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AMSAT NEWS SERVICE - 2 August, 2009 (UTC)

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio News' started by N3TL, Aug 2, 2009.

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  1. N3TL

    N3TL Ham Member QRZ Page

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    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:
    * North Texas Balloon Launch Number 17
    * Castor and Pollox Deployed From STS-127
    * Amateur Radio Newsline 2009 "Young Ham of the Year" Announced
    * DRAGONSat Deployed From STS-127
    * Satellite Shorts From All Over
    * ARISS Status - 27 July 2009
    SB SAT @ AMSAT $ANS-214.01
    North Texas Balloon Launch Number 17
    AMSAT News Service Bulletin 214.01
    August 2, 2009
    BID: $ANS-214.01
    The next mission number 17, named “Summer Time Blues”, to be held by the North
    Texas Balloon Project (NTEXBP) is planned for launch about 8:30 am on August 8,
    2009 from the municipal airport in Hillsboro, Texas, just south of Fort Worth
    and Dallas. Back up date is August 15, 2009. Two payload packages containing
    sensors and amateur radios will be carried to nearly 100,000 feet in about 90
    minutes by a helium balloon and return via parachute in about 50 minutes.
    Mobile recovery teams will use position reports from the onboard GPS and APRS
    transmitter on 144.390 MHz and radio direction
    finding techniques to recover the
    Pre-launch activities will begin about 7:00 am with the HF Launch Net on 7260
    +/- 5 kHz, LSB beginning around 8:00 am. A cross band repeater will be
    activated soon after launch. Uplink is 445.800
    MHz and downlink is 147.560 MHz.
    Handheld VHF radios and scanners can receive
    the downlink easily. At the peak
    altitude ham radio operators from Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Arkansas,
    Louisiana, and Kansas can contact each other using the cross band repeater.
    The radios used normally have a range of about 5 to 10 miles, but that range
    will be extended to about 500 miles at the peak altitude. At the peak altitude,
    the curvature of the earth is visible. Digital video is recorded for later
    playback. APRS packets transmit the balloon's location about once a minute.
    NTEXBP's Tommy Davis said, "In past operations we did the launches for fun and
    the enjoyment of flight. It involves many different facets of amateur radio and
    thus a project that many types of amateur radio operators can enjoy together.”
    There is also an educational component utilized by scouting groups, because it
    involves orienteering and can be counted toward several different merit badges,
    as well as by teachers for science experiments. Davis said, “Area scout troops
    are invited along with all that are interested.”
    In the event of unfavorable weather or poor jet stream conditions, the launch
    will occur at a later date. Be sure to check or
    and other Ham Radio forums and news sources for later information.
    The public is invited to come out to the
    Hillsboro Municipal Airport, located at
    Exit 3 on Interstate Highway 35W, to watch the launch.
    North Texas Balloon Project is a group of amateur (HAM) radio operators from
    Fort Worth and Dallas and has launched balloons from Cleburne, Clifton, and
    Hillsboro airports since 1991. This is the first
    launch during this year and is
    funded by the amateur radio operators associated with the North Texas Balloon
    Operator’s and Technical Data to follow at or
    Reports, questions, APRS and other data may be sent to NTEXBP by emailing .
    Please forward to interested Hams and ham communities. I would also appreciate
    any announcement that could be made on local
    repeaters during allotted calls for
    announcements. Thanks as always.
    [ANS thanks Larry, K5PHD, for the above information]
    SB SAT @ AMSAT $ANS-214.02
    Castor and Pollox Deployed From STS-127
    AMSAT News Service Bulletin 214.02
    August 2, 2009
    BID: $ANS-214.02
    Castor and Pollox, two satellites in the Atmospheric Neutral Density Experiment
    (ANDE) program were successfully deployed from STS-127 after it undocked from
    the International Space Station
    The ANDE mission consists of two spherical spacecraft fitted with
    retro-reflectors for satellite laser ranging (SLR). The constant and
    well-determined cross section and surface properties of the ANDE spacecraft
    provide an ideal set of objects for monitoring atmospheric drag and the
    calibration of space surveillance network (SSN) assets both radar and optical.
    Castor is a 19 inch diameter aluminum sphere with a mass of 63 kg.
    The satellite has several different types of sensors. There are two main
    sensors, a Neutral particle wind and temperature spectrometer and an ion mass
    spectrometer. A group of college students designed and built a MEMS sensor
    payload to test
    some commercial gyroscopes and a magnetometer. There are also six light sensors
    and six temperature sensors mounted in the satellite hemispheres.
    The Pollux satellite was originally to be a passive satellite with
    retroreflectors for laser ranging. It has been
    turned into a high school student
    project involving several schools in the Fairfax County, Virginia area.
