shutdown as Soyuz Explodes on Liftoff

Moscow - Oct 16, 2002, An unmanned Russian Soyuz exploded seconds after liftoff, killing one person and injuring 20 others.

The full impact of the Soyuz failure is yet to be determined but Moscow is considering delaying the next Soyuz flight to ISS. The current Soyuz lifeboat is fast approaching its use-by date and if not replaced soon, may require ISS to be mothballed until a new Soyuz is dispatched.

[ANS thanks 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. 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 Editor Dave Johnson, G4DPZ,