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[jamsat-news:3028] ANS-338 AMSAT Weekly 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:
* FASTRAC-1 Opened for Digipeating
* AO-51 Remembered
* Donations Needed to Keep AMSAT Project Fox Moving Forward
* ARISSat-1/KEDR Orbit Losing 1.5 KM Per Day
* U.S. Congress Proposes Easing of ITAR Restrictions
* SKN On OSCAR 2012 In Memory Of W1JSM
* This Week 50 Years Ago: OSCAR 1 Announcement for December 5, 1961
* AMSAT-DL Receives Mars Science Laboratory
* Explorer-1 [Prime] Renamed to Honor Former Directors
* Satellite Shorts From All Over

SB SAT @ AMSAT $ANS-338.01 FASTRAC-1 Opened for Digipeating

AMSAT News Service Bulletin 338.01
December 4, 2011
BID: $ANS-338.01

The FASTRAC satellites have been in operation for more than a year and the team
has been able to get a lot of data from them, in great part due to the amazing
support from the amateur radio community.

Over the last month the team noticed that one of FASTRAC-1's on board
microcontrollers which controls one of the experiments has not been booting up
correctly. The team has done everything possible to correct this issue apart
from turning it off which can only happen if the batteries fall below an
specific charge level. Since the satellites have been power positive throughout
this whole year the only way this can happen is if the satellites transmit more
often. Given that one of FASTRAC goals has always been to eventually provide a
platform for amateur radio enthusiasts to use after the primary mission was
over, the team has decided to open up FASTRAC-1 to the amateur radio community
with the hope as more people use it to digipeat through the satellite, the
battery levels will diminish and cause a hard reset of the microcontrollers on

The satellite will be configured so that amateur radio operators can use it
beginning on Friday Dec 2 at 1600 UTC. Starting on this date people will be able
to digipeat through the satellites. The call sign and frequencies of the
satellite are summarized below and an example of digipeating through the
satellite is also shown in below. To increase the chances of causing a hard
reset, it is requested that as many amateur radio enthusiasts try to digipeat
through the satellite on the weekend of Dec 10. If you are successful at
digipeating through the satellites or have any problems doing so please let us
know at fastracsats@gmail.com, through our Facebook page
(www.facebook.com/fastracsats) or through the forums on our website

*Frequency Information for FASTRAC-1*

   - FASTRAC-1 "Sara Lily" Downlink Frequency: 437.345 MHz
   - FASTRAC-1 "Sara Lily" Uplink Frequency (1200 or 9600 baud): 145.825MHz
   - FASTRAC-1 "Sara Lily" Satellite Call Sign: FAST1

*Example of Digipeating through FAST1 *

   - cmd: c CALLSIGN via fast1
   - cmd: KE5DTW>CALLSIGN,FAST1/1: <<C>>:

Here the example shows KE5DTW (UT Austin Ground Station) digipeating through
FAST1 to connect to CALLSIGN. CALLSIGN represents an arbitrary callsign and
should be replaced with the callsign of the station with whom a connection is
being attempted. The above example is based on a Kantronics KPC9612+ TNC.

For a PDF version of the announcement please go to the following link:

[ANS thanks Sebastin, KE5FKV, for the above information]


SB SAT @ AMSAT $ANS-338.02 AO-51 Remembered

AMSAT News Service Bulletin 338.02
December 4, 2011
BID: $ANS-338.02

Dozens of messages were posted to the amsat-bb after the news of
AO-51's end of mission was received. Many remembered their contacts,
several thanked the Operating Team. Many noted thatAO-51 was the
satellite that brought them into this part of our hobby.

While too numerous to list them all a sample of the content seems
appropriate ...

+ Robin Haighton, VE3FRH, who was AMSAT-NA President when AO-51
  was designed and launched wrote, "I was very sorry to hear of
  the final loss of AO-51 (Echo) as it was the last satellite
  developed by AMSAT-NA and launched in 2004. As I recall much
  of the work was carried out by Mark Kanawati, Jim White WD0E,
  Chuck Green N0ADI (who accompanied the satellite to the Launch
  site) and Rick Hambly W2GPS. My thanks to all.

