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AMSAT OSCAR-40. It took a licking but It’s still ticking Presented by Bill Tynan , W3XO Edited by Rick Hambly W2GPS. 21 st Space Symposium and AMSAT-NA Annual Meeting Saturday, October 18, 2003, 15:00 EDT Toronto Airport Marriott, Toronto Ontario Canada. AO-40 Background.

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amsat oscar 40

It took a licking


It’s still ticking

Presented by

Bill Tynan, W3XO

Edited by Rick Hambly W2GPS

21st Space Symposium and

AMSAT-NA Annual Meeting

Saturday, October 18, 2003, 15:00 EDT

Toronto Airport Marriott, Toronto Ontario Canada

ao 40 background
AO-40 Background
  • Phase 3D, Amateur Radio’s most ambitious satellite, took 10 years and FOUR MILLION DOLLARS to build.
  • Launched November 16, 2000 from the European Space Agency’s launch site at Kourou, French Guiana, South America aboard an Ariane 5 vehicle into a Geostationary Transfer Orbit (GTO)
  • Several weeks later Phase 3D, now AO-40, suffered a serious mishap (EXPLOSION).
  • ALL is LOST, or so everyone thought.
  • But on CHRISTMAS DAY 2000, AO-40 was brought to LIFE!
what is still working and what isn t

70 cm (435 MHz) uplink

Both L Band (1269 MHz) uplinks

One of two S Band (2400 MHz) downlinks

K Band (24 GHz) downlink

Main computer

RUDAK computer

GPS receivers

JAMSAT camera

Power system

Attitude control system

Not Working

2 Meter downlink

2 Meter uplink

Both 10 GHz downlinks

One S band (2400 MHz) downlink

Propulsion system

What is still working and what isn’t?
what about ao 40
What About AO-40?
  • S band is too hard!
    • So, should I wait for the next high altitude satellite - several years away?
    • Or, resolve to take advantage of what still works on AO-40?
  • But, if S band isn’t that hard.
    • Why shouldn’t I take the bull by the horns, and use what’s up there now?
    • A great high altitude (DX) satellite!
  • But, what gear do I need, and where do I get it?
    • I can’t build that microwave stuff with those tiny surface-mount components anymore, if I ever could!
    • So, how do I proceed?
what do i need
What Do I Need?
  • Rig:
    • 2 Meter SSB/CW receiver or transceiver or
    • 70cm SSB/CW transmitter ~ 25W or 2 Meter/70 cm SSB/CW transceiver
  • Antenna Mount:
    • An Az/El rotator system such as the Yaesu 5400* or 5500 or
    • Two TV rotators - one oriented in the normal fashion and the other mounted horizontally on it or
    • A manually pointed arrangement of PVC or aluminum pipes

*Approach used at W3XO/5

what do i need1
What Do I Need?
  • Yagi for 70 cm (435 MHz) ~ 10 dB or more gain
    • A standard linearly polarized Yagi either horizontal or vertical or
    • A crossed Yagi for circular polarization
  • Small dish:
    • A wireless cable Bar-B-Q or Primestar
    • Commercial, such as 60 cm (231/2 inch), or 90 cm (34 inch) Downeast Microwave*

*Approach used at W3XO/5

what do i need2
What Do I Need?
  • Dish feed:
    • Patch, G3RUH or W0LMD* or
    • Helix
  • Downconverter (2400 MHz to 144 MHz):
    • Commercial DEMI or SSB Electronics etc. or
    • Converted wireless cable unit such as K5GNA AIDC-3731*
  • Bridged T to supply DC to downconverter
  • Coax and rotator cable to connect to equipment in shack

*Approach used at W3XO/5

working ao 40
Working AO-40
  • First, get a satellite tracking program from AMSAT, and install it in your computer.
    • Nova, SatPC-32 or InstantTrack (DOS)
  • Determine when AO-40 will be in view, and point your antennas in the general direction (Az & El) .
  • Look for the mid-band beacon around 2401.323 (145.323 on you 2 meter radio)
    • Tune around about +/- 50 kHz.
  • Peak your antennas for max signal.
  • Tune up from beacon for activity. If you don’t hear any, look on AMSAT, AMSAT-UK or AMSAT-DL web site for schedule.
    • The transponder is NOT always on even when beacon is.
working ao 401
Working AO-40
  • If transponder is on, look for a clear spot, set your transmitter to about 435.650 and turn around while whistling or sending dits until you hear yourself coming back.
  • Adjust your power for about an S-6 to 7 signal. Too much signal and LEILA will be on you.
  • For voice, switch to LSB. Transponder inverts signals, so LSB is received as USB.
  • Call CQ, and work the WORLD! Many European countries, JAs, ZLs and VKs are active regularly.
what about those trees
What About Those Trees?
  • Trees ARE bad news for S band signals.
  • Possible solutions:
    • Intensive use of chain saw
    • Mount antenna array higher
    • Work portable:
      • Mount antenna array on a small flat-bed trailer or in a pickup.
      • Ready-made Field Day set-up
      • And, you can work just as much DX as the fixed stations.
  • However you do it, come join us in the FUN of satellite hamming.