EBARC History

Russian Satellite

Reprinted from "Ham Radio Report"

From the Blown Fuse December 1978

Russia's "RS" Satellites are up and operating after a successful launch late Thursday, October 26. According to a TASS news release on Friday, three satellites, two Amateur (dubbed "Radio-1" and "Radio-2") and one in the COSMOS scientific series COSMOS-1045, were put into orbit at the same time.

Specifics On The Russian Amateur space effort were still vague at (Ham Radio Report's)press time, with little "hard" information as yet offered by the Russians. Beacon signals have been heard from both satellites at about 29.400 MHz, and at least one transponder was in operation throughout the weekend Oct. 28-29), with a number of Amateurs in both North America and Europe working through it. However, since Sunday night (Oct. 29) only one beacon apparently thatof Radio-1- has been heard.

The Orbit of the RS Satellites is considerably higher than that of any of the OSCARs, about 1050 miles. This should increase range 300-400 miles, and passes should be three or four minutes longer than those of OSCAR-7. According to an RS-relayed announcement monitored in Europe on 29.380 MHz, the uplink is 145.88-145.92 MHz with a 29.36-29.40 MHz output. According to last weekend's users, 10 watts ERP puts a good signal into the RS transponder, while a 50-watt ERP signal apparently overloads and shuts it down.

RS's Period Is Slightly over 120 minutes and its equatorial inclination about 83 degrees, resulting in an orbit- to-orbit increment of just over 30 degrees. Orbits are opposite in direction to those of the OSCAR spacecraft, descending on evening passes and ascending in the morning for U.S. listeners.

As the day-to-day shiftin both time and position is quite small, it's easy for a listener to predict future signal acquisition and loss parameters for his location after copying one or two passes. Satellabes and OSCAR Locators can be used for a fair approximation of an RS orbit if they're used backwards, placing the end of orbit point at the equatorial crossing. point.

The RS Beacon Signal sends 15 words of telemetry data, followed by "RS" for Radio-i and "RS RS" for Radio- 2. "P01U CI3U F42U Z41U L82U B45U H38U OO1U W63U KO1U UO1U GOIU R13U DO1U S50U RS" was an RS telemetry group copied at mid-week. Analysis and interpretation of RS's telemetry is being done, so telemetry transcripts should be sent to AMSAT, Box 27, Washington, DC 20044.

The RS-1 Russian Satellite's transponder is supposed to be available 24 hours a day except tor Monday and Wednesday, when it's limited to experimental and scientific use, according to an article in he Octoher 29 Soviet Patriot, translated by K3KWJ/ HB9BRQ. The Soviet paper gave extensive front-page coverage to the Russian Amateur space' effort, though it omitted any referece to AMSAT's prior Amateur satellites and implied that the Russian effort was a "first." UA3DV, control operator at the satellites' Main Command Station, UK3ACM, was Quoted as saying that though the two Russian birds share the same frequencies they're quite different in Comstruction - without going into much detail on those differences. One significant difference he did mention was their power sources, leading to the conjecture that one may have only battery power while the other includes solar panels for battery recharging.

Further Details have been provided by UK3ACM during contacts with G3IOR. Both the "RS" and "RS RS" ID are from Radio-1, the "RS RS" meaning the transponder is operating. The new birds are designed for only 3 watts ERP uplink (Russian "Technicians" are limited to 5 watts), while 8 watts or more will overload and cut it off. Once shut down it must be reactivated from the ground, perhaps explaining why it's been so unavailable from the U.S.

(Ed. note--This and the preceeding paragraph were included in later issues of HR Report; therefore, the facts differ from those reported earlier in the article. This fact is because more information was learned at a later date. Normally, we don't devote so much space to an HR Report article, but because it concerns a new Amateur satellite, we thought it would be worthwhile for general reading.)

Still more RS Satellite data has been provided by Soviet satellite command station RS3A to G3IOR, meeting on 29280 just after an RS pass. RS3A coordinates satellite experiments on RS's Wednesday passes, and there's a growing suspicion that RS's Saturday Sunday ON days and Wednesday experiment days are Moscow time, which is three hours ahead of GMT. RS3A provided a detailed explanation of the telemetry data, which is quite extensive, and confirmed that "RS RS" and a telemetry frame suffix letter "W' indicate the transponder is ON. RS3A is looking for telemetry reports, sent to his attention at Box 88, Moscow, U.S.S.R, (From Issues 226,227, & 229 of HRR.)