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[jamsat-news:1315] * SpaceNews 14-Aug-00 *

* SpaceNews 14-Aug-00 *

BID: $SPC0814


		 	  MONDAY AUGUST 14, 2000

AMSAT-UK's Y2K Colloquium was held over the last weekend in July at the
University of Surrey.  71 people attended from 14 countries and were
addressed by 22 different speakers on a variety of subjects from the simple
to the deeply complex.  Other features of the weekend included a firing of
SSTL's rocket thruster, a demonstration of 2400 MHz reception from SSTL's
minisat UO-36, an IARU Forum, and guided tours around Surrey's impressive
ground command facility.

Following VK5AGR relinquishing the position of Satellite Frequency
Coordinator, the Forum was asked for nominations for his successor
and strongly recommended Peleg Lapid, 4X1GP, for this position.

This year's event was planned to have a lot about P3D, and there were no
disappointments.  Apart from several items of hardware being discussed,
attendees were also told that the new provisional date for P3D's flight
into orbit is now 31 October.  The launch campaign should start on
11 September (fingers crossed).

There were other talks as well.  The one about Satellites-on-a-Chip 
(including solid-fuelled thrusters) met with such interest and acclamation 
that the speaker (on UoS academic staff) has promised an article for
publication in Oscar News.

Surrey's recently-launched (microsat-sized) SNAP spacecraft cost less than
a million UK Pounds.  Apparently NASA's budget for a similar project is $28M.

The leader of the University of Bristol's Project HAND reported on their
progress.  He also happens to be the President of the British Interplanetary
Society, so a separate talk about that was held as well.

Each of the Beginners' sessions (General, analog, digital) had between 15
and 20 attendees.  Organization of these sessions was delegated to G7HIA
and W2RS.  Of particular interest were the live demonstrations via UO-14
and AO-27 which netted almost twenty contacts in about eight countries
using just an HT and an Arrow antenna.  There was special interest in the
transatlantic contacts.  QSL via G3RWL.

The gathering finished up with a talk about SSTL's future plans, including
lunar and interplanetary missions.

Next year's event will probably take place over the same weekend, the last
one in July (27 to 29 July) 2001.  With P3D hopefully in orbit by then,
organizers have high hopes that attendance (and membership) will pick up.
The following suggestions for 2001 have been made: Antenna Test facility
(NB NOT a full antenna range); Beginners' sessions, "Show and Tell"
presentations.  A call for papers will probably issue about November.

[Info via Richard W L Limebear, G3RWL]

Chris Jackson, G7UPN, reports that the SNAP-1 satellite is working okay,
but controllers are still working on the satellite's operational software.
Due to the short timescale for this mission (6 months from design to
launch) controllers have no OBC (on-board computer) software.  This
means that they need to switch it on over Surrey manually at this stage.

The downlink is 100mW at 2430MHz.  It is 38k4 BPSK.  With a 2.4M dish, the
signal is very good most of the time, however the attitude isn't properly
stabilized so there are large fluctuations in signal level.  Also, it is
close to the microwave oven and ISM band and therefore there is
considerable interference.

It will probably take another few months to get things into a state where
they are usable.  The power budget is very low given the small size of the
spacecraft (6kG).

[Info via Chris Jackson, G7UPN]

Cesar Daglio, LU8EBH, near Buenos Aries, Argentina, reports making some
interesting observations while recently while communicating through the
AMSAT-OSCAR-10 satellite.  Cesar reported that while approaching apogee,
AO-10's beacon first appeared to be about 15 db above his noise floor.
His downlink was 5 db less.  Other stations from Europe arrived about
4 to 5 db above the noise floor.

Downlink signals were best using left hand circular polarization, and
signal fading (QSB) was deep.  QSB was minimized by switching the
polarization when the signal dropped.

At apogee, the polarization was unstable.  The QSB changed and when the
altitude started to decrease, the polarization changed to right hand circular,
and the signals improved substantially.  At maximum range, the beacon signal
was really strong, about 10 db over the noise floor.  As the satellite's
altitude decreased, Cesar's downlink signal strength increased dramatically,
like others stations from Europe.

Cesar stated that it was a pleasure find many stations from Africa and
Europe, like IW0RLC, DO1WCS, F1HP, FY1DW, DL9GBH, DD5JK, and SP9MCY active
on the satellite.

[Info via Cesar, LU8EBH]

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/
MAIL:       John A. Magliacane, KD2BD
            Department of Engineering and Technology
            Brookdale Community College
            765 Newman Springs Road
            Lincroft, New Jersey 07738
INTERNET:   kd2bd@amsat.org, magliaco@email.njin.net

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