November 17, 2002

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AMSAT President's Letter for November

I thought I should report to you on the events of the Annual Meeting and 20th Space Symposium held in Fort Worth this last weekend.

Firstly let me congratulate Keith Pugh and the members of the Lockheed-Martin Amateur Radio Club for their excellent organization and warm welcome. Their tour of the local surplus stores was great, (of course local was by Texas standards!) it was enjoyed by all who participated.

The papers in the Space Symposium were very good and I must take this opportunity to thank the authors and presenters. Copies of the proceedings can be obtained from Martha at the AMSAT Office.

I was delighted to see that we had a group of students present who from a school which is a test or trial school in the ARRL "Big Project".

The new 'Presidents Club Core' donors program was introduced with thirty-five new members at this level plus new members at Bronze, Silver and Gold levels.

Our fund-raising objective is to have a large majority of AMSAT-NA members at one of the four donor levels -- Gold, Silver, Bronze or Core dependent on their own donation capabilities. Tax receipts are available for USA members.

Two of our members have provided a challenge grant effective from November 10 until December 10. Any donations received up to $1000 and specifically marked for "EAGLE EARTH SENSORS" will be doubled by the first challenger. Donations received over $1000 and up to the $2000 mark will be doubled by the second challenger.

This is specifically because we can purchase these Earth sensors at a good price right now ($4000 each) normal cost is $20,000 and we need two of them. The price will return to the full $20,000 in the new year -- will you help by making our challengers double your donation?

The Echo satellite is due for launch in November 2003, and at this time all appears to be proceeding according to schedule for the launch. A second article on Echo will be appearing in the November/December issue of the AMSAT Journal.

An Eagle technical meeting took place on Sunday November 10 in Fort Worth, many design items were discussed and co-ordination between Eagle and AMSAT-DL's P3E was a major topic. It seems that there are several items in common between these two satellites (such as the IHU), and although the main mission objectives for each of the birds may be somewhat different, we anticipate a significant amount of co-operation between the design teams of the two satellites.

AMSAT-NA's objective being to complete our design by the end of 2003 for launch in 2006, while one of AMSAT-DL's objectives is to launch in 2004, the two satellites are to be launched into different orbits but both are anticipated to be variations of the Geo-synchronous Transfer Orbit.

The guest speaker at the Saturday evening banquet was Chris Imlay, General Counsel for ARRL. Chris talked about the problems of frequency preservation between 1.0 and 10.0 GHz and noted that all of these frequencies are under attack from commercial interests. However he concluded that it is primarily due to amateur satellite usage that some of these frequencies are being preserved by the FCC (and other national bodies) for amateur applications. Without the use by AMSATs and their members, S,C, and X bands would probably no longer exist for amateur use. In an earlier meeting with AMSAT officers and board members, Chris Imlay and Walter Ireland (ARRL Technical) discussed frequency preservation, education at the university Level, and the need for maintaining a close working relationship between AMSAT and the League.

Finally I would like to thank the following retiring officers of AMSAT-NA, Keith Baker KB1SF, who stepped in as Executive Vice-President for 2002 and has been a wonderful support and help during the year. Keith remains on the Board of Directors and is the Immediate Past President.

Keith Pugh W5IU, retiring from Vice President of Operations after seven years of work, many thanks Keith for a great effort. Keith will continue to co-ordinate the AMSAT-NA nets.

Steve Bible N7HPR, retiring from VP Educational Liaison (since 1998), thank you Steve for developing this Vice Presidency and getting the "ball rolling".

On your behalf I would like to welcome Rick Hambly W2GPS as Executive Vice President, Stacey Mills W4SM as VP Operations, JoAnne Maaenpa WB9JEJ as Journal Editor.

Robin Haighton
President AMSAT

[ANS thanks Robin Haighton VE3FRH for the above information.]

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 WH6LR for this week's operating news.]

