ANS-096 AMSAT News Service Weekly Bulletins for April 5th


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:

  • Ham Radio Book Featured in “Story Time From Space” on ISS
  •  NO-104 / PSAT2 Status
  •  VUCC Standings for April 2020
  • AMSAT Awards During Stay-at-Home Orders
  • Radio Amateurs of Canada Offers New Online Amateur Radio Course
  • AMSAT South Africa Reports Good Progress with AfriCUBE
  • ARISS News
  • Hamfests, Conventions, Maker Faires, and Other Events
  • Upcoming Satellite Operations
  • Satellite Shorts from All Over

SB SAT @ AMSAT $ANS-096.01
ANS-096 AMSAT News Service Weekly Bulletins

AMSAT News Service Bulletin 096.01
DATE April 5, 2020
BID: $ANS-096.01

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the AMSAT office
is closed until further notice. For details, please visit

Ham Radio Book Featured in “Story Time From Space” on ISS

In a collaborative initiative between the ISS National Lab Space Station Explorers, Story Time From Space, and ARISS, the recent book Ada Lace, Take Me to Your Leader by Emily Calandrelli, KD8PKR, was read by Astronaut Anne McClain for Story Time From Space. Anne read the book in three segments. The second segment features a tour of the ARISS radio station that includes details about ham radio and ARISS.

Frank Bauer, KA3HDO, AMSAT VP Human Spaceflight, pointed out that at the end of the final segment, a video was included of Astronaut Sunita Williams, KD5PLB talking about the impact of ham radio on both the ISS astronauts and the students participating in ARISS activities. Many schools and media outlets—and even the USA’s First Lady—have recommended that parents have housebound youth listen to McClain read the book.

The Vermont Community Newspaper Group‘s (Burlington) reporter wrote in part, “A great way to get out of the house—way out of the house—without leaving home…. In this installment Ada is trying to fix a ham radio. It’s a nice antidote to weighty issues, enjoying readings from weightlessness.”

A few posts recommending McClain’s YouTube thus far are: Los Angeles’s ABC TV7; Daily Times (Delaware County, PA); The Mercury (Berks County, PA); The Trentonian (NJ); The Barnstable Patriot (MA); and the Orange School District and Hamilton School District (NJ).

Find the video for your favorite future astronaut at:

[ANS thanks Rosalie White, K1STO, of the ARISS staff for the above information]

NO-104 / PSAT2 Status

The 2m/APRS side of the sat is still non operating for the unknown reasons. Any change or any packet heard would be welcomed.

The 435MHz side of the sat is still going strong. The PSK31 transponder is operating flawlessly with occasional activity seen over the US. If you are operating through transponder, you are asked to stay within 400-1000Hz of downlink frequency. Lower you can interfere with the tlm beacons and higher you will be wiped off by the SSTV signal.

The orbit is elliptical with apogee position period approximately 34 days.

The 435.350MHz downlink frequency is temperature dependent a bit so best reception with any kind of SDR, where in waterfall you can see actual downlink freq. The greatest offset is seen after eclipse when sat is coldest. The downlink is operating in Sun only, it switches off entering the eclipse and switches on coming from eclipse or after 30-minute timer.

The tlm beacons transmit every 4 minutes. The spectrum of the signal is narrow, so in SDR you can use just 2kHz bandwidth gaining SNR. Two minutes after tlm, the SSTV picture is transmitted in 4 minutes intervals also. For reception best bandwidth observed is around 9500Hz. Transmitted pictures are alternating prestored ones and pictures from camera memory stored on orbit.

Reception is possible on high passes with good omni antenna using the LNA in the quiet environment. But for the passes till horizon, directional antenna and LNA is needed.

We are still looking for any stations capable of regular downlink receptions with position between 40deg South and 40deg North. If you can make the receptions available in IQ format it would be greatly welcomed. Station capable of uplink in 29MHz to sat can be selected as commanding station and then can acquire pictures in real time or store them in sequence. So you can get pictures of your side of the globe, just contact us.

Further info and contacts can be found at

[ANS thanks Tomáš Urbanec, OK2PNQ, for the above information]

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VUCC Standings for April 2020

Here are the endorsements and new VUCC Satellite Awards issued by the ARRL for the period March 1, 2020 through April 1, 2020. Congratulations to all those who made the list this month!

CallsignMarch 1April 1
WD9EWK (DM41)148164
WD9EWK (DM22)131150

[ANS thanks Ronald Parsons, W5RKN, for the above information]

AMSAT Awards During Stay-at-Home Orders

So, you are sitting at home waiting to go back to work. You are working some of the passes of a satellite. Logging as you go. What are you going to do with all those contacts in your log? Easy…

You apply for an AMSAT or ARRL award. The ARRL has Worked All States, DXCC and VUCC all with satellite endorsements. AMSAT has the Satellite Communicator Club for working your very first contact on a satellite. The easiest award to apply for. Go directly to the AMSAT Online store and purchase the award. In the comments enter the time/date, satellite and station worked. That’s it. No waiting for QSL cards, no waiting  for LoTW confirmation. Then send me an email that you have paid for the award so I know there is one waiting to be processed.

