December 21, 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

December President's Letter

A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all AMSAT members around the world, whatever your personal religious beliefs may this season bring to you and your family both joy and happiness and may your "rigs" never fail and always be exactly on frequency!

As we enter into 2004 let us consider ourselves lucky that we are members of one of the most technical amateur groups in this world and that through our own technical and financial efforts there are a number of satellites waiting to be launched in this coming year.

The two satellites that I know are almost ready are our own Echo and VUsat from India.

I am pleased to report that from the regular communications I have had over the last two weeks, Echo is passing final integration and testing with flying colors. Many thanks to the teams who have provided components and also to Jim White and Mike Kingery who have recently spent much time integrating and checking testing etc.

I am looking forward to the end of March when we expect the Echo launch to take place, that is only just over three months from now, and we still have to raise $70,737 for the launch campaign. Remember that if you want to be able to put your donation against taxes (in the USA) your donation must reach Martha, at the AMSAT Office before the first of January. Don't leave it too late as Martha has some vacation time due! I hope that we can reach the 50% or $55K mark by December 25 and $60K by January 1.

VUsat which had some problems in testing, has resolved the nature of the problems (a filter) and corrections are being made. I understand that a launch is possible in the late summer or fall of 2004. Details of the payloads of both Echo and VUsat may be found on the AMSAT-NA web page, ( and more details of VU sat on the AMSAT-India web page. An exciting year is ahead.

Looking back over the past 12 months, I would like to thank our benefactors, yes, all of you who have put time, effort or financial help into AMSAT. Whatever your role, I can tell you that it is very much appreciated. I will not single out more people as the list would be very long, but in an organization such as AMSAT membership is really only the first step, participation in any form is the next, and I might add, very satisfying. October 2004 will see the completion of my term as President, by then Echo should be in Orbit and you should be working it very easily, but let me add just one word of warning, to re-phrase Yogi Berra " it ain't up and working till it's up and working". Generally our launches and commissioning has been excellent, but we, like many other organizations in the space business, have had our problems and I hope learnt by them.

To finish this letter where I began, congratulations to the AMSAT membership, you are on the leading edge of technology in many areas. Consider that only 100 years after Wilbur and Orville, there have been 50 OSCARs in orbit, many successful shuttle flights with ham radio on board plus the RS satellites, Mir (ham radio and SSTV) and now the ISS with ARISS (phase one and two). The irony of it is, that we still call ourselves "AMATEURS" can you imagine any other amateur group making this sort of achievement? Aren't you proud to belong? I am !

Seasons Greetings and 73
Robin Haighton VE3FRH
President AMSAT-NA

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

Seasons Greetings

On behalf of the ANS Editors I should like to wish all our readers and those who receive it 'on-air' best wishes for the season and a prosperous New Year.

[ANS thanks the Editors for their sterling service during the year!]

AMSAT Journal Mailing

Message from Martha (12/18/03)

The Nov/Dec 03 issue of the AMSAT Journal is now at the mailer.  Hopefully, it will arrive shortly!

[ANS thanks Martha Saragovitz for the above information]

Beagle 2 Separation

As the editor, G4DPZ was writing this copy (12/19/03), the BBC announced that Beagle 2 lander had successfully separated from the Mars Express Spacecraft.

The following announcement is from the Beagle 2 web site,

"We have separation! That was the message from the European Space Operations Centre (ESOC) in Darmstadt, Germany, to announce that the British-built Beagle 2 spacecraft is now flying independently from its Mars Express "mother ship". Initial confirmation that the separation manoeuvre has been successful came at 10.42 GMT, when Mars Express mission control at ESOC received telemetry data to indicate that electrical disconnection had taken place between Beagle 2 and the orbiter. This was followed at 11.12 GMT by confirmation that the two spacecraft had mechanically separated."

[ANS thanks The Beagle 2 Project Office for the above information]


It looks like AMSAT YV has updated its website with a very cool Flash introduction! I enjoyed it very much. The URL is

[ANS thanks Emily Clarke for the above information]

IARU Amateur Satellite Frequency Coordination

Just a reminder that the website carries up-to-date information about the procedures presently in place and summary reports on all recent International Forums.

Also there is now a current record of all known projects (nineteen in total) which have been in touch with the IARU Satellite Advisor ZS6AKV in regard to frequency co-ordination at

Please let know of anything that is wrong or missing!

[ANS thanks Graham. G3VZV for the above information]

100 Years of Powered Flight

This morning (12/16/03, Ed.), one hundred years after the first powered  flight by the Wright Brothers, the Smithsonian Institution opened the Annex  to the Air and Space Museum!

The Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center opened with a extraordinary exhibit of original civilian and military aircraft from around the world, missiles, experimental aircraft, early spacecraft and support equipment, engines, and, even a display of engine spark plugs. Whether you're looking for the X-35, a Boeing 707, a record-setting SR-71A, the first Air France Concorde, the original Enterprise, or gliders and ultralights, this is the place to come and see!

Put it on your list when you come for the AMSAT Annual Meeting and Symposium here in Crystal City, Virginia, just outside Washington, DC. It's absolutely breathtaking! How do I know? I saw it for myself today!

[ANS thanks Art, W4ART for the above information]

PCSAT Ops Going Well

PCsat is doing fine and will continue in good Sun through New Years Eve. Seeing about 50 users per day and 30 per pass over the USA. Any packet station can copy her, just tune 145.825 and watch (1200 baud normal AX.25 packet).

To transmit though her, just set your unproto to UNPROTO APRS VIA WIDE, go to CONVERSE and type something to somone else you see. This is the same path as APRS users use terrestrially. (RELAY, PCSAT-1 and W3ADO-1 also work.)

See also all captured packets on the downlink on

Sapphire (45) is 10 minutes behind PCsat in the same orbit. Her uplink is 145.945 and very weak downlink is on 437.095 +/- Doppler. Her digi callsign is VIA KE6QMD. ISS is not doing packet these days, but we can hope.

During travels, set your mobile to 145.825. When you hear one PCSAT pass, the next one is exactly 100 minutes later and the NEXT day the same pass is 30 minutes earlier. (And Sapphire is 10 minutes behind it but takes a UHF beam to hear it on 437.095, though it is easy to hit on 145.945.)

[ANS thanks Bob, WB4APR for the above information]

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. 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 Dave Johnson, G4DPZ,