November 3, 2002

Latest Bulletins
Last Week's Bulletins
2002 Bulletins
These Bulletins in plain text format
Subscribe to bulletins by e-mail
Submit your News for ANS

AMSAT-NA President's Letter October

Well, I am sorry that this October letter is nearly a November one, but as the saying goes 'Better late than never.'

The latter part of September and all of October are traditionally a very busy time for AMSAT, as we are preparing for the AMSAT Annual meeting and Space Symposium. many activities in making sure that you, the members and visitors are going to be comfortable and well looked after by the hotel, that meals are available and that the symposium papers are printed and readily available for those of you who come to the meetings.

This year the Annual meetings Hotel is the AmeriSuites (City View) in Fort Worth, Texas. Details may be found on the AMSAT web page ( November 7 through November 11 - see the agenda.

In addition there is a Board of Directors meeting which will start on Sunday 1300 hrs and be completed (we hope) at 1300 hrs on Monday. You are cordially invited to attend this meeting and see how AMSAT business is conducted. I am certainly looking forward to meeting as many AMSAT members as possible in Fort Worth and I wish you luck in the Banquet door prize draw for some impressive prizes.

Some of you may have noticed that the September/October 'AMSAT Journal' has not yet reached your mail box. I must apologise for this as we have had some quite unexpected production delays. This issue is now nearly complete and I hope will be at the printers within a few days. The November/December issue will shortly be generated and I hope will be on schedule. One of the requirements of the Journal is, of course, articles! a majority of which are supplied by AMSAT members. Do you have an article you would like to put in the journal, however short or long it will be welcome. I have set up a special mail box for E-mailed articles please send your articles, photographs etc. to our editor can then pick up articles from this mail box to use in 'The Journal'.

Each and every member of AMSAT-NA will be receiving a letter from me in the next few days, concerning the need for increased funding for our satellites, and introducing the next level of the "President's Club" donations. You may now become a Presidents' club donor for only $10/month. This donation level is called "The Core level" as it is the basic level, which we hope all satellite users will use as their minimum donation in support of the building and development of satellites.

They say that copying is the highest compliment, in which case it great to note that the ARRL has recently introduced their equivalent of the "President's Club". With your help we can get a higher percentage of members as donors, and thus really support our satellite design, building and launching programs. If all of our members were to be President's Club Core donors we would not need any further fund raising programs - will you donate?

Once more I look forward to seeing you in Fort Worth,

Robin Haighton, VE3FRH,
President AMSAT-NA

[ANS thanks Robin, VE3FRH, 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.

[ANS thanks and congratulates WB4YDL and G0TRT for this week's operating news.]

AO-40 Update

As a result of the improving solar angles, ALAT has already been lowered considerably and the drift back to ALON 360 has begun. Based on the new attitude the operating schedule has been adjusted as shown in the table below.

N  QST AMSAT AO-40        S2 Downlink               2002-10-27
                MA      020   050   170   246   020
                MB       |  *  |  *  |  *  |  *  |
                RUDAK    |     |     |     |     |
                V-Rx     |     |     |     |  *  |
                U-Rx     |  *  |  *  |  *  |     |
                Passband |     |  *  |     |     |

As of 2002 Oct 27, AO-40's attitude was ALON/ALAT ~340/12.
ALAT is being lowered to 0 during next ~10 days
ALON will be slowly advanced to 0 at ~1 deg/day

[ANS thanks Stacey, W4SM, for the above information]

Satellite DXpedition to Jamaica

A major satellite DXpedition to Jamaica with Team Vertical plans to be on the air between November 16 to November 25 as W6FOG/6Y5. Neil W6FOG, will head up a dedicated satellite station from Jamaica. Operation will be on AO-7, AO-10, AO-27, U0-14, FO-20, FO-29, packet on UO-22 and the ISS. Operating modes are planned to include FM, SSB, CW, SSTV, and packet.

Neil will be the primary operator, but will be backed up by experienced contesters and DXpeditioners to maintain a high level of activity on the birds. Don't be surprised if you hear W6FOG on both AO-40 and the LEOs at the same time. Neil said, "Our goal is to give a 'new one' to as many ops as possible.

Please, if you work us once, do not work us again on that bird so we can work as many stations as possible."

Neil explains some flexibility is planned, "If we start getting low on new stations to work. We have made arrangements to move to the next grid square. Then we will start ALL OVER AGAIN."

