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[jamsat-news:2280] ANS-309 AMSAT Weeky Bulletins


ANS is a free, weekly, news and information service of AMSAT North
America, The Radio Amateur Satellite Corporation. ANS reports on the
activities of a worldwide group of Amateur Radio operators who share an
active interest in designing, building, launching and communicating
through analog and digital Amateur Radio satellites.

Please send any amateur satellite news or reports to:


In this edition:
* ARISS Contingency Network Activated
* AMSAT Donation Opportunity for Federal Employees
* SK - Reihard Richter, DJ1KM
* Satellite DX Opportunities
* National Science Foundation Plans Webcast of Mercury Transit
* ARISS Status - 30 October 2006

SB SAT @ AMSAT $ANS-309.01
ARISS Contingency Network Activated

AMSAT News Service Bulletin 309.01
November 5, 2006
BID: $ANS-309.01

October 30, 2006

On Thursday, October 26, NASA Johnson Space Center asked that the ARISS
Ops Team enable its ISS Ham Contingency Network and go into standby mode
as a resource for NASA. ARISS volunteers immediately swung into action.

Russian Flight Controllers were experiencing difficulties completing the
docking of a Russian Progress cargo vehicle.  Its antenna would not
retract properly as it neared the ISS.  It is a requirement for the
antenna to be retracted before the last step of the physical docking is
executed to avoid a collision between the antenna and the docking port.
  The ISS was put into a free-drifting mode, which aids the crew with
docking maneuvers.  Free-drifting results in the ISS solar arrays not
being pointed directly toward the sun.  This causes decreased power
generation for the ISS, and the crew is required to slow down or shut
down some ISS systems to conserve power.

During free-drift mode, a loss of TDRSS (Tracking and Data Relay
Satellite System) coverage can occur; TDRSS is the system that handles
communications between astronauts and Mission Control (MCC) in Houston.
  The ARISS Team was asked to ready its ISS Ham Contingency Network so
that MCC could feel secure in having solid communication coverage while
their staff took care of the docking issue.

The docking problem was solved, and the ARISS contingency network wasn't
used by NASA for actual communications.  NASA's request and the ensuing
ham activity served as a great drill for the ARISS Team.  MCC (Houston)
was impressed with how quickly the ARISS Team had its system up and
running.  The MCC staff's concern about the possible TDRSS problem was
lessened, knowing of the hams' ability to act as a back-up resource in
the case that it is ever needed.

Kenneth Ransom, N5VHO, generated a procedure for the ISS crew on the
operations of the ARISS contingency network. The fact that the ARISS
Team was asked to be on standby was known by anyone listening to the
NASA communications channel. MCC Houston transmitted a message to the
crew that information would be uplinked about the ham network and the
procedure for it if they needed to invoke it.

It was the first time in the six-year history of ARISS that NASA had
asked the hams to bring up the contingency network. Within 15 minutes of
receiving the call from NASA, ARISS Ops Team member Kenneth Ransom,
N5VHO, reported the ARISS Ops Team ready to communicate.  ARISS Team
member Tony Hutchinson, VK5ZAI, of Australia, was awakened at 2 AM, and
got on-line to make a blind call up to the crew, although they did not
need to answer at that point.

Within the 3.5 hours from the time the initial phone call came, until
the team got word to shut down, Tony Hutchison, VK5ZAI, was as his mike,
and these additional stations were on standby to cover later passes:
Gerald Klatzko, ZS6BTD, in South Africa; Gaston Bertels, ON4WF, at the
Belgian ON4ISS station; Dick Flagg, AH6NM, and Nancy Rochelau, WH6PN, at
Sacred Hearts Academy in Honolulu, Hawaii; and Frank Bauer, KA3HDO, and
Mark Steiner, K3MS, at the Goddard Space Flight Center ham station,
WA3NAN.  The ARISS teamwork was very effective; its members learned a
great deal, and they impressed NASA with how quickly the system was
brought up.

[ANS thanks Rosalie, K1STO,
ARISS Secretary-Treasurer for the above information]


SB SAT @ AMSAT $ANS-309.02

AMSAT News Service Bulletin 309.02
November 5, 2006
BID: $ANS-309.02

                     31 October 2006

OSCAR-11 is back!  It was first heard by Peter ZL3TC, at 06:23 UTC on
October 18. It had been silent since August 26.

