January 25, 2004

Latest Bulletins
Last Week's Bulletins
2004 Bulletins
These Bulletins in plain text format
Subscribe to bulletins by e-mail
Submit your News for ANS

AMSAT-NA President's Letter, January 2004

January, the start of a New Year and one which I believe will be an excellent year for AMSAT.

Echo is due for launch in a window which starts March 31st and continues through April and into May. Of course we are all looking for the launch to be early, but that does not depend on AMSAT as much as on the launch agency. Our Echo Launch Fund Campaign is progressing well and is now over $51K, almost half way towards the goal of $110K which would pay off the costs incurred in launching the satellite and maintain our reserve fund at a level which would enable an early return to working on Eagle.

AMSAT is auctioning off a beautiful sculpture of AO-40. I thought that you might be interested in looking at it. Please point your browser to our eBay auction at Or, you can go to and click on the link on the main page. So far the response has been excellent, please take a look and if you would like to buy this sculpture, please put in your bid, the donation to AMSAT will go into the Echo Launch Campaign Fund.

I would also like to acknowledge a donation of $1000 from AMSAT-YV toward the Launch Campaign. Every donation is gratefully received, this is the only way in which we can design build and launch our satellites.

Echo is now in the final stages of integration and test, it has made its first flight, by aircraft, and is now in Colorado where the flight ready L and S band units are to be installed and where the Digital Voice Recorder will be integrated all within the next week or two. In my next letter I hope to be able to report that Echo is either on its way or is packed and ready to go to the launch site.

Many thanks must go to those who have worked so hard and diligently on the Echo project.

Robin Haighton VE3FRH
President AMSAT

[ANS thanks Robin, VE3FRH for the above information]

PCsat Status

PCSat is now in negative power budget and practically unusable.

The command team will try for a few more days to turn everything off (including the digipeater) to try to get it through eclipses. When the digi is off, the only packet you will see is the 1/min telemetry packet and it will be from the callsign of NODIGI.

It was a good run. We got 33 days out of it this time.

Pasco was restored to full operations on 15 Dec 2003, 2 days before full sun and she supported users to over 50 a day around the world through the end of the year.

She entered eclipses again on 1 Jan 2004, yet continued to support even growing numbers of users. During this same time, the ISS packet system became operational again, further attracting users to this mode. Often, Pasco logged 60+ users (the size of our WEB log) in just over 12 hours.

Bob, WB4APR, tells what happened, "Over the weekend of 17-19 Jan 2004 we lost her back to negative power again. During the last pass on Friday the 16th all telemetry looked good and I restored the 72 hour timer and we were all set for the weekend. But with seconds before LOS, I noticed that although the telemetry was showing, and I had commanded the TX's to isolate, they weren't. The relay was stuck. And it was our last pass for the next 16 hours."

Bob continues, "All weekend the 3 Command Stations around the world tried to re-energize this stuck relay, and I came in on Saturday and was sure I was successful, but again, on each eclipse we lost it again. Finally on Tues. and Wed, we also were able to fully command it, but the eclipses are just too long and she dies on the dark side."

As a result Pasco has returned to the catch-as-catch can mode until next full Sun in May. This is the longest period PCSat has been without a full Sun period since launch.

The Command Team will continue to attempt recovery for a few more days. After that there will be no further attempts to turn off the DIGI and PCSat will revert back to the mode of "if you can hear it, work it..." And that will only be in the SUN.

[ANS thanks the Bob, WB4APR, for the above information]

AO-40 Schedule and Attitude Update

As noted in the N-block below, the schedule for AO-40 has been modified to have the passbands active from MA =40 to MA = 180. Current ALON/ALAT is approximately 352 / 0.

The eclipse season has begun again with pre-perigee eclipses. For the near future these will peak at a little over one hour in length.

