ANS-089 AMSAT News Service Weekly Bulletins for March 29th

The AMSAT News Service bulletins are a free, weekly news and information service of AMSAT, 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.

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In this edition:

  • Sean Kutzko, KX9X, Appointed AMSAT Volunteer Coordinator
  • AMSAT Office Closed Until Further Notice
  • First Satellite Contact to be Noted in May QST
  • Amateur Radio Satellite Spreads Fight Coronavirus Message
  • Ham Talk Live! Interviews Frank Bauer, KA3HDO
  • ISS Crew Transition Affected by CoViD-19
  • Upcoming ARISS Contacts
  • Upcoming Satellite Operations
  • Satellite Shorts From All Over


SB SAT @ AMSAT $ANS-089.01
ANS-089 AMSAT News Service Weekly Bulletins

AMSAT News Service Bulletin 089.01
DATE 2020 Mar 29
BID: $ANS-089.01


Sean Kutzko, KX9X, Appointed AMSAT Volunteer Coordinator

AMSAT President Clayton Coleman, W5PFG, has announced the appointment of Sean Kutzko, KX9X, as Volunteer Coordinator.

First licensed in 1982 as KA9NGH, Kutzko served as both ARRL Contest Branch Manager (2007-2013) and ARRL Media and Public Relations Manager (2013-2017). He was the creator and co-administrator of the ARRL National Parks on the Air (NPOTA) program in 2016. An active HF and VHF contester, DXer and backpack QRP enthusiast, Kutzko started working satellites in 2011 and has transmitted from over fifty different grid squares. He has written instructional materials on satellite operating for the AMSAT website, QST, and blogs regularly on satellite topics for the DX Engineering blogs “On All Bands.”

“It’s an honor to be able to volunteer for AMSAT,” Kutzko said. “When [new AMSAT president] Clayton [Coleman, W5PFG] asked if I would help coordinate a team of volunteers, I jumped at the opportunity. AMSAT is a great organization and helping find good volunteers who are willing to help all areas of AMSAT’s growth and development is the least I could do for the organization that has given me a lot of enjoyment and technical skill.”

Outside of Amateur Radio, Kutzko is a freelance PR/communications consultant and voiceover artist, as well as a baker of artisan breads, pizza and pastries. He also plays drums in a classic rock/country band, Silverweed. He lives in Urbana, Illinois.

[ANS thanks AMSAT President Clayton Coleman, W5PFG, for the above in-formation]

AMSAT Office Closed Until Further Notice

Due to Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan’s order closing all non-essential businesses in the State of Maryland in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the AMSAT office is closed until further notice, effective to-day at 5:00 p.m. EDT.

While the office is closed, AMSAT will continue to accept new and renewal memberships. However, membership packets will not be mailed until the office reopens. T-shirts, hats, and other items stocked in the office will also not be available until the office reopens. Digital downloadable content, including SatPC32 and MacDoppler will re-main available from the AMSAT store. Antenna, name badge, and awards orders will be forwarded for processing.

The March/April issue of The AMSAT Journal will be produced on time. However, it may only be possible to publish it in digital format. Stay tuned for further updates.

Any questions about memberships, orders, or office operations can be sent to info at Please note that no mail or phone service will be available until the office reopens. Vendors billing AMSAT for goods or services may email the above address to arrange payment.

[ANS thanks the AMSAT office for the above information]

Purchase AMSAT Gear on our Zazzle storefront.
25% of the purchase price of each product goes towards
Keeping Amateur Radio in Space

First Satellite Contact to be Noted in May QST

Those who are ARRL members may be interested in the Technical Correspondence article in the forthcoming May 2020 QST, entitled “The 60th Anniversary of the First Satellite Contact.”

The contact to which it refers took place on February 6, 1960, six months before NASA’s Project Echo, between W2RS and K3JTE (now W3PK), making use of a propagation mode first reported by W8JK (SK), which he called “the satellite ionization phenomenon.”

The May 2020 QST article describes what we did and what has been learned since then about the ionosphere and how W8JK’s mechanism works. For further reading about the contact, see the article in Proceedings of the Institute of Radio Engineers, September 1961. For more about the satellite ionization phenomenon, see the chapter by W8JK in S.F. Singer, ed., Interactions of Space Vehicles With an Ionized Atmosphere, Pergamon Press, 1965.

The May issue of QST is expected to be published in mid-April.

