WHY SO EARLY?
It you receive this newsletter and haven't even started your Christmas shopping yet, don't worry. You're not late; we're early. So early, in fact that we can't even report on the elections to be held on December 13. For the record, however, here's the slate of candidates proposed by the nominating committee:
- President - Mike Griffin, N6WU
- Vice-President - George Morris, W6ABW
- Secretary - Ron Zenone, W6TUZ
- Treasurer - Warren Apel, K6GPK
Getting this issue out early will let us pass the word about the exciting RS satellite in time for you to listen over the holidays, and also let your editor enjoy the holiday away from the typewriter!
MORE ABOUT THE RS SATELLITES
By Norm Chalfin, K6PGX
At Ham Radio conventions and other affairs we have a display that contains a card which reads:
Have you tried Amateur Radio Communications by Satellite yet? It's easy!
We'd like to paraphrase that now to read:
Have you listened to the Soviet Amateur RS Satellites yet on 10 meters? If you haven't, why haven't you?
To help you know these latest of the Amateur Radio space communications satellites and how to use them, we have been querying all the sources we can since the direct sources from the Soviets provide only the meagerest of inputs.
From Pat Gowen, G3IOR via Joe Kasser, G3ZCZ/W3 has come what so far appears to be the most reliable information available.
The Soviet RS Amateur Radio Communications Satellites were launched October 26th, 1978, at 0632 UTC from Plesetsk on the COSMOS l045. They were designated "Radio-amateuri Sputniki RS I and RS II." RS is a call sign prefix allocated to the Soviet Union.
Pat reports that he first heard the satellites over his NNW horizon at 20l2 UTC on October 26th and was surprised that the path was "descending" in the evening, the reverse of the AMSAT/OSCAR passes. All kinds of explanations - - front-to-back beam ratios, high altitude ducting, their ears, their S-meters - - were applied until the truth became obvious. The first contact was between G310R and G3PP and it was very scratchy since no one knew where to point the antennas. The pass ended apparently in the southwest at 2137 UTC. It was longer than either an OSCAR 7 or OSCAR 8 pass, indicating a higher orbit. All of this was reported to AMSAT on the 14 MHz net.
The following day G3LDI, G8QR and G8IFF (Norwich, England OSCAR enthusiasts) began tracking to establish orbital parameters. They found the RS receiver to have extremely high sensitivity and the spacecraft appeared to be free of rotational polarization. Much of the group's findings were subsequently confirmed by Radio Moscow and TASS which identified the satellites as "RADIO I and RADIO II."
The telemetry copied on the first passes was submitted to the Kettering School Group (these were the people who first established the Sputnik orbital parameters in 1957) for study and analysis.
Ultimately, the special Soviet Satellite Information Station, RS3A, appeared on the HF bands, and in a contact with G310R, confirmed much of the findings. RS3A is operated by Leo Labutin, UA3CR. It was set up by the Soviet Satellite Group of the Radio Sport Federation to disseminate information on the RS satellites.
There are two spacecraft. Currently, only one is operating, with the transponder activated on Saturday and Sunday UTC, and for experiments on Wednesday, UTC.
The orbital elements and other essential information are as follows:
- Mean altitude: 1706 Km
- Apogee: 1724 Km
- Perigee: 1688 Km
- Inclination: 82.6 degrees
- Period: 120.3966 minutes
- Orbital increment: 30.409 degrees
- Daily advance of reference orbit over previous day: 14 min 06 see; 1.2 degrees further West.
Power source: Solar cells. G310R recommends this bears watching closely since the orbit passes through severe radiation belts.
Sensitivity: recommended uplink power 50-100 mw!
1 watt ERP gives an RST 599 signal return. It is suggested that the uplink power be adjusted to give a 10-meter downlink signal return at a level no greater than that of the beacon on 29.402 MHz. Overloading the transponder will drive the spacecraft off the air. (See the data in the telemetry chart below.)
Uplink frequency: 145,880 - 145.920 MHz.
Use CW at the low-frequency end, SSB at the high end; Do NOT use FM, and avoid QRM'ing the beacon at the high end (corresponding to 29.402 MHz on the downlink.)
Downlink frequency: 29.360 - 29.395 MHz.
The CW telemetry beacon is at 29.402 MHz.
Antennas: "Inverted Vee's" for two meters.
(Photo shows canted turnstile.) 1/4-wave monopole for 10 meters.
