As you may be aware AMSAT-NA’s Fox-1A satellite is planned for launch on the morning of October 8th. We would like to set your expectations about what will be going on in the days immediately following the launch.
*Keplerian Elements: * We will provide the Keplerian elements (aka Keps or TLEs) to enable you to track Fox-1a as soon after launch as we get them (and are cleared to release them). The information will be placed on http://www.amsat.org/amsat/ftp/keps/current/nasabare.txt and on the main AMSAT page at http://www.amsat.org . We have no control over when we can release the information, although we hope it will be within hours of the satellite deployment.
*Initial Commissioning Period:* Initially the transponder will not be on and will not respond to uplinks. *Please do not attempt to uplink while we check out the satellite and commission it*. We will publicize when we have opened the transponder to general use. You should expect the checkout phase to last for a minimum of several days and possibly for several weeks.
*What To Listen For:* During the initial checkout period and when the satellite is in range, every two minutes you will generally hear about 5 seconds of data followed by a few seconds of a voice ID (and possibly a second data packet). You may occasionally hear 'data' mode which Chris, G0KLA, has famously described as sounding like an old-fashioned telephone modem. If you should happen to hear what appear to be QSOs, please resist the temptation to join in before the commissioning period is over.
*Please Send Telemetry Reports and Data: *We would love to have you collect and upload as much data as you can, and to give any other kind of report on the amsat-bb mailing list (which some of the Fox team will monitor). You can also report hearing or not hearing it on http://www.amsat.org/status/
You can upload data using the FoxTelem telemetry program that we recently released. (Check the "upload to server" box in the properties/preference page). More data will help us do the checkout faster! Remember if you hear the “telephone modem” sound, you must switch FoxTelem to high-speed mode manually. Similarly FoxTelem must be in low-speed mode at other times.
We are planning a special award to the person who submits the first data from the satellite (by which we mean the earliest downlinked mission elapsed time), so get your rigs ready!
Burns Fisher, W2BFJ
For the Fox-1a checkout team