August 10, 2003

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AMSAT-NA August President's Letter

At the end of July I visited the AMSAT-UK 18th Colloquium, held at the University of Surrey in the City of Guilford near London. I am pleased to report that as usual the Colloquium was a great success and provided me to talk with the Presidents and leaders of other AMSATs. In general most AMSATs have much the same concerns as we do in North America, and revolve around frequency loss and intrusion into the amateur frequencies of services that probably should be elsewhere.

AMSAT - UK provided many good papers for thought, and two in particular that I would like to bring to your attention. These are a paper by Jerry Brown, K50E on his working portable with AO-40, and a paper given by James Miller, G3RUH, on working FEC telemetry with AO-40. Jerry is becoming a fixture at AMSAT-UK, his papers are amusing, practical and technical in nature. I have asked Jerry to repeat his paper in Toronto -- if for any reason he cannot do so then we will find a person to read it for him. James' paper on the use of forward error correction (FEC) with AO-40 telemetry was another paper that I had great pleasure in listening to for James went out of his way to thank Phil Karn,, K9AQ for his persistence in "pushing" FEC as the right system to ensure better copy of the AO-40 telemetry under very adverse conditions. To quote James "It is one of the best things, for amateur satellites, to be developed in the past 20 years. My congratulations to Phil, James and the whole implementation team that helped bring this about and another thank you to AMSAT VP of Operations, Stacey Mills, W4SM, for modifying his telemetry program, so that we all may use the FEC operation.

Now is the time for selection of four members of the Board of Directors or just over half of the BoD. Please do vote and use only the yellow voting card, the black and white one is not valid and if sent in will not be counted. However it is important that you do vote and carefully select the people who you want to be your representatives on the BoD. I am looking for a record turn-out this year in ballots cast, but please do not vote for more than four or your ballot would again be invalid.

Tom Clark W3IWI, has put out an E-mail with his observations concerning Echo, Tom explains the status of the satellite and advises that it is anticipated that it will be launched on March 31 2004, some 6 weeks earlier than I had expected. So if you wish to fly your call sign on the satellite you had better get in touch with Martha ASAP (301-589-6062) and advise her of the details as well as paying the modest fee.

You, the members, had requested a membership competition and we are providing one, but so far very few of you are participating. Remember it is to get new members into AMSAT not old ones who are returning. If there is a sudden upsurge in interest then I will donate an additional prize of an Arrow antenna in addition to the first prize of a tri-band hand-held ... all equipment to use on ECHO. Can you resist the offer? See the July /August issue of the AMSAT Journal for details.

I am pleased to advise that Barry Delong (VA3BJD) and his crew are in the final stages of developing the AMSAT-NA annual meeting and Space Symposium (the 21st). Details of the hotel and registration can be found both on the AMSAT web site and in the latest AMSAT Journal. Toronto is now effectively SARS-free as was demonstrated on July 30 when over 400,000 people attended an out door concert in Toronto with many attendees from the USA. We are all looking forward to seeing you in Toronto on October 17, 18, and 19. In addition to the normal papers etc. that are expected at AMSAT meeting there is a great program for spouses. On the Sunday morning there is a visit to the Hammond Radio Museum, one of the top rated museums of its type in the world. Please refer to the Journal and the web site for details -- book early to get the best prices.

In closing , I once more ask you to VOTE for your BoD representatives. The more people that vote the more sure we are, that the elected people are your representatives.

Robin Haighton, VE3FRH
President, AMSAT-NA

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

AMSAT-NA Membership Contest Update

After a little more than 2 weeks, the figures are as follows: 3 current members have each brought in 1 new member. People, we have a wonderful opportunity here. Remember an AMSAT member has generously offered to match the income for the first 100 NEW members.

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.

We need to take advantage of this special matching donation. Let's all get out there and talk to friends, family, clubs, etc. Let US ensure the future of AMSAT

[ANS thanks Martha for the above information]

AO-40 FEC Telemetry Soundcard Decoder

A soundcard demodulator for Windows that will capture both regular and experimental FEC coded telemetry from AO-40 is now available. StaRCV can be downloaded from

This is a work in progress, ... bug reports to

The name StaRCV reflects its heritage, ... "Sta" from "The Station Program", and "RCV" from "AO40RCV" upon which it is largely based (great code Moe!).

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

Satellite DX News

Wayne Estes, W9EA, reported working 5 new entities on AO-40 during the month of July. Wayne says this brings his total number of entities worked up to 128.

The five new ones during the last month were:

There was a lot of interesting DX on AO-40 this month:

Shawn, N1HOQ, summarized it pretty well when he reported a "DX feast" on AO-40 the morning he worked 7 new countries.

During the month of August we can look forward to TZ (Mali) on AO-40 courtesy of Doug N6TQS. In late September there is a good chance that HC8 (Galapagos Islands) will be on AO-40. They way things are going I imagine some other rare ones will pop up on AO-40 during the next two months. Then in October will be the Christmas Island and Cocos-Keeling Island expeditions just as AO-40 begins the "bad squint" season.

[ANS thanks Wayne,W9AE, for the above information]

UO-14 Makes a Quick Recovery

On 5 August 2003 UO-14 suddenly failed to make its scheduled appearance over the Western Americas. Several stations confirmed that UO-14 was silent. Unfortunately it would be several hours before UO-14's orbit carried it back into range of the command station at Surrey. The following day Chris, G7UPN, announced that, "UoSat-3 (UO-14) has been reset and is now operating again." He reported that, "Good signals were received from it from the west coast of the USA at Surrey."

As to what happened, Chris says, "Since the flight computer is not operating, we have no way of knowing why this event occurred and can only hope that it is not a sign of more problems to come!"

UO-14 was launched in January 1990 so has been in orbit for over 13 1/2 years.

[ANS thanks Chris, G7UPN, for the above information]

Upcoming ARISS Contact Schedule

Upcoming ARISS Contact Schedule as of 2003-08-07 03:00 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.

ISS Expedition 7 crew:
Yuri Malenchenko RK3DUP

Next up Expedition 8 crew:
Mike Foale KB5UAC
Alexander Kaleri U8MIR

Tentative schedule:
2003-10-18 Soyuz launch
2003-10-20 dock
2003-10-28 undock

Neston Primary School, Corsham, England
Contact was successful Wed 2003-08-06 16:46 UTC (***)
Congrats to Ed and Neston Primary! (***)

Soar Valley College, England
Contact is a go for Fri 2003-08-08 16:26 UTC direct via M0SVC

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

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