QST AMSAT AO-40          SCHEDULE                 2004-01-22
                     MA      002   040   180   002
                     S2/K-Tx  |  S  |  S  |  S  |
                     MB       |  *  |  *  |  *  |
                     RUDAK    |     |     |     |
                     V/U-Rx   |  U  |  U  |  U  |
                     Uplink   |     | UL1 |     |

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

Satellite DX News

Charlie, VR2XMT (in Hong Kong), has recently been on AO40. Charlie reports that his next opportunity to work the eastern parts of North America is 31 January at 0820 UTC. The squint should be a bit better then, but he will still have a mountain to his east! Charlie plans to be on an uplink frequency of 435.640. Charlie's grid locator is OL72cm.

George, DU1/GM4COK in the Philippines, says that he also plans to be on AO-40 on 31 January at 0820 UTC for a window to the eastern part of North America. He will be at work during all the other windows between now and then. He says he has previously worked as far east as Florida, so he should be able to work most or all of the East Coast.

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

IARU Amateur Satellite Website

The IARU Amateur Satellite Frequency Coordination web site has recently been updated with additional information about a number of cubesat projects there are also details of three new microsats!

The most recent update was for UniSat3 being built by La Sapienza University Roma . UniSat3 is a 12 kg microsat intended to be launched by Dnepr scheduled for 31st March 2004 together with Oscar Echo. The satellite is expected to contain a V/U FM transponder and 9k6 GMSK telemetry downlink. Proposing to use the same frequencies as are used by AO-27.

The web site contains brief details of all forthcoming satellites that are planned to operate in the amateur satellite service and that are known to the frequency coordinating team at this time.

You can read all the details by visiting

[ANS thanks Graham, G3VZV, for the above information]

ARISS Status 20 January 2004

Upcoming School Contacts

The next ARISS contact is scheduled for Kings School in Canterbury, England. This school was selected by astronaut Mike Foale, KB5UAC, and will take place on January 28, 2004. An ARISS contact is also being scheduled for James Bay Elementary School in Houston, Texas. This contact is being planned for the first week of February.

ARISS International Educational Outreach Committee Meeting Held

The ARISS Educational Outreach/School Selection Committee met on Thursday, January 8. Items discussed included negotiating crew time for the ARISS contacts, the Roy Neal, K6DUE, Commemorative Special Event, and the next ARISS International Meeting to be held in the Netherlands in March, 2004. Minutes were posted to the ARISS web site. See - Jan 08 2004

ARRL Article on Expedition 9 Crew Change

ARRL ran a web story on the Expedition 9 crew change entitled, "Chiao to Sub for McArthur as Next ISS Commander." See

ARISS Team Plans for Engineering Checkout Passes

The ARISS team has been planning two engineering checkout passes which need to be run prior to the use of the Phase 2 Kenwood radio system during school contacts. The plan is to run two tests. One test will be run during a pass over Russia, using Sergej Samburov's radio station, R3K. The other test will be run during a pass over the U.S. in which three U.S. stations, W5RRR at JSC, W5DID in Orlando, and NN1SS at GSFC, will be bridged together by phone, and uplinks will be coordinated through the phone bridge. These tests are tentatively scheduled to take place in February.

[ANS thanks Frank, KA3HDO, for the above information]

Gilmour Academy - First ARISS contact of 2004

Astronauts aboard the International Space Station successfully contacted students at Gilmour Academy in Gates Miles, Ohio via the ARISS program (Amateur Radio on the International Space Station). Contact was made on Friday, 02 January 2004 at approximately 14:00 UTC via amateur radio equipment aboard the space station.

Gilmour Academy is a two-division private school with a Catholic tradition. Gilmour is located in the Village of Gates Mills, which is 25 miles east of the center of Metropolitan Cleveland, Ohio. The lower school is Montessori through 6th grade, and the upper school is 7th through 12th grades. The Academy has an amateur radio station, ND8GA, which is located in the upper school where our enrollment (Grades 7-12) is approximately 400 students.

During their brief adventure, students asked astronaut Mike Foale 12 questions.

Their were about 50 people in the audience. Also present were at least one newspaper and Fox TV.

Thanks to Dr. Foale and the ARISS team for the first ARISS contact of the new year!

[ANS thanks Scott Lindsey-Stevens, N3ASA, 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

Return to top

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