Square Kilometer Array Awarded Research Funding

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded $1.5 million over three years to help support early development of a massive new radio telescope by a Cornell University-led U.S. consortium of 10 universities and institutions. The proposed telescope would have 100 times the sensitivity of today's best radio telescopes, enabling it to "see" back to a primeval epoch by detecting galaxies in the early universe and hydrogen gas before it formed in the galaxies.

The telescope, the Square Kilometer Array (SKA), would cost in the area of $1 billion and would be among the largest scientific instruments ever assembled. Eight national consortia from around the world are competing for the winning design and the site, which are not likely to be chosen until about 2007.

Part of the NSF funding will be used to investigate feed antennas and low-temperature receivers, says James Cordes, professor of astronomy at Cornell, who is principal investigator on the research agency's award. The funding also will be used to investigate the problem of radio frequency (RF) interference that the SKA, with its wide bandwidth, will be subject to.

[ANS thanks Cornell University for the above information.]

PCsat Special Test Announced


Bob WB4APR says he activated the SPECIAL STORE-and-FORWARD mechanism on PCsat that will let it capture packets over completely isolated parts of the world and then retransmit them at regular intervals around the rest of the world. The downlink is on 144.39 and the TX rate is once a minute.

Initial settings, which are planned to be updated when the PCSat is within range of a ground command station, are currently at:

From: NOCALL (oops, didn't check the MYCALL till after the pass)
Position comment: PRIORITY
Icon: W
Status Text: empty

The purpose of this mode is so that persons walking about Antarctica, or swimming in the South Pacific or South Atlantic will be able to have some priority message ability via PCsat type satellites.

The uplink for this capability is the unpublished uplink for special remote travelers. If you are in this category, contact Bob WB4APR for access. This mode will only last for a week or so until PCsat goes back into eclipses.

PCsat is a project of the U.S. Naval Academy Satellite Laboratory.

PCsat WEB page

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

ARISS School Successes Continue to Mount

ESA Astronaut Wraps Up Successful ARISS School Contacts

European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Frank DeWinne, ON1DWN, took advantage of his short tour of duty aboard the International Space Station to speak to two schools on Earth via amateur radio. DeWinne was part of a three-man Soyuz taxi crew that included crew commander Sergei Zalyotin and cosmonaut Yuri Lonchakov, both of Russia. The ham radio contacts via NA1SS were arranged as part of the Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) program.

On November 3, DeWinne spoke with students at the Royal Technical School for Petty Officers of the Belgian Army, located in his hometown of Sint Truiden. The school's amateur radio club installed a satellite station for the scheduled contact with DeWinne, a flight colonel in the Belgian Air Force.

ARISS Vice Chairman Gaston Bertels, ON4WF, said 20 selected students lined up in the radio room for the contact with NA1SS. Valery Korzun, RZ3FK, first answered the call and gave the mike to DeWinne. During the 10-minute contact, DeWinne answered 17 questions.

On November 5, ON1DWN again took the controls of NA1SS to speak with high school students and their teachers gathered for a space camp at the Euro Space Center amateur radio club station, ON4ESC, in the mountainous Belgian Ardennes. "They had won the space oriented competition launched by the Euro Space Foundation, chaired by Belgian astronaut Dirk Frimout, ON1AFD," Bertels said of the students.

Of the group, 20 students were picked to ask their questions of DeWinne. "The radio contact was perfect, and all 20 questions were precisely and appropriately answered by the astronaut," Bertels reported.

For his part, DeWinne called the QSO "really good fun" and said he enjoyed it a lot. DeWinne said that given the decision between looking out the window at his home country below and talking to the scientists and engineers of tomorrow, "the choice was quickly made."

ARISS is an international program with support and participation from ARRL, NASA and AMSAT.

[ANS thanks The ARRL Letter Vol. 21, No. 45 for the above information.]

IEEE Conference on Amateur Spectrum Preservation Announced

The 2002 IEEE International Symposium on Electromagnetic Compatibility

Istanbul, Turkey, May 11-16, 2003

Announcement of a Special Session on Amateur Radio Services Concerns

World Radio 2003 will take place in Geneva in June and July 2003. There are several important issues for radio amateurs on the agenda most of them impose a threat from various interest groups on the frequencies allocated to the amateur radio services.

