AMSAT-NA Announces GOLF CubeSat Program

At the AMSAT-NA Annual General Meeting in Reno, NV, AMSAT-NA President Joe Spier, K6WAO, announced the next phase of AMSAT’s CubeSat program: GOLF. GOLF, an acronym for “Greater Orbit, Larger Footprint,” is a crucial step towards fulfilling AMSAT’s strategic goals involving high altitude, wide access satellite missions.

As an initial step in the GOLF program, the AMSAT-NA Board of Directors approved the submission of a NASA CubeSat Launch Initiative proposal for the GOLF-T satellite project. The GOLF-T project will serve as a rapidly deployable Low Earth Orbit (LEO) testbed for technologies necessary for a successful CubeSat mission to a wide variety of orbits, including LEO, Medium Earth Orbit (MEO), Geosynchronous Orbit (GEO), Highly Elliptical Orbit (HEO), or beyond.

AMSAT-NA Vice-President Engineering Jerry Buxton, N0JY, said “The GOLF-T project tees off the next phase of our CubeSat program. GOLF-T provides AMSAT hardware and knowledge for Attitude Determination and Control (ADAC) capability and the opportunity to develop a 3U spaceframe with deployable solar panels that can be used in LEO or HEO missions, two of the major systems required in future GOLF and HEO missions.”

In addition, GOLF-T provides the opportunity for rapid deployment and on orbit testing of the AMSAT’s Advanced Satellite Communications and Exploration of New Technology (ASCENT) program’s technology, including radiation tolerant transponder and Integrated Housekeeping Unit (IHU) technologies that will lead the way for low cost commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) systems that can function in the MEO and HEO radiation environments. GOLF-T will also provide for the development of “Five and Dime” Field-Programmable Gate Array Software Defined Radio (FPGA SDR) transponders for use on a variety of missions and orbits.

AMSAT-NA Vice-President Engineering Jerry Buxton, N0JY, introducing GOLF at the 2017 AMSAT Space Symposium in Reno, NV.

AMSAT General Meeting Audio Stream Available

The AMSAT General Meeting in Reno, NV will be available to all members and interested amateur radio operators via local VHF repeater, IRLP, and EchoLink. The meeting will start at 3:30pm PDT (22:30 UTC) today.

The meeting will be available locally in the Reno area on the SNARS 147.300 MHz repeater as well as globally via IRLP Node 7873 and the W7TA-R EchoLink (854520). The IRLP access code is #88 + the node number you wish the dial. The IRLP hang up code is #8873.

A live stream of the meeting audio may also be found at

Questions will be taken via EchoLink and Twitter (use hashtag #AMSATGM).

AMSAT-NA Board of Directors Elects Joe Spier, K6WAO, President

At it’s annual meeting, held at the Silver Legacy Resort Hotel in Reno, NV, the AMSAT-NA Board of Directors elected Joe Spier, K6WAO, of Reno, NV, President, succeeding Barry Baines, WD4ASW, who has retired after nine years of service as AMSAT’s President. Joe is a Life Member of AMSAT-NA and has previously served as Executive Vice President and Vice-President Educational Relations. He also has Life Memberships in the ARRL, SARA (Society of Amateur Radio Astronomers) and the AFA (Air Force Association). He holds an Extra Class license as well as commercial licenses.

AMSAT Directors, Officers, and Past Presidents at the 2017 AMSAT Board of Directors Meeting
Back (L to R) – Tom Clark, K3IO, Keith Baker, KB1SF/VA3KSF, Jerry Buxton, N0JY, Paul Stoetzer, N8HM, Barry Baines, WD4ASW, Clayton Coleman, W5PFG, Bruce Paige, KK5DO, and Bill Tynan, W3XO
Front (L to R) – Martha Saragovitz and Joe Spier, K6WAO

Immediate Past President Barry Baines, WD4ASW, said “It has been an honor to serve as President for the past nine years and as a board member since 1999. I’m confident that the successes of the past nine years while serving as President will lead to new opportunities in AMSAT’s future as Joe assumes the helm working with the new Senior Leadership Team. I’m also thrilled that Paul Stoetzer, N8HM, and Clayton Coleman, W5PFG, are new voting members on the Board, including the assumption of my former slot. I’m excited that the new Board combined with the new Senior Leadership Team will bring insight, enthusiasm, energy and commitment to move AMSAT forward.”

Other officers elected by the Board were:

Paul Stoetzer, N8HM, of Washington, DC, as Executive Vice President
Jerry Buxton, N0JY, of Granbury, TX, as Vice-President Engineering
Drew Glasbrenner, KO4MA, of New Port Richey, FL, as Vice-President Operations
Clayton Coleman, W5PFG, of Granbury, TX, as Secretary
Keith Baker, KB1SF/VA3KSF, of Corunna, ON, as Treasurer
Martha Saragovitz of Silver Spring, MD, as Manager

FoxTelem v1.05 Released

AMSAT’s preparations for the launch of RadFxSat (Fox-1B) on November 10th continue at a breakneck pace. FoxTelem developer Chris Thompson, G0KLA/AC2CZ, today announced the release of FoxTelem v1.05 on the AMSAT-BB. Among other improvements, upgrading to this release is required for the proper decoding of RadFxSat telemetry. FoxTelem versions for Windows, Mac, and Linux can be downloaded at

Below is the full text of Thompson’s post on the AMSAT-BB:

​I am pleased to announce a new version of FoxTelem, Version 1.05.  This will make you ready for the RadFxSat launch in 2 weeks time,  at 01:47 PST (09:47UTC) on November 10, 2017.   You will also take advantage of over 60 fixed defects and changes applied to the code base.




Accurately decode the data, display the results of the experiments and forward it to the AMSAT server for analysis by the experiment owners and other amateur scientists like yourself.  This version will also be able to download the RadFxSat data from the server.


You can use a new feature to calculate the position of the satellite. This is  enabled on the settings screen. The TLEs are automatically downloaded each
week and stored in EPOCH order.  This will be used to plot historical graphs in the future.  See the manual for more details.


You can set FoxTelem to only decode when the satellite is up.  This is designed to save CPU power when many copies of FoxTelem are run at the same time.


You can run FoxTelem in a new way.  If you pass a directory on the command line then it will use this as the location of the config file and the
log files. Previously you needed to create a batch file and run a special command. That will still work, but this should be easier.  See the manual for details.



* Implements changes needed to support RadFxSat (Fox-1B) which launches Nov 2017
* Simpler approach to run multiple copies of FoxTelem with different configuration settings
* Calculation of spacecraft position for users on Linux/Mac or those without SatPC32, including automatic TLE/KEP management
* Automatic start/stop of the decoder to save CPU when running many copies, based on FoxTelem calculation or SatPC32
* Runs on the Raspberry Pi 3
* Storage of the spacecraft .dat files in the logfiles directory to avoid issues where the install directory is not writable
* Plots 450 deg and 180 deg Az/EL correctly
* PSK decoder in readiness for RadFxSat-2 (Fox-1E)

And many other bug fixes. Full list of changes here:

You can email me with any bug reports or issues that you see.