June 1, 2003

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Jerry Schmitt, KK5YY — SK

Jerry's wife, Barbara KD5CGU, contacted me via email and informed me that he has become a silent key. Jerry KK5YY (ex KC5EGG) passed away on Friday May 23 due to a sudden heart attack. As many of you know, Jerry was a very influential and valuable asset to all of ham radio. He was a known icon in the amateur satellite and APRS communities, a net control operator for the New Mexico Swapnet, an efficient communicator during the Cerro Grande fires, the designer and main promoter of the Arrow antenna used for satellite work, and a developer to improve the operation of many popular radios, such as the ICOM IC-706MkIIG, Yaesu FT-100, Kenwood D7A — with those companies' support after noting what he was capable of making them do. Jerry organized the International Space Station QSO that took place in 2001 at the Museum on Natural History for a bunch of school children, too. Above all, Jerry was a great friend, and elmer (especially to me since I was 12) and a fun person to chat with on the radio and in person.

Jerry was on the verge of retirement from Los Alamos National Laboratories and planning to move with Barbara to Alaska, a place he has always loved. Ham radio has lost a mighty fine person, and he has left some mighty big shoes to be filled.

Please pass this sad word on to all the hams you know.

73, KK5YY.

[ANS thanks Brian, N5ZGT, for the above information.]

Another Launch Opportunity ...

Roger, WA1KAT asks:
Does anyone have an "off-the-shelf" unit that's ready for "qualification"? This might be an opportunity to fly it...

This is based on a report from [amsat-India] (Ed.):
Following is the status of various transponders considered for vusat:

1.Dutch transponder by William, PE1RAH
Flight model delivered to ISRO.
Will have to be qualified for various environmental tests.
Will fly, if qualified and accepted by ISRO 2.

2.Indian Transponder by Amsat-India
Demonstration model fabricated. 
On-the-air tests reported.
Flight model fabrication yet to start.

3. Italian Transponder by Amsat-Italy
Difficulty in delivering the flight model.
May not fly.

[ANS thanks Roger, WA1KAT, for the above information.]

Klem South School ARISS Contact

Klem South School in Webster, New York had a very successful contact with Ed Lu on board the ISS. The contact was handled by Nancy Rocheleau WH6PN via the ARISS telebridge system. Nancy was up at 3:00 am her time in Honolulu to be the ground station. The contact time was May 27, 2003, at 13:01 UTC.

Ed (an alum of the school) was able to answer questions from 13 of the planned 16 students.

When Bobby Semmler (grade 5) asked what zero gravity felt like, Ed likened it to going over the top on a roller coaster. Terese Caiazza (grade 2) wondered if he had any pets on board but Ed said unfortunately no. John Wiseman (grade 4) inquired about meals on board, Ed said much of it was Russian (which he liked) and that he got to bring some of his own favorites (including oriental).

Congratulations to Ed on his first ARISS contact and Klem South!

[ANS thanks Charlie Sufana AJ9N, for the above information.]

PCSAT2 (Prototype) on Air

PCSAT2 prototype is on the air in Annapolis, Maryland (USA) and may be workable out to about 10 miles. We invite anyone in range to please experiment with its three transponders:


We need your help to test it thoroughly so we can fix any bugs now instead of living with them later. Like PCsat, PCSAT2 has no control system other that the basic KPC-9612+ TNC. Thus we used the CONNECT LED as the simple means for USER control of the transponders. This way, anyone can turn on a transponder and the connection-time-out process gives us an automatic time out 8 minutes later to save power when it is not in use.


1) To provide some signals for the PSK-31, the HF uplink is not on 10m but is being fed by an external 20m receiver listening to 14.070. We do not expect you to try to transmit, but just have something to RX.

2) TELEMETRY is running at 4 times the rate we will use on flight.

3) To give you something to do, we activated the PBBS. Its call is PC2BBS. This is NOT normally going to be used on PCSAT2. But is an easy way to test the packet system.

4) Next week, I will release a telemetry decoding and display program.

Again, see the web page above for details.

de WB4APR, Bob

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

PCsat Triple Hop!

During today's PCsat pass over the east coast, we saw N4ZQ relay a packet via PCsat, then PCSAT2 (on our workbench) and then back to PCsat. The PCSAT2 was connected through 180' of coax to a whip antenna on the roof! The range between satellites was about 1000 km.

PCSAT2 is on the workbench connected to an outside antenna to burn it in. We are waiting to see when its 96-hour fail-safe timer times out. I had forgotten about the possibility of a dual hop test and in fact was just about to go disconnect PCSAT2, because its packets were interfering with my demo of PCsat I was showing to a new faculty member.

Anyway, too bad PCsat will probably not be around when PCSAT2 finally gets to orbit at the end of this year. This ability to do multiple satellite hops via multiple APRS satellites has long been a dream of the APRS community. We had previously demonstrated this capability between PCsat and ISS several months ago, but only for a week, because it required ISS to QSY to the PCSAT frequency.

But if every satellite that does UI digipeating operated on 145.825, then we would have a mutually supporting constellation of satellites.

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


You may not hear many VK6 hams on AO40 for a while. Many of us are suffering from interference from some form of wide band data transmission centred on 2.4 GHz. The signal covers much of the Perth metro area and is very strong. So strong in fact that it does not matter where you beam you can still hear it — mainly from reflections I expect.

The signal, which runs continuously, sounds like a 100Hz buzzing sound and has a bandwidth of about 4 MHz. Looking at the signal on a spectrum analyser it has a flat top and very steep sides. The signal started about 6 weeks ago and one suggestion is that it might be an image response of our S-band downconverters to the 2.1GHz G3 mobile phone service that have just started tests.

I'm organising a DF party this weekend where many of the VK6 AO40 operators will try and take a bearing so we can attempt to locate the source. I'll let you know what we find, in the mean time if anyone has any idea what this signal may be please email me. (, Ed.)

[ANS thanks Phil, VK6APH, 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 Dave Johnson, G4DPZ,