AMSAT NEWS SERVICE
The AMSAT News Service bulletins are a free, weekly news and information service of AMSAT North America, The Radio Amateur Satellite Corporation. ANS publishes news related to Amateur Radio in space including reports on the activities of a worldwide group of Amateur Radio operators who share an active interest in designing, building, launching and communicating through analog and digital Amateur Radio satellites.
The news feed on https://amsat.org publishes news of Amateur Radio in space as soon as our volunteers can post it. Please send any amateur satellite news or reports to: ans-editor at amsat dot org. You can sign up for free e-mail delivery of the AMSAT News Service Bulletins via the ANS List; to join this list see: https://www.amsat.org/mailman/listinfo/ans
In this edition:
- AO-85 Update: Do Not Access While in Eclipse
- Candidates for the AMSAT Board of Directors Announced
- PSAT Successfully Launched on Falcon Heavy STP-2
- Update: PSAT2 is coming to Northern Latitudes!
- Updated TLE’s and Analysis Tools for BIRDS-3
- Chinese Lunar Satellite DSLWP-B and the July 2 Solar Eclipse
- Thailand JAISAT-1 Satellite to Launch on July 5, 2019
- ARISS International Delegates Meet in Montreal
- European Astro Pi Challenge Winners Announced
- New Release of G0KLA Tracker
- Upcoming Satellite Operations
- ARISS News
- Satellite Shorts from All Over
AO-85 Update: Do Not Access While in Eclipse
The auto Safe mode was disabled on June 24 and the transponder was turned on. A few QSOs were made to verify that it would drop with inactivity.
Currently, the battery voltage is very low and it looks like a cell is prepared to give up the ghost. Please do not use the satellite while it is in eclipse, even if you hear it. Operations is not sure what will be usable if and when this cell fails completely.
In the meantime, please send reports to the AMSAT-BB. They are welcome and helpful.
[ANS thanks Drew Glasbrenner, KO4MA for the above information.]
Candidates for the AMSAT Board of Directors Announced
The 2019 candidates for the AMSAT Board of Directors, in alphabetical order by last name are:
- Jerry Buxton, N0JY
- Howard (Howie) Defelice, AB2S
- Drew Glasbrenner, KO4MA
- Jeff Johns, WE4B
- Brennan Price, N4QX
- Patrick Stoddard, WD9EWK
- Paul Stoetzer, N8HM
- Michelle Thompson, W5NYV
This year AMSAT membership will select four candidates to the Board of Directors. The four candidates receiving the highest number of votes will be seated as voting members of the Board of Directors. Two alternate directors will be selected based on the next highest number of votes received.
Ballots will be mailed to the AMSAT membership by July 15, 2019.
The election closes September 15, 2019.
Clayton L. Coleman, W5PFG
New 2019 AMSAT Apparel Now Available on the Web
Didn’t make it to Hamvention but you want the latest in AMSAT haberdashery?
The new 2019 tee-shirts, polo shirts and hats are now available in the AMSAT online store.
Browse the styles and sizes online and put your order in today at:
PSAT Successfully Launched on Falcon Heavy STP-2
PSAT2 was successfully Launched at 0630Z on June 25, 2019 on the Falcon Heavy STP-2 mission into a 28 degree elliptical orbit with apogee at 860 km and perigee at 300 km. The 28 degree inclination makes it difficult to work it over most of Europe but the significant difference in apogee and perigee can make a 15 degree or so elevation difference on the horizon. When apogee circulates to be over the northern hemisphere, then more northern stations can work it. When Perigee is over the northern hemisphere, it can only be seen in Spain and Italy latitudes in Europe, and only mid latitudes in the USA.
This changing apogee dynamic will move earlier each day and two weeks later, will have reversed, and so forth on a monthly cycle or so. Another interesting thing about the orbit is that it is almost time synchronous; meaning that a pass will occur almost the same time every day (though five minutes earlier). But then an earlier orbit will appear an hour and a half earlier every other day. This makes it very easy to do mobile/portable operations without any computer once you hear one pass.
PSAT2 consists of a number of exciting and unique Amateur Radio Communications transponders:
- First is a newer PSK31 29 MHz uplink/UHF FM downlink from Brno University following on to the original on PSAT.
- Second is a Brno SSTV camera that downlinks in the same UHF FM waterfall as the PSK31 users.
- Third is a DTMF grid square uplink and voice/APRS downlink for grid position reporting.
- Fourth is DTMF Text messaging (APRStt).
- Fifth is APRS text messages up and voice down.
