Friday, November 2, 2007

Geo sats for Hams

The following is a Q-S-T. AMSAT announces plans for a geosynchronous ham radio satellite, W-R-C 2007 opens in Geneva, D-Star comes to Germany and France and ham radio operators stand down as the California wildfires are contained. Find out the details on Amateur Radio Newsline™ report number 1577 coming your way right now.**HAM RADIO IN SPACE: AMSAT SAYS HAM RADIO GEOSAT IN PLANNINGIts called Phase 4 Lite and it will likely change the face of ham radio forever. Amateur Radio Newsline's Bruce Tennant, K6PZW, has a peek at the future of a geosynchronous ham radio satellite in Earth orbit:--The weekend of October 26th to the 28th has likely changed the face of ham radio space operations. So say two leaders in the Amateur Radio space program speaking at the AMSAT-North America Space Symposium in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. That’s they announced that a first-ever geosynchronous ham radio satellite is now in its initial planning. In satellite talk, geosynchronous means stationary in the sky. From the standpoint of a ground station user, it means always knowing where to point an antenna. No tracking and no guesswork.At that gathering, AMSAT President Rick Hambly, W2GPS, and Vice-President of Engineering Bob McGwier,N4HY, announced that AMSAT has been in consultation with Intelsat. This, regarding an application of an Intelsat platform carrying amateur radio satellites into geosynchronous orbit.The Phase IV Lite Geosynchronous Payload is planned to consist of similar transponders already under development for the Phase 3 satellites. Accelerated development on the digital Advanced Communication Package is anticipated. The Intelsat geosynchronous platform would be able to provide the AMSAT Phase IV Lite payload with approximately 400 watts of DC power for 15 years.In addition to the on-orbit payload AMSAT plans to develop an earth station attainable by the average ham so that users can immediately take advantage of the audio, digital messaging, and video services of the Phase IV bird. The Advanced Communication Package would be a self-contained earth station which could be sent with amateur radio communication teams or delivered to disaster areas to provide for 24 hour a day, 7 day a week and 3565 days a year emergency communications. These teams would be able to point a small dish at a predictable spot in the sky and immediately begin delivering disaster communication support without depending on the vagaries of High Frequency propagation.But that’s not all. Hambly and Mc Gwier say that the Phase IV payload could also be used to provide a Tracking and Data Relay System Satellite -like relay of ARISS communications. The current 10 minute school contact could now be expanded to hours-long contact with the International Space Station. This opens possibilities for extended student involvement with experiments aboard the space station. As the late Roy Neal, K6DUE, might have said: Truly a new world of Amateur Radio.For the Amateur Radio Newsline I'm Bruce Tennant, K6PZW, in Los Angeles.--So when can we expect this new satellite to be on-orbit?, AMSAT says that engineering studies, funding studies, among other negotiations are continuing so no specific date can be set. However Bob McGuier N4HY observes that the project is far enough along that AMSAT needs to begin planning engineering work and possible construction of such a geosynchronous payload so it is ready if Intelsat says they have a ride for it. (AMSAT-NA)**