[ANS thanks Ray Soifer, W2RS, for the above information]


Amateur Radio Satellite Spreads Fight Coronavirus Message

Indonesia’s national amateur radio society ORARI reports the ham radio satellite LAPAN-A2 (IO-86) is being used to send a Fight Coronavirus message using APRS.

A translation of the ORARI post says:
The satellite spreads the text message “Stay Healthy, Stay at Home #LawanCorona”.

This was conveyed by Researcher of the Center for Satellite Technology, Sonny Dwi Harsono when contacted, Friday, March 20, 2020.

Sonny explained, this action was a form of support for government policies on social distancing. The policy encourages all of us to reduce activities outside the home and interactions with others. “So this message was sent by the LAPAN A2 satellite via the APRS (Automatic Packet Reporting System) beacon which was transmitted throughout Indonesia. APRS is a text based communication system for short messages such as SMS on mobile phones. But this APRS message can only be received through HT (Handie Talkie) which has the recipient of the APRS message,” he said.

Sonny explained, messages that have been disseminated can be received by anyone by setting the HT radio frequency to 145.825 MHZ. To date corona’s message has been received by dozens of members of the Indonesian Radio Amateur Organization (ORARI) spread throughout Indonesia.

The dissemination of the message was carried out starting March 20. For the time being the message dissemination was carried out on the APRS mission only. But it will try to spread the message one time at a LAPAN-A2 / LAPAN-ORARI track every 100 minutes. “Later if possible, we try to distribute 24 hours nonstop every 100 minutes under certain conditions. Currently we are discussing the technicalities. The messages from the government can also be disseminated via the LAPAN-A2 satellite,” he concluded.

Source ORARI

Follow LAPAN-A2

[ANS thanks AMSAT-UK for the above information]

Need new satellite antennas? Purchase Arrows, Alaskan Arrows,
and M2 LEO-Packs from the AMSAT Store. When you purchase through
AMSAT, a portion of the proceeds goes towards
Keeping Amateur Radio in Space.

Ham Talk Live! Interviews Frank Bauer, KA3HDO

Ham Talk Live! host Neal Rapp, WB9VPG recently interviewed Frank Bauer, KA3HDO, for an informative look at recent events in the ARISS program. Bauer, who is AMSAT Vice President, Human Spaceflight and ARISS International Chair was interviewed on Thursday, March 26, 2020.

In the interview Bauer covers ARISS’ four-year effort to update the ISS Amateur Radio station with its next generation radio system, the Interoperable Radio System (IORS). The IORS consists of a specially modified JVC-Kenwood TM-D710 transceiver and the AMSAT-NA developed multi-voltage power supply.

The complete interview can be heard at

[ANS thanks Neil Rapp, WB9VPG for the above information.]

ISS Crew Transition Affected by CoViD-19

The International Space Station Expedition 62 crew, consisting of NASA Flight Engineer Jessica Meir, Flight Engineer Andrew Morgan, KI5AAA, and Commander Oleg Skripochka, RA0LDJ, are readying their Soyuz MS-15 crew ship for departure on April 17. Meanwhile, the crew that will replace them is nearing its launch scheduled for April 9 aboard the Soyuz MS-16 crew ship. NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy, KF5KDR, and Roscosmos cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner arrived this week at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan for final training. The Expedition 63 trio is due to live aboard the station for 195 days with Cassidy as commander.
(ANS thanks for the above information)

NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy’s family will be watching remotely from halfway around the world when he blasts off April 9 from Kazakhstan to begin a six-month expedition on the International Space Station. That’s because travel restrictions and stringent social distancing guidelines instituted to slow the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic will limit the ability for family members to travel to the Baikonur Cosmo-drome for the launch. Launch day at Baikonur is usually a festive affair. “But it’ll be completely quiet,” Cassidy said in a satellite interview from Star City, Russia. “There won’t be anybody there.”
(ANS thanks for the above information)

NASA already has a long-held strategy in place for preventing astro-nauts from carrying any nasty bugs with them to space. All astronauts going to orbit must go through a two-week period of quarantine called “health stabilization,” according to NASA. That way, the agency can make sure the crew is not incubating any illnesses before launch. How-ever, NASA said it “will continue to evaluate and augment this plan, in coordination with its international and commercial partners” if needed.

In the meantime, Russia’s state space corporation, Roscosmos, has decided to shut down all media activity surrounding the Soyuz launch, barring journalists from covering the mission in person. Russia will still live stream the launch, and NASA typically airs all of its crewed launches on its own online TV channel.

