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  • Satellite Demo Videos

    Robert Davies, KI4HXT, has produced a Windows media video showing how to work AO-27. Dave Jordan, AA4KN does the actual satellite demonstration during the 2008 Orlando Hamcation. Dave describes the Doppler shift that will occur during the pass, makes a number of contacts during the pass, then talks about setting up the Kenwood TH-D7A hand held for analog satellite operation. Drew Glasbrenner, KO4MA was doing a simultaneous demonstration and has a cameo appearance describing the arc of the upcoming pass. This is about a 20 minute video.

    Bob McGwier, N4HY also has a video recorded in February that talks about the AMSAT Engineering activities during the next few months. Good information about a number of activities that are taking place this year. This is a 10 minute video.

  • AO-51 Schedule - April 2008

    The first week of April, AO-51 exits full illumination and our power budget will shrink considerably. The length of the eclipses will increase throughout the month, and we'll have to closely monitor our power situation. The schedule reflects this, as the BBS will be active throughout the first two weeks of the month. Additionally all AO-51 transmitters will be shut off on March 31st for a special Whole Orbit Data collection before full illumination ends.

    As the month progresses we will schedule some time with the L/U BBS switched to a L/U repeater on an "as available" basis. Watch the webpage and ANS for announcements with further details.

  • 2008 National Hurricane Conference Award Winner

    This year the NOAA's National Hurricane Center will be hosting their 2008 National Hurricane Conference.

    The primary goal of the National Hurricane Conference is to improve hurricane preparedness, response, recovery and mitigation in order to save lives and property in the United States and the tropical islands of the Caribbean and Pacific. In addition, the conference serves as a national forum for federal, state and local officials to exchange ideas and recommend new policies to improve Emergency Management.

    This year will also be a added bonus for our friends, at Hurricane Hollows. Their President and owner, Bob Brookens, will be honored with a Special Award.

    For more information on the awards, click here or here for the NOAA version.

    For more information about the conference, click here.

    Congratulations Bob and the crew at Hurricane Hollows.

  • Propagation Forecast Bulletin 14

    It is exciting to see heightened solar activity one week into Spring. Currently three sunspots are visible, 987, 988 and 989, and the consensus says that all seem to be old Cycle 23 spots. But with the three sunspot groups so close to the Sun's equator, it is hard to tell for certain. We know that Cycle 24 spots should have magnetic polarity opposing the magnetic signature of Cycle 23 sunspots, but this is also true for sunspots below the equator relative to sunspots above.

    Average sunspot numbers for the reporting week (Thursday through Wednesday) rose over 18 points from the previous week, to 23.4. Average daily solar flux was up nearly six points to 75.4. Average geomagnetic indicators were unchanged, but this is because they fell from the start of last week, and rose this week.

  • Army Begins Using $150,000 Artillery Shells

    Canadian army gunners in Afghanistan are now cleared to fire GPS-guided artillery shells at Taliban militants - at the cost of $150,000 a round.

    The Excalibur shell could very well be the most expensive conventional ammunition ever fired by the military.

    Supporters argue that the weapon, which has the ability to correct itself in flight, has pinpoint accuracy. They predict that will cut down on the mounting civilian death toll from air strikes in a war-torn region, where insurgents often hide among the population.

    "It lands exactly where you want it to land," said Lt.-Col. Jim Willis, a senior officer in charge of acquiring the munitions.

    "It provides more safety."

  • Military Getting More Comfortable in High Arctic

    With dozens of soldiers, Inuit reservists, snowmobiles and pallet loads of supplies starting the long journey to the High Arctic this week, the military is beginning another epic patrol of the sea ice and rugged coastline of Canada's remotest border.

    And after repeated previous operations to enforce Canadian sovereignty over the increasingly disputed Arctic, the army says it's finally starting to feel more at home on the ice.

    "We're getting some glimpses," said Brig.-Gen. Chris Whitecross, commander of the military in the Arctic.

    "We're getting some people that are more comfortable with it. As we develop a larger critical mass of regular force personnel that are (projecting) further North, we're getting a larger capability to project force up there.

  • AO-51 Schedule Update - Dual Repeater Mode March 24-31

    AO-51 will be in dual V/U repeater mode the week of March 24 - 31. Take advantage of the much less crowded second repeater. On Thursday, March 27, please attempt to contact the active University tations.

    FM Repeater, V/U
    Uplink: 145.920 MHz FM, NO PL Tone
    Downlink: 435.300 MHz FM

    FM Repeater, V/U (March 27th please yield to university stations)
    Uplink: 145.880 MHz FM, NO PL Tone
    Downlink: 435.150 MHz FM

    On Wed morning March 26, the second repeater will be off for testing during a portion of the morning passes.