  Photo galleries of the people and AO-51 can be found at:

+ Control Operator Mark Hammond, N8MH commented, "We essentially
  got 'a free, bonus overtime' from July 2010 until now. We thought
  it was about gone back then...check  your logs and see just how
  many QSOs you made on AO-51 from the end of July 2010 until the
  end of November 2011 (and then check how many overall during the
  7.5 years).

  To which Patrick WD9EWK/VA7EWK replied, "I have logged a total
  of 10931 satellite QSOs. Of those, 4891 (44.7%) were on AO-51's
  different configurations. Since July 2010, I have logged 2233
  satellite QSOs, with 574 of those (25.7%) on AO-51. My last AO-51
  QSOs were logged on 13 November.

+ Pete, WB2OQQ wrote, "AO-51, has been one of my best satellite re-
  cruiting tools and I will certainly miss her, however she gave us
  many wonderful years of faithful service, good bye dear friend. It
  is important to note that the control team managed AO-51 in a man-
  ner that I believe extended her life, thank you. We all must con-
  tinue to support AMSAT's Fox-1 project, and other AMSAT projects
  I believe thru Amateur Satellites we have found a potential path
  to excite the children today and continue the STEM initiative.

+ Bob, KC2WYH recalls, "I am a new ham, licensed less than two
  years, and worked John K8YSE via AO-51 with my little HT and
  an Arrow maybe six weeks after passing my Tech. A few months
  later after another test my first QSO signing "slash AG" was
  again on that bird, with Patrick WD9EWK. Just to "echo" what
  others have been saying: AO51, R.I.P. And a hearty thank-you
  to the Control Team for giving us so many many happy and proud

+ Andreas, VK4HHH, AMSAT-VK Member said, "I think thanks are in
  order for the operations team who provided us with many years
  of enjoyment on countless AO-51 QSO's. Job well done from start
  to finish. RIP little satellite. May your solar panels always
  been shone on  Look up and see what your grand-daddy, AO-07,
  has done and maybe you can draw the inspiration to come back
  to life in a decade or so.

+ Hector, CO6CBF wrote, "AO-51 has been like a work horse. It
  is the bird which got me into satellites. Thanks very much to
  the control team for the great work done.

+ Mani, VU2WMY from AMSAT-India and Secretary & Station-In-Charge
  of the Upagrah Amateur Radio Club VU2URC at India's ISRO Satellite
  Centre, Bangalore sent this message, "It is really a sad news.
  Bidding a farewell to AO-51 with a very heavy heart. Looking at
  the success, we all at Upagrah Amateur Radio Club VU2URC at ISRO
  Satellite Centre and AMSAT-India express our heartfelt and sincere
  thanks, appreciations and compliments to the entire AO-51 (ECHO)
  team. AO-51 was truly one of the best amateur radio satellites.
  It was a very favorite for many of our VU hams for its strong sig-
  nals and ease of operations. 'Thank you AO-51 for your great and
  fruitful services to the World of Amateur Radio'. We take this
  opportunity to thank each & every one associated with this great
  project and wish AMSAT-NA all the success in their future endeav-

[ANS thanks everyone for the above information]


SB SAT @ AMSAT $ANS-338.03
Donations Needed to Keep AMSAT Project Fox Moving Forward

AMSAT News Service Bulletin 338.03
December 4, 2011
BID: $ANS-338.03

"Given the sad news on AO-51," AMSAT President Barry Baines, WD4ASW, said, "we
highlighted at the recent 2011 Symposium that AMSAT is actively developing
Fox-1, a new spacecraft that is designed to replace AO-51. Fox-1 development now
takes on a great sense of urgency."