During the period 28 September to 30 October, the satellite was heard
from 18 to 28 October. Good signals have been heard on most passes, often
very strong.

Further deterioration of the time/date stamp has occurred.  Here is a
frame of telemetry captured on 27 October at 08:43:51 UTC.

UOSAT-2           060=601033448


The date/time stamp is the block of characters following 'UOSAT-2' having
the format YYMMDDWHHMMSS (Year, month, day, day of week, hours, minutes,

The month, shown as '0=' in the date stamp is now in all telemetry
frames. When the satellite was heard in August the month, had stuck at
07 and the day had incremented to 60. During the ten day reception
period in October, the day had correctly incremented from 51 to 60.
While the satellite was silent, it appears likely that the day may have
incremented to 99 and then reset to zero.  It will be interesting verify
this theory on future passes.

During the last ten days of beacon transmission the time stamp
incremented accurately, and no gain or loss was detected ( within one or
two seconds).  However, on one occasion, the most significant digit of
the hours failed to change from zero to one, although it didn't  cause a
permanent error.

If the satellite continues to operate normally, the beacon should switch
ON around 07 November. If nothing is heard, it may be worth listening
ten days later, ie. around 17 November.

I am indebted  Peter ZL3TC, Bob G4VRC, Paul KB5M, and Doug KA2UPW/5 for
their reports and for monitoring the satellite. Peter listened for the
satellite daily, often during several passes, while it was silent.  Many

The status of the satellite, when last heard, was that all the analogue
telemetry channels, 0 to 59 are zero, ie they have failed. The status
channels 60 to 67 were still working. The spacecraft computer and active
attitude control system have switched OFF, ie. the satellite' attitude
is controlled only by the passive gravity boom gradient, and the
satellite is free to spin at any speed. When telemetry was last received
it showed that one of the solar arrays had failed, and there was a large
unexplained current drain on the main 14 volt bus. After 22 years in
orbit the battery has undergone around 100,000 partial charge/discharge
cycles, and observations suggest that it cannot power the satellite
during eclipses, or sometimes during periods of poor solar attitude.

The watchdog timer now operates on a 20 day cycle. The ON/OFF times have
tended to be very consistent. The average of many observations show this
to be 20.7 days, ie. 10.3 days ON followed by 10.4 days OFF. However,
poor solar attitude may result may result in a low 14 volt line supply,
which may cause the beacon to switch OFF prematurely, and reset the
watchdog timer cycle. When this occurs, the beacon is OFF for 20.7 days.

The Beacon frequencies are -

VHF 145.826 MHz.  AFSK FM  ASCII Telemetry

UHF 435.025 MHz.  OFF

S-band 2401.5 MHz. OFF

Listeners to OSCAR-11 may be interested in visiting my website. If you
need to know what OSCAR-11 should sound like, there is a short audio
clip for you to hear. The website contains an archive of news &
telemetry data. It also contains details about using a soundcard or
hardware demodulators for data capture.  There is software for capturing
data, and decoding ASCII telemetry.  The URL is

[ANS thanks Clive, G3CWV, for the above information]


SB SAT @ AMSAT $ANS-309.03
AMSAT Donation Opportunity for Federal Employees

AMSAT News Service Bulletin 309.03
November 5, 2006
BID: $ANS-309.03

Again this year AMSAT is a member of the Combined Federal Campaign
(CFC). The mission of the CFC is to promote and support philanthropy
through a program that is employee focused, cost-efficient, and
effective in providing all federal employees the opportunity to
improve the quality of life for all. As the world's largest and most
successful annual workplace giving campaign, each year, more than 300
CFC campaigns throughout the country and internationally help to raise
millions of dollars for eligible non-profit organizations.

Gunther Meisse, AMSAT treasurer has announced that any Federal
employee can make a contribution to your Radio Amateur Satellite
Corporation when they complete their pledge for 2006.

AMSAT is listed as Agency Number CFC 2944.

Your contribution directly supports AMSAT's educational outreach and
satellite construction projects including work on AMSAT-Eagle. Pledges
may be made by Federal civilian, postal and military donors during the
campaign season.

The campaign runs from September 1st to December 15th, 2006.