- Sixth is a conventional APRS digipeater that will join a number of sister APRS Amateur Satellite transponders.
Currently the HF/UHF PSK31 and SSTV modes are enabled and open to users. But the VHF modes have not been enabled for users and users are requested to keep the uplink clear during on-orbit testing.
PSAT2 is designed for maximum orbit life compared to other similar sized cubesats because it is flying with the maximum allowable mass. Almost a kilogram of lead ballast about 2cm x 8cm x 8cm located in the center of the cubesat constitutes almost HALF the satellite’s mass to give it a high ballistic coefficient to last longer on orbit.
One of the most interesting and unique features of PSAT2 is the new APRStt (Touchtone) DTMF/voice transponder which lets everyone do APRS using any radio with DTMF keypad, not just those with APRS radios. There have been several iterations of the APRStt system in APRS over the years since 2001, but this application will be new in space and will help introduce everyone to this unique alternate APRS capability for use with ANY radio.
- APRS Up/Down: 145.825 1200 baud APRS (like ISS, PSAT, AISAT-1)
- DTMF Uplink: 145.980 MHz (Voice confirmation down on 145.825 MHz)
- PSK31 Downlink: 435.350 MHz +/- 5 kHz FM (300 mw)
- PSK31 Uplink: 29.4815 MHz PSK31 SSB (25 W and omni vertical typical)
PSAT2 Digipeater Aliases
To join the existing APRS satellites on orbit and operate as a seamless constellation, PSAT2 supports the same APRSAT and ARISS generic aliases as the original PCSAT (NO44) PSAT and the packet system on the ISS so that users do not have to change any parameters when using any of these three APRS transponders.
Complete PSAT-2 information is available at: http://aprs.org/psat2.html
The PSAT2 User Manual is available for download at: aprs.org/PSAT2/USER-Operations-Manual.doc
Update: PSAT2 is coming to Northern Latitudes!
After reviewing the orbit, it is somewhat time synchronous, meaning each orbit time (at mid northern latitudes) is just 5 minutes later each night. But then a NEW earlier orbit appears 90 minutes earlier every other day. So, by the 4th of July, PSAT2 first pass will be as early as 4 PM local time in the Northern Hemisphere mid latitudes.
And, the apogee moves rapidly. In just two weeks, apogee will be over the northern hemisphere giving higher latitudes much better access. At launch it was the middle of the night and perigee was in the Northern hemisphere making it only visible for lower latitudes. So, things will improve for Northern Hemisphere… then two weeks get worse, etc.
24 Hour telemetry plots (links to FINDU.COM) are now available on at http://aprs.org/psat2.html.
[ANS thanks Bob Bruninga, WB4APR for the above information.]
Updated TLE’s and Analysis Tools for BIRDS-3
The following TLE information was posted on June 19, 2019.
1 44329U 98067QE 19174.93024453 .00004092 00000-0 74305-4 0 9992 2
44329 51.6418 327.7999 0007880 104.0563 256.1303 15.52018847 1076 0
1 44330U 98067QF 19175.44552474 .00003960 00000-0 72238-4 0 9996 2
44330 51.6420 325.2414 0007814 104.7507 255.4350 15.51987013 113
1 44331U 98067QG 19174.86570669 .00004256 00000-0 76869-4 0 9991 2
44331 51.6420 328.1190 0007880 104.9615 255.2247 15.52054261 1052 0
Also, the CW Analysis Software has been updated to Version 2. This version includes an Excel file that allows decoding raw CW data and saving the results.
[ANS thanks the BIRDS-3 Project for the above information.]
Chinese Lunar Satellite DSLWP-B and the July 2 Solar Eclipse
On July 2 there will be a total solar eclipse that can be observed from parts of the Pacific Ocean, Chile and Argentina. This provides an opportunity to image the eclipse with the Chinese lunar orbiting Amateur Radio satellite Lunar-OSCAR 94 (aka DSLWP-B). An attempt will be made to image the eclipse with the Inory eye camera on-board, where both the Moon and Earth should appear in the images.
The main interest is to photograph the shadow of the Moon on the surface of the Earth. The camera doesn’t have a large resolution and the Earth will look small in the image, but it will be possible to distinguish the shadow learly.
Because the satellite aims its solar panel towards the sun, the camera on-board DSLWP-B is always pointing away from the Sun. Since DSLWP-B orbits the Moon, the Earth will always be in the center of the camera field of view during a solar eclipse. However, it might happen that the Moon is between the satellite and the Earth thus hiding the view of the Earth.