    By AMSAT News Service Bulletin 083.02

  • Inspections of the Space Shuttle’s Heat Shield

    Today, the Endeavour’s crew completed additional inspections of the space shuttle’s heat shield using the Orbital Boom Sensor System (OBSS) today. The detailed inspection performed by Commander Dom Gorie, Pilot Greg Johnson and Mission Specialist Takao Doi included up-close examinations of the shuttle’s thermal protection system, including the reinforced carbon-carbon panels on the leading edges of the shuttle’s wings as well as the nose cap of the orbiter.

    Ground teams will closely examine the imagery and data collected by the OBSS scan to ensure one last time that Endeavour’s heat-resistant tiles are safe for re-entry.

  • NORAD Celebrates 50th Anniversary

    North American Aerospace Defense Command is celebrating a milestone this year, 50 years of a rich and colorful history between two countries that formally acknowledged a mutual commitment to defend their citizens from air attacks.

    Although NORAD originally stood up at Ent Air Force Base, Colo., on Sept 12, 1957, the official agreement between the Canadian and U.S. governments that created the command was signed on May 12, 1958.

    NORAD is perhaps one of the best examples of how two countries have worked closely together for so long in a positive, mutually-beneficial relationship that continues today. The longstanding, successful relationship has evolved over the past 50 years to remain as relevant today during these times of terrorist threats as it was half a century ago during the Cold War. NORAD remains a powerful symbol of two countries working together to defend the citizens of both countries from those who would harm us.

  • Bomber Hits Mach 1

     

    A B-1B Lancer from the 9th Bomb Squadron at Dyess Air Force Base became the first USAF aircraft to fly at supersonic speed using an alternate fuel March 19, in a flight over Texas and New Mexico.

    The fuel, a 50/50 blend of synthetic and petroleum gases, is being tested as part of an ongoing Air Force program to help the environment and to use a fuel produced domestically. Air Force officials are in the process of evaluating and certifying the alternative fuel, which is derived from natural gas using the Fischer-Tropsch process, for use in all Air Force aircraft.

    "The goal is to have every aircraft using synthetic fuel blends by 2011," said Maj. Don Rhymer, assigned to the Air Force Alternative Fuels Certification Office. "By 2016 we hope at least 50 percent of this fuel will be produced domestically."

    Air Force officials previously have tested the fuel blend in the B-52 Stratofortress, the first aircraft to use the fuel, and the C-17 Globemaster III. The supersonic flight by the B-1B occurred over the White Sands Missile Range airspace in south-central New Mexico, but the flight took off from Dyess.

  • Fallen soldier's body arrives back in Canada

    A military aircraft carrying the remains of Sgt. Jason Boyes, who was killed in Afghanistan on Sunday, has touched down at Canadian Forces Base Trenton in eastern Ontario.

    The 32-year-old was killed by an explosive device while on foot patrol in the volatile Panjwaii district of Kandahar province.

    Boyes was a member of the 2nd Battalion of the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry based in Shilo, Man.

    He is survived by his widow Alison and their two-year-old daughter Mackenzie.

    Boyes, from Napanee, Ont., was on his third tour of duty in Afghanistan, having already served in 2002 and 2006.

    He was the 81st Canadian soldier to be killed in Afghanistan.

  • Dextre Moved to Destiny Lab, Crew Enjoys Time Off

    In a day highlighted by robotics activity, the Canadian-built Dextre was attached to a power and data grapple fixture located on the U.S. laboratory Destiny. The new robotic system is the final element of the International Space Station’s Mobile Servicing System.

    Mission Specialists Rick Linnehan and Mike Foreman finished assembling Dextre Sunday during the second spacewalk of STS-123.

    Canadarm2, the International Space Station’s robot arm, grabbed the pallet that secured Dextre during its journey to the orbital outpost and returned the pallet to space shuttle Endeavour’s payload bay for the trip back to Earth.

  • Halifax ARC announces Bit Fader Scholarship

    The Halifax Amateur Radio Club wishes to announce the application process for the Brit Fader Scholarship.

    The Brit Fader Scholarship was established in 1993 by the Halifax Amateur Radio Club and endowed through the generosity of Club members and Radio Amateurs throughout the Maritime Provinces of Canada. This scholarship is intended exclusively for post-secondary educational use, to provide assistance with the cost of tuition, room, board, books and/or other fees essential to the advanced education of the recipient.

