[amsat-bb] ANS-072 AMSAT Weekly Bulletins

Lee McLamb ku4os at cfl.rr.com
Sat Mar 12 19:56:14 PST 2011


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:

ans-editor at amsat.org

In this edition:
* AMSAT responds to HR 607 threat to 70-cm satellite operations
* GPredict Now Available for Windows
* OSCAR 11 Report  04 March 2011
* Middle School Students to Launch Near-Space Balloon
* ARISS Status - 7 March 2011

SB SAT @ AMSAT $ANS-072.01
AMSAT responds to HR 607 threat to 70-cm satellite operations

AMSAT News Service Bulletin 072.01
March 13, 2011
BID: $ANS-072.01

Recently a bill, H.R. 607, the "Broadband for First Responders Act of 2011,"
was introduced by Rep. Peter King (R-NY). The bill addresses the creation
and maintenance of a nationwide Public Safety broadband network. This bill
is unique in that it provides for the reallocation of the 420-440 MHz block
of frequencies away from its current primary and secondary users. The
inclusion of most of the amateur 70-cm spectrum, and the entire spectrum
allocated for the Amateur Satellite Service, constitutes a major threat to
satellite operations. Almost all current and planned amateur satellites
include the use of 70-cm band. If the use of 70-cm is lost, there is no
reasonable replacement. The next available band, 23-cms, is restricted to
uplinks, and is coming under increasing pressure from global navigation
services. Likewise, 13-cms is rapidly becoming unusable due to terrestrial
noise sources from consumer devices. The passage and implementation of this
bill will effectively end the ability to use relatively cheap, readily
available amateur equipment for both amateur communications and university
research programs. More details can be found at WWW.ARRL.ORG as well as a
sample letter which may be edited for your use.  There is information on
using the ARRL's legislative liaison to speed the delivery due to existing
security restrictions on direct mail.  An AMSAT sample letter, stressing the
interests of amateur satellite users, will be available at WWW.AMSAT.ORG
next week.

[ANS thanks Alan, WA4SCA, for the above information]


SB SAT @ AMSAT $ANS-072.02
GPredict Now Available for Windows

AMSAT News Service Bulletin 072.02
March 13, 2011
BID: $ANS-072.02

Alexandru has just made Gpredict 1.3 available free for all you Windows
operators at

Of course, it's also available for Mac and Linux users.

[ANS Nigel, W8IFF, for the above information]


SB SAT @ AMSAT $ANS-051.03
OSCAR 11 Report  04 March 2011

AMSAT News Service Bulletin 051.03
February 20, 2011
BID: $ANS-051.03

OSCAR-11 celebrated it's 27th birthday on 01 March! It was
designed, built and launched within a period of six months, using
commercially available 'off the shelf' components (COTS). Once
again, congratulations to Professor Sir Martin Sweeting G3YJO,
his team at the University of Surrey and groups of radio amateurs
who also contributed to the project. Unfortunately, the satellite
wasn't transmitting on its birthday, but resumed transmissions,
three days later.

This report covers the period from 31 January to 04 March 2011.
During this time the satellite has been heard from 10 to 21
February and from 03 March 2011. It is expected to switch-off
again 13 March until 23 March.

Excellent signals have been reported from stations located around
the world, and good copy obtained from decoded telemetry frames.

The satellite is now transmitting during eclipses, although
signals are weaker at those times. This indicates that there is
still some capacity remaining in the battery.

The on-board clock is now very stable.

The VHF beacon frequency is 145.826 MHz.  AFSK FM ASCII Telemetry

At the present time, while OSCAR-11 is operating in a predictable
way, I no longer need direct reports or files by e-mail. However,
could all listeners continue to enter their reports on the
general satellite status website. This is a very convenient and
easy to use facility, which shows the current status of all the
amateur satellites, and is of use to everyone. Reports around the
expected times of switch-on and switch-off are of special
interest, especially for times 12:00 - 17:00 and 22:00 - 07:00
UTC, to when the satellite is out-of-range in the UK . The URL is

A longer version of this report is available on my
website, and new listeners to OSCAR-11 should read this for
further information. The URL is www.g3cwv.co.uk/oscar11.htm .
This page contains a links to the longer report, a short audio
clip to help you identify the satellite and a file of the last
telemetry received. The website also contains an archive of news
& telemetry data which is updated from time to time, and details
about using a sound card or hardware demodulators for data
capture. There is also software for capturing data, and decoding
ASCII telemetry.

If you place this bulletin on a terrestrial packet network,
please use the bulletin identifier $BID:U2RPT154.CWV, to prevent

73 Clive G3CWV   xxxxx at amsat.org (please replace the x's by

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


SB SAT @ AMSAT $ANS-051.04
Middle School Students to Launch Near-Space Balloon

AMSAT News Service Bulletin 051.04
February 20, 2011
BID: $ANS-051.04

A group of students from Olde Towne Middle School (OTMS) in
Ridgeland, Mississippi is preparing for a trip to space -- or as
close as they can get. The OTMS Radio and Technology Club, along
with the school's Science Team, are planning a near-space balloon
launch at 9 AM (CDT) on March 26 (the date and time are subject to
change depending on weather). The balloon -- nicknamed Titans in
Space -- will use the call sign KC5NXD and is expected to reach an
altitude of 94,825 feet.

