September 28, 2003

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AMSAT Senior Advisor Group Established

I am pleased to announce that the following appointments are effective immediately, in recognition of long service to the Board of Directors and the AMSAT membership, the following long term AMSAT members are appointed as "Senior Advisors".

They may be contacted by their normal E-Mail Address or collectively by

Their individual and collective experience with AMSAT, most of it since the early days of AMSAT's foundation, is such that their value in remaining active with the organization cannot be overstated. Their new title, while being honorary, will I hope signify the high esteem in which we hold these individuals. I am sure that the current and future Board or Directors will avail themselves of the opportunity to seek their advice on many future occasions.

The Senior Advisor designation is in addition to any other position that they may hold as AMSAT Officers.

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

AMSAT Assistant to the President Announced

I am pleased to announce that Steve Diggs, W4EPI, has agreed to become an assistant to the President. Steve's initial duty will be to assist at the Board of Directors meeting. He will develop a complete list of Action Items for the Board members and a listing of the resolutions of the Board together with the disposition of the resolutions.

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

Space Symposium and Annual Meeting Update

Robin, VE3FRH, reports that he is pleased to advise that the Airport Marriot in Toronto has agreed to keep our block reservation open until October 1st. AMSAT-NA has already exceeded our minimum quota with the hotel, thus our major expenses with the hotel have been met but we still have a few more rooms available.

The hotel number to call is 1-800-905-2811 from both the USA and Canada. For overseas +1-416-674-9400 make your reservation as a part of the "AMSAT" block. Cost is estimated at $86.87 US actually $119.00 Cdn -- both plus taxes.

The prize list is still growing, and includes:

Plus prizes from:

More prizes are promised from many other significant organizations.

Don't forget to register with Martha.

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

AMSAT.ORG Servers Recover from Outage

As I'm sure most of you noticed, the AMSAT.ORG system was more or less broken starting around 1903 UTC on Friday, 19 September. I'm sorry for the inconvenience. To the best of my knowledge, all systems have now been restored to normal operation as of about 2340 UTC on Tuesday, 23 September.

The problem began with the installation of an emergency security update to protect the system against a recently-discovered potential attack. Security updates like these are installed all the time on all well-administered Unixish systems, and help to keep the system under control and working smoothly. This time, something went wrong, and the resulting updated system was not able to run the email program (sendmail) that handles all incoming and outgoing email. All mail aliases, mailing lists, and email servers (like majordomo) immediately stopped working.

The next day at 16:45 UTC, sendmail was fixed and mail alias relaying was restored. However, in the process of fixing sendmail, some other things went wrong, which prevented the mailing lists, majordomo, the mail alias creation and modification web pages, and several other things from working. Incidentally, this also prevented me personally from accessing my own email or having any remote access to help fix the system. Between me being locked out (and out of town) and the sysadmin being mostly unavailable over the weekend (and busy once the workweek resumed), each step toward getting this mess straightened out took a lot longer than usual.

In theory, the updating scheme we use has now been fixed and future updates should go smoothly. In practice, I'm keeping my fingers crossed for next time.

Messages that were sent during the outages were either bounced back to the sender or just plain lost. If you sent messages to mailing lists on and didn't see them come back, you may want to send them again. If in doubt, you can check the archives at to see if the message was processed. The archive contains exactly those messages that went out to the mailing list subscribers.

Your mailing list subscriptions on have not been changed. They should be working now.

If you subscribe to mailing lists from other systems using your mail alias address, you may have been automatically dropped from those lists during the outage. You can probably just resubscribe. I urge you to resubscribe using your direct email address, if at all possible, to avoid this problem in the future.

If you find anything still broken, please let me know by email at

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

Area Coordinator Report from EM17 KS

The weekly CCARC VHF AMSAT Satellite net for 8/24/03, NCS was Greg N0ZHE. There were 11 check-ins to the net, with sat ops reporting 35 contact made through the week of August 18-24. Satellites reported worked were AO-7 and AO-40.

Sat ops reporting this week were: John KA0OXY, Bill W0OQC, Greg N0ZHE.

DX contacts reported off AO-40 into the following countries:

Other topics talked about on the net ranged from:

For more information on our local VHF AMSAT satellite net check out

[ANS thanks Greg, N0ZHE, for the above information]

Logging Satellite Contacts via ARRL's Logbook of the World

ARRL's Logbook of the World (LoTW) system is a repository of log records submitted by users from around the world. When both participants in a QSO submit matching QSO records to LoTW, the result is a QSL that can be used for ARRL award credit.

To minimize the chance of fraudulent submissions to LoTW, all QSO records must be digitally signed using a digital certificate obtained from ARRL. Obtaining such a certificate requires verification of the licensee's identity either through mail verification (US) or inspection by ARRL of required documentation (non-US).

Software developed by ARRL can be used to convert a log file (in ADIF or Cabrillo file format) into a file of digitally signed QSO data, ready for submission to LoTW.

LoTW began operation on September 15, 2003. Many details, as well as the required Trusted-QSL (TQSL) software are available at

Below is some information specific to entering satellite QSO data for use by LoTW.

BAND field should show the satellite uplink band

BAND_RX field should show the satellite downlink band

Both the uplink and downlink bands of the two QSO records (yours and the other station's) must match in order for LoTW to connect the two into a "QSL" record. Also, LoTW infers the satellite mode from the two band fields, and any future mode-specific awards will take notice of that.

