July 20, 2003

Latest Bulletins
Last Week's Bulletins
2003 Bulletins
These Bulletins in plain text format
Subscribe to bulletins by e-mail
Submit your News for ANS

AMSAT-NA July President's Letter

July and August are the traditional times for AMSAT-NA members to take family vacations and I wish you all the very best for a safe vacation with your families. This period is also the time when AMSAT holds its annual elections and I will (if you permit) pass a few comments on this subject.

As I have said elsewhere in more detail, it is with great pleasure that we have a record number of candidates running this time and as a result there has been a great increase in the activity on AMSAT-BB as members (and non-members) have been expressing their thoughts on what AMSAT-NA should (or should not) do. One of the positive aspects of the AMSAT-BB activity is the new membership drive/competition, announced by the Corporate Secretary (Martha). The winner will be presented with a tri-band handheld unit at the AMSAT Annual Meeting in Toronto, October 18 2003. We must thank the anonymous donor who has offered to match the first 100 members membership fees - wow! and thanks. Another positive aspect is the listing of AMSAT-NA tax returns on our web page. If you would like to look at them then go to our web Page ( click on "Information about AMSAT" then scroll down to "Finances" click on the year of your choice. Note: that at my last check the tax return for 2002 has not yet been posted.

Some times things go well and sometimes they don't -- we have all had bad days, and poor Martha just had a bad one when she found out that the printer had sent last years ballot write ups to the mailer who had sent them out to you. Well the situation has been corrected, please destroy last year's ballot and information - the one in Black ink and on white paper. If that is sent in it will not be counted. Use only the colorful new ballot and write-ups that should be mailed later this week. The re-print and mailing will be done at the expense of the printer. I don't think he will make that mistake again.

On the BB in the last few days we have had an excessive amount of E-mails, many of them have had the phrase "AMSAT should ........" and quite rightly there are many things that AMSAT should do if AMSAT had the resources to do them. These resources fall into two types, people and dollars. Yes we need people as much as we need the dollars, especially people who are prepared to carry out administrative functions and business development. Since I became President of AMSAT, I have asked many times for admin people and so far I have really only got one person. Please go to and request a copy of our volunteer survey -- and offer your assistance, then you can have the satisfaction of putting your thoughts into practice.

It is obvious to those of us on the BoD that many people who like to say "AMSAT should ...." are people who have not read the BoD minutes, the Journal, ANS, or these President's Monthly letters. As this mater that they want AMSAT to do has usually been discussed at the BoD and rejected for sound reason (often resources) or is currently assigned to an AMSAT officer.

Now it is also quite apparent that there are those who do read the AMSAT communications, and are the people that I take seriously when they make comments, you know who you are so I will not comment further. Meanwhile, I would ask the "Candidates for Election" to make sure that the things that they promise "if elected" are items which are not already underway or which have been rejected by the BoD "for good reason" -- see previous minutes in the AMSAT Journal(s).

As you read this I will be preparing to attend the AMSAT-UK Colloquium where I will present Rick Hambly's paper on Echo and meet with the Presidents of several other AMSATs to discuss international joint assistance. I will be away until the start of August, and unable to communicate on a regular basis, so once more may I wish you a happy and safe vacation. During my absence Rick Hambly, Executive Vice-President will act in my place.

Robin Haighton VE3FRH
President AMSAT-NA

[ANS thanks Robin, VE3FRH, for the above information]

AMSAT-NA Membership Contest

July 14th will be the start of the new AMSAT membership contest. To receive credit for a new member, the recruiter's name and callsign must be supplied.

The contest will run until the end of September. The prize: a tri-band hand-held. The winner will be announced at the AMSAT Annual Meeting in Toronto.

[ANS thanks Martha for the above information]

Anonymous Donor Matches New Member Dues

An anonymous donor will match the first years dues of every new member (up to 100) signed up during the Membership Contest. People, now is the time to do something positive for AMSAT. Show your support by giving talks at clubs, attending hamfests, talking to friends on the air. Remember each new member dollar (up to 100 members) is being matched. The membership contest runs until September 30th.

[ANS thanks Martha for the above information]

AMSAT Annual General Meeting and Space Symposium

October 17-19, 2003

Its time to think about registering for this year's AGM, to be held on the outskirts of Toronto, Ontario. A first-class facility, the Marriott Airport Hotel, has been booked, and all AGM activities from dining to presentations will take place under one roof, which is just minutes from the airport.

The registration form has now been placed on the website. Please visit AGM 2003 website which can be accessed via the AMSAT homepage ( We will be adding new information on a ongoing basis.

The registration form will also appear in the next AMSAT Journal. Early registrations will receive a $10 dollar discount so please register early to enjoy these savings!

The call for papers has been going well and we anticipate another excellent line-up of presentations this year. The planning committee has settled on a schedule for the two days of presentations. People that have contacted Wayne - VE3WHC with abstracts should email Wayne for final details.

Summer has officially descended on Toronto this week and we are experiencing a mini heat wave. But after a long winter and an extended spring nobody is complaining yet. I'm very proud to say that we accomplished a lot of planning for the AGM over the Winter and Spring, to ensure that this year's AGM is once again the excellent educational and relationship-building event that AMSAT members expect.

On behalf of the planning committee and myself have a nice summer and see you all in October.

