June 6, 2004

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President's Letter -- May 2004

I have just received some excellent news this morning from Jim White, WD0E who has been testing and finally integrating Echo before flight. After explaining the details of installing the wiring harness and orientating the magnetometer Jim comments "As far as I can tell we are on track and looking good. Echo is going to be a very cool bird." A few minor items have to be completed as the spacecraft makes it way to the launch site, but I am confident that it will be 100% by the time it gets to Kazakhstan.

Meanwhile at Dayton the launch fund with its objective of $110,000 took a jump upwards to slightly over $93,000 with the assistance of many donors and one anonymous donor who matched every dollar with another one. Now we should make the final push to get to the $110,000 - can we do it? What are the consequences of not meeting our targets? The answers are as follows, Yes we can do it, and quite easily, if every member of AMSAT and everyone who works the satellites (including non members) is prepared to meet the target. The consequences of not doing so are simple. It means that we will be somewhat delayed in meeting the reserves that are necessary to develop, design, construct, integrate and test Eagle. As we have had to borrow from our reserves in order to launch Echo, all of our funding for satellite projects comes from your donations, membership dues run the organization, (i.e., office, lab, expenses, journal, postage etc.) so the faster we recover the launch expenses the sooner we can work on Eagle.

I will be attending the AMSAT-UK annual meeting and colloquium at the University of Surrey, if you can be there it is always a worthwhile event and this year the IARU satellite meeting will be at Surrey. In addition I am arranging an AMSAT-International meeting to take place on the Friday morning, the objective of this meeting is to try and provide a greater degree of cooperation between the various AMSATs around the world, both in communications to our members and to provide technical expertise as necessary. Hopefully this may provide more information to the worldwide membership and we may eventually be able to schedule a continuous flow of satellites both LEO and HEO. For details of the AMSAT-UK meeting see their website

Returning to thoughts on Dayton, our AMSAT booth this year was excellent, probably the best I have seen, thanks to Art Feller W4ART, Barry Baines WD4ASW, Martha and many others. The AMSAT Forum was very well attended with over 200 people in attendance, in spite of the rather poor room we were allocated with even worse access. (Look for a change in this next year.) Rick Hambly W2GPS, gave an excellent talk on Echo and brought us right up to date. Gould Smith WA4SXM reviewed his new Book on Echo which gives details of the development, the specifications and operation. (Book available from the AMSAT Office), and Frank Bauer brought us all up to date on the Amateur Radio in ISS (ARISS). Together with the many individuals who spent time putting up the booth, and taking it down again, as well as those who operated the booth I would like to thank the speakers for a job very well done.

Finally, today is Friday May 28 2004, Echo's launch window starts in 32 days. I am very optimistic that all will proceed well let's hope so, statistics for this launch vehicle and this launch site are excellent, but remember this is rocket science!

Robin Haighton, VE3FRH
President, AMSAT-NA

[ANS thanks Robin, VE3FRH for the above information]

Echo Status Update

Echo is making excellent progress and is expected to be ready to ship to the launch site during the second week of June.

Testing of all the functions of Echo after installation of the flight harness has been completed and the S-band transmitter power output has been verified as 2.45 Watts. Downlinks at data rates up to 38k4 on both 70cm and S-band have been confirmed to work fine. The wideband receiver (SQRX) which can tune from HF through L-band has also been tested.

The programmable magnetic torque rod has been preset so that the proper end of the satellite will stabilize down after launch. It can be changed once on orbit if needed. Takes about a minute to fully re-polarize the rod by command from the ground.

The development team reports that all the hardware has been quite solid. Due to the delay we've had the chance to put quite a bit more time on all of it without any problems.

Currently the planned launch period is four weeks beginning June 28, 2004. Once in orbit the command and ops teams will be working together to assure everything is working ok and get it into its initial 'normal' modes as quickly as possible given the necessary caution. After that it will be open to the users.

[ANS thanks Jim, WD0E for the above information]

ARISS Status 31 May 2004

Erie Planetarium Contact Successful

The first ARISS contact of Expedition 9 took place on Tuesday, May 25 at 18:01 UTC. The contact was performed via the telebridge station, VK5ZAI, in Australia. During his very first amateur radio contact, Mike Fincke, KE5AIT, answered 18 questions asked by the students who gathered at the Erie Planetarium in Erie, Pennsylvania. The contact was very successful and the children applauded and thanked Mike for his time. The ARRL ran a web story on the event entitled, "ARISS School Group Contact a First for Astronaut, Expedition 9." An audio link is provided within the article. See

Upcoming School Contact

Walton Central High School in Walton, New York has also been scheduled for an ARISS contact with Mike Fincke, KE5AIT. The contact will take place on Wednesday, June 2 at 17:57 UTC. It will be performed via the telebridge station, NN1SS at GSFC.

Expedition 8 Crew Debriefing

The Expedition 8 crew was interviewed by Sergej Samburov, RV3DR, from the ARISS Russian team on Wednesday, May 12. Expedition 8 commander Mike Foale, KB5UAC, returned to the U.S. on May 24, and is scheduled for a crew debriefing with the ISS Ham Technical Team (USA) on Friday, June 4 at 2:15 p.m. ET. The half hour session will allow the team to ask for recommendations to improve school contacts, to ask technical questions concerning the radio systems and to determine computer availability on the ISS.

[ANS thanks Carol for the above information]

AMSAT Nomination Deadline Approaching

You still have time to mail your nomination to the AMSAT office for the AMSAT-NA Board of Directors. Nominations must arrive at the AMSAT office (850 Sligo Ave #600, Silver Spring, MD 20910) no later than June 15th. Please note that nominations cannot be sent via email.

Member Societies or 5 current AMSAT members may make nominations of fellow members to serve a two-year term. Three seats on the seven member board must be filled. Those whose terms are expiring are: Tom Clark, W3IWI, Lou McFadin, W5DID and Bruce Paige, KK5DO.

[ANS thanks Martha 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,