FREQ and FREQ_RX fields can also be used in addition to or in place of BAND and BAND_RX for the uplink/downlink.

The FREQ fields are used to infer the BAND fields if the BAND fields are not present. Otherwise, the FREQ field values are ignored. If BAND is provided, the FREQ fields need not even be consistent with the BAND fields: the BAND fields are authoritative. If neither FREQ_RX nor BAND_RX is provided, BAND_RX is assumed to be the same as BAND (that is, both uplink and downlink are assumed to be in the same band).

Since the SAT_MODE field is not used by LoTW. The only way to record the transponder mode is to use the BAND and BAND_RX fields.

PROP_MODE field should be set to SAT.

SAT_NAME field should indicate the satellite name in the format cc-nn (i.e. AO-40, FO-29)

The specific list of satellites can be viewed in the TQSL program's ADIF editor. Satellites that aren't on that list will not be accepted by LoTW.

[ANS thanks Jon, KE3Z, for the above information]

U.S. Space Weather Service in Deep Trouble


For Fiscal Year 2004, starting October 1, 2003, the House Appropriations Bill for Commerce, Justice, and State continues Space Environment Center's funding at $5.2 M (a reduction of 40% below the FY02 level). Worse, the FY04 Senate Appropriations Bill zeroes Space Environment Center and all space weather in NOAA, so services, data and observations, and archiving would all disappear if the final appropriation is at the Senate level. At the House funding level, starting October 1 SEC will rapidly lose about half its staff, negatively affecting its ability to serve the Nation with operational products, data collection, and R&D. Unless the appropriation level for Space Environment Center is restored to the level of the President's FY04 Budget Request, $8.3 million, the Nation's civilian space weather service is in trouble. At the President's requested funding level, Space Environment Center can almost return to FY02 level of services, data, and R&D.


NOAA's Space Environment Center in Boulder, Colorado, provides a range of services to the Nation related to space weather phenomena. Among other activities, the Center is the unique provider of real-time monitoring and forecasting of solar and geophysical events, it conducts research in solar-terrestrial physics, and it develops techniques for forecasting solar and geophysical disturbances. That is, Space Environment Center is the Nation's space weather service, monitoring and predicting conditions in space, much as the National Weather Service does for meteorological weather.

SEC jointly operates the Space Weather Operations Center with the U.S. Air Force and serves as the national and world warning center for disturbances that can affect people and equipment working in the space environment. It is the government's official source for alerts and warnings of disturbances. Customers include DoD, NASA, FAA, airlines, operators of electric power grids, communicators, satellite operators, the National Space Weather Program, and commercial providers of value-added space weather services. Partnering with researchers funded by NSF, NASA, and the DoD, Space Environment Center is the place where much of the nation's $100s of millions annual investment in the National Space Weather Program and in space physics research is applied for the benefit of commerce, defense, NASA spaceflight, and individual taxpayers.

SEC's appropriation lines can be found in the Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research portion of the Budget.

The Senate Appropriations Committee explains its termination of space weather in NOAA in the Report accompanying its Commerce-Justice-State Bill as follows.

Solar observation. - The "Atmospheric" in NOAA does not extend to the astral. Absolutely no funds are provided for solar observation. Such activities are rightly the bailiwick of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the Air Force.

The full text of the Senate Report may be found at

Needless to say, there is no evidence to suggest that NASA and the Air Force agree that one or the other, or both, should operate the Nation's civilian space weather service.


Unless SEC's appropriation level is increased in Conference, the best outlook is that Space Environment Center shrinks to less than half its capability (House mark), and the worst is that space weather will disappear from NOAA (Senate mark). In this case, the Nation's space weather service will have to be reconstituted in some other agency, at greater cost and lesser capability, to meet the Nation's needs.

[ANS thanks Ernest Hildner, Director, SEC for the above information]

This Week's News in Brief

Ireland (EI) has removed the requirement for amateur radio (or "Experimenters") license applicants to pass a Morse code examination. The Commission for Communications Regulation (ComReg) announced September 15 that it took the action in line with the outcome of the World Radiocommunication Conference 2003 (WRC-03), which removed the requirement for prospective amateur licensees to prove Morse proficiency to operate below 30 MHz.

Singapore Amateur Radio Transmitting Society has been advised by the nations Info-comm Development Authority that, as of the 15th of September, the requirement for a Morse code examination for high frequency operating privileges in Singapore has been removed. As of the 16th of September all current and future licenses became convertible to the Singapore General Class with full high frequency operating privileges.

Amateur Radio moonbounce (Earth-Moon-Earth, or EME) and microwave history was made September 24 at 1400 UTC when Josef Sveceny, OK1UWA, and Al Ward, W5LUA, completed the first-ever 24GHz EME QSO between the Czech Republic and the US.

Rohn Industries announces that it and five of its subsidiaries have filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy relief in federal court. Subject to the provisions of the Bankruptcy Code, the September 16th filing means that Rohn remains in possession of its properties and continues to operate its business. The company says that the objective of the Chapter 11 proceeding is to maximize recovery to creditors by facilitating an orderly sale of its assets.

A joint academic and industry team conducted the first known flight test of a powered liquid-propellant aerospike engine this past Saturday, 20 September 2003. California State University, Long Beach (CSULB) and Garvey Spacecraft Corporation, principal partners in the California Launch Vehicle Education Initiative (CALVEIN), successfully launched their Prospector 2 (P-2) research vehicle using a 1,000 lb-f LOX/ethanol aerospike engine designed and developed by CSULB students.

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,