To see the plans for the attempt see https://tinyurl.com/ANS-181-eclipse and https://tinyurl.com/ANS-181-eclipse-times
[ANS thanks Nico Janssen, PA0DLO for the above information.]
Thailand JAISAT-1 Satellite to Launch July 5, 2019
The Radio Amateur Society of Thailand (RAST) has announced that JAISAT-1 is scheduled for launch on July 5, 2019 by a Soyuz 2.1 rocket at 05:41 UTC. JAISAT-1 will ride with a Meteor-M N2-2 meteorology satellite along with a total of 34 satellites from twelve countries.
The telemetry downlink is 435.325 MHz and the telemetry format is 4k8 GMSK Mobitex (CMX990 Mobitex format). The telemetry format is detailed at https://tinyurl.com/ANS-181-JAISAT-telfmt.
Signals in the same format can be found with the D-STAR ONE Sparrow and D-STAR ONE iSAT satellites. Information on these satellites and the decoding software download can be found at:
All Amateur Radio operators receiving signals from JAISAT-1 are asked to email data to email@example.com. The Radio Amateur Society of Thailand will have a SWL card to confirm reception.
Also of interest are videos of the satellites’ installation to the Soyuz fairing at
[ANS thanks Tanan Rangseeprom, HS1JAN, JAISAT-1 Project Manager for the above information.]
ARISS International Delegates Meet in Montreal
This week, ARISS held it’s 2019 ARISS International Face-to Face Meeting of international delegates in Montreal, Canada. During the sessions, Kenwood software manager, Shin Aota presented two Kenwood TM-D710GA transceivers to ARISS Russia delegate Sergey Samburov. A TM-D710GA will be used to replace aging amateur radio equipment on board the International Space Station.
For several weeks, these radios have undergone detailed qualification testing followed by software configuration and verification. With today’s transfer of the radios to ARISS Russia, we are one step closer to an enhanced Amateur Radio system on board the ISS supporting various operations such as SSTV, oice communication, APRS and a variety of experiments.
[ANS thanks Dave Jordan, AA4KN ARISS Public Relations for the above information.]
European Astro Pi Challenge Winners Announced
Two Raspberry Pi computers, Astro Pi units Ed and Izzy have called the International Space Station home since 2016. ESA Education runs the European Astro Pi Challenge which allows students to conduct scientific investigations in space, by writing computer programs.
A record-breaking number of more than 15000 people, from all 22 ESA Member States as well as Canada, Slovenia, and Malta, took part in this year’s challenge across both Mission Space Lab and Mission Zero.
After designing their own scientific investigations and having their programs run aboard the International Space Station, the Mission Space Lab teams spent their time analyzing the data they received back from the ISS. To complete the challenge, they had to write a short scientific report discussing their results and highlighting the conclusions of their experiments. We were very impressed by the quality of the reports, which showed a high level of scientific merit.
the Astro Pi jury has now selected eleven winning teams, as well as highly commending four additional teams. The eleven winning teams won the chance to join an exclusive video call with ESA astronaut Frank De Winne, head of the European Astronaut Centre in Germany where astronauts train for their missions. Each team had the once-in-a-lifetime chance to ask Frank about his life as an astronaut.
For complete information including the names of the winners see http://tinyurl.com/ANS-181-Astro-Pi
[ANS thanks RaspberryPi.org for the above information.]
New Release of G0KLA Tracker
Chris Thompson, G0KLA/AC2CZ has released version 1.01a of the G0KLA Satellite tracker. This version has a few tweaks most requested by users:
- Key display settings can be changed on the main window from a set of icons bottom left. e.g. showing spacecraft in eclipse vs sun.
- Horizontal lines for 30 and 60 degrees can be displayed.
- Horizontal lines for all labels on the vertical axis can be displayed.
- Time labels have a slightly more sensible gap between them (e.g. 15 minutes) rather than a random amount that fit in the window (such as 13 minutes).
- Past minutes can now be as short as 10 minutes, although a longer period can be selected.
The downloads are available at:
[ANS thanks Chris Thompson, G0KLA/AC2CZ for the above information.]
