AMSAT news

October 16, 2006
NewSpace Watch
October 16, 2006

AMSAT News for the week of Oct. 14, 2006:

* FCC Rules Changes Affect Amateur Radio Space Operations
* AO-51 QRP Repeater to be Activated for JOTA on October 21-22
* Satellite DX – Sudan Active During October
* Help Wanted: AMSAT News Service Rotating Editor Positions Available
* Thirty Songs To Be Broadcast From Lunar-Probing Satellite
* PCSAT-1 Enters Negative Power Budget Due to Eclipse

FCC Rules Changes Affect Amateur Radio Space Operations
The Federal Communications Commission released a Report and Order which modifies several amateur radio regulations. Several aspects of the amateur rules are addressed. Two key areas will affect operators interested in space communications. These include:

+ Retransmission of Space Station Communications
+ Space Station Launch Notification (to the FCC)

Current FCC rules prohibit amateur stations from retransmitting programs or signals emanating from any other type of radio station with certain exceptions including allowing amateur stations to retransmit communications originating on United States Government frequencies between a space shuttle spacecraft and associated Earth stations. The FCC will amend its rules to additionally allow re- transmission of communications between Earth stations and the Inter- national Space Station. The FCC agreed that retransmission of space communications is a public service that may be used as an educational

Another rules change involves the required timing of notification to the FCC to launch and initiate transmissions from orbiting satellites in the Amateur Satellite Service.

The Commission left existing rules in effect in regards to orbital space debris mitigation from amateur satellites.

Full details can be found in the documents available on-line at:

[ANS thanks the FCC for the above information]

AO-51 QRP Repeater to be Activated for JOTA on October 21-22
The AO-51 Operations Group announced plans for AMSAT’s support of the Jamboree on the Air event (JOTA) on the weekend of October 21st and 22nd. AO-51 will run in dual repeater mode with the 435.150 QRP repeater reserved for JOTA contacts on the weekend. Please yield the 435.150 repeater to JOTA contacts, especially between two JOTA stations. The normal AO-51 QRP rules apply: 10 watts to omni or handheld antennas only.

Visit the AO-51 schedule at:

[ANS thanks the AO-51 Operations Group for the above information]

Satellite DX – Sudan Active During October
A two week window of opportunity for satellite DX into Sudan may give amateurs in Africa, Europe and the Middle East a contact into a new country. ST2NH, operator Nader, has made contacts via FO-29 with stations in Europe.

[ANS thanks Domenico, I8CVS and Carles, EB3FYM for the above information]

Help Wanted: AMSAT News Service Rotating Editor Positions Available
The AMSAT News Service (ANS) is responsible for researching, writing, editing, and publishing the weekly amateur satellite news bulletins. We have a team of editors who take a turn weekly to publish the bulletins. This generally involves taking a turn about every 4 weeks.

At present we a looking for interested satellite enthusiasts to join the ANS editorial team. Professional writing/editing experience is not a requirement. Your interest and enthusiasm in following and reporting on amateur radio in space will get you started!

If you can commit to working on the bulletins for a week on a rotating basis please reply to JoAnne K9JKM, ANS Senior Editor at

[ANS thanks AMSAT for the above information]

Thirty Songs To Be Broadcast From Lunar-Probing Satellite
China announced a list of 30 songs to be broadcast to Earth next year from its first lunar-probing satellite. The Commission of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense, in charge of the lunar project, announced Friday a list of 30 tunes to be played from the lunar-probing satellite.

The lunar satellite is designed to obtain 3D images of the lunar surface, analyze the content of useful elements and materials, and probe the depth of the lunar soil and the space environment between the earth and the moon.

The satellite will be 2,350 kg in weight with 130 kg of payload, and will orbit the moon for one year. A Chinese Long March III A carrier rocket will be used to launch the satellite.

The satellite launch at the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southwest China’s Sichuan Province next year will be followed by the landing of an unmanned vehicle on the moon in 2010 and collecting samples of lunar soil with an unmanned vehicle in 2020.

[ANS thanks for the above information]

PCSAT-1 Enters Negative Power Budget Due to Eclipse
On 11 Oct, after a full 2 weeks of normal operations, PCSAT-1 returned to negative power budget with the default callsign of W3ADO-1. Bob, WB4APR of the US Naval Academy Satellite Lab said, “We have tried on several orbits to restore all parameters, but they are all lost during the next eclipse 30 minutes later.”

Bob continues, “So it looks like we will not have reliable APRS digipeating until the next full sun period in the first week of January and then again in the middle of April. But then it should really be fun, because there will be 3 APRS satellites all in orbit at the same time on 145.825.”

[ANS thanks Bob, WB4APR 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,
JoAnne Maenpaa, K9JKM
K9JKM at amsat dot org

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