  • Canadian Soldier Killed in Afghanistan

    Sergeant Jason Boyes was killed today by an explosive device while participating in a joint Afghan-Canadian foot patrol in the Zangabad region, in the District of Panjwayi, approximately 35 km South-West of Kandahar City. Sergeant Boyes was immediately evacuated by helicopter to the Canadian-led multinational hospital at Kandahar Airfield, where he later succumbed to his wounds. The incident occurred at approximately 8:20 p.m. Kandahar time.

    • Sergeant Jason Boyes, age 32, 2nd Battalion Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry (2 PPCLI), based out of Shilo, Manitoba.
    At the time of the incident, the soldier’s unit was conducting a dismounted presence patrol in the area with Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF). These patrols are part of the many ways ANSF and ISAF show their presence, monitor the security situation and interact with the local population.
  • Astronauts Enter JLP, Prepare for Spacewalk

    The STS-123 and Expedition 16 crews spent time outfitting the Japanese Logistics Module - Pressurized Section (JLP), transferring supplies and equipment into it from space shuttle Endeavour. Marking the beginning of Japan’s scientific work aboard the station, Expedition 16 Commander Peggy Whitson and Japanese astronaut Takao Doi were the first to enter the new module.

    The JLP is the first component of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s Kibo laboratory.

    Operating Canadarm2, the station’s robot arm, Mission Specialists Robert Behnken and Léopold Eyharts grabbed the shuttle’s boom sensor and handed it off to Endeavour’s robot arm in preparation for stowage on the station’s S1 truss later in the mission.

  • STS-123 Begins First Spacewalk

    Mission Specialist Rick Linnehan and Expedition 16 Flight Engineer Garrett Reisman kicked off the STS-123 mission’s first spacewalk at 9:18 p.m. EDT today. Their primary goal is to prepare the Japanese Logistics Module - Pressurized Section (JLP), the first component of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s Kibo laboratory, to be installed on the International Space Station early Friday morning.

    Their tasks include preparing the JLP for unberthing from space shuttle Endeavour’s payload bay. They will open a flap to reveal the Centerline Berthing Camera System on top of the Harmony module. The system provides live video to assist with docking spacecraft and modules together.

    Once in the shuttle's payload bay, the two spacewalkers will remove contamination covers from the Passive Common Berthing Mechanism, the docking port that allows modules to be attached to other spacecraft or modules.

  • Endeavour Begins Mission to the Space Station

    Space shuttle Endeavour brought an early sunrise to the East Coast Tuesday, launching from NASA's Kennedy Space Center at 2:28 a.m. EDT and beginning the STS-123 mission to the International Space Station.

    During the 16-day flight, Endeavour's seven astronauts will work with the three-member space station crew and ground teams around the world to install the first section of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency's Kibo laboratory and the Canadian Space Agency's two-armed robotic system, known as Dextre. STS-123 is the longest shuttle mission to the station and will include a record five shuttle spacewalks at the orbiting laboratory, delivery of a new crew member to the complex and the return of another astronaut after nearly seven weeks aboard the station.

    Shortly before launch, Commander Gorie thanked the teams that helped make the launch possible. "You've got seven smiling faces on board here," said Gorie. "God's truly blessed us with a beautiful night to launch so let's light 'em up and give them a show."

  • Europe Launches its Jules Verne ATV

    Jules Verne, the first of the European Space Agency’s Automated Transfer Vehicles (ATV), a new series of autonomous spaceships designed to re-supply and re-boost the International Space Station (ISS), was successfully launched into low Earth orbit by an Ariane 5 vehicle this morning.

    During the coming weeks, it will manoeuvre in order to rendezvous and eventually dock with the ISS to deliver cargo, propellant, water and oxygen to the orbital outpost.

    Lift-off occurred at 05:03 CET (01:03 local) from the Guiana Space Centre, Europe’s spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana. This flight required a new version of Europe’s workhorse launcher, the Ariane 5ES, specially adapted to the task of lofting the nearly 20-tonne vehicle – more than twice as heavy as the previous largest Ariane 5 payload – to a low circular orbit inclined at 51.6 degrees relative to the Equator and equipped with an upper stage with re-ignition capabilities.

  • Military Recruiting to Combat PTSD

    The Canadian military's surgeon general went before the House of Commons Defence Committee Thursday to discuss serious mental health problems potentially affecting thousands of soldiers returning from Afghanistan.

    Brig.-Gen. Hilary Jaeger told the committee that she is in the process of recruiting 450 mental health personnel to help Canada's army cope with addiction, depression, and post-traumatic stress (PTSD).

    Psychological problems have become an increasingly important issue for the military in recent years as it has expanded its traditional peacekeeping status into a greater combat role.

