Bulletins from the Pacific Packet Radio Society - page 129

The AMICON session ended with promises from various representatives to try to implement the required versions of this new protocol. In the interim, LIPM.04/TIPM.04 will be available for use by AMICON ground stations until the new software is ready.


The other main topic of the meeting concerned the possibility of a dedicated packet radio satellite. This is discussed in a companion news release from KD2S and W3IWI 'see below'.

PACSAT -- A New AMSAT Satellite Project

Den Connors, KD2S and Tom Clark, W3IWI

A new type of amateur satellite was proposed by Tom Clark,W3IWI, at the packet radio working group meetings held 811 October, 1982 at the AMSAT laboratory in conjunction with AMSAT's annual general meeting. The working group meeting was also noteworthy in that it provided a focus for the various packet radio groups to coordinate their activities and resulted in a new unified protocol which is described by Hank Magnuski, KA6M, in a companion document. The new satellite project has been tentatively dubbed PACSAT -- a final name is yet to be chosen, pending resolution of some potential copyright conflicts. This satellite would build upon AMSAT's experience in low-cost spacecraft development, the current upsurge of interest in digital and computer techniques, and the technology being developed for amateur packet radio applications. The basic idea is to implement an orbiting digital packet radio repeater with store-and-forward capabilities. This satellite would allow amateur "electronic mail" service with a few hour delivery time to anywhere in the world -- a virtual "flying mailbox" for amateur radio and computer enthusiasts.

The "strawman" system proposed by Tom and discussed during the three days of meetings, would have one or more high-speed packet radio channels, and possibly other ASCII or RTTY input/output channels. An onboard computer system would control a large amount of memory storage -- perhaps as much as one megabyte for messages. Access to the message system would be somewhat like using a more traditional computer bulletin board system (CBBS) using landline dial-up capability. Using a Phase-2 type of low-earth orbit ("LEO"), the satellite would be available several times a day for up to 15 minutes worth of message reading and writing. Although the LEO satellites are limited in their coverage, the store-and-forward capability could extend an AMSAT-OSCAR-8 type satellite to provide global coverage.

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