November 2, 2003

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AMSAT-NA President's Letter October 2003

My apologies for writing this so late in the month, but I wanted to include some information from the AMSAT Annual Meeting, Board of Directors Meetings, and Space Symposium that took place in Toronto October 17 through October 20. My other excuse is that with three computer crashes I am now typing it for the forth time!

When the AGM etc. is held it is natural for those who worked to put it on to feel apprehensive until the reviews start coming in. Well I am pleased to tell you that we had a great time and I must thank the Toronto Airport Marriott Hotel together with Barry Delong VA3BJD, and the crew of hams who worked hard to put the show on. I was able to sit in on all the presentations at the Space Symposium and found them to be both stimulating and inventive. A copy of the majority of the papers can be obtained from the AMSAT office, just ask Martha. The cost is $20+ mailing and worth every penny. If AMSAT were an profit making organization we would be charging at least $400 US to attend such a symposium due to the quality of the papers and the work in putting the organization together. What a bargain for $30! Next year we will visit Washington DC, the original home of AMSAT, on our 35th Birthday and I look forward to being there with you.

Our recent membership competition ended up in a tie, both people having 10 new AMSAT members. the two winners were Steve Diggs and Drew Glasbrenner. With only one prize, the toss of a coin settled the matter and Steve won the VX7R which was kindly donated by Vertex Standard/Yaesu. However, Drew did not go away empty handed as he was awarded 3 years membership in AMSAT. My congratulations go to both Steve and Drew, and to the many others who brought in a total of 64 new members to our organization.

During the meetings in Toronto, I announced the start of the "Echo Launch Fund Campaign" . Echo will be launched around the end of March 2004 (scheduled March 31) and the total launch cost will be $110,000 US. We have to raise that amount before we can think of any further activity on Eagle or other satellites. Every member of AMSAT-NA will be receiving a letter from me in the next few weeks requesting participation in the launch campaign. With AO-27 and UO-14 no longer in service, Echo will be fulfilling that operation as a low earth satellite. In addition there are a number of other things that Echo can do, and we will be developing a schedule of initial operations for Echo in November. Remember there are three transmitters on Echo and we have the opportunity to possibly run two of them at any one time. I look forward to trying to work Echo with my handheld and a whip antenna - it should be possible under the right conditions, perhaps even with a rubber duck!

One request from me, for your benefit lets encourage the use and exchange of AMSAT membership numbers in satellite communications, this will, I hope get more people to join AMSAT and thus produce more revenue for more satellites.

One final thought , the "new" Board of Directors met in Toronto (for details see minutes) and the three new member of the Board were present. I was delighted to see the skills that they brought to the board and I am sure that Rick Hambly W2GPS, Gunther Miesse W8GSM and Lou McFadin W5DID will serve you well over their term(s) on the Board. The Board did re-elect me as President, however this will be my last term as your President after serving in this role for four years and previously as Executive Vice-President for two more years I feel that next October will be the right time to retire, and let others with new ideas take over the leadership of the organization.

Robin Haighton VE3FRH
President AMSAT

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

AMSAT-UK Colloquium Dates Announced

The 2004 Amsat-UK Colloquium will take place from Friday 30 July to Sunday 01 August 2004. This is one week later that some might have expected in order to avoid a clash with other popular events (Farnborough and Central States).

Calls for papers etc will issue in due course.

[ANS thanks Richard, G3RWL, for the above information]

CubeSat XI-IV Takes Pictures of the Earth

Two CubeSats XI-IV and CUTE-I were launched 30 Jun 2003, 14:15:26 UTC+2, by Japanese Universities:

Earth images from XI-IV's image decoder have been posted to

XI-IV can be heard on the frequencies and modes below.

Satellite Downlink Beacon Mode
XI-IV 436.8475 1200bd  CW
XI-IV 437.490 1200bd  FM Packet AX.25

[ANS thanks Mineo, JE9PEL, for the above information]

ARISS Status 28 October 2003

Ourense, Spain School Contact Successful

The Ourense, Spain school contact on October 23 was very successful. A group of 75 children and 25 parents gathered at Ceip Seixalbo school as ESA astronaut Pedro Duque answered sixteen questions in Spanish using the ARISS radio system. All nationwide radio, TV broadcasters, and newspapers were present.