Neil's web page at will keep you informed with daily up dates. Also, the logs, a picture gallery, and digital operating movies will be available in addition to the latest DXpedition news. Neil said, "This is where you will find out if we have changed grid squares. I plan on posting times when I will, be able to drop down to 14.282 MHz AMSAT net frequency.

QSL Instructions:
    P.O. Box 533
    Alameda, CA  94501

All QSLs via W6FOG/6Y5 will do a 100% QSL mailing for USA QSOs via:
    AMSAT QSL Bureau
    3702 Allison St.
    Brentwood, MD 20722
Send # 10 SASE. (AMSAT membership is not required to receive QSL cards via the bureau.)

The QSL manager outside of the USA is:
    Robert Kaplan WA4WTG
    718 SE 3rd Lane
    Dania, FL 33004

(Please send SASE or SAE + IRC/greenstamp if you want the cards returned directly. Otherwise they will go via the bureau. WA4WTG is an avid stamp collector, so if you have some stamps you were going to throw away, please send them to Kappy! Thank you!)

[ANS thanks Neil, W6FOG, for the above information.]

Soyuz Mission to ISS Successfully Launched

Right on time, a Russian-Belgian cosmonaut crew blasted off in a newly modified Soyuz capsule from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Oct 30, headed for a linkup to the International Space Station later this week to deliver a fresh crew return vehicle.

Russian "taxi crew" Commander Sergei Zalyotin, European Space Agency Flight Engineer Frank DeWinne from Belgium and Russian Flight Engineer Yuri Lonchakov lifted off in dense fog in the new Soyuz TMA-1 vehicle at 9:11 p.m. Central time (0311 GMT Oct 30). About nine minutes later, the new Soyuz had reached orbit and its solar panels and navigational antennas had deployed.

The new Soyuz is scheduled to dock to the station's Pirs Docking Compartment Thursday night around 11 p.m. CST (0500 GMT Nov 1) for the start of eight days of joint operations. Hatches between the Soyuz and the ISS are scheduled to swing open around 12:40 a.m. CST Friday (0640 GMT). The taxi trio is scheduled to board the Soyuz TM-34 return craft that has been linked to the ISS since April, and undock on Nov 9 for a landing on the steppes of Kazakhstan.

A fresh Soyuz is delivered to the ISS every six months to provide an assured return capability for station residents in the unlikely event a problem would force them to come home prematurely.

Information on the crew's activities, 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

Claudio IK1SLD received the following packet message from Valery aboard the ISS:

From : RS0ISS
@ BBS :
xID :
Subject: SOYUZ-4 TAXI


[ANS thanks NASA, Arthur N1ORC, and Claudio IK1SLD for the above information.]


US Astronaut Peggy Whitson, KC5ZTD, made Jamboree On The Air (JOTA) a very special occasion this year for Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts in The Netherlands. One of the International Space Station's Expedition 5 crew members and the only woman, Whitson on October 20 answered questions posed by the scouts via amateur radio. The direct, 2-meter contact with PA3HGQ was arranged as part of the Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) program.

"The scouts were very impressed by the quality of the radio link and delighted to have an astronaut joining the Jamboree On The Air right from the International Space Station," said ARISS Vice Chairman Gaston Bertels, ON4WF. On hand for the official opening of the JOTA in The Netherlands was Dutch astronaut Andre Kuipers, who congratulated the Ascanen scouting group of Lelystad for their ARISS QSO with Whitson.

More than 100 scout groups from all over The Netherlands listened in on the downlink while Whitson answered about a dozen questions. At the contact site, parents and friends of the 20 youngsters selected to take part assisted with the space chat, and local radio and TV stations covered the event.

Several of the questions the Dutch youngsters asked mirrored those often put to crew members by their American counterparts. One Scout asked about how the ISS crew prepared its meals. Whitson explained that meals in space are pre-cooked and stowed in foil packages or cans. "It's just a matter of warming it up or adding water," she said.

Whitson told another questioner that the crew can see weather from space. "It's beautiful up here," she said, noting that the crew can recognize such systems as hurricanes. "At night, we can even see thunderstorms," she added. Whitson said the crew can see the aurora borealis (northern lights) too. "They're beautiful from here!" she declared.

Bertels said the NA1SS downlink also was monitored at Flanders Expo in Ghent, Belgium, where a science exhibition for youth drew a big audience. At a booth set up by the Royal Belgian Amateur Radio Union (UBA) and devoted primarily to ARISS, visitors -- mostly youngsters, parents and teachers -- followed the pass of the ISS on a screen showing the world map.