    The electronics is based on cubesat hardware developed at the Naval Research
    Laboratory and Stensat Group LLC.
    The communications board contains the transmitter and receiver. The transmitter
    operates at 2 meters and can put out up to 1 watt of signal. Power level is
    adjustable. The transmitter can operate at 1200
    baud AFSK and 9600 baud FSK. The
    transmitter uses the AX.25 protocol. An experimental FX.25 protocol will be
    tested that adds forward error correction capability to the AX.25 protocol and
    still allows typical TNCs to decode the packets.
    Both satellites will transmit on 145.825 MHz. Additional details about the
    telemetry format, as well as the FX.25 and GMSK experiments can be found at
    [ANS thanks Ivan, KD4HBO, for the above information]
    SB SAT @ AMSAT $ANS-214.03
    Amateur Radio Newsline 2009 "Young Ham of the Year" Announced
    AMSAT News Service Bulletin 214.03
    August 2, 2009
    BID: $ANS-214.03
    "Wow! Oh, my God. All my friends here at Seabase are going to be really
    impressed. Oh, my God!"
    And, that's how it sounded when we caught up with Andrew Koenig, call
    letters KE5GDB, by cellphone at the Boy Scouts of America Seabase in Key
    West, Florida, where he had just arrived with members of Troop 848 from
    Houston for a week of scuba diving adventures.
    The Life Scout, who is just shy of his 16th birthday, is working to earn
    the Eagle rank and was ecstatic to learn he had been chosen for special
    recognition by the Amateur Radio Newsline. Before telling him he had been
    selected as the Young Ham of the Year, we asked Andrew how he might feel if
    he were to receive such an award. He said it would be a nice honor to share
    with his mentors, including his award nominator Nick Lance, call letters
    KC5KBO, who has helped several NASA astronauts earn their ham tickets.
    "Young Ham of the Year would probably go in the book of things that I've
    done in ham radio that they are really impressed with," Andrew said. "It
    would just mean a lot to me.
    "Nick Lance, he hasn't really been pushing me to do anything. A lot of the
    stuff I discover on my own. But, he's one of the big roles, one of the key
    aspects in ham radio and it would give him a really good feeling to know
    that one of his students went on to get youth ham of the year."
    Andrew holds a General class license and passed the test for his first
    ticket back in 2005 while a sixth-grader at the Westbrook Intermediate
    School in Houston where Lance - who is retiring in August from the Johnson
    Space Center - teaches an amateur radio license class.
    Andrew is the son of Joe and Lauri Koenig of Houston. Joe holds the call
    letters KE5JQA and got licensed as a result of Andrew's interest. Andrew
    also has a younger brother, Kyle.
    Among the achievements Andrew has accomplished is helping with an Amateur
    Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) contact at the Westbrook
    Intermediate School.
    "I actually helped test a lot of the equipment for the contact, since it
    was a telebridge contact," Andrew recalled. "The station that was actually
    contacting the ISS was in California, I believe.
    "And, we were in Clear Lake, Texas. So, for some reason the phone patch
    wasn't working properly. So, I had to actually go into one of the school
    phones and test that - I think about 15 minutes worth of testing before the
    contact started. And, finally right on time, we got it going again and
    everything was working just fine."
    The contact with Astronaut Clay Anderson, who holds the ham radio call sign
    KD5PLA, was a success - thanks to Andrew.
    Andrew also helped facilitate a terrestrial contact between Astronaut Chris
    Hadfield (ham radio call letters KC5RNJ and VA3OOG) and students at two
    Canadian schools using an Internet Repeater Linking Project (IRLP) node he
    had built and placed in his bedroom closet.
    Andrew, who enjoys VHF and UHF operations, tried and tried and was finally
    successful in making his own contact with the space station using his
    handheld radios and portable directional antenna. He also has participated
    in training astronauts at the Johnson Space Center on ARISS contacts with
    schools, conducting simulated contacts with them, playing the role of the
    school students.
    Andrew has also been quite active with public service events through the
    Clear Lake Amateur Radio Club in suburban Houston where he is immediate
    past vice president. He is also a member of the Seabrook Citizen's
    Emergency Response Team.
    Among his other achievements is creating his own bicycle mobile setup:
    "I had tried putting a handi-talkie on my bike and I wasn't impressed with
    the results because the rubber duck just didn't get out as far as I wanted
    to," Andrew recalled. "A couple months before, I had ordered my first
    mobile rig (radio), the FT-7800.
    "And, actually a couple weeks before I decided to put it all together on
    the bike, I had bought a brand new gel cell battery. So, I thought, you
    know, hey I've got this remote that came free with the radio, I've got the
    battery, I've got an antenna, I got everything I need to make it happen.