To learn more about CFC visit the CFC website at:

The 2005 Annual Report, Audit and tax filings are now posted on the
AMSAT website at:

[ANS thanks Gunther W8GSM, AMSAT Treasurer for the above information]


SB SAT @ AMSAT $ANS-309.04
SK - Reihard Richter, DJ1KM

AMSAT News Service Bulletin 309.04
November 5, 2006
BID: $ANS-309.04

AMSAT has received the sad news that Reinhard Richter, DJ1KM passed away
on October 27, 2006.  Reinhard was very active on satellites, worked on
the AMSAT-DL website, and had managed the AO-40 schedule. His family can
be reached via: Inge Richter and family, Lohfeldweg 40, 30459 Hannover,

[ANS thanks Inge Richter for the above information]


SB SAT @ AMSAT $ANS-309.05
Satellite DX Opportunities

AMSAT News Service Bulletin 309.05
November 5, 2006
BID: $ANS-309.05

LA/W5ACM will be active on board a cruise ship in the Caribbean Sea
starting on October 30, 2006. Ports of call include Jamaica, Grand
Cayman and Cozumel.  NO operation will be attemped from land, but
many grids will be made available while at sea.

Target satellites include SO-50 and AO-51. Due to the difficulty of
SSB up/FM down ops via AO-51, better results are expected via SO-50.
We will give it our best shot! QSL to Andy's W5ACM home call.

Other satellite ops on this cruise include WB5RMA, WA5TWT, WA5WOD and

Bob, K0NR will be active as PJ4/K0NR from Bonaire (IOTA SA-006) from
Oct 28 to Nov 9th, SSB and PSK31 on 30M through 6M. Also active on FM
OSCAR satellites (Grid FK52). QSL to K0NR home call.

Nader has ended his ST2NH operation from Sudan and returned home to
Saudi Arabia where he plans to be active again from El Rijadh as HZ1NH
on the satellites.  During his three weeks in Sudan he reported working
23 countries and made 105 QSOs with different stations mostly in Europe
using AO-7, FO-29, AO-51 and AO-52.

[ANS thanks Andy, W5ACM; Bob, K0NR, and Domenico, I8CVS for the above


SB SAT @ AMSAT $ANS-309.06
National Science Foundation Plans Webcast of Mercury Transit

AMSAT News Service Bulletin 309.06
November 5, 2006
BID: $ANS-309.06

The National Science Foundation's Kitt Peak National Observatory and
the Exploratorium are joining forces to present a live view of an
unusual celestial event: the transit of planet Mercury across the face
of the Sun, as seen from Earth.

This five-hour transit occurs on Wednesday, November 8, 2006, beginning
at 19:12 UTC and ending at 00:10 UTC.

The coverage from Kitt Peak, broadcast on the Web by a mobile multimedia
team from the Exploratorium, will include a live image of the transit as
seen through a white-light filter on a Meade 16-inch telescope operated
by the national observatory for public outreach, plus live voiceover
commentary at the top of every hour and interviews with astronomers on
Kitt Peak.

For more information and to watch the event live, go to:

[ANS thanks the National Science Foundation for the above information]

SB SAT @ AMSAT $ANS-309.07
ARISS Status

AMSAT News Service Bulletin 309.07
November 5, 2006
BID: $ANS-309.07

1.	Flanders Contact Cancelled

The Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) contact
which was scheduled with students attending the Flanders Science
Festival on Friday, October 27 was cancelled due to issues associated
with the docking of Progress 23P. The team is working to reschedule the
contact with the students as soon as possible, although a specific date,
time and location have not yet been determined.

2.	Expedition 13 Crew Debrief Status

The Amateur Radio on the International Space Station U.S. team has
compiled questions for the crew debrief with Jeff Williams, KD5TVQ.  The
debriefing session is tentatively scheduled for November 9 with a new
time of 3:45 pm ET.

3.	ARRL Article on ARISS International Team Meeting

The American Radio Relay League (ARRL) ran a web story covering the
Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) International
Team Meeting held in San Francisco on October 8 10. See:

[ANS thanks Carol, KB3LKI for the above information]


In addition to regular membership, AMSAT offers membership in the
President's Club. Members of the President's Club, as sustaining donors
to AMSAT Project Funds, will be eligible to receive additional benefits.
Application forms are available from the AMSAT Office.

73, This week's ANS Editor,
Dee Interdonato, NB2F
nb2f at amsat dot org

Via the ANS mailing list courtesy of AMSAT-NA