The project is led by Bill Richardson, N5VEI, a past participant in
the ARRL Teachers Institute on Wireless Technology, a professional
development program that is part of ARRL's donor-funded Education &
Technology Program. The school has also received several grants of
Amateur Radio station equipment from this program. Richardson is the
sponsor of the school's Radio and Technology Club.

The balloon will be equipped with instruments to track its exact
location and a camera that will take snapshots every 15 seconds. The
students will stay on the ground and analyze the data as it is
transmitted back to them from the balloon. "As far as I can
research, we are the first elementary, middle or high school to
launch a near-space balloon in our state," Richardson told the ARRL.
The balloon will launch from the Madison County Career and
Technology Center in Gluckstadt. Preflight will begin at 90 minutes
before the scheduled launch. The preflight and launch will be
stream-cast live on the Internet at,
http://www.ustream.tv/user/kc5nxd.  You can also follow along on

"Our students are busy with assembly and payload testing right now,
preparing for launch day," said OTMS Principal Allen Lawrence. "This
is really a great science experiment and they are all excited."

Richardson is encouraging radio amateurs to follow the balloon via
APRS on 144.39 MHz, on http://aprs.fi with the call sign kc5nxd-11
and via a 2 meter voice beacon on 146.565 MHz. A 20 meter beacon at
14.079-14.080.5 MHz will offer telemetry in four modes: Domino-ex16,
CW, RTTY and Hellschreiber.

According to Richardson, the group will be using a special
balloon-modified version of FLdigi, called dl-FLdigi. Ground
stations receive the balloon's telemetry via the program's soundcard
decoding software (available as a free download from
http://www.w1hkj.com). "In essence, you are creating your own HF or
VHF APRS-style network on the fly," he explained. "When a valid
frame is received by a ground station, it is then sent via dl-FLdigi
to a server that then plots the position onto a website dedicated to
high altitude ballooning."  The website can be found at,

Richardson said that the students need help to grab data packets or
use the FLdigi to relay to packets to the network: "With the new
telemetry system, we will have a better data set for a final landing
spot, as well as research data."

The launch is in partnership with the Mississippi State University's
Bagley College of Engineering's aeronautical engineering program,
which has provided support and supplies to the students' efforts.
The project has already received national attention from The Sally
Ride Foundation, named after the first American woman to fly in
space. The foundation -- dedicated to supporting girls' and boys'
interests in science, math and technology -- sent the students a
letter of support and congratulations in advance of the launch. All
funding for the project has come from donations and fund raisers. The
project has received support from the local community, including the
Jackson (Mississippi) Amateur Radio Club.

[ANS thanks ARRL for the above information]


SB SAT @ AMSAT $ANS-072.05
ARISS Status - 7 March 2011

AMSAT News Service Bulletin 072.05
March 13, 2011
BID: $ANS-072.05

1. Recent ARISS Contacts

On Wednesday, March 2 an ARISS contact was held 
between on-orbit astronaut Paolo
Nespoli, IZØJPA and Mackay State High School students in Queensland, Australia
via telebridge station VK5ZAI, Australia. All 16 
questions were answered. One of
the approximately 200 people in attendance was 
the mayor of Mackay who asked the
ARISS team to "keep up the good work - you are doing a great job inspiring our
students." He expressed his amazement on how well timed and extremely enjoyable
the contact was. Three television stations 
covered the radio hookup and snippets
of the event were broadcast on at least 2 regional TV channels all afternoon
following the contact. The Mackay Daily Mercury wrote a story on the event:

Technological Centre for Innovation in Communications (CeTIC) in Las Palmas de
Gran Canaria, Spain experienced a successful 
ARISS contact on Thursday, March 3.
Astronaut Paolo Nespoli, IZØJPA answered all 20 questions posed to him by the
students. The contact supplemented lessons on orbit prediction, satellite
tracking and common communications systems.

Victory Primary School in Nelson, New Zealand participated in an ARISS contact
on Thursday, March 3 via telebridge station W6SRJ in California. Cady Coleman,
KC5ZTH answered 17 questions prepared by the students. One additional query was
answered with the help of shuttle crew member Alvin Drew. The contact was the
culmination of a science curriculum focused on space and technology.

2. NASA Posts Article on Ten Years of ARISS Contacts

NASA posted a feature story on the 10th 
anniversary of ARISS contacts to its Web
site. “One Small Radio Call for a Ham” may be found on the following page:

3. Astronaut Training Status

A few exam review sessions were provided for Chris Cassidy this past week.

Astronauts Andre Kuipers, PI9ISS and Don Pettit, KD5MDT participated in
simulated ARISS contacts with students in Belgium and Canada, respectively on
March 3.

An ARISS introductory course is planned for Mike Hopkins on March 9 and a
refresher course for Chris Hadfield is scheduled for March 10.

[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.

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

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