ARRL Article on New Ham Crew

ARRL posted an October 17 web story entitled "New Two-Ham ISS Crew Set to Head into Space." See

ARISS Chairman Frank Bauer Presents Paper at AMSAT Space Symposium

AMSAT-NA's Annual Meeting and Space Symposium was held on October 18-19, 2003 in Toronto, Canada. ARISS International Chairman Frank Bauer, KA3HDO, presented a paper describing the capabilities of the new Phase 2 hardware. For more information go to and

ARRL Article on Five Hams in Space

ARRL ran an October 21 web story entitled "Five Hams Now Aboard International Space Station" about the three ham radio operator-astronauts that arrived at the ISS over the weekend to join the Expedition 7 crew. See

ARRL Celebrates Anniversaries of Ham Radio in Space

Rosalie White wrote an article commemorating the 20th anniversary of amateur radio in space (on Spacelab-1) and the 15th anniversary of amateur radio on Mir which was published in the November issue of ARRL's monthly journal, QST.

Recent ARISS School contacts

Ceip Seixalbo school Ourense, Spain
2003-10-23 13:32 UTC direct via ED1ISS with Pedro Duque ED4ISS
The local AR club EA1URO has dedicated a website to the ARISS contact with Ourense:

Verbum Casa das Palabras Vigo Spain
2003-10-26 12:07 UTC with Pedro Duque ED4ISSMore information is available on the ARISS-Europe website for the Pedro Duque contacts:

[ANS thanks Carol Jackson and Charlie Sufana for the above information]

AMRAD Balloon Launch

AMRAD's balloon was launched last Friday, 24th October, around 5:30pm GMT.

The payload consisted of a video camera, ATV 1260MHz, GPS receiver, APRS tracking device transmitting on VHF 145.850 MHz. Four balloons pulled it up, and a parachute went together. A picture at our web site listed below shows the setup. It has inside the payload, a plastic wrapped paper with ID, contacts and emails.

The balloon was tracked for more than 10h with the precious help of CT1FAK, and other colleagues, using their powerful receiving stations, equipped with the latest radio technology.

The last received packet from the balloon, at CT1FAK's station, has the timestamp of +-3:30am GMT 25th October. We lost contact with the balloon after that.

We received logs from our friends in the Northwest Spain, Galiza, with timestamps of 7:49am Zulu same day. They had the last contact with the running balloon.

The balloon climbed up to 27xxx feet only. Bad weather and heavy clouds didn't allow it to rise higher.

According to wind charts, forecasts and local Meteo office, we had East winds that would push the balloon into middle Atlantic Ocean, and later north.

The balloon is already electrically "dead". Hence our contact to the countries around the Atlantic Ocean. As the payload is pulled by four balloons, we presume it is still floating around somewhere, if it hadn't burst because of the heavy cloud ceiling, that didn't allow it any higher.

We would like to take the opportunity to ask for help in recovering the payload (and some advise). If by any chance the balloon falls in your country, is picked up in the ocean by boats/fishermen, or picked at the sea shore.

On behalf of AMRAD's board and associates, we thank you all. For reading, for spreading the news to your associates and colleagues and for, who knows, catching the payload :)

AMRAD web site:

AMSAT-CT web site:

[ANS thanks CT2GPW for the above information]

AO-40 Status Update

AO-40 continues to move in ALON, keeping ahead of the sun. As of 31 Oct 2003, AO-40's attitude was ALON/ALAT ~ 30 / 0. ALON will slowly be advancing to 45 deg.

The passband schedule has been modified slightly and the K-band window has been discontinued.

N  QST AMSAT AO-40          SCHEDULE                 2003-10-31
                MA      002   080   230   244   002
                S2/K-Tx  |  S  |  S  |  S  |  S  |
                MB       |  *  |  *  |  *  |  *  |
                RUDAK    |     |     |     |     |
                V/U-Rx   |  U  |  U  |  U  |  V  |
                Uplink   |     | UL1 |     |     |

Stacey Mills, W4SM, provided the following update regarding AO-40's telemetry beacon. Stacey says, "FEC is turned on as for as many orbits as possible, working around the need for pictures and other command functions. FEC mode requires loading the IHU-2 each orbit and this is not always possible; however most orbits have FEC active. The FEC routine has been modified to allow the option of cycling between normal mode telemetry including message blocks and event blocks, and FEC mode telemetry (A-blocks only). With this option, the normal mode is currently active from 0 to 16 minutes of the hour, and the FEC mode is active for the remainder of the hour. This allows time for users to read the message blocks and for event blocks to be collected. During transition between these two modes, up to 1 minute of beacon "idling" (hex50) may be heard before the new mode starts."

The AO-40 team would like your telemetry files! Please "zip" compress your daily telemetry files and e-mail to

[ANS thanks Stacey, W4SM, 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. 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,