"The UBA also was very pleased to use this opportunity to demonstrate amateur radio at its best to the public visiting a popular scientific and technological event," Bertels remarked. He said many amateur stations all over Western Europe tuned into the downlink and reported excellent copy.

ARISS is an international project with US participation by NASA, ARRL and AMSAT. Gaston Bertels, ON4WF, provided information, photographs and audio-video for this report.

[ANS thanks The ARRL Letter Vol. 21, No. 42 for the above information.]

Straight Key Night on OSCAR 2003

You are cordially invited to participate in the 30th annual Straight Key Night on OSCAR, conducted by AMSAT-NA for radio amateurs throughout the world.

There are no rules, no scoring and no logs required. Just operate CW on any OSCAR satellite, using a straight hand key, from 0000 UTC to 2400 UTC on 1 January 2003, working as many SKN stations as you can. The moon (OSCAR Zero) counts too.

In keeping with the friendly nature of this event, each participant is asked to nominate one of the operators worked for "Best Fist." It is not necessary that your nominee have the best fist of anyone you heard, just of those you worked. Please send your nomination to W2RS via e-mail at, via packet radio at W2RS @ WA2SNA.NJ.USA.NA, or by mail. Those nominated will be recognized in an ANS Bulletin to be published in early February, and in The AMSAT Journal.

[ANS thanks Ray, W2RS, for the above information]

AM-1601 IPS Emulator Announced

Announcement: Am1601 Emulator & IPS-F1G Available

This week Paul VP9MU announced that development and emulation software, called IPS, for the next generation of AMSAT Internal Housekeeping processors has been made available on the AMSAT web page.

Paul described it as, "IPS is a powerful yet simple process control language. It is very stable and reliable. A custom processor code-named the Am1601 is currently under development for AMSAT use. This processor is being specifically designed to be IPS friendly."

An Am1601 emulator program for Windows NT, and a general user version of IPS to run on the emulator are now available for download.

Paul reminded potential developers that, "The purpose of the emulator is to aid the design and development of the hardware Am1601, not to run "real-life" programs. IPS running on the emulator is considerably slower than it would be on a real hardware machine. That said the emulator is a very useful tool for debugging purposes."

This software is being made available to the general public for peer review purposes, and is provided "as is" under the GNU license. This is a work in progress, ... please remember that!

The Programmers Reference for the Am1601 is available in both MS Word and .pdf formats on the AMSAT-NA web site.

You can find the emulator and documentation here:

General documentation on IPS and IPS-X can be found in the IPSDOS ( file, which can be found here:

[ANS thanks Paul, VP9MU, for the above information.]

ARISS School Contacts

October 30, 2002

Two ARISS School Contacts for ESA Astronaut Frank De Winne, ON1DWN

Tuesday 29 October 2002, ESA and RSC-Energia signed the final protocol regarding operations related to the "BTF-Odissea" mission. BTF stands for "Belgian Taxi Flight". Indeed, the scientific Odissea mission, sponsored by the Belgian federal government, occurs during a "taxi flight", i.e., the replacement of the ISS docked Soyuz space rescue vehicle by a new one. Such replacements are necessary every six months.

Main scientific engineer of the Odissea crew is Belgian ESA astronaut Frank De Winne. Frank will conduct 23 experiments during his 7 days on board the ISS, covering domains as varied as cardiology, protein crystallography and metal research. Frank, civil engineer, test pilot and colonel of the Belgian Air Force, is also holder of an amateur radio license. His callsign is ON1DWN.

Two ARISS school contacts have been integrated in Frank's mission. The first is scheduled Sunday 3 November 2002 at 09:15 UTC with the Royal Technical School of Sint Truiden (Frank's hometown). This is a school for petty officers of the Belgian army where an amateur radio club station (ON4BAF) is operational.

The second contact is scheduled Tuesday 5 November 2002 at 09:00 UTC with the Euro Space Center located in the Belgian Ardennes. Dutch and French speaking students, winners of a space oriented competition, will participate to the space talk with Frank De Winne at the micro of the club station ON4ESC.

As usual, the downlink frequency is 145.800 MHz FM.

Gaston Bertels
ARISS-Europe Chairman

[ANS thanks Gaston Bertels 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

Return to top

This week's AMSAT News Service bulletins were edited by AMSAT News Service Editor Lee McLamb, KU4OS,