AMSAT Antenna Deal


AMSAT-NA and M2 Antenna Systems Announce Member-Only Special Pricing

M2 Antenna Systems, Inc. of Fresno, CA introduced the new satellite antenna
LEO-Pack using their 436CP16 and 2MCP8A yagis during the 2015 HamCation in
Orlando, FL.

The 436CP16 and 2MCP8A are light weight, circularly polarized antennas
optimized for Low Earth Orbit (LEO) Satellite communications or other applications
where a small circular polarized antenna is required. Optimum match and gain
designed for the satellite band.

Rear mounted for easy coaxial cable routing. A preamp (not included) can be
mounted close to the antenna for almost no coax loss before the preamp,
maximizing your receive performance.

Computer design techniques help keep spurious side lobes down for optimum
signal to noise rations. Both the 436CP16 and 2MCP8A feature the same CNC
machined, O-ring and silicone-gel sealed, driven element assemblies common to all M2Yagi Antennas. This insures years of trouble free performance regardless of weather.

M2 designed a custom LEO cross boom to pair these two antennas together for
a very manageable amateur satellite ground station.

AMSAT-NA and M2 Antenna Systems are pleased to announce that the LEO-Pack
system is being offered to members only at $499, shipping included (US only). Non-
members can join AMSAT-NA at time of purchase to participate in this special
purchase. The M2 list price is $545.99.

To place your order, visit the AMSAT store at:

M2 Antenna System’s LEO-Pack page can be found at:

M2 LEO-Pack Antenna

M2 LEO-Pack Antenna

M2 LEO-Pack Antenna

M2 LEO-Pack Antenna

Fox-1 “In the Bag” (Updated)

Fox-1 “In The Bag”!

Fox-1, the first Fox-1 series satellite (a.k.a. Fox-1A to the AMSAT Engineering Team) completed the final required testing January 16 through 23.

The tests included the launch provider required “DITL” (Day In The Life) and “environmental testing” subjecting the CubeSat to Vibration and Thermal Vacuum Bakeout, the latter two sometimes referred together as “shake and bake”.

DITL is required to show that Fox-1 will not deploy her antennas nor transmit any signals prior to a minimum of 45 minutes after she is deployed from the PPOD into orbit. The test was conducted at the “Fox Labs” QTH of Jerry Buxton NØJY on January 16. Bob Fitzpatrick KB5SQG assisted on site with Jonathan Brandenburg KF5IDY and Kevin Bishop KG7NSD supporting via GoToMeeting. It was a somewhat suspense filled test waiting for 45 minutes hoping nothing will happen, followed by another 11 minutes hoping something will happen. Everything performed as expected and the test was a success, with transmit antenna deployment at 56 minutes 21 seconds, receive antenna deployment at 56 minutes 32 seconds, and first transmission at 59 minutes 12 seconds.

On Monday January 19 Fox Engineering Team members Bob Davis KF4KSS, Burns Fisher W2BFJ, and Jerry Buxton NØJY traveled to Orlando FL to conduct the “shake and bake” at Qualtest.

Upon arrival Fox-1 was tested, inspected, and integrated into the TestPOD at the hotel and then the team traveled to Qualtest. Assisted by Lou McFadin W5DID, photographed by Dave Jordan AA4KN and observed by Ed Krome K9EK the vibration testing took place on Wednesday January 21 with frequencies and amplitudes that simulate the ride Fox-1 will be experiencing on the Atlas V rocket during launch, tested in all three (X,Y,Z) axes. After the “shake” a Short Functional Test and Aliveness Test were conducted, and Fox-1 worked like a charm!

Thursday January 21 Fox-1 was put into the thermal vacuum bell jar to be subjected to a 12 hour pre-soak at high altitude and temperature near the required test temperature in order to remove any rough contaminants that might harm the ion pump used during the “bake” procedure. Friday the 22nd Fox-1 went through the launch required Thermal Vacuum Bakeout which sustains a vacuum <1E-4 torr at a specified temperature for 6 hours in order to thoroughly remove any contaminants that might be left over from construction and handling and which could cause problems once the satellite and materials are exposed to the vacuum of space. Given the vacuum actually achieved during the process, we are very happy that Fox-1 was a “clean machine” even prior to the start of the procedure! Once the “bake” was complete Fox-1 was allowed to cool to near room temperature and then subjected to the same Short Functional Test and Aliveness Test as done on arrival in Florida and after the vibe test. Once again, Fox-1 worked as it should and was officially declared ready for launch!

While it is somewhat anti-climactic, Fox-1 was then carefully placed in an anti-static bag and will remain there until delivery and integration into the PPOD which is scheduled for mid-March 2015. Battery will be charged by the umbilical but no other handling, changes, testing, or function can be performed as once she passed the environmental testing Fox-1 officially became “hands off”.

As previously announced launch is scheduled for late August 2015.