    So, I just mounted it all on the bike with zip ties and I had 50 watts
    mobile on a bike for VHF and UHF."
    That attracted some attention from CQ magazine, which was looking for photo
    ideas for its 2008 calendar. Photographer Larry Mulvehill (WB2ZPI) visited
    Houston and Andrew's bicycle mobile became the calendar photo for September
    2008. He and his bedroom-closet IRLP node will be featured the cover of the
    September 2009 issue of CQ magazine.
    Andrew is going into his sophomore year at Clear Lake High School where he
    is a member of the school's marching band. He is also into computers and
    creating websites and he maintains his own website started when he was in
    middle school. Check out It offers kid-friendly
    information about ham radio, along with a jokes page and a lot more about
    Andrew's activities in amateur radio - including his working satellites.
    His mentor and nominator for this award, Nick Lance, KC5KBO, summed it up
    best when he said: "Andrew has truly been an outstanding student of
    amateur radio.....He is an inspiration both to his fellow students and to
    hams of all ages."
    Award Ceremony
    The 2009 Amateur Radio Newsline™ "Young Ham of the Year Award" will be
    presented to Andrew Koenig, KE5GDB, on Saturday, August 15th, 2009 at the
    Huntsville Hamfest in Huntsville, Alabama. As the 2009 "Young Ham of the
    Year," Andrew will receive -- courtesy of Vertex-Standard -- an
    expense-paid trip to the Huntsville Hamfest, along with a gift of Yaesu
    brand ham radio equipment. CQ magazine will treat him to an expense-paid
    week at Spacecamp Huntsville, and will present Andrew with a variety of CQ
    products. Amateur Radio Newsline™ will provide Andrew with a
    commemorative plaque at the award ceremony. Once again, the cost of year's
    plaque has been underwritten by Dave Bell (W6AQ), President of DBA
    Entertainment Inc., Hollywood California. Heil Sound Ltd. will also be
    presenting Andrew with a ham radio related gift.
    The presentation of the award as a regular feature of the Huntsville
    Hamfest has been made possible through the generosity and kindness of the
    event's Planning Committee and the good offices of Huntsville Hamfest
    Association Vice President Charlie Emerson, N4OKL. (See
    This year's award ceremony will be hosted by Don Wilbanks (AE5DW) of
    Amateur Radio Newsline™ along with representatives of corporate
    underwriters Vertex-Standard and CQ Communications, Inc.
    Award Program Background
    The Amateur Radio Newsline™ "Young Ham of the Year" award (formerly the
    Westlink Report Young Ham of the Year Award ) has been presented annually
    since 1986 to a licensed radio amateur (Ham) who is 18 years of age or
    younger and who has provided outstanding service to the nation, his/her
    community or the betterment of the state of the art in communications
    through the Amateur Radio hobby/service. It maintains a website will full
    information on the award program and background material located at
    Award Sponsors
    The award program is jointly sponsored by the Los Angeles, California-based
    Amateur Radio Newsline™ with corporate support from Vertex-Standard
    Corporation of Cerritos, California and CQ Magazine of Hicksville, NY.
    Since 1976, the Southern California-based Amateur Radio Newsline™ and its
    predecessor, the Westlink Radio Network, have been providing radio amateurs
    around the world with up-to-the-minute news at no cost to them. Amateur
    Radio Newsline™ also co-sponsors with the Quarter Century Wireless
    Association the "Roy Neal, K6DUE, Amateur Radio Mentoring Project" that
    serves as a clearinghouse to match radio amateurs in need of educational
    assistance on the hobby with those able to aid them. (See
    The award's two corporate underwriters are world leaders in their
    respective areas of Amateur Radio product support.
    Vertex-Standard Corporation is considered the trailblazer in the design,
    manufacture and distribution of high quality Vertex-Standard commercial
    two-way radio, monitoring and air-band communications equipment along with
    its Standard Horizon marine electronics line and Yaesu brand Amateur Radio
    equipment. The Yaesu name is known world-wide among ham radio aficionados
    and is synonymous with premium quality ham radio gear. (See
    CQ Magazine and its sister publications, CQ VHF, Popular Communications and
    WorldRadio Online, are published by CQ Communications, Inc., and are
    considered the trend-setting publications serving today’s modern radio
    amateur. (See
    [ANS thanks Newsline for the above information]
    SB SAT @ AMSAT $ANS-214.04
    DRAGONSat Deployed From STS-127
    AMSAT News Service Bulletin 214.04
    August 2, 2009
    BID: $ANS-214.04
    DRAGONSat, the Dual RF Astrodynamic GPS Orbital Navigator Satellite, was
    deployed from from the cargo bay of STS-127 after the shuttle departed from the
    International Space Station. The DRAGONSat mission consists of two satellites,
    BEVO-1 and AggieSat-2.
