October 27, 2002

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AO-40 Update

As planned AO-40 has been allowed to drift to ALON=330 and ALAT=+30, this target attitude was reached on 23 October.

A command has been uploaded to AO-40 on 23Oct02 at 1034 UTC to initiate five perigees of magnetorquing to stabilize the ALON drift due to the mystery effect at about 300 to 340 and to reduce the ALAT from +30 to +15 degrees.

At this stage no changes have been made to the operating schedule. However, over the next few days as the ALAT decreases towards +15 degrees signals should improve as squint angles improve.

When the ALAT reaches +15 degrees the YACE camera will once again be activated to take pictures of the earth to accurately determine/monitor the attitude of AO-40.

The message blocks on AO-40's telemetry will be updated after the YACE camera attitude determination has been completed.

As of Friday, October 25 signal reports were starting to be received from the AO-40 user community. Reinhard YB0KTQ wrote, "Congratulations! On Orbit #911, I have a very good QSO on AO-40. Big strong MB (peaking S9+20) and also on my signal return. Have many nice QSO without noticeable QSB. Seems the command team have done their job perfectly ... and all my respect for their continuous effort to keep the bird on good shape."

[ANS thanks VK5AGR and the AO-40 command team for the above information.]

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 Summary

All times shown are in Central Standard Time. Please refer to the AMSAT Space Symposium web page for full details.

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 - 1700 Papers and Main Program
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 - 1600 Papers and Main Program
1600 - 1700 AMSAT General Meeting
1700 - 1830 Prepare for Evening
1830 - 1930 Thruster Firings
1930 - 2230 Dinner, Speaker, Awards, Prizes, Speaker

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]

OSCAR-11 Report

21 October 2002

OSCAR-11 is currently operating in a default mode, controlled by the watchdog timer. The satellite transmits continuous ASCII telemetry for about eight days on 145.826 MHz, followed by about 14 days of silence. However the mode-S beacon on 2401.5 MHz is ON continuously.

At the present time, ground control are unable to command the satellite, due to low temperatures affecting the command decoder. They will attempt to command the satellite when the command decoder temperature has risen to 15C.

During the period 22 September to 20 October the 145.826 MHz beacon has been heard transmitting continuous ASCII telemetry from 25 September to 04 October. Transmissions resumed around 18 October, and are expected to continue until around 25 October. Please note that these dates are very approximate, as it is difficult to determine exactly when the satellite switches on and off.

The internal temperatures have increased by four degrees C. They are now +7.6C and 6.0C for battery and telemetry electronics respectively. The temperature of the command decoder has risen similarly, and is now 12.4C. The temperature rise is expected to continue during the next few months, due to the reduction in solar eclipse time. This should assist ground control in commanding the satellite.

The battery voltage observed during daylight passes has varied between 13.6 and 14.1 volts.

Viktor OE1VKW has again been monitoring the S-band beacon and has added two more sound files to his web site. These are in CW and FM modes, recorded while the VHF beacon was ON. Analysis of the FM mode recording with a "waterfall" display reveals a continuous modulation of 2400 Hz, although the VHF beacon was transmitting continuous ASCII telemetry.

The URL for Victor's web site is

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 for analysis, which is continually being expanded, as new data is captured. Originally this was for WOD, but it is now being expanded to include ASCII telemetry. At the present time the telemetry is just for 2002, and 2001. I will add other years as time permits. In parallel there is a news archive which provides an overview of the state of the satellite, at the times when the telemetry was captured.

Telemetry from 1993 to 2000 should be relatively easy to archive, as I already have the data on disk. Data prior to 1993 will take a lot longer to archive, as I have to convert it from tape to disk. A tedious process! The early data is often of poor quality, and there are many long gaps where no recordings were made.

If anyone out there can provide any data, particularly for the 1984 to 1993 years, this would be most appreciated. Please e-mail me with details. However please DO NOT SEND ANY FILES, before further discussion.

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

73 Clive G3CWV

[ANS thanks Clive G3CWV for the above information.]

ANS Weekly Operating Update

ANS welcomes the opportunity to publish your good news of success in working a new satellite, new DX, new mode, etc. We also print reports about what space related activities your local satellite groups and ham clubs are doing. Send your operating reports to ANS Editor JoAnne Maenpaa ( and they will be printed here.

The weekend of October 19-20 was the Scouting Jamboree-On-The-Air (JOTA). Here are the reports we have received:

[ANS thanks and congratulates N5XMV, K0BLT, KF5WT, K6YK, WA6BXI, KU4OS, IT9GSV and M0WYE/G6TMK for this week's operating news.]

ISS Packet System Handles 2400 Messages in 7 Months

The ISS packet mail systems mailbox (Personal Message System) was activated on February 21, 2002. Since then the system has been on the air for over 98% of the time (The rules require the amateur radio equipment on ISS to be turned off during docking missions). The packet mailbox has handled over 2400 packet mail message to and from the ISS crew in 7 months.

On October 3, 2002 the message counter was at 2397, with about 20 new messages arriving daily. That is an average of 340 messages per month.

The packet system message counter was reset on October 8, 2002 back to message number 1 as part of a planed reconfiguration of the PMS. One of the parameters, which changed, was the call sign of the mailbox. The call sign of the PMS mailbox has changed from RS0ISS to RS0ISS-1 (rs ZERO iss dash ONE). The old call RS0ISS is not being used. If you connect to the RS0ISS port, all of you data will go into the giant bit bucket in the sky.

For more information on how to use the ISS amateur radio packet system, please review the suggested operating procedures on the MAREX web page.

Recently, the ISS PMS was off line for 6 days due to a TNC lock up. Valery power cycled the PMS and then on the next orbit he loaded the current date and time. No messages were lost. It seems that only the clock takes a hit when you power cycle.

[ANS thanks Miles WF1F for the above information.]

ARISS School Contact Successes Continue


Fourth-grader Kyle Bryant made a career choice this week. He's going to become an astronaut. At least that's what he told his teacher, James Jones, after he and nine of his classmates at Lamar Elementary School in Greenville, Texas, fired off questions via ham radio to astronaut Peggy Whitson, KC5ZTD, aboard the International Space Station. The contact was arranged via the Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) project.

Kyle and his classmates at Lamar Elementary have been studying space and space travel for weeks in preparation for the ARISS QSO. Jones called the 10-minute experience "absolutely phenomenal," and added that it was "mind boggling" for his students to actually talk to Whitson after studying about her and her two crewmates, crew commander Valery Korzun, RZ3FK, and cosmonaut Sergei Treschev, RZ3FU.

"We've been tracking them for days on an Internet Web site," Jones said. "This was very impressive! It made a bunch of kids very happy!"

Lamar Principal James Evans explained that since his school's new campus opened in August, the emphasis has been on science and space. "Every classroom has a display having to do with space," he noted.

Amateur radio coordinator for the direct, 2-meter contact was Art Passannante, KC5GQP. He and his crew from Greenville set up their station outdoors in front of the school to accommodate a sizeable audience. The quad beams for the contact were homebrewed in classic ham radio fashion from scraps of all-thread, plastic pipe and wire salvaged from the trash pile at a construction site.

By all accounts, the contact went flawlessly. Among the onlookers were some 100 students, 20 parents, a dozen or so teachers and three reporters.

ARISS is an international project with US participation by NASA, ARRL and AMSAT.

[ANS thanks The ARRL Letter Vol. 21, No. 41 and Gene Chapline K5YFL for the above information.]

News 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,