  • Countdown Begins for Latest Shuttle Mission

    The countdown has begun for the space Shuttle Endeavour's launch on Tuesday, one that will bring a Canadian robotic arm to the International Space Station.

    The two-armed, $200 million robot could reduce the number of space walks by a dozen per year.

    The arm is called Dextre, which is short for Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator. Canadian students came up with the nickname in a national contest.

  • Massive Snowstorm Buffets Ontario

    A massive storm system responsible for three deaths and hundreds of accidents in the United States is dumping snow on Eastern Canada.

    In the Toronto region, near-blizzard-like conditions led to more than 500 traffic accidents being reported by noon.

    The storm pounded the U.S. on Friday, slamming into unlikely southern states such as Texas and Alabama.

    Two people died in Florida after tornadoes struck the state. One person died in Ohio as near-blizzard conditions resulted in more than 610 accidents Friday.

    Upwards of 30 centimetres of snow is expected in most of southern Ontario today, before the storm system moves into Quebec and the Maritimes. Some areas could get up to 50 centimetres.

  • Pentagon Bans Google Map-makers

    The US defence department has banned the giant internet search engine Google from filming inside and making detailed studies of US military bases.

    Close-up, ground-level imagery of US military sites posed a "potential threat" to security, it said.

    The move follows the discovery of images of the Fort Sam Houston army base in Texas on Google Maps.

    A Google spokesman said that where the US military had expressed concerns, images had been removed.

    Google has now been barred from filming and conducting detailed studies of bases, following the discovery of detailed, three-dimensional panoramas online - and in particular, views of the Texan base.

  • Brown Condemns RAF No-uniform Advice

    Gordon Brown has condemned reports that RAF personnel at a Cambridgeshire base were advised not to wear uniform in public for fear of verbal abuse.

    He said armed forces members should be "encouraged to wear their uniform in public and have the respect and gratitude of the British people".

    The decision not to wear uniform was taken by the station commander at RAF Wittering near Peterborough.

    Defence minister Derek Twigg blamed "a tiny minority" for the abuse.

  • Airspace, Road, Bridge and Waterway Closures for STS-123 Mission

    March 6, 2008

    George H. Diller
    Kennedy Space Center, Fla.
    321-867-2468
    george.h.diller@nasa.gov

    RELEASE: 05-08

    AIRSPACE, ROAD, BRIDGE AND WATERWAY CLOSURES FOR STS-123 MISSION

    Launch Date: March 11, 2008
    Launch Vehicle: Space Shuttle Endeavour
    Launch Pad: 39A
    Launch Window: 2:23 - 2:33 a.m. EDT
    Targeted Launch Time: 2:28 a.m. EDT

  • Name of fallen Canadian soldier released

    The identity of the Canadian soldier killed in Afghanistan is as follows:
    • Trooper Michael Yuki Hayakaze, age 25, Lord Strathcona’s Horse (Royal Canadians), based out of Edmonton, Alberta.

    At approximately 3:45 p.m. Kandahar time on March 2, Trooper Hayakaze was killed when his armoured vehicle hit a suspected Improvised Explosive Device (IED) in the Mushan region, located in the District of Panjawayi, 45 km West of Kandahar City.

  • Canadian Soldier Killed in Afghanistan

    At approximately 3:45 p.m. Kandahar time today, one Canadian soldier was killed when his armoured vehicle hit a suspected Improvised Explosive Device (IED) in the Mushan region, located in the District of Panjawayi, 45 km West of Kandahar City.

    The next of kin have been advised but at the request of the family, the name of the soldier is being withheld.

    The soldier was immediately evacuated from the scene by helicopter, but later succumbed to his injuries and was pronounced dead upon his arrival at the Multinational Medical Unit at Kandahar Airfield. His vehicle was part of a routine patrol during the time of the incident.

    We have lost a fine Canadian today, and our thoughts and prayers go out to the family of this brave soldier.

  • Air Force Stuns Boeing on Tankers

    Contract awarded to Airbus, Northrop Boeing workers and state politicians react with shock and anger as the Air Force chooses Airbus to build its new tankers. An appeal is possible.

    In a stunning setback for The Boeing Co., the Air Force on Friday awarded a $30 billion to $40 billion contract to begin replacing its aging fleet of aerial tankers to a European aerospace company and Northrop Grumman.

    The decision to use a plane built by Boeing’s chief rival in the world’s airplane market, Airbus, ignited an instant firestorm on Capitol Hill. The plane will be built in France and assembled in Mobile, Ala.

    Chicago-based Boeing, which has built the Air Force’s tankers for the past half-century, gave no indication whether it would appeal the award but said it was exploring its options.

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