New Release of FoxTelem

From the AMSAT Bulletin Board Mailing List:

I wanted to announce the release of FoxTelem Version 1.01. If possible,
everyone should upgrade to this new version. In addition to some new functionality it fixes some bugs and issue that mean more data will be uploaded to the server.

This is a patch release. If you already have 1.00 installed then download
the file

You can download it from:

Only two files have changed (plus the manual). Copy these files into your
install directory
– FoxTelem.jar
– spacecraft/FOX1A_radtelemetry2.csv

You can also download the whole install file and install it in a new
directory. You can use the
settings menu to continue using your existing log files. Ask if you need

Lots has changed in this release and many bugs have been fixed. Please
report any issues
that you see.

Release notes:
* Allow the user to view and set the “track” attribute for each spacecraft
(and other parameters)
* Better doppler tracking in IQ mode and more stable estimate of the
received frequency
* Better Find Signal algorithm with tuning paramaters for experts
* Read Time Zero from the server for each reset and use to plot graphs in
* Set the default fcd frequency to 145930 so that Fox-1A, Fox-1Cliff and
Fox-1D will be in the passband
* Allow the gain to be set on the FCD (rather than hard coded)
* Do not change the FCD LNA or Mixer Gain. Leave unchanged.
* Do not open the FCD unless the start button is pressed
* Fixed a bug where the last 2 bytes of the radiation telemetry were not
decoded correctly
* Allow Vanderbilt radiation experiment to be graphed
* Allow user to select UDP or TCP for upload to the server (but use UDP
for now please)
* Shorten the period between passes so that graphs look continuous
* Ignore duplicate high speed radiation frames – needed for processing
data from the server
* Allow graphs to be hidden so that average or derivative is easier to see
* Notify the user when a new release is available
* Cleaned up the FFT trace with some averaging
* If showRawValues is checked then save CSV files as raw values
* Several updates to the manual

Chris E. Thompson
chrisethompson at
g0kla at

Fox-1A launch 5:49 AM PDT on October 8, 2015

Launch and Deployment was Successful!

PE0SAT, ON4HF, and R2ANF heard signals on the first pass!

Video of liftoff

Download your free copy of the AMSAT Journal Fox-1A Launch special issue
(~2MB PDF)

Fox-1A is now AMSAT-OSCAR 85 (AO-85)

Keplerian elements:

1 99992U          15281.53437500  .00015007  00000-0  15580-2 0 00009
2 99992 064.7657 291.6734 0216442 282.3705 182.7702 14.73904028000019

AMSAT’s Fox-1A is set to launch as part of the GRACE (Government Rideshare Advanced Concepts Experiment) auxillary payload on the NROL-55 mission October 8, 2015 from Vandenburg AFB on an Atlas V vehicle. The launch is scheduled for 5:49 AM PDT, with the NASA TV webcast starting at 5:29 AM PDT. NRO has released this factsheet about the mission: GRACE_CubeSat_FactSheet

General information on Fox-1A is available in the downloadable  AMSAT Fox Operating Guide.

There will be a briefing on October 7 to discuss the five NASA-sponsored CubeSats on this launch. This briefing will begin at 2 p.m. EDT (11 a.m. PDT) and will be broadcast via NASA TV and the NASA Website. The participants will be:

  • Richard Welle, director, Microsatellite Systems department at The Aerospace Corporation
  • Tim Olson, principal investigator for BisonSat, Salish Kootenai College, Pablo, Montana
  • Morgan Johnson, team lead for the ARC CubeSat, University of Alaska, Fairbanks
  • Jerry Buxton, vice president, Engineering, for AMSAT Fox-1
  • Courtney Duncan, principal investigator for LMRST-Sat, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California

FoxTelem software for decoding and submitting telemetry has been made available for download at .

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 . 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

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!

getting startedAs part of the preparations for the launch and activation of this new satellite, AMSAT is making our “Getting Started With The Amateur Satellites” book available for a limited time as a download with any paid new or renewal membership purchased via the AMSAT Store. This offer is only available with purchases completed online, and for only a limited time. A perennial favorite, Getting Started is updated every year with the latest amateur satellite information, and is the premier primer of satellite operation. The 132 page book is presented in PDF format, in full color, and covers all aspects of making your first contacts on a ham radio satellite.

Please take advantage of this offer today by visiting the AMSAT store (click here) and selecting any membership option. While there, check out our other items, including the M2 LEOpack antenna system, AMSAT shirts, hats, and other swag. Thank you, and see you soon on Fox-1A!

Fox-1D to launch with Fox-1C on Spaceflight SHERPA 1Q 2016

In response to a breaking opportunity, AMSAT and Spaceflight, Inc. have arranged for Fox-1D to accompany Fox-1Cliff on the maiden flight of the SHERPA system on a SpaceX Falcon 9. As a Fox-1 series, Fox-1D is identical to Fox-1Cliff, but with different frequencies and carrying the University of Iowa HERCI (High Energy Radiation CubeSat Instrument) radiation mapping experiment as a hosted payload. Fox-1D will provide additional selectable U/V or L/V repeater capabilities once in orbit, and will be capable of downlinking Earth images from the Virginia Tech camera experiment. Launch is currently planned for the first quarter of 2016. Additional donor support is needed to offset the costs associated with the launch of Fox-1D in addition to Fox-1Cliff. Please visit to donate support this launch, and help keep amateur radio in space.

Fox1-Cliff LogoFox-1D LogoSHERPA-Q3-2015

AMSAT and University of Iowa News

AMSAT and University of Iowa Partner on Scientific Payload for Fox-1D

AMSAT and the University of Iowa have agreed to include the University’s
HERCI (High Energy Radiation CubeSat Instrument) radiation mapping
experiment on Fox-1D. According to Don Kirchner, KDØL, Research Engineer at
the University of Iowa, “HERCI is intended to provide a mapping of radiation
in a low earth orbit. This is of scientific interest for planning CubeSat
test flights for low energy X-Ray detectors.”

“The instrument consists of a digital processing unit (DPU) derived from
processors currently in orbit around Saturn on Cassini and on the way to
Jupiter on the Juno spacecraft,” says Kirchner. “The DPU was shrunk to a CubeSat
form factor with funding from the Iowa Space Grant Consortium.”

The University of Iowa’s history in spaceflight research dates back to the
earliest satellites. As Kirchner puts it, “HERCI can be considered a direct
descendent of the first University of Iowa spaceflight instrument flown on
Explorer I in 1958. The instrument is being constructed as a Senior Design
Project by four Electrical Engineering students from the UI College of
Engineering, under supervision of Space Physics engineering staff from the
Department of Physics and Astronomy.”

AMSAT’s VP of Engineering, Jerry Buxton, NØJY, noted the win-win benefits of
the agreement, stating, “This partnership with the University of Iowa
illustrates our strategy of leveraging the new CubeSat design to assist
universities that need a way to fly scientific payloads while providing a
viable ongoing platform for amateur radio.”



In a Space Physics laboratory in Van Allen Hall, University of Iowa senior Electrical Engineering students Patrick Maloney, KD9CPD; Tyler Dunkel, KE0CHR; Kevin Klosterman, KD9CPF; and Bryan Senchuk, KD9CPE inspect the HERCI development boards.


The HERCI Engineering Model boards prior to initial test. The boards will be tested before installation of the radiation detector and hybrid circuits. The digital processor board is the first use of the Y90 microprocessor firmware which was donated by Monte Dalrymple,KR6DC, of Systemyde Corporation.


Photos courtesy of William Robison, KC0JFQ.