Official photos and more information will be included in an upcoming AMSAT Journal. If you are on Facebook, the AMSAT North America Facebook page has some photos that were uploaded during the environmental testing.

Thanks NØJY and the Fox-1 Engineering Team for the information.

=============== UPDATE ===============

Fox-1 Continues Preparation for Launch

Following the successful conclusion of vibration and thermal/vacuum testing
Fox-1 now is stored in a clean environment waiting for launch. However,
there is still work going on behind the scenes.

AMSAT Vice-President Engineering, Jerry Buxton, N0JY says several required
reports are being reviewed by the launch provider. We continue to make
necessary updates if they request further information in order to be sure
that all of the i’s are dotted and the t’s are crossed. The paperwork is an
ongoing full workload in itself, both during the design and construction and
even after Fox-1 was finished.

For the remaining schedule, Fox-1 will have its Mission Readiness Review
(MRR) at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo CA on February 24 before a review board of
Cal Poly and NASA representatives. Next, Fox-1 will be delivered and
integrated into the P-POD at Cal Poly during the week of March 16. Then the
countdown begins.

[ANS thanks AMSAT Vice-President Engineering, Jerry Buxton, N0JY for the
above information]

=============== UPDATE ===============

Fox-1A delivery/P-POD integration is now set, for March 25, 2015 at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo.  From there, we won’t see her again – but certainly look forward to hearing from her again!


Fox-1 MRR


Fox-1 MRR


"In the Bag!"

“In the Bag!”

Vibration Testing

Vibration Testing

Thermal Vacuum Bakeout

Thermal Vacuum Bakeout





Fox-1A Launch Date

AMSAT has received a launch date for the Fox-1A satellite. Fox-1A will be launched on August 27, 2015 on a United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California on the NROL-55 flight for the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office. The launch time has not been announced.

Fox-1A Operating Frequencies include:
Uplink 435.180 MHz FM
Downlink 145.980 MHz FM

The AMSAT Fox series of satellites will include additional opportunities for launch during 2015-2016:

  • Fox-1B will fly with the Vanderbilt University radiation experiments expected in 2016.
  • Fox-1C* will launch on Spaceflight’s maiden mission of the SHERPA multi-cubesat deployer during the 3rd quarter of 2015.
  • Fox-1D is a flight spare for Fox-1C. If not needed as a spare it will become available to launch on any open launch slot which becomes available and be submitted in a Cubesat Launch Initiative (CSLI) proposal in 2015.
  • Fox-1E is built as a flight spare for Fox-1B but has been included in a student science proposal as part of the November, 2014 CSLI for an ELaNa flight slot. If selected the Fox-1B spare will fly as Fox-1E.

* The flight for Fox-1C has been purchased by AMSAT. It is not funded by the Cubesat Launch Initiative ELaNa program. Fundraising for the $125,000 launch costs for Fox-1C are underway. We have commissioned a unique challenge coin for donors who have contributed at the $100 level or higher. This challenge coin is shaped as an isometric view of a Fox-1 CubeSat, complete with details such as the stowed UHF antenna, solar cells, and camera lens viewport. Struck in 3mm thick brass, plated with antique silver, and finished in bright enamel, the coin is scaled to be approximately 1:4 scale, or 1 inch along each of the six sides. The reverse has the AMSAT Fox logo.

You may donate at:

[ANS thanks the Fox-1 Team for the above information]

Fox-1A Flight Unit

Fox-1A Flight Unit

Fox-1 Engineering Prototype.

Fox-1 Engineering Prototype.

Successful Fox-1 Battery Test

APIC Safety Lead for the GRACE mission and the LSP Range Safety required AMSAT Engineering to demonstrate the safety of the Sanyo KR-1400AE cells used in the Fox-1A satellite, in light of the cells having no UL listing nor available manufacturer documentation on the cell case pressure and venting pressure.

After a few weeks spent on planning, obtaining components, construction, and rehearsal (there are no “do-overs” once the circuit is closed!) a small team consisting of Bob Fitzpatrick KB5SQG, Shura Buxton KD5FCQ, and Jerry Buxton NØJY performed the test on Sunday afternoon, December 7, 2014.  The cell was subjected to a direct short circuit and the current, temperature, and physical behavior were observed, logged, and captured on video.  While the report to APIC is For Official Use Only, the video is not and so you are invited to view the raw footage (minus a couple of spots where audio has been muted for expletives or chatter unrelated to the test) on YouTube.

The test was successful, as it was demonstrated that the cell did not burst nor greatly deform, there was no fire or damage, and no liquid leakage.  There was quite a surprise, though!

The multimeter is reading mV DC across a .001 ohm current sense resistor, so the reading you see directly corresponds to current.  Temperature is in degrees Celsius.

And Murphy was of course present, as a natural part of anything involving amateur radio activities.  Fortunately, the stopwatch wound up almost exactly 10 seconds behind so translation of the readings was pretty simple!