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[jamsat-news:909] * SpaceNews 17-Aug-98 *
SB NEWS @ AMSAT $SPC0817
* SpaceNews 17-Aug-98 *
MONDAY AUGUST 17, 1998
SpaceNews originates at KD2BD in Wall Township, New Jersey, USA. It
is published every week and is made available for non-commercial use.
* TMSAT NEWS *
TMSAT commissioning is proceeding, and controllers are currently testing the
earth imaging system. TMSAT has 5 cameras on board - a wide angle camera
(WAC) similar to UO-22, 3 narrow angle cameras with a pixel resolution of
approximately 100m and image size of 1020x1020 pixels, and a video camera
(which will be used for taking still images).
Five images have been taken so far. The first was a test over India under
manual control from Bangkok, and the other images have been taken automatically
under control of the OBC186. The Red Sea was initially since it is generally
free of cloud which is useful for sensor calibration. For the first few
images, only the WAC was used, and the first set of images using the narrow
angle cameras (NAC) over Greece was taken on Friday 1998-14-Aug. Due to the
size of the images, it is taking some time to download as other housekeeping
and commissioning functions must also be scheduled.
Two of the WAC images have been posted to the folowing web address:
One is the first image over the Red Sea. This was actually under exposed and
has been enhanced. The Nile valley can clearly be seen as can the Nile delta
and the different sands in the deserts of Egypt and Saudi Arabia. The image
is reasonably cloud free, and for a first image is quite nice.
The other image was taken over southern Greece and the Mediterranean Sea.
The southern tip of Italy can also be seen as can Crete and Libya.
[Info via Chris Jackson, G7UPN]
* OSCAR-11 NEWS *
It has been an uneventful month for OSCAR-11. During the period 1998-Jul-14
to 1998-Aug-15, reasonable signals have been received from the 145.826 MHz
beacon. Telemetry has been nominali, and the battery voltage has improved
slightly, averaging 13.7 volts, with values ranging from 13.4 to 13.9
The internal temperatures have slightly increased and are now 3.4C and
1.8C for battery and telemetry electronics respectively.
A single WOD survey, of channels 1, 2, 3, 61 (magnetometers) dated
01-July-1998, starting at 16:24:09 UTC has been transmitted. This
was started at the same time the attitude pulse counters were reset
to correct the counter overflow problem mentioned in the last report.
It shows the unusually high spin period of 640 seconds.
Reports of the OSCAR-11 Mode-S beacon have been received from Bill K4SNF,
Mike N1JEZ, and Micheal OH2AVE, indicating that the beacon is still
functioning. Many thanks for those reports.
The operating schedule remains unchanged:
ASCII status (210 seconds)
ASCII bulletin (60 seconds)
BINARY SEU (30 seconds)
ASCII TLM (90 seconds)
ASCII WOD (120 seconds)
ASCII bulletin (60 seconds)
BINARY ENG (30 seconds)
The ASCII bulletin is currently a static message, detailing modes and
frequencies of all the amateur radio satellites.
There are additional status blocks after each bulletin is transmitted,
and between ASCII TLM and WOD.
The Mode-S beacon is ON, transmitting an unmodulated carrier, but
telemetry indicates that it has partially failed, and delivering half
power. This beacon is a useful test source for those testing Mode-S
converters, prior to the launch of P3-D. It is considerably weaker
than DOVE, which should be used for initial testing. Any reports of
reception on 2401 MHz would be most welcome. Please e-mail email@example.com.
The 435.025 MHz beacon is normally OFF. However, it can sometimes be
heard when the satellite is being commanded by ground control (ie.
within range of Guildford, UK). When the 435 MHz beacon is transmitting,
the 145 MHz beacon is normally OFF. The data transmitted is mainly
Listeners to OSCAR-11 may be interested in a web site dedicated to OSCAR-11.
The web site contains details of hardware required and some software for
capturing data and decoding ASCII telemetry and WOD. There is an archive
of raw data (mainly WOD) for analysis, which is continually being expanded
as new data is captured. Also included are some audio files containing
examples of each type of data transmitted by OSCAR-11. Each one plays
for about ten seconds. There are also examples of Mode-S reception.
All the audio files are compressed (zipped), so that they can be played
off-line. These should help listeners identify the various types of
data transmitted by OSCAR-11, and give an indication of the signal
quality required for successful decoding.
The OSCAR-11 Web Site maybe found at the following URL:
[Info via 73 Clive Wallis, G3CWV]
* FCC PROPOSES CHANGES TO AMATEUR RULES *
The FCC has proposed to phase out the Novice and Technician Plus class
licenses, leaving just four amateur license classes in place--Technician,
General, Advanced, and Extra. The Commission also has asked the amateur
community to express its opinions on Morse code requirements for licensing
and testing, but offered no specific changes. And the FCC proposed to
permit Advanced class licensees to administer amateur exams up through
General class. The proposals were among several suggested rules changes
and invitations to comment contained in an FCC Notice of Proposed Rulemaking,
WT Docket 98-143, made public August 10.
In proposing to phase out the Novice and Tech Plus tickets, the FCC said,
"there appears to be an unnecessary overlap between the Novice, Technician,
and Technician Plus license classes." The FCC also said that Technician
and Tech Plus operators "predominantly" use FM and packet on VHF and UHF.
In addition, the FCC said Novice applicants last year numbered fewer than
1000, while there were nearly 21,500 Technician applications.
Under the FCC plan, Novice and Tech Plus licensees would retain current
operating privileges, but no new Novice or Tech Plus licenses would be
granted. For examination purposes, current examination elements 2 and
3A would be combined into a new element 3A. For administrative purposes,
the FCC would combine the current Technician and Tech Plus databases into
a single Technician database. The proposal would eliminate the 5 WPM code
test, Element 1A, as a required element for any class of license.
The elimination of the Novice and Tech Plus license classes would effectively
raise the bar for future applicants desiring to gain HF operating privileges,
unless the FCC ultimately reduces Morse code testing requirements. Since the
General class license would become the entry-level HF ticket under the FCC's
proposed rules, applicants would have to pass at least the 13 WPM code test.
The FCC did not propose to change any operating frequencies or license
privileges for amateurs. However, the FCC does seeks comment on the
disposition of the current Novice HF bands, which carry a 200-W output
power limit for all licensees. The FCC invited comment on whether it
would be "appropriate" to delete the Novice bands and the power restrictions
on higher-class licensees and permit Novices to operate CW anywhere on 80,
40, 15, and 10 meters at 200 W output.
The FCC opened the door to comments on all aspects of Morse code testing from
the amateur community. In particular, the Commission said it wants to know
if hams prefer the current three-level system or would like to see it reduced
to a one or two-tier system--and, if so, at what required speeds. The FCC
asked whether hams would be willing to trade a reduction in Morse code
requirements for additional written elements on newer digital technologies
"which, in part, are replacing the Morse code." And, the Commission asked
whether it should consider specifying Morse code examination methods, such
as fill-in-the-blank or one minute of solid copy, instead of allowing VEs
to determine the testing method.
In a related issue, the FCC also seeks comments on how to deal with potential
abuses of the current disability waiver for higher-speed Morse code tests.
In RM-9196, the ARRL had asked the FCC to require anyone applying for an
exemption pursuant to a doctor's certification to first attempt the
higher-speed test before examination credit could be given. The League
also asked that VECs have access to relevant medical information from the
certifying physician. The FCC said the ARRL's proposal would place "an
unfair burden on examinees" and raised serious privacy and confidentiality
The FCC went along with an ARRL petition and proposed allowing Advanced
class hams to be eligible to prepare and administer license examinations
up through General class under the VE program. The Commission said the
change would permit greater testing opportunities for hams. The FCC also
invited comments on whether it should change written examination requirements
"to provide VEs and VECs additional flexibility in determining the specific
contents of written examinations."
Referring to yet another ARRL petition, RM-9150, the FCC invited comments
on how it can improve its Amateur Radio enforcement processes. The FCC
applauded the ARRL "for its creative thinking" in that petition, but said
the specific proposal was "inconsistent" with the current statutory role
of administrative law judges. The FCC raised the possibility of encouraging
complainants to include a draft order "to show cause to initiate a revocation
or cease and desist hearing proceeding." The FCC said it also wants to hear
how it can better use the services of the Amateur Auxiliary in beefing up
The FCC proposed to phase out Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service, or
RACES, stations by not renewing their licenses. No new RACES licenses have
been issued since 1980, and only 249 valid licenses remain. The FCC said
RACES stations no longer are needed because any amateur station that has
been properly registered with a civil defense organization has the same
privileges as a RACES station.
The FCC also took the occasion to clarify the definition of "power" as used
in the RF exposure table in Section 97.13(c)(1). The FCC said it refers to
peak envelope power (PEP) input to the antenna. It also made clear that no
one holding an FCC-issued ham ticket may apply for a reciprocal permit for
alien amateur license.
The FCC set a longer-than-normal comment period. The deadline for comments
is December 1, 1998. The deadline for reply comments is January 15, 1999.
The FCC will accept electronic comments via the Internet at:
A copy of the complete NPRM has been posted on the ARRLWeb page:
The FCC NPRM can also be downloaded from the FCC Web site in Word Perfect 5.1
and Text versions as:
[Info via ARRL Bulletin 57]
* THANKS! *
Thanks to all who recently sent messages of appreciation to SpaceNews,
AD1B DL1AH KF6HFA
* FEEDBACK/INPUT WELCOMED *
Comments and input for SpaceNews should be directed to the editor
(John, KD2BD) via any of the paths listed below:
WWW : http://www.njin.net/~magliaco/
PACKET : KD2BD @ KS4HR.NJ.USA.NA
INTERNET : firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
SATELLITE : AMSAT-OSCAR-16, LUSAT-OSCAR-19, KITSAT-OSCAR-25
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