Upcoming Satellite Operations
Hawaii (BK29, BL20) – June 27 to July 8, 2019
Mark, N8MH will be operating a bit as N8MH/KH6 June 27-July 3 from BK29 and July 5-8 from BL20, FM and linears. Possibility of other grids once there. Watch Mark’s Twitter feed: https://twitter.com/N8MH
Mini-Route 66 Rove (DM94/95, EM05/15, EM14, EM23/24) June 28 – July 5, 2019
John, AB5SS, will be driving east from DM85 on a mini-Route 66 trip starting June 28, staying/passing through DM95/94, EM05/15, stopping in EM14 for July 2-4th, then head home thru EM24/23 on July 5th. Operating holiday-style, as family allows, posting activations to Twitter. https://twitter.com/TxRadioGeek
South Dakota (EN04, EN05) – July 2-3, 2019
Lucky for us, Mitch, AD0HJ, will be stopping at the EN04/05 gridline from July 2nd 22:37z to July 3rd 13:27z, on his way to Iowa. Mitch will working the FM Satellites (SO-50, AO-91, AO-92). Check Mitch’s Twitter feed. https://twitter.com/AD0HJ
Wabakimi Provincial Park (EO50) – July 4-10, 2019
Fred, VE3FAL, is heading off to Wabakimi Provincial Park July 4th-10th and will activate EO50 via FM satellites. Keep an eye on Fred’s Twitter feed. https://twitter.com/Fred_VE3FAL
Iceland (HP93, HP94, HP95, IP03, IP05, IP13, IP14, IP15, IP24, IP25, IP35) – July 13-19, 2019
Adam, K0FFY, is taking his family (and his radios) to Iceland. He’ll be staying in HP95 on July 13, IP15 on July 14-15, IP25 on July 16, IP03 on July 17-18, and HP94 on July 19. In total, he’ll be passing through HP93, HP94, HP95, IP03, IP05, IP13, IP14, IP15, IP24, IP25, and IP35. There’s a lot to see, so passes will be best effort and announced on Twitter shortly prior. https://twitter.com/K0FFY_Radio
CY9 St. Paul Island (AO47) – July 31 to August 8, 2019
CY9C will be on St. Paul Island July 31st through August 8th. This is an all bands/mode dxpedition, with EME and Sats as well. More info available at http://cy9c.com/index.html.
Washington Invasion (CN96/96 & DN06/07/17/17) – August 9-10, 2019
Casey, KI7UNJ, will be heading North to invade the State of Washington, August 9th and 10th. Keep an eye on Casey’s Twitter feed for specific pass announcements. https://twitter.com/KI7UNJ
St Pierre et Miquelon (GN16) – August 10-18, 2019
A DXpedition is planned to St Pierre et Miquelon, August 10th through the 18th. The team will operate as T05M will from Ile aux Marins on 6-160M, but there is a possibility of some FM Satellites. Keep an eye on their website for updates. http://fp2019.net/
[ANS thanks Robert Bankston, KE4AL for the above information.]
Completed ARISS Contacts
Traverse Area District Library, Traverse City, MI, direct via W8TCM. The ISS callsign was NA1SS. The scheduled astronaut was Nick Hague KG5TMV. Contact was successful: Fri 2019-06-28 14:02:16 UTC. Watch the contact at: https://m.youtube.com/channel/UCVyQOrBooJxzLFNGiyz9i2w
Upcoming ARISS Contacts
Santa Barbara Public Library, Santa Barbara, CA, direct via K6TZ. The ISS callsign is presently scheduled to be NA1SS. The scheduled astronaut is Nick Hague KG5TMV. Contact is go for Option #2: Wed 2019-07-03 17:54:19 UTC 49 deg (Note: A local newspaper article on the upcoming event can be read at http://tinyurl.com/ANS-181-Santa-Barbara.
ARISS Mentors Honored
ARISS congratulates the following mentors who have now mentored over 100 schools:
- Satoshi 7M3TJZ with 135
- Francesco IKØWGF with 132
- Gaston ON4WF with 123
- Sergey RV3DR with 118
[ANS thanks Charlie Sufana, AJ9N for the above information.]
Shorts From All Over
May/June Apogee View Now Online
Read AMSAT President Joe Spier’s, K6WAO comments in the latest Apogee View now on the AMSAT website. Joe highlights the events of the 2019 Hamvention and other happenings in the world of Amateur Radio satellites. Read Joe’s comments at https://www.amsat.org/apogeeview/.
President Joe Spier Highlights Oscar Park at Hamvention 2019
Chip Sufitchi, N2YO recorded a video tour of Hamvention 2019 for the radioamator.ro website in Romania. You can see Joe, K6WAO provide a three-minute tour of the satellites featured in AMSAT’s OSCAR park. Joe’s tour begins at 45:45 into the video posted at https://www.radioamator.ro/articole/view.php?id=1212. [ANS thanks Chip Sufitchi, N2YO for the above information.]
AMSAT’s Upcoming Satellite Operations
There is a lot of great activations happening this Summer. Be sure to keep an eye on AMSAT’s Upcoming Satellite Operations webpage for all of the latest announcements. https://www.amsat.org/satellite-info/upcoming-satellite-operations/ In addition AMSAT’s call sign, W3ZM, is popping up all over the U.S. in an effort to operate from all 50 States before this year’s 50th Anniversary Symposium. To make this happen, we need your help. Check out https://www.amsat.org/events/was-w3zm/ for more information. [ANS thanks Robert Bankston, KE4AL for the above information.]
PSAT2 Simple Tracking for Wilderness Mobiles
For those hams wandering in the wilderness, Bob Bruninga, WB4APR says, “You don’t need no stinkin’ computer!” Bob has updated his Mobile LEO tracking site to show graphically how PSAT2 orbit works at http://aprs.org/MobileLEOtracking.html. Bob adds, “It’s easy to remember. Five minutes later per day, but a new orbit an hour and a half earlier every other day. This is approximate but time will tell. “If you are in the wilderness, just monitor 145.825 and when you hear PSAT2, then you can easily guess all orbits in the future.” [ANS thanks Bob Bruninga, WB4APR for the above information.]
Walmart Parking Lots on the Air 2019
It’s like déjà vu all over again! The 2nd Annual WMPLOTA will take place starting July 6, 2019 at 00:00 UTC and ending July 7 at 23:59 UTC. WMPLOTA is now held annually on the first weekend in July. The first weekend in July was chosen for WMPLOTA, putting it forevevermore in temporal proximity to July 2, the birthday of Walmart when Sam Walton opened the first store in Rogers, Arkansas in 1962. WMPLOTA is a special event and award scheme for Amateur Radio satellite operators that encourages the practice of portable operation in the ubiquitous and easily accessible location of Walmart parking lots. Complete information including rules can be found at www.wmplota.org or on Twitter at @WMPLOTA. [ANS thanks wmplota.org for the above information.]
Looking for ARMADILLO
Members of the Texas Spacecraft Laboratory (TSL) are asking for help finding their CubeSat. Designed to collect data on submillimeter dust particles in low Earth orbit, it was built in collaboration with Baylor University. the ARMADILLO (Atmosphere Related Measurements and Detection of Submillimeter Objects) satellite was successfully orbited on Monday’s Falcon Heavy STP-2 launch. Students in Austin and Atlanta are looking for it but are struggling with station issues. ARMADILLO’s frequency is 437.525 and is transmitting at 19200 baud. Anyone willing to help are asked to contact Patel Shivani, KG5EAU. More info at http://tinyurl.com/ANS-181-ARMADILLO [ANS thanks Patel Shivani, KG5EAU for the above information.]
Raspberry Pi 4 Now Available
RaspberryPi.org announced the availability of Raspberry Pi 4. It is said to be a comprehensive upgrade touching almost every element of the platform. It claims to provide, for the first time, a PC-like level of performance for most users while retaining the interfacing capabilities and hackability of the classic Raspberry Pi line.
- A 1.5GHz quad-core 64-bit ARM Cortex-A72 CPU (~3× performance)
- 1GB, 2GB, or 4GB of LPDDR4 SDRAM
- Full-throughput Gigabit Ethernet
- Dual-band 802.11ac wireless networking
- Bluetooth 5.0
- Two USB 3.0 and two USB 2.0 ports
- Dual monitor support, at resolutions up to 4K
- VideoCore VI graphics, supporting OpenGL ES 3.x
- 4Kp60 hardware decode of HEVC video
- Complete compatibility with earlier Raspberry Pi products
Complete information is available at https://tinyurl.com/ANS-181-Pi-4
[ANS thanks RaspberryPi.org for the above information.]
2020 Cubesat Developers Workshop Announced
The 2020 Cubesat Developers Workshop will be held May 4–6, 2020 at the Cal Poly Performing Arts Center, San Luis Obispo, CA. Information can be had by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org. [ANS thanks Cubesat.org for the above information.]
In addition to regular membership, AMSAT offers membership in the President’s Club. Members of the President’s Club, as sustaining donors to AMSAT Project Funds, will be eligible to receive additional benefits. Application forms are available from the AMSAT office.
Primary and secondary school students are eligible for membership at one-half the standard yearly rate. Post-secondary school students enrolled in at least half time status shall be eligible for the student rate for a maximum of six post-secondary years in this status. Contact Martha at the AMSAT office for additional student membership information.
This week’s ANS Editor,
Frank Karnauskas, N1UW
n1uw at amsat dot org