April 13, 2003

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AMSAT-NA Bod Nominations

It is time to submit nominations for AMSAT-NA Board of Directors. AMSAT Member Societies or five current individual members may make nominations of fellow members to serve a two-year term. Four seats on the seven member board must be filled this year. Those who terms are expiring are: Barry Baines, WD4ASW, Dick Daniels, W4PUJ, Robin Haighton, VE3FRH, Bill Tynan, W3XO. Please be sure that anyone you nominate understands that meeting attendance is necessary. Nominations should be sent to AMSAT, 850 Sligo Ave, #600, Silver Spring MD 20910 and must arrive no later than JUNE 15th.

[ANS thanks JoAnne, WB9JEJ, for the above information]

AMSAT-NA Space Symposium Call for Papers

The 2003 AMSAT-NA Annual Symposium is scheduled for October 17-19, 2003 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. This is the first call for papers to be presented at the 2003 Symposium.

Papers may be presented by the author during the Symposium or simply offered for inclusion in the Symposium Proceedings publication.

The subject matter should be of general interest to amateur radio operators involved in satellite communications. Suggested topics include:

A brief abstract of the proposed paper should be submitted as soon as possible. The final date for abstracts is June 15, 2003.Copy ready papers must be received no later than August 15, 2003.

Electronic submittal is preferred in MS WORD format. Please email your electronic submittals to Wayne Chandler at

[ANS thanks Wayne, VE3WHC, for the above information]

Home Safe Space Station

Commander Ken Bowersox and NASA Science Officer Don Pettit spent Tuesday, April 8 performing a number of tasks outside the International Space Station making it safer for the next crew. Along with fixing a stuck light support, they rerouted cables to ensure that more than one of the station's control-moment gyros won't be disabled if power is disrupted. The gyros make the station stable.

The spacewalkers also reconfigured a power connector on a mechanism that holds the central S0 truss and the starboard one truss together. The work should prevent the mechanism's inadvertent release.

Other tasks included securing a loose thermal blanket, replacing a faulty part, and installing pressure-relieving clamps on lines on the U.S. laboratory.

This was second EVA, or extra-vehicular activity, for Pettit and Bowersox, and it lasted six hours, 26 minutes, ending a few minutes earlier than expected.

[ANS thanks Florida Today for the above information.]

Shuttle Safety Proposals at Hand

NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe told a congressional panel Tuesday that the nation's shuttle fleet could return to flight before the end of the year.

The space agency chief thinks the independent investigation board is just weeks from recommending improvements to hardware and procedures needed to make the remaining three shuttles safe to fly.

"We haven't heard a date at this point," NASA spokeswoman Tracy Young said at Kennedy Space Center. O'Keefe said NASA managers and engineers are pursuing solutions to failures the investigation board has highlighted.

[ANS thanks Florida Today for the above information.]

World Amateur Radio Day on April 18

The theme of this year's IARU World Amateur Radio Day is to be 'Amateur radio supporting technology education in the classroom'.

World Amateur Radio Day is marked on the 18th of April each year to commemorate the anniversary of the founding of the International Amateur Radio Union on that date in 1925.

Ole Garpestad, LA2RR, the Chairman of IARU Region 1 writes: "There is no doubt that the future of amateur radio belongs to those that are now in the classroom. In keeping with this theme, I would like to encourage every society in the Region to let our young people know that amateur radio is a unique hobby - simultaneously sport, scientific study, personal pleasure and collective activity. And that radio amateurs today are voluntary and selfless researchers in the technological field of amateur radio, an important resource to every country, and something to be proud of.

"But the 18th of April is not only a day to think about our future, it is our day, a day for celebration. All of us, societies and individuals, can celebrate in our various ways - organizing presentations, club meetings, parties, honoring senior radio amateurs who go back to the early years of IARU, or just putting our equipment on the air and making just a single QSO on this day, so realizing how large our ham community is."

[ANS thanks Jeramy Boot, G4NJH, and Amateur Radio Newsline for the above information.]

"Space is Beautiful!"