Within our countries we can see the trend to impose more and more restrictions on the radio amateurs.

Realizing the significance of the threat to amateur radio services, the Organizing Committee of the 2003 IEEE International Symposium on EMC, has allocated a special session in this Symposium to deal with problems related to the amateur radio services.

Many radio amateurs and many amateur radio organizations are very busy working to minimize the loss and maximize the gain to amateur radio services during the WARC 2003. The 2003 IEEE International Symposium on EMC, taking place on May 11 to 16, 2003, will be the LAST CHANCE before WARC 2003 to meet key persons from the international EMC and radio community, researchers, regulators and others, exchange views and influence the decisions.

You are invited to provide a formal paper, informal paper or a presentation or take part in formal and informal meetings during this conference with those key persons and improve your knowledge, as well. For more details please refer to our web site at and click on the hyperlink "Radio Amateurs".

May we ask you to circulate this e-mail within your organization and to other interested radio amateurs.

Peleg L. Lapid 4X1GP
Radio Amateurs Activities Coordinator

Elya B. Joffe
Symposium General Chairman

[ANS thanks the IEEE for the above information.]

Leonids Meteor Shower This Week

Planetary Society Press Release via newsgroup ...

The Leonid Meteor Shower
November 18-19, 2002

by Melanie Melton Knocke
The Planetary Society
November 12, 2002

Despite the glare of a full Moon, November 19, 2002 may be your last time to see a Leonid meteor storm. Last year's storm was quite a sight, with thousands of meteors flashing through the sky within an hour of the storm's peak. This year's storm is promising to be just as active, although a full Moon in the sky will drown out all but the brightest meteors. Still, it should be worth a look. If you miss this opportunity, you won't get a chance to see another Leonid meteor storm for almost a hundred years!

There will be two opportunities for meteor storms this year, both in the early morning hours of November 19.

The first storm will be visible from western Africa and western and central Europe. The peak of this first storm is predicted to be around 4:00 Universal Time (UT), with the number of meteors ranging between 2,000 and 5,000 per hour.

Local viewing times on November 19th (for central and western Europe, and western Africa):

The second storm will be visible from most of North America. The peak of the second storm is predicted to be around 10:36 UT, with the number of meteors ranging between 2,000 and 5,000 per hour.

Local viewing times on November 19th (within the United States):

The storm will appear to originate within the constellation of Leo.

2,000-5000 meteors per hour is a dramatic increase from the typical Leonid shower of 15 meteors per hour. Why the dramatic increase the past couple of years? Well, it all has to do with the orbit of Earth and a comet named 55P/Tempel-Tuttle.

Comet Tempel-Tuttle travels around the Sun once every 33 years. Each time the comet approaches the Sun, its dirty snowball of ice and rock melts and leaves behind a cloud of debris. This cloud gradually disperses, but it takes thousands of years to do so. And, since the comet visits the inner solar system every 33 years, the dusty region is constantly replenished. So, anything entering this region of space will find it a bit dusty. Anything, including Earth.

Every November, the Earth passes within the vicinity of the comet's path. Most years, our planet encounters only widely scattered debris. That debris burns up when it hits our atmosphere, producing the bright streaks of light called shooting stars, or falling stars. During a typical Leonid shower, an observer can see around 15 meteors per hour.

Occasionally, Earth's orbit crosses directly through one of the debris clouds. When that happens, the debris is more concentrated. This year, Earth's orbit takes it directly through two different debris clouds. These clouds were left by the comet in 1767 and 1866. It also passes very close to the debris fields left by the comet in 1800 and 1833.

This year is the last year that Earth's path will take it directly a debris field for a long time. In fact, the orbit of Earth and Comet Tempel-Tuttle won't line up so nicely again until the years 2098 and 2131.

So, stay up late or get up early. Just take a chance and take a look!

Tips on How to View a Meteor Shower

[ANS thanks the Planetary Society 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,