AMSAT has a few other awards. The AMSAT Satellite Communications Achievement Award for working 20 different contacts in different US States, VE Call Areas and DXCC entities. Adding 40 more, you earn the AMSAT Sexagesimal Award and adding another 40 earns the AMSAT Century Award.

Have you been keeping your log for a long time? You might already qualify for the AMSAT Robert W. Barbee Jr., W4AMI Satellite Operator Achievement Award. This award is for 1,000 contacts with anyone over a satellite. Endorsements for each 1,000 up to 4,000 and a special certificate at 5,000.

There is also the South Africa AMSAT Satellite Communications Achievement award. This award is for 25 contacts through a LEO satellite. As we have no HEO satellites at this time and only one GEO satellite you are pretty much good on almost any satellite you work.

And the final one, the AMSAT Rover award. A bit much to explain here.

You can get information on all the AMSAT Awards at click on Services and click on the word Awards. You can also click on each of the individual awards to get information on each.

Submission is easy for the AMSAT awards. Scan your QSL cards or screen shot your LoTW for each contact. Place them in a ZIP file, Word Document, PDF document and email them to kk5do at amsat dot org. I will then take a look at your submission, complete my documentation and email you to go pay for the award/s at the AMSAT online store.

Remember, all satellites are COVID-19 free and you should have no hesitation making a contact through one.

[ANS thanks Bruce Paige, KK5DO, AMSAT Director of Contests and Awards for the above information]

Radio Amateurs of Canada Offers New Online Amateur Radio Course

In response to the current Covid-19 crisis, Radio Amateurs of Canada is pleased to announce that it is introducing a new online Amateur Radio course so that individuals can upgrade their qualifications while continuing to practise social/physical distancing.

The RAC Online Basic Amateur Radio Qualification Course prepares stu dents for the Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED) Basic Qualification Level Operator Certificate exam to operate on allocated Amateur Radio frequencies.

The course will use the GoToMeeting web-based service and will start on Thursday, April 16 and will finish in mid-June. Classes will be held on Thursday evenings from 6 pm to 8:30 (1800 – 2030) Eastern Time (1900 – 2130 Atlantic Time) and Sunday afternoons 1 pm to 3:30 pm (1300 – 1530) Eastern Time (1400 – 1630 Atlantic Time).

The course instructor is Al Penney, VO1NO. Al was first licensed in 1977 and has been active in many areas of Amateur Radio including contesting, DXing, VHF/UHF weak signal, satellites, emergency communications and DXpeditioning. He has served as the President of six different Amateur Radio clubs in both Canada and the United States and currently chairs the International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) Region 2 Band Planning Committee. Al has taught the Basic Qualification Amateur Radio Course since 1994.

Cost: The registration fee for the course is $50 plus GST/HST. The cost of the Basic Study Guide is extra and an order link will be provided upon completion of payment.

For more information please visit:

[ANS thanks Southgate ARC for the above information]

AMSAT South Africa Reports Good Progress with AfriCUBE

AMSATSA held its regular online progress meeting this past Wednesday. During the past few weeks, progress was made on all fronts. The transponder was tested on the air and an actual contact was made through the transponder. Hannes Coetzee, ZS6BZP installed the transponder on the tower at his house and made a contact with Keith Laaks, ZS6TW. While it was only over a few kilometres distance, the importance of the contact was that there was no interference and the audio quality was good.

This past week Anton Janovsky, ZR6AIC has worked on the software and through a complicated link managed to upload and install newer software remotely. “Anton connected to my computer and took over the machine using TeamViewer and then connected via Wi-Fi to the transponder on my tower,” Hannes, ZS6BZP said. “In normal times we would have simply exchanged a memory stick, but in abnormal times one has to resort to unconventional ways of doing things”.

Further updates will be uploaded this weekend with more testing of the transponder. The next step is to open the testing to local radio amateurs. Full details will be announced on SARL News and on the AMSAT SA Web. The full AfriCUBE development story is available on

The review meeting was also updated with the other components of AfriCUBE. The space frame is complete, the PC boards for the solar panels have been designed and will be manufactured as soon as the lockdown is over. Work is continuing on the antenna and solar panel deployment and a further prototype will be manufactured as soon as South Africa returns to normal work. The electronic power supply unit is complete. A new interface between the Raspberry Pi and the processor has been designed and the circuit board laid out.

[ANS thanks the South African Radio League for the above information]


Upcoming ARISS Contact Schedule as of 2020-03-30 21:00 UTC

Quick list of scheduled contacts and events:


Looking for some stay at home activities related to science and for when you are not playing on your radio? Check out these links:

Celestron, the telescope, microscope, and sports optics folks, now has something called #STEMINYOURBACKYARD that you can find on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter. By the way, