[amsat-bb] Re: New Satellite Downlink?

G. Beat gregory.beat at comcast.net
Wed Aug 25 13:14:25 PDT 2010

Bob - 

Yes, the TRANSIT satellite appears to be designed for a low speed broadcast style service. 

An Internet entry/access page would permit an "ease of UI" for the creation of the 

message to be properly encoded, upilnked and then broadcast on the downlink. 

Application would require these characteristics: 

1. Content would have to be tolerant of no more than 2 changes each day, no stock quotes!  

Electronic equivalent of the old morning and evening newspaper.  What does a locl nespaper 

provide for content that is still relavent or desired? 

2. Content woiuld have to be relavant to amatuer radio or educational / scientific community. 

3. Contant needs to be "global" in nature -- regional or country specific would not appeal to the larger global audience. 

4. Should be content that has highest value to a mobile/portable station (think of a lone person in South Pacific - small island or boat: Tom Hanks in Cast Away ). 

What daily "global" content wojuld be most useful for them to know?? Assume they have the radio to receive and laptop computer. 

5. Due to infrequency, data / information has to be "correct the first time" -- retractions woudl take one or two days (reducing validity of service content)  

Some content ideas: 

a. Daily solar activity/propogation daily bulletins (also sent via ARRL and Internet accessilble) useful to amateur DX community 

b. Lunar information for Tidal predictions 

c. TLE of amatuer radio satellites and ISS 

d. Global "short message"/bulletin to amateur radio community -- beyong ARRL focus -- more along ITU / global scope 

e. Astronomical events of "note" --- northern and southern hemisphere.  Plantes visible, rare alignments. 

f.  Special events (scientific, radio, etc.) -- hemispheric or very wide audience 



Message: 11 
Date: Wed, 25 Aug 2010 12:27:00 -0400 
From: "Robert Bruninga" < bruninga at usna.edu > 
Subject: [amsat-bb]  New Satellite Downlink? 
To: < amsat-bb at amsat.org > 

Possible new AMSAT Application? 

We may have access to two old TRANSIT navigation satellites with 
a 50 baud downlink at 149.985 (and 400 MHz). (presently coming 
over in the mid afternoon).  My problem is, coming up with any 
meaningful application to use them for communications that would 
capture the interest of students, hams or volunteers in support 
of education, public service or emergency comms or just plain 

The downlink can be heard on an OMNI antenna (though I would 
suggest a 3/4 wave (55") vertical) and could be decoded by a 
simple software only application with a sound card. (someone has 
to write it)... 

The total useful message capability is about 500 bytes 
transmitted every 2 minutes (at 50 baud).  The uplink is very 
specialized and can ONLY BE DONE from one (or two) very special 
command stations.  These satellites of course were the original 
Navy Navigation satellite system (also called OSCARS) and so the 
message would be in-place of the normal navigation data.  SO in 
a sense, this is a downlink BROADCAST application.  Since ham 
radio is two way, I'm stumped for applications. 

The total message capability of 500 Bytes can contain one long 
ARRL bulletin, or 20 APRS position/status reports, or say 20 or 
so APRS text messages, or say 50 "callsign exchanges" or maybe 
even 1 thumbnail image...  but what's the application? 

Even if we allow say, INTERNET link to the command station for 
"anyone" to contribute to the twice per-day upload, then 
everyone's receiver application can receive them...  For what? 

So Im looking for ideas.  All I can come up with so far is: 
1) ARRL Bulletins? (I don't even know how often ARRL sends 
bulletins ...) 
2) Navy/Army/AF MARS broadcast bulletins ... 
3) Internet message in-to-command-upload-to message RF downlink. 
Two stations do this to each other and it counts as a two-way 
4) ... 

Every scenario of interest usually begins with the much higher value of UPLINK from the individual field station, not 
downlink.. Hence I am stumped. 

HUMMH... Maybe purely educational?  If the software can run on 
any PC with a sound card connected to any scanner... Then every 
school can use it as a satellite downlink signal of interest.. 
What kind of thumbnail image can fit in 500 bytes?  Send in your 
picture and get it downlinked on a given day? 


Will need a DSP volunteer to write the sound card decoder.   


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