G3NOR's comment: "Satellite has no stabilization other than that which will occur naturally from magnetoshperic braking due to eddy currents and ion friction. The satellite is reasonably independent of either uplink or downlink polarization and seems free from deep fading."
Some of the problems foreseen by G3IOR are the solar ionization leading to weak downlinks on the daylight passes. Too-strong uplink transmissions obliterate or greatly impair the downlink. Weak daytime downlinks have not been experienced by U.S. observers.
10 milliwatt uplink signals have been heard on quiet passes from hand held units. 10 watts ERP will completely block the ALC system and render all signals including the beacon totally unreadable. If the strong signal persists, the satellite will revert to beacon mode only (the transponder shuts down) and the transponder cannot be turned on again until the spacecraft is in view of the Moscow control station.
Contacts have been logged over 5000 mile mutual horizon paths with uplink signals of less than 1 watt!
All you need is a low power 2-meter CW or SSB transmitter into a simple omnidirectional antenna for the uplink, and a 10-meter receiver for the downlink to make good contacts through the RS satellites. The material included with this issue of W6VIO Calling will also help you tell when to listen for the satellite. Get on the ball. Try it!
TELEMETRY DATA REDUCTION - RS SATELLITES
Telemetry data is transmitted continuously in Morse code at about 20 wpm on 29.402 MHz. Measurements are grouped into 4-character elements (e.g., POLW) always with a prefix letter, two digit number, and suffix letter. Measurements are transmitted in groups of 15; after the second group of 15 is transmitted, the whole sequence repeats. A frame sync of 'IRS" or 'IRS RS" separates each frame of 15 measurements. (This is similar to OSCAR's "HI.") You can tell whether you are in the first frame or second by looking for the "calibration level" measurement, whose value should always be "01." If you see this in the 1st measurement, you are probably in the first frame; if you see it in the 5th measurement, you are probably in the second frame. A complete list of the measurements and their interpretation follows:
- Chan. Pre- Norm. Decoding
- No. fix Measurement Level Formula
- 1 P Calibration level 01 TLM true if N=01
- 2 C RF Power Output not99 Nx10=P (milliwatt)
- 3 F Transponder temp. N=T (in deg. 0)
- 4 Z TLM unit temp. N=T (in deg C
- 5 L Pwr. Sply Voltage 16 NxO.2=V (Volts)
- 6 B 9-volt regulator 9 Nx0.27=V (volts)
- 7 H 7.6-volt regulator 7.6 Nx0.2=V (volts)
- 8 O Solar Pan.#1 volts 01=directly in sun;
- 9 W Solar Pan.#2 volts 99=total darkness;
- 10 K Solar Pan.#3 volts In between (15,16,17)
- 11 U Solar Pan.#4 volts indicates some light
- 12 G Calibration level Same as Channel 1.
- 13 R RF Power Output Same as Channel 2.
- 14 D not given
- 15 S Battery Charge Cur. I=10(50-N)
- Suffixes: W, R, 0 indicate transponder is ON
- U, 3, K, D indicate transponder is OFF.
Following a group of 15 measurements, as above, 'IRS" is transmitted if the transponder is OFF, and 'IRS RS" if the transponder is ON. Then the next frame of 15 measurements is transmitted, with a change in suffix from the previous frame.
- 16 P Battery #1 voltage 12-17V (Nx0.2)+12=V
- 17 C Battery #2 voltage 12-17v 11
- 18 F Battery #3 voltage 12-17V
- 19 Z Battery #4 voltage 12-1?v
- 20 L Calibration level 01 Same as Chan. 1.
- 21 B Battery Charge Resistor Temp. N=T (in deg. C)
- 22 H Battery Charge Cur. Same as Chan. 15. 0
- 23 O Solar Pan.#1 volts Same as Chan. 8.
- 24 W Solar Pan.#2 volts Same as Chan. 9.
- 25 K Solar Pan.#3 volts Same as Chan. 10.
- 26 U Solar Pan.#4 volts Same as Chan. 11.
- 27 G Solar Pan.#1 volts Same as Chan. 8.
- 28 R Solar Pan.#2 volts Same as Chan. 9.
- 29 D* Solar Pan.#3 volts Same as Chan. 10.
- 30 S Solar Pan.#4 volts Same as Chan. 11.
- (*assumed, not given.)