The return of the Expedition 62 crew in mid-April would typically involve large numbers of recovery personnel. SpaceX will be ready to send its first crew of NASA astronauts to the International Space Station aboard its Crew Dragon capsule sometime in May. NASA has not provided any details if those operations would change in light of the pandemic.
(ANS thanks for the above information)

Upcoming ARISS Contacts

Amateurs and others around the world may listen in on contacts between amateurs operating in schools and allowing students to interact with astronauts and cosmonauts aboard the International Space Station. The downlink frequency on which to listen is 145.800 MHz worldwide.

Amur State University, Blagoveshchensk, Russia, direct via RKØJ
The ISS callsign is presently scheduled to be RSØISS
The scheduled astronaut is Oleg Skripochka
Possible contact on Tuesday 2020-03-31 08:50 UTC

ARISS is very aware of the impact that COVID-19 is having on schools and the public in general. As such, we may have last minute cancellations or postponements of school contacts. As always, ARISS will try to provide everyone with near-real-time updates at the ARISS webpage:

The contact scheduled for Wednesday 2020-03-25 with SPDW Voortrekker Movement, Oranjeville, South Africa, direct via ZS9SPD was postponed due to COVID-19 concerns.

[ANS thanks Charlie Sufana, AJ9N, one of the ARISS operation team men-tors for the above information]

AMSAT, along with our ARISS partners, is developing an amateur
radio package, including two-way communication capability, to
be carried on-board Gateway in lunar orbit.
Support AMSAT’s projects today at

Upcoming Satellite Operations

River Bend Wireless Rove (EN22, EN33, EN34, EN42, EN43, EN44) April 2-4, 2020
Mitch Ahrenstorff, AD0HJ, is looking to add six more grids to his rover basket just before the April 4 AMSAT presentation/demonstration at the River Bend Wireless and Mechanical Society in Faribault, Minn. Mitch will be activating the EN43/EN44 grid line on April 2nd, the EN32/EN42 grid line on April 3rd, and the EN33/EN34 grid line on April 4th, 2020. Watch Mitch’s Twitter feed as the dates approach for a de-tailed schedule.

From the Mountains to the Bay (CM88,89,98,99 DM09,19,29 DN00,01,02,10,11,20,21) April 12-21, 2020
R.J. Bragg, WY7AA, is hitting the asphalt again, roving from Wyoming to Vacaville, Calif. He’s attending a class from April 15-19, so most of the roving will be outside of this time. Grids to be covered in-clude: CM88,89,98,99 DM09,19,29 DN00,01,02,10,11,20,21. Specific pass details will be posted on WY7AA QRZ page and Twitter ( as the trip approaches.

Please submit any additions or corrections to ke4al (at)

[ANS thanks Robert Bankston, KE4AL, AMSAT VP-User Services for the above information]

Satellite Shorts From All Over

+ Nothing to do while quarantined by Covid-19? How about making a paper model of the satellite, DIWATA-1, the first satellite designed and built in the Philippines: (ANS thanks JoAnne Maenpaa, K9JKM, for the above information)

+ There has been lengthy discussion this week on the AMSAT email bulletin board, amsat-bb, about inconsiderate operators on FM satel- lites. A document by Sean Kutzko, KX9X, published back in 2017, is still an excellent guide to best practices on these birds. See it at (ANS thanks Mark Johns, K0JM, for the above information)

+ The coronavirus has had effects on many space activities this week: Virgin Orbit is reassessing schedules, Blue Origin in hard-hit Seattle is mostly working online, Arianespace suspended launches from French Guiana and Russia recalled and quarantined its personnel, ESA mission control is working from home, and some spaceports are closed worldwide. (ANS thanks for the above information)

+ One thing astronauts have to be good at: living in confined spaces for long periods of time. Find yourself in a similar scenario? NASA astronaut Anne McClain recently posted a lengthy Twitter thread with pro-tips for getting through your time at home. It begins at: (ANS thanks for the above information)

+ At least on the ISS astronauts don’t have the added task of caring for and educating kids. If your current confinement capsule is equipped with youngsters in grades K-4, there are resources for you at: (ANS thanks NASA for the above information)

+ The Folding@home project is a distributed computing project that is currently running calculations to analyze protein structures on the COVID-19 project. Donate your spare computer time to help this project and consider joining AMSAT’s team (#67910). More information at AMSAT’s team standings can be found at


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 6 post-secondary years in this status. Contact Martha at the AMSAT Office for additional student membership information.

73 and Remember to help keep amateur radio in space,
This week’s ANS Editor,

K0JM at amsat dot org