    BEVO-1 Downlink Information:
    Beacon Mode
    Downlink Freq: 437.325 MHz
    Modulation: FM, 200mW, Morse Code, ~20 WPM
    Data Mode
    Downlink Freq: 437.325 MHz
    GMSK, 1W, 9600 baud, AX.25 (default)
    FM, 1W, Bell 202, AX.25
    AggieSat2 operating mode uses a proprietary modem
    protocol as the main radio is a COTS data modem. It appears the only way
    to decipher the code is to have a model MHX425 that can speak the
    proprietary language. The radio data rate is actually at 19200 bps.
    Initial indications are that it appears Bevo and AggieSat are stuck together
    right now. We are looking for aliveness confirmation until we can get the units
    in a stable state.
    [ANS thanks John, KE5JTG, for the above information]
    SB SAT @ AMSAT $ANS-214.05
    Satellite Shorts From All Over
    AMSAT News Service Bulletin 214.05
    August 2, 2009
    BID: $ANS-214.05
    + Presentations from the AMSAT-UK Colloquium can be viewed at:,com_wrapper/Itemid,278/
    + The Gator Amateur Radio Club at University of Florida has posted
    a tutorial for Downloading and Decoding CP6 satellite data using
    the KPC-9612 Plus TNC, ICOM-910, SatPC32 and CPX Data Decoder Soft-
    ware at
    (Dr. Jay Garlitz, AA4FL)
    + The Houston AMSAT Net now being heard on Echolink in the conference
    AMSAT Wednesday 0100UTC (Tuesday 8PM Central) has moved to a new
    IRC Channel (Internet Relay Chat) at:
    IRC Server:
    PORT: 6667
    Group: #amsat
    + A video replay of the ANDE deployment from STS-127 can be seen at:
    + European and Mediterranean stations may wish to be on the lookout
    for Paulo, CT1ETE/P from grid IM57sc betweem August 1-7 on the
    VO-52, AO-27, SO-50 and AO-51 satellites. Paulo plans to use a
    Yaesu FT-817ND and Arrow Antenna.
    + Scientific American magazine has an article on-line, "Space Aged:
    10 Spacecraft from Decades Past That Are Still Ticking". This
    slide show includes AO-7:
    + A very nice interactive web site covering the entire Apollo 11
    mission can be found at:
    [ANS thanks everyone for the above information]
    SB SAT @ AMSAT $ANS-214.06
    ARISS Status - 27 July 2009
    AMSAT News Service Bulletin 214.06
    August 2, 2009
    BID: $ANS-214.06
    1. Upcoming School Contacts
    An Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) contact has been
    scheduled for United Space School in Seabrook, Texas on Wednesday, August 5 at
    13:47 UTC via telebridge station ON4ISS. The school is a once a year session of
    high school students that meets annually in the NASA/Clear Lake Area. These
    students come from around the world for a two week session, during which they
    stay with local host families while being
    mentored by astronauts, engineers, and
    scientists to design a mission to Mars as their team project. Class sessions
    are held at the University of Houston at Clear Lake. The contact will allow
    students to learn firsthand what the experience of spaceflight is like. They
    may ask questions about the skills needed to be an astronaut, the effects of
    weightlessness on the body, the food eaten, leisure activities, etc. They will
    use this knowledge in putting together their team project presentation, which
    they will present to the Houston space community at the end of their session.
    2. De Winne has ARISS Contact with Portuguese Students
    On Tuesday, July 21, an Amateur Radio on the International Space Station
    (ARISS) contact took place between students
    attending Escola E.B.2/3 de S. Romão
    do Coronado in Trofa, Portugal and Frank De Winne, ON1DWN on the ISS. De Winne
    answered 16 questions put to him by the students. Media coverage included two
    television stations and the event was highlighted in the evening news.
    3. De Winne Participates in ARISS Contact with Ugo Guidi
    On Thursday, July 23, children from Ugo Guidi in Forte dei Marmi, Lucca, Italy
    participated in an Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS)
    contact. Frank De Winne, ON1DWN answered twenty questions posed to him by the
    students. The audio and video were available on:
    OndaForteTV, local media and newspapers covered the event.
    4. ARISS Member Comments on Lunar Landing in EE Times
    EE Times published a July 20 special edition that tells the lunar landing story
    from the viewpoint of a number of engineers. Comments were included from a
    number of people who felt it was a very personal
    event in their lives. Comments
    by Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) member Steve Bible,
    N7HPR may be found on page 44. 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.
    This week's ANS Editor,
    Lee McLamb, KU4OS
    ku4os at amsat dot org
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