If the transponder is ON and the RF Power Output measurement reaches 99, the system reverts to beacon-only mode automatically to prevent damage or exhaustion of the battery. This is caused by high power stations in the pass band of the uplink. In general, use of power levels greater than I watt ERP will cause the transponder to turn off.
But when should I look for the RS Satellite?
To help you plot the orbit of RS, we are including with this issue an orbital plotter complete with transparent overlay with orbits of OSCAR 7, OSCAR 8 and RS. (RS's Track appears different because the orbit is posigrade -same direction as the earth's rotation - while OSCAR orbits are retrograde.) You need the orbital parameters given in this article and a list of reference orbits, given on the next page. "Reference orbits" means the first ascending (North-going) equator crossing the satellite makes after 0000 GMT each day. The exact time of the crossing and the longitude are given. Note that longitudes are measured here as 0 to 360 degrees West of Greenwich; the Soviets (and NASA satellite programs) use 0 to 360 degrees East of Greenwich; and, of course, maps and charts are generally marked as 0-180 East and 0-180 West of Greenwich! Full instructions on the use of the plotter are contained on the back. Punch a hole, install a thumbtack or eyelet and place your transparent overlay on top and you're in business! Good hunting!
RS SATELLITE - ORBITAL PREDICTIONS REFERENCE ORBITS FOR DECEMBER AND JANUARY
- Date Ref. Orbit Equatorial Crossing, Time,
- No. in W. Longitude UTC
- Dec. 78
- 18 617 191.4 00:53:42
- 19 629 192.6 Ol:O7:48
- 20 641 193.8 01:21:54
- 21 653 195.0 Ol:36:Oo
- 22 665 196.2 Ol:5O:O6
- 23 676 167-0 00:03:48
- 24 688 168.2 00:17:54
- 25 700 169.4 00:32:00
- 26 712 170.6 00:46:06
- 27 724 171.8 Ol:OO:12
- 28 736 173-0 Ol:14:18
- 29 748 174.2 01:28:24
- 30 760 175.4 01:42:30
- 31 772 176.6 Ol:56:36
- 1 783 147.4 00:10:18
- 2 795 148.6 00:24:24
- 3 807 149.8 00:38:30
- 4 819 151.0 00:52:36
- 5 831 152.2 01:06:42
- 6 843 153.4 01:20:48
- 7 855 154.6 01:34:54
- 8 867 155.8 Ol:49:OO
- 9 878 126.6 00:02:48
- 10 890 127.8 00:16:54
- 11 902 129.0 00:31:00
- 12 914 130.2 00:45:06
- 13 926 131.4 00:59:12
- 14 938 132.6 Ol:13:18
- 15 950 133.8 Ol:27:24
- 16 962 135.0 01:41:30
- 17 974 136.2 01:55:36
- 18 985 l05.8 00:09:18
- 19 997 107.0 00:23:24
- 20 1009 108.2 00:37:30
- 21 l021 109.4 00:51:36
- 22 1033 110.6 0l:05:42
- 23 1045 111.8 01:19:48
- 24 1057 113.0 01:33:54
- 25 lO69 114.2 01:48:00
- 26 1080 85.2 00:01:42
- 27 1092 86.4 00:15:48
- 28 1104 87.6 00:29:54
- 29 1116 88.8 00:44:00
- 30 1128 90.0 00:58:06
- 31 1140 90.2 01:12:12
(Many thanks to Norm Chalfin, K6PGX, for working out the above predicts; any errors should be pointed out directly to Norm. - Ed. )
VOYAGER JUPITER ENCOUNTER OPERATIONS PLANS
The JPL Amateur Radio Club is planning a special Voyager Jupiter Encounter commemorative. The plan for the event will include two operating periods to coincide with the Jupiter encounters of Voyager I and II. The initial operating period will begin March 1, 1979, and conclude March 11. The second period, timed for the encounter of Voyager II, will begin July 6 and conclude July 15.
The following frequencies will be used plus or minus QRM:
- CW - 30 kHz above the bottom edge, 80-lO meters.
- SSTV - 3845 SSB - 3930
- 7220 7230
- 14235 14285
- 21340 21360
- 28680 28680
- Novice - 3730 7130 21130 28130
- Two meters, 220 and OSCAR (RS? - Ed.) are also planned.
Present plans call for heavier operations on weekends and between the hours of 4 pm to 7 pm local time.
The call sign will be W6VIO (Voyager in Outerspace.) While the Club regrets the lack of a special call sign such as our last special call (N6V on Viking) we will be issuing a special card for the event. An SASE is requested from US stations; DX stations may QSL via the Bureau.
If the previous N6V effort is any indicator, and I am sure it is, the Voyager commemorative will be an important milestone for the club. The Public Information Office has indicated its support of this event and most of the equipment we now enjoy we owe to past activities such as this. By the time the commemorative arrives, we will have the trailer refurbished with improved operating positions - and carpets yet! Almost daily inquiries are coming in from the "outside" so the interest is there. Now is the time for all good club members to show their support for the club and its activities. We need operators to donate a few hours of their time - believe me, it's fun! BEFORE YOU FORGET, RIGHT NOW; BEFORE YOU PUT THIS DOWN, CALL DICK PIETY AT EXTENSION 2298 AND TELL HIM HE CAN COUNT ON YOU! K6SVP.
MINUTES OF BOARD MEETING, NOVEMBER 29, 1978
The JPL Amateur Radio Club Board Meeting for November 1978 was attended by N6BF, K6CV, K6GHJ, K6GPK, WA6MYJ, N6NO, K6PGX, and N6WU. A quorum was found to be present, and the meeting was called to order. Minutes for the October meeting were read and approved.
Warren Apel reported that ERC had notified him that the club's check for Bill Wood was ready. K6GPK also advised that approximately $509 remained in the club treasury, with about $250 of that amount allocated to various projects. He requested that current committee chairman submit informal budget request for 1979 to him, so that a preliminary ERC budget request might be formed.
K6GHJ reported that the projected remodeling work on the shack was estimated at $4000, and that the service request on this work would be put into the JPL "system" momentarily. Glenn also stated that no progress on locating a new shack for WR6APR had been made, but that no deadlines for doing so are evident.
N6WU promised a final draft of the club policy statement on off-lab membership by the next board meeting. It was pointed out that the next such meeting will be held on 3 January 1979, rather than the 4th week of December, due to the Christmas holiday break.
The remainder of the meeting was devoted to a discussion of upcoming Voyager encounter commemorative activity from W6VIO. (N6WU)
... to Art Zygielbaum, WA6SAL, who, along with former ham and club member Pete Hubbard, former ham Dr. Richard M. Goldstein and two others, received a patent on a digital demodulator-correlator. (Tnx NASA Activities.)
It is the purpose of this newsletter to provide a form of monthly "glue" to help cement the bonds among our 120 or so members. These 120 members share only one thing in common besides their interest in ham radio: they work at JPL. They live in many different communities throughout the LA basin, they have capabilities and interests in many different specialized aspects of the hobby, and in fact they have even greatly varying degrees of interest in the hobby.
We believe the Newsletter provides this glue by virtue of the fact -that it reminds members on a regular, monthly schedule, of the existence of the club - as demonstrated by the following types of features:
- Proceedings of monthly club Board meetings
- Plans for upcoming club events and activities
- Progress reports and results of those activities
- Amateur Radio news of importance to all members
- A medium for members to advertise items wanted or for sale
- A medium for members to express their views in "letters to the editor' or through articles they contribute
- Editorials to stimulate thinking on important issues
Often we are asked if we can send the Newsletter to others who are not members. The answer, in general, is no. Contrary to many other magazines and newsletters, we are not interested in expanding our circulation unless not caused by a growing membership. In fact, we receive funding assistance on the cost of printing and distributing the Newsletter from the JPL Employees' Recreation Club and those funds must be used to directly benefit members only. We do send a limited number of issues to other clubs on a newsletter-exchange basis, plus a few to ARRL, since we are an ARRL affiliated club.
We like to think one of the best reasons for joining the club is to receive the Newsletter. We have strived to make the Newsletter alone well worth the club's $2 membership fee. As the Newsletter begins its ninth year of continuous publication, I would like to thank not only all of you who have contributed the letters, articles and pictures that have helped make my job easier and helped make this a great club newsletter, but also those of you that have helped and participated in the club's activities which have made the club without question an outstanding organization. (N6NO)
NEW RFI INQUIRY SET BY FCC
From Electronics, November 23, comes this note: A new inquiry into radio-frequency interference is being readied by the FCC in response to increasing business and consumer complaints. The notice of inquiry under Docket No. 78-369 is expected to be ready in December, with comments due by May 1, 1979. Nearly three quarters of the RFI complaints come from home entertainment electronics users, the FCC says, and usually involve citizens' band, amateur, broadcast, and land-mobile transmitters. Other malfunctions produced by RFI involve air navigational aids, pacemakers, truck braking, and automotive electronic fuel-injection systems, as well as explosive systems used at construction sites.
DUES ARE DUE
Club dues are now due and payable for 1979. We will purge the membership list of those not paid, on February 1, 1979. Your $2.00 payment can be sent to Warren Apel, Treasurer, Mail 114-118.
TUNE-UP CLINIC STILL PLANNED FOR DECEMBER 16
Plans are still "Go" for the Tune-up Clinic announced in last month's issue, which is to be held on Saturday, December 16. Because of the high activity going on at holiday time, it is not completely definite yet, but we are still holding Dec. 16 open on our calendars. You will be able to get your rig checked for power output, frequency, deviation and spectrum purity. If all works out, it should be held at the Fanon-Courier plant on S. Fair Oaks in Pasadena, where the last clinic was held. For confirmation including the time of the clinic, be sure to check with the 220 Net on Tuesday evening, or call Warren Apel, K6QPK, X7733.
CLUB NETS GROWING
At last count, the club had some 46 members who were capable of operation on the 220 MHz repeater, WR6APS, This is a reminder that the club has a weekly Amateur Radio News Net every Tuesday evening at 8 pm local time. For this net, WR6APS (222.44 in/224.O4 out) is linked with WR6AZN on Table Mountain (222.36 in/223.96 out) as well as the WR6AZN 2-meter machine which is on 144.68 in/145.28 out. The net is open to members and non-members alike; check-ins are running into the 30's now, but there are more non-members than members checking in. If you can make it, we'd like to see YOU there tool
On Wednesday evenings, at Rpm the club also has an OSCAR net. Here, the latest OSCAR news is disseminated as well as the latest word on the new Soviet RS satellites. For this net, WR6APS and WR6AZN are linked together on 220 MHz but the WR6AZN 2-meter machine is not normally tied in, due to the specialized nature of this net. Join us! (N6NO)
Those of you with classic as well as current Collins gear may be interested in knowing that loving, careful and competent repair work on this equipment is available from Ted Klages, W6IPE, in Irvine. Ted used to work for Collins, was Henry Radio's Collins repair specialist, and has now retired but will still help out a ham in need. You may reach Ted at ?14-9550033.
If you are shopping for price alone on electronic gear, you may get a really good deal at Interspace Electronics, a new dealer getting into this cutthroat business. Dick Malm recommends you call John LaFon at 836-6018, 836-2915 or 390-4808. He'll get you anything at a discount; the store is located at 11512 Washington Blvd., Culver City.
Sigma 7000 16Om-lOm KW final, $750. Imported from Japan and advertised in QST during 1977. Buyer must have General Class or higher Ham license. James Long, N6YB, campus extension 1857 (From JPL, call 161-1857; from outside, call 795-6811, ext. 1857.)
MERRY CHRISTMAS & HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL THE JPL ARC AMATEUR RADIO SATELLITE TRACK PLOTTER
The Amateur Radio Satellite Track Plotter has been devised to provide data on the orbits of the AMSAT/OSCAR-7, AMSAT-ARRL/OSCAR-8 and the Soviet RS satellite. Using the plotter one can ascertain the time the spacecraft will be over any particular area of the Northern Hemisphere.
The plotter is assembled by matching the Northern Hemisphere center (the North Pole) with the center of the transparent cursor sheet and attaching them together with an axle of some kind. A snap fastener pair works very successfully providing both an axis and a secure bond. It is a good idea to cut out the cursor circle with a handle edge leaving about a 1-2 inch margin about the circle as shown below.
To use the plotter, rotate the cursor on the Northern map to align the ascending node starting point a with the Equatorial Crossing Longitude (EQX) given in the table. This places the orbit track where it will be at the time (GMT) listed in the table. The time ticks in each track are in five minute increments. As an example: place the ascending node point of the RS track on 2770 W., locating EQX of that orbit. Note that track passes over the Los Angeles area about 47 minutes after the time of EQX.
Use the table in Jan 1979 W6VIO CALLING for the RS tracks. Tracking orbital tables for OSCAR-7 and 8 will be found in QST and in '73 each month. A published prediction chart for OSCAR-7 and 8 for the entire year 1979 is available from Skip Reymann, W6PAJ P.O. Box 374, San Dimas CA 91773. The cost is $5.00 ($3.00 for AMSAT members).
Go back to the W6VIO Calling Index