Barry Delong - VA3BJD
2003 AGM Chairman

[ANS thanks Barry, VA3BJD, for the above information]

Membership QSL Insert Available

Do you send QSL cards for satellite contacts? You can help AMSAT by inserting a form describing AMSAT and providing membership information. Put one of these inserts in every QSL mailing and you will help other hams find AMSAT and you will help AMSAT to build new satellites.

Two forms are available in Adobe PDF format on the AMSAT Web site. Go to and select the "Become a member of AMSAT-NA" link. Near the bottom of the membership page you will find the section "QSL Insert".

The first form is for single sided printing. Just print, cut and fold.

The second form is for double sided printing. Print the first page on the front and the second page on the rear. If using a duplex inkjet like the HP PhotoSmart series choose Properties, Features, Two Sided Printing and check the Tablet (not Book) box. Then just cut and use.

These forms were the brain child of AMSAT member Andrew Glasbrenner, KO4MA, and were designed by Rick Hambly, W2GPS, (AMSAT Executive VP) with input from Art Feller, W4ART, Paul Williamson, KB5MU, Stephen Diggs, W4EPI, and Tom Clark, W3IWI.

[ANS thanks Rick, W2GPS, and Drew, KO4MA, for the above information]

P3T Upgraded for AO-40 FEC Telemetry

If you have been following AO-40 telemetry on the Goddard server recently, you may have seen curious A-blocks with the message:

|            RECONSTRUCTED FROM DECODED FEC BLOCK              |

These blocks were decoded by Stacey Mills, W4SM, using a modification of the G3RUH MK II 400 bps PSK demodulator, and a new version of the P3T telemetry decoding software program. The modification to the demodulator, developed by G3RUH, involves the addition of an 8-bit ADC, with minimal changes. For more details, see

With this modification, the MK II demodulator can continue to function in standard or "hardware" mode or, with the flip of a switch, can output ADC data at 9600 bps, 1 byte per bit of telemetry data. P3T will also function in standard mode as before, but now includes the option for ADC input. In ADC input mode, P3T expects a serial port data stream as detailed above of one 8-bit byte per bit of telemetry data. In this mode, it will decode standard format telemetry blocks and will also handle all FEC decoding processes, generating a reconstituted A-block with the header as seen above. Eventually, P3T will be further modified to accept ADC data from a soundcard.

The performance of this system really has to be seen to be fully appreciated. In FEC mode with even a modest receiving setup, every single block should be properly error corrected if the squint is less than 90 degs. FEC blocks that are barely audible or with severe spin-modulation fading will decode correctly. The P3T software is in final beta testing and will be available within a few days. This system will be demonstrated live at the upcoming AMSAT-UK meeting in Surrey by G3RUH using a solo RHCP patch antenna (no dish).

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

7P8 DXpedition includes AO-40 July 18-25

The July 18-25 Lesotho 7P8 DXpedition sponsor by the Lone Star DX Association and the Texas DX Society has added amateur satellite mode to its planned operations, DXpedition Leader Charles Frost, K5LBU/7P8TA has announced.

The operation will be on the AO-40 satellite. The uplink will be U-band (70cm). Equipment including antennas and a down converter were donated by Wayne Estes, W9AE, and a spare down converter donated by Bruce Paige, KK5DO. For additional 7P8 satellite information and news click on

"We're glad to offer such a needed mode from Lesotho," Frost said, adding that those wanting to make a contact with the DXpedition "take it easy on us because none of us are satellite operators, but we are willing to try our best at giving everyone who wants one a 7P8 QSO."

Operations will be will be at the Hotel Mount Maluti near Mohale's Hoek (30.16 S and 27.48 E).

QSLs will be handled by each operator separately via their home calls as each will have their own 7P8 call.

QSL routes are: 7P8CF--K5LBU--Frosty; 7P8TA--WW5L--Tom; 7P8MJ--W5MJ--Madison; 7P8NK--VA7DX--Neil; 7P9DA--K4SV--Dave; and 7P8IZ--W0IZ--Igor.

For additional information contact Frost at or Tom Anderson at

[ANS thanks Bruce, KK5DO, for the above information]

Upcoming ARISS Contact Schedule

Upcoming ARISS Contact Schedule as of 2003-07-10 01:00 UTC

The ARISS (a joint effort of AMSAT, the ARRL, NASA, the ARISS international partners including Canada, Russia, the European Partners, and Japan) operations team wishes to announce the following very tentative schedule for ARISS school contacts. This schedule is very fluid and may change at the last minute.

Remember that amateur radio use on the ISS is considered secondary. Please check the various AMSAT and ARISS webpages for the latest announcements. Changes from the last announcement are noted with (***). Also, please check for possible live retransmissions ( Listen for the ISS on the downlink of 145.80 MHz.

Websites that may be of interest include:

ISS Expedition 7 crew:
Yuri Malenchenko RK3DUP

Turkey Space Camp
Contact was successful 2003-07-15 06:00 UTC (***)
Congratulations Turkey Space Camp and Ed Lu (***)

Brussels Planetarium
Contact is a go for 2003-07-24 13:15 UTC via ZS6BTD (***)

The latest ARISS announcement and successful school list is now available on the ARISS web site. Several ways to get there.

Latest ARISS announcements and news

Successful school list or

If you can not get into the GSFC site, then go directly to the RAC site. (***)

click on English (sorry I don't know French)
you are now at 
click on News

Currently the ARISS operations team has a list of over 60 schools that we hope will be able to have a contact during 2003. As the schedule becomes more solidified, we will be letting everyone know. Current plans call for an average of one scheduled school contact per week.

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

This Week's News in Brief

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

Return to top

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