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ARRL Satellite Bulletin ARLS014 (2001)

ARLS014 New Amateur Satellite to Link Remote APRS Nodes

QST de W1AW  
Space Bulletin 014  ARLS014
From ARRL Headquarters  
Newington, CT  August 7, 2001
To all radio amateurs

ARLS014 New Amateur Satellite to Link Remote APRS Nodes

PCSat, a US Naval Academy Amateur Radio tracking and communications
satellite, is scheduled to launch September 1 (0100z) from Alaska.
PCSat will augment the existing Amateur Radio Automatic Position
Reporting System (APRS) by providing links to the 90 percent of
Earth's surface not covered by the terrestrial network.

PCSat was designed and assembled by midshipmen at the Naval Academy
in Annapolis, Maryland, to gain practical hands-on experience in
support of their aerospace curriculum. The students worked under the
guidance of Academy Senior Project Engineer Bob Bruninga,
WB4APR--the ''father of APRS.''

''We hope that PCSat will be a new direction for amateur satellites
by serving the communications needs of travelers with only mobile
and hand-held radios anywhere on Earth,'' Bruninga said. PCSat will
be the first satellite to report its exact position directly to
users via its onboard GPS.

Bruninga said the satellite will demonstrate vehicle tracking and
communication for GPS-equipped remote travelers--including Naval
Academy vessels at sea, cross-country travelers, expeditions or
anyone far from the existing APRS terrestrial tracking

In addition to its APRS capabilities, the satellite will offer 1200
and 9600-baud packet operation on VHF (145.825 MHz) and UHF (435.250
MHz). For APRS digipeating, the satellite will use the recognized
North American APRS frequency of 144.39 MHz.

Bruninga said that PCSat should make a great classroom tool, since
its telemetry can be received by any hand-held packet radio for
display to students on their PCs.

PCSat will be one of four satellites in the Kodiak Star payload. The
others are Sapphire, Starshine III and PicoSat. An Athena I launch
vehicle will carry the satellites into space from the Alaska
Aerospace Development Corporation's Kodiak Launch Complex. This will
mark the first attempt to put a satellite into Earth orbit from
Kodiak Island. The spacecraft will be launched into an 800-km
circular orbit.

For more information, visit the PCSat Web site, .


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