AMSAT Vice-President of Engineering, Tony Monteiro, AA2TX says, "Fox-1 will
advance single-channel FM repeater satellite operation beyond the experience of
AO-51. It will advance AMSAT to the next generation of AO-51 class satellites."

Fox-1 is designed for longer operational life with these features:

+ Fox-1 is designed to operate in sunlight without batteries once
  the battery system fails. This applies lessons learned from AO-51
  and ARISSat-1 operations.

+ In case of IHU failure Fox-1 will continue to operate its FM
  repeater in a basic, 'zombie sat' mode, so that the repeater
  remains on-the-air.

+ Fox-1 is designed as the immediate replacement for AO-51. Its U/V
  (Mode B) transponder will make it even easier to work with modest

+ From the ground user's perspective, the same FM amateur radio
  equipment used for AO-51 may be used for Fox-1.

+ Extending the design, Fox-2 will benefit from the development work
  of Fox-1 by adding more sophisticated power management and Software
  Defined Transponder (SDX) communications systems.

Barry concluded, "AMSAT's ability to provide a replacement spacecraft and get it
launched is dependent upon the active support of donors who wish to see Fox-1

Several opportunities to make your donation include:

+ Call Martha at the AMSAT Office +1-888-FB AMSAT (1-888-322-6728)
+ Paypal donation widget on the main page at: http://www.amsat.org
+ Paypal donation widget for Project Fox at:
+ The AMSAT Store: http://www.amsat-na.com/store/categories.php

The Powerpoint presentations from the 2011 AMSAT Space Symposium on the Project
Fox web site provide a good overview of the technical progress:

+ Fox-1 Project Overview
+ Fox-1 Mechanical Design
+ Fox-1 Thermal Design
+ Fox-1 Radiation Environment

[ANS thanks AMSAT President Barry Baines, WD4ASW, the AO-51 Operating
 Team and the Project Fox Engineering team for the above information]


SB SAT @ AMSAT $ANS-338.04 ARISSat-1/KEDR Orbit Losing 1.5 KM Per Day

AMSAT News Service Bulletin 338.04
December 4, 2011
BID: $ANS-338.04

The ARISSat-1/KEDR Operating Team reminds you that if you have been putting off
working through the ARISSat-1 repeater, receiving SSTV pictures, or submitting
telemetry, the next few weeks will be your last opportunity to be a part of this
satellite's history.

Since deployment in August, ARISSat-1 has descended about 60 km,and is currently
losing more than 1.5 km per day. The rapid rate is partially the result of the
recent solar activity on the atmosphere, significantly increasing the drag.

The predictions by several individuals and groups are all converging toward a
reentry in January or February, 2012. Heating will become significant before
then. Remember, good telemetry in this period provides invaluable information to
the engineering team, to be used in future projects.

The orbit period changes about 30 seconds per day, and that will increase
steadily. Be certain to update your tracking program Keps from Space-Track or
CelesTrak before each pass. They issue revised versions 3-5 times daily. As the
descent continues, this will become even more critical to copying the telemetry
beacon, especially unattended.

[ANS thanks the ARISSat-1/KEDR Operating Team for the above information]


SB SAT @ AMSAT $ANS-338.05 U.S. Congress Proposes Easing of ITAR Restrictions

AMSAT News Service Bulletin 338.05
December 4, 2011
BID: $ANS-338.05

In the United States the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) law
has threatened amateur radio satellite developers with jail terms and heavy
fines if they collaborate with overseas amateur satellite projects on projects
deemed to be "dual use". The dual use designation is applied to technology for
which the Department of Defense and Department of State determines may have
military applications even if it is developed for civilian research or

This ITAR dual use designation has made AMSAT-NA a "munitions supplier" as
defined by the law. It almost completely eliminated AMSAT-NA cooperation and
assistance with amateur radio satellite projects in any other country than the

A proposed change in the ITAR law by Congressional bill H.R. 3288 may help ease
the Federal Government restrictions on US Hams engaging in collaborative
projects with Radio Amateurs in rest of the world.

H.R. 3288: Safeguarding United States Satellite Leadership and Security Act of
2011 sponsored by Rep. Howard Berman is at the first step of the legislative
process in Congresss. It proposes to reduce ITAR restrictions on commercial
satellite development.

Additional information, including a link to the text of the bill, list of the
co-sponsors, and a progress-tracking overview is at:

The UniverseToday.com article 'Could We Soon See the End of ITARs Choke hold on
Space Exploration?' provides a good overview of this vital bill, read it at

[ANS thanks UniverseToday.com and govtrack.us for the above information]


SB SAT @ AMSAT $ANS-338.06 SKN On OSCAR 2012 In Memory Of W1JSM

AMSAT News Service Bulletin 338.06
December 4, 2011
BID: $ANS-338.06

You are cordially invited to participate in Straight Key Night on OSCAR 2012,
conducted by AMSAT for all radio amateurs throughout the world. This year's
event is dedicated to the memory of Don Brown, W1JSM, who passed away in 2011,
aged 90. Don was a longtime, enthusiastic VHF/UHF and satellite operator, and
one of our most frequent Best Fist winners.

As always, SKN on OSCAR is simple and informal. Just operate CW through one or
more satellites on 1 January 2012 (0000 to 2400 UTC), using a straight hand key.

There is no need to send in a log, but all participants are encouraged to
nominate someone they worked for Best Fist. Your nominee need not have the best
fist of anyone you heard, only of those you worked. Send your nomination to
w2rs@amsat.org. A list of those nominated will appear in ANS in early February.

[ANS thanks Ray Soifer, W2RS for the above information]


SB SAT @ AMSAT $ANS-338.07 This Week 50 Years Ago: OSCAR 1 Announcement for December 5, 1961

AMSAT News Service Bulletin 338.07
December 4, 2011
BID: $ANS-338.07

The AMSAT News Service is re-running the Project OSCAR Newsletters to
commemorate the 50th anniversary of OSCAR 1. During the November/December 2011
time frame you will be able to share the excitement of the launch campaign that
started it all 50 years ago.

The Newsletters were hand-typed back in 1961. Thanks to Don Ferguson, KD6IRE for
scanning the original documents announcing OSCAR 1.

<Begin Commemorative Message>


December 5, 1961

Flash! Air Force to orbit Oscar I satellite! The U. S. Air Force has invited the
Oscar satellite aboard a Discoverer vehicle which will be launched on a
north-south polar orbit this month! The Oscar Association made this news release
on November 15th. A Department of Defense News Release (November 15, 1961)
conveys this information, and a letter from Dr. J. V. Charyk, Under Secretary of
the Air Force to the American Radio Relay League proffers the formal invitation.

LAUNCH DATE IS VERY CLOSE AT HAND! Listen to the Voice of America News
Broadcasts and the official ARRL broadcasts from WIAW. Watch your local
newspaper. Launch flash will be carried by Associated Press and United Press
news service to local radio and television stations! It is hoped that Oscar 1
will be launched before the Christmas Holidays!

Latest Oscar News:

In last minute preparation for an early launch, the second Oscar I package
(serial #2) has been completed, tested and is now ready for launch if needed.

The transmitter, Keyer, Batteries, Turn-on mechanism, antenna, etc. were
installed in the flight-version gold plated housing and the completed unit was
checked out. All environmental tests were conducted including 50 G's of shock in
all planes, 15 G's vibration, 250,000 feet of altitude, heat and cold, etc. All
tests were passed with flying colors. Finally, the final thermal striping was
applied and the complete package was turned over to the Discoverer project
individual who will arrange for its official acceptance.

This new package will be flown by special messenger to Vandenburg AFB (north of
Los Angeles) and will be installed on Discoverer XXXVI, replacing the Oscar I
(Serial #1) package presently on the vehicle. Serial #1 unit will serve as the
spare (standby) package.

Oscar I (Serial #3) is progressing under full steam. Chuck Smallhouse, WAGMGZ,
states that this new, improved unit will deliver about 300 milliwatts of r.f.
power for the same input power used in the earlier models. In addition, keying
characteristics are improved, and the slight keying chirp of #1 and #2 is
absent. Serial #3 has already operated for 4 hours at a temperature of 100C
with no ill effects. This unit should be available within a few weeks as a
ready-to-launch package!

Last Minute Preparations
Sunday, December 3, 1961 (2000 GMT) saw a "dry run" of the Oscar 1 sideband
communications network. The remote tracking stations at various locations
checked into the Oscar Communications Center (KBQEZ). Frequencies of 21.410 mc
and 14.285 mc were used. WAABY and KANAA served as the east coast liaison point
and two practice messages were successfully handled with remote tracking
stations. Congratulations to all!

The Official Call of the Oscar 1 Satellite is W6EE. Because the transmitter is
unattended, and also because of the extra circuitry required to send the call, a
waiver has been obtained from the F.C.C., permitting the satellite to transmit
without the use of the call. It is hoped that it will be possible to modify
future packages to sign W6EE.

Tom Lott, VEZAGF/W6 (Director of Communications) asks that Orbital data and/or
sighting reports for transmission to the Oscar Communications Center should be
radioed or phoned into the nearest traffic net (see November, 1961 QST for net
director) or to your S.C.M. (see early pages of any QST). The message should be
addressed to OSCAR, Box 183, Sunnyvale, California, U. S. A.

Remember! A written back-up message should also be sent via air-mail to the same
address. (See September, 1961 QST, pages 18 and 46 for details.) Once again, may
we stress that the launch date is very close at hand. You must be prepared now
to monitor 145 mc. Notify your amateur friends and pass the word via your local
radio club that OSCAR I will soon be launched. Once you hear of the actual
launch, 24-hour a day monitoring of the frequency is requested until orbit
parameters are established. Frequency of the beacon transmitter is close to 145
mc: actual frequency is dependent upon temperature of the satellite - and other
factors, and will be announced as soon as it is determined. Keep watch over plus
or minus 50 kilocycles of the center frequency of 145 mc. Notify the Oscar
Association of frequency and time of passage as soon as you hear the "bird".

Remember! The USAF and the Oscar Association have now done all that can be done.
The rest is up to YOU! This unique experiment can bring added prestige and glory
to amateur radio, and strengthen the cause of our great hobby in a time when all
available support is sorely needed. YOUR cooperation is urgently requested. Take
part in this great adventure into outer space.

<End of Commemorative Message>

[ANS thanks Don Ferguson, KD6IRE and Project OSCAR for the above


SB SAT @ AMSAT $ANS-338.08 AMSAT-DL Receives Mars Science Laboratory

AMSAT News Service Bulletin 338.08
December 4, 2011
BID: $ANS-338.08

Radio Amateurs have received signals from the NASA Mars Science Laboratory using
the AMSAT-DL amateur radio facility at Bochum in Germany.

Just over 7 hours after launch at 21:45 UTC the X-band telemetry signal from the
MSL was received using the Bochum amateur radio facility. The signal, received
at a distance of 112,000 km, had a spin-modulation of 3.5 Hz, 2 revolutions /

This is believed to be the first reception of the MSL outside the official NASA
Deep Space Network (DSN).

For reception of MSL James Miller, G3RUH remotely reconfigured the Bochum
tracking and receiving system. The MSL X-Band telemetry signal was received
automatically in Bochum, no-one had to be physically on-site. This shows how
flexible and reliable the system at Bochum is, ready for the planned AMSAT-DL
P5-A mission to Mars.

James says the Bochum Antenna is used to receive lots of the NASA spacecraft all
the time. Stereo-A/B is heard every day, and when they have gone LOS, he checks
Grail-A and Grail-B and also Juno.

Reception of MSL required adding its trajectory data to the spacecraft database,
and the frequency to the radio control computer. Provided the given frequency is
with 40 kHz of the actual frequency, Bochum can lock onto it in 1 sec via an
FFT acquisition process. As it happens, the actual frequency was within 8 kHz
of the DSN channel center, so finding it was immediate.