Youngsters from Rushey Mead Secondary School in the United Kingdom gathered at the National Space Centre in Leicester April 4 for a quick ham radio chat with Ken Bowersox, KD5JBP. The contact was arranged via the Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) program. Students participating from the comprehensive secondary school ranged in age from 11 to 16. The school also has its own amateur radio club. John Heath, G7HIA, operated the National Space Centre's GB2NSC club station for the occasion.

"Space is beautiful," Bowersox rhapsodized in response to one youngster's question. "It's black with the stars dotting everywhere." The Expedition 6 crew commander said the space station occupants don't have TV to watch for entertainment. "We look out the window at the earth," he said. When they tire of that, there are CDs and books aboard.

Bowersox noted that he has wanted to be an astronaut since he was seven years old and trained five years for his current mission. Answering an oft-asked question about how the crew keeps clean in space, Bowersox explained that the astronauts and cosmonauts used towels moistened with soap and water to wash themselves.

In all, 12 youngsters put questions to Bowersox during the direct ARISS contact that ran under five minutes compared to the usual 10 minutes, although the ISS remained in nominal range for the full period. ARISS Vice Chairman Gaston Bertels, ON4WF, speculated that the problem may have been a result of having to arrange the contact on short notice and not having optimal Earth-station antennas in place. NSC Amateur Radio Club President Andy Thomas, G0SFJ, later shared some of the excitement of the ham radio space chat during a radio broadcast interview. Parents of the youngsters and several teachers -- as well as members of the news media -- were on hand for the occasion.

[ANS thanks ARRL for the above information.]

ARISS Gets the Spotlight at Science Teachers Gathering

Student-to-astronaut communication via ham radio got a boost last week from ARRL Education and Technology Project Coordinator Jerry Hill, KH6HU, during the National Science Teachers Association national conference. Hill helped to staff the NASA booth during the gathering March 27-30 in Philadelphia.

"My function at the conference was to sign up teachers for the Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) program, plus represent the ARRL and talk up ham radio," Hill explained. "We signed up about 200 teachers and got them on the list. It can take over a year to get a contact date, but it's well worth it."

Accompanying Hill at the Philadelphia Convention Center was ARRL Education and Technology Program teacher Jim Kuhl, N2STK. Kuhl is a "Big Project" pilot program teacher at Central Square Middle School in New York. "Jim was a big help," Hill said. "He's made an ARISS contact before and had amateur radio right in his classroom. Having him there lent tremendous credibility to the program."

During the NSTA gathering, more than 14,000 secondary school instructors had a chance to learn about ARISS, an international project with participation by ARRL, AMSAT and NASA. Among other benefits, ARISS provides an opportunity for students to talk directly with crew members of the International Space Station (ISS) -- a unique educational experience. ARISS also is responsible for the amateur radio equipment at NA1SS, the first permanent ham radio station in space onboard the ISS.

A former industrial arts teacher, Hill said the teachers he spoke with were very enthusiastic about the ARISS program, especially once they realized that direct contact with the ISS was a real possibility. "They get pretty excited at that point," he said. "It just blows their minds."

Hill says he hopes more Education and Technology Program pilot school teachers will be able to join him in the NASA-sponsored booth at future conventions. In the future, he'd also like to see students demonstrate amateur radio.

[ANS thanks ARRL for the above information.]

*AMSAT* EchoLink Conference Server

Announcing a new Internet service from AMSAT.ORG -- an EchoLink conference server, *AMSAT*.

EchoLink is a "Voice over IP" system that lets amateur radio operators (only) talk to each other over the Internet. It can be used by individuals at their computers, or via simplex radio links, or through linked repeaters. It's very easy and fun! The software you need to communicate with EchoLink and more information about EchoLink are both available from

A conference server allows many operators, links, and repeaters to share the same conversation. The new *AMSAT* conference server provides a place for satellite operators world-wide to congregate and chat. The server is up continuously. All amateurs are invited to connect and give it a try.

More information about the *AMSAT* EchoLink conference server is available at

[ANS thanks Paul, KB5MU, for the above information.]

Weekly Satellite Report

Link to the weekly report on satellite ...

All Satellites
ISS. RS-12. RS-13. RS-15. RS-20. 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. GO-32. SO-33. PO-34. UO-36. AO-40. SO-41. SO-42. NO-44. NO-45. MO-46. AO-49. SO-50

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 Scott Lindsey-Stevens, N3ASA,