[amsat-bb] OSCAR-11 Report

Clive Wallis clivew at zetnet.co.uk
Fri Mar 23 08:14:44 PST 2007

                    OSCAR-11 REPORT

                   23 March 2007

OSCAR-11 celebrated it's 23rd birthday on 01 March 2007.  Congratulations
to Professor Sir Martin Sweeting G3YJO, his team at the University of
Surrey and associated radio amateurs for their magnificient achievement.

During the period 14 February to 22 March 2007, the satellite was heard
from 18  to 28 February and from 11 to 21 March .  Good steady signals
have beeen heard on most passes, and good copy of the telemetry obtained.

The on-board clock has comntinued to maintain accurate time. However,
there are two problems with the date and time display in the ASCII
telemetry.  Firstly, the date counter appears to be incrementing correctly,
but the day of the month is reset to 41, at the end of each month, instead
of being reset to one. A likely cause is that the unused bit
representing 40 in the ASCII code for the day of the month, is permanently
stuck at a one. This may be related to the '0=' display error when the
month was 09, previously reported.

The second problem, is that the hours are incorrectly counting and/or
displayed. Since August 2006, the hour count has never exceeded 12.
During one pass recently the hour count changed from 12 to 01
instead of to 13! A possible explanation is that the time/date chip has
two modes of operation, which are switchable between 12 or 24 hour modes.
An internal chip fault or an external circuit fault may have switched the
chip into the 12 hour mode.

Investigating this problem has been difficult, because the satellite
passes over the UK at roughly the same times, each day, and only a limited
number of pass times are available for analysis. If the above explanation
is correct, the date changes around 04:47 UTC, each day.

The 'day of the week' counter operates reliably, zero representing
Thursday. At the present time the total clock error is 37.21444 days slow.

If the satellite's watchdog timer continues to operate normally, the beacon
should switch ON around 31 March/ 01 April 2007. The satellite is in full
sunlight at the present time, and will remain in this state until
20 April 2007, when eclipses start again. The eclipses are expected to
continue until 23 August, and if the satellite performs as it did last
year, it is unlikely to be heard, for any length of time, during the
eclipse season.

I am indebted to David VK5DG, David G8OQW, Etienne ZS6Y, Jeff KB2M, Geoff
ZL6GA, Edward BX1AD, and Sil ZL2CIA for their reports. Many thanks.

The current status of the satellite, is that all the analogue telemetry
channels, 0 to 59 are zero, ie they have failed. The status channels 60 to
67 are 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 www.users.zetnet.co.uk/clivew/

If you place this bulletin on a terrestrial packet network, please
use the bulletin identifier $BID:U2RPT131.CWV, to prevent duplication.

73 Clive G3CWV   xxxxx at amsat.org (please replace xxxxx by g3cwv)

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