Congratulations to the AMSAT-DL team on a remarkable achievement.

Control Software for the Bochum Radio Telescope by James Miller
G3RUH:  http://www.amsat.org/amsat/articles/g3ruh/126.html

Stereo A/B Spacecraft Telemetry Reception at Bochum by James Miller,
G3RUH http://www.amsat.org/amsat/articles/g3ruh/127.html

AMSAT-DL in Google English http://tinyurl.com/AMSAT-DL

[ANS thanks James Miller, G3RUH, AMSAT-DL, and AMSAT-UK for the
 above information]


SB SAT @ AMSAT $ANS-338.09 Explorer-1 [Prime] Renamed to Honor Former Director

AMSAT News Service Bulletin 338.09
December 4, 2011
BID: $ANS-338.09

BOZEMAN - The Montana State University satellite that has been orbiting the
Earth since Oct. 28 has been renamed to honor the late William Hiscock, who was
director of the Montana Space Grant Consortium until his death in 2009.

Directors of the MSGC and MSU's Space Science and Engineering Lab announced
Friday, Nov. 4, that the satellite originally called Explorer-1 [Prime] will now
be called the William A. Hiscock Radiation Belt Explorer. The satellite that
involved approximately 125 students over five years will be known more
familiarly as The Hiscock Radiation Belt Explorer (HRBE).

Students, staff and faculty who attended the Nov. 4 dedication ceremony also
learned that the satellite whose mission is to study the Van Allen Radiation
Belts has already passed through an intense band of energetic electrons
bombarding Earth's upper atmosphere over Alaska. HRBE sent that information back
to students who monitor the satellite from MSU's Space Operations Center. It is
Montana's first satellite. It was designed, built and is now operated by MSU

The full press release can be viewed on-line at:

[ANS thanks Montana State University and CQ VHF Magazine for the
 above information]


SB SAT @ AMSAT $ANS-338.10
Satellite Shorts From All Over

AMSAT News Service Bulletin 338.10
December 4, 2011
BID: $ANS-338.10

+ A link to the annual President's Report from the 2011 AMSAT
  Symposium and General Meeting has been added to the front page
  news items  at: http://www.amsat.org.

+ In addition to the ARRL interviews at the 2011 Symposium of AMSAT
  Officers and Lance Ginner from Project OSCAR another interesting
  interview with Carroll Swain, W7DU has been posted. Carroll is a
  long time AMSAT Member and is still going strong at 98.5 years
  young. He is a regular on the AMSAT 20 Meter Net and brings his wife
  with him to the annual AMSAT Space Symposium each year. Watch at:
  http://youtu.be/uY3cDl8aQZU (via Keith, W5IU)

+ Additional coverage of AMSAT-DL receiving MSL was published in
  The Register:

+ Astronomers at the Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium in Australia
  made a time-lapse movie of the MSL as it departs Earth on its
  way to Mars: http://tinyurl.com/d64oezy  (UniverseToday.com)

+ Video: Curiosity Rover Launches to Mars has been posted on the
  UniverseToday site at: http://tinyurl.com/7e48slu

+ To celebrate the 75th Anniversary of the CBC/Radio Canada, Canadian
  Amateurs may use the following prefixed between December 1-31, 2011:
  VG for VA,
  VX for VE,
  XJ for VO,
  XK for VY.

+ Bobby Lacey, KF4GTA posted photos from his opportunity to spend
  3 hours inside of Atlantis on November 18:
  He was also present for the shuttle's last launch and landing,
  STS-135. (via Southgate ARC)

[ANS thanks everyone 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.

This week's ANS Editor,
Lee McLamb, KU4OS
ku4os at amsat dot org

_______________________________________________ Via the ANS mailing list courtesy of AMSAT-NA http://amsat.org/mailman/listinfo/ans