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AO-40 now and forever?!

Hello friends of AO-40,

Richard, G3RWL, came up on AMSAT-UK's AO-40-webpage with the idea
to give some input to amsat-bb on the topic "What to do with AO-40,
if the current state will be its best?" (Which we all don't hope!)

Well we know so far: S2-TX and L-RX work as expected. The IHU-1 is
operational and AO-40 has an attitude of around 260/2 and a spin
of 16 to 17 rpm. And the current orbit is stable.

1. If that was all what we would get from AO-40, we could at least
   do some kind of 400 bps-PSK digital communication via IHU-1.
   Unfortunately the best MAs depend on varying squint. And as far
   as I understood the tracking-program I use and some orbital-basics,
   squint will be good at apogee not before early 2004, because
   AO-40's attitude changes by approximately 0.2 deg/day and has to
   turn the whole 260 degrees.

2. If the IF-Matrix is OK (and telemetry shows it links already the
   beacon to the transmitter), SSB/CW via a linear-transponder will
   be possible.

3. If magnetorquing is possible (and I am convinced it is in some
   way), we'll be able to operate at times we already know from
   AO-10's and AO-13's early days only limited with respect to
   squint- and sun-angles.

If AO-40 reaches such a state, we'll already get as much as or
more than AO-10 and AO-13 offered out of it, only on more
state-of-the-art frequencies.

Imagine RUDAK and several other RXs and TXs can be turned on again.
What more will AO-40 be for the amateur-radio-community in that case!
And I still can't imagine how beautiful Phase-3-operation will be, if
the momentum-wheels can be used and the solar-arrays will be deployed,
because we never had that chance with AO-10 and AO-13.

I'll be patient and let the command-stations do their best to get
as much as possible of the above mentioned alive on AO-40. And I keep
in mind that AO-40 is an experimental satellite. And from experiments
we can learn. And if I wanted all-the-time best-quality communications
via satellite, I'd go out and buy one of those Inmarsat, Golbalstar or
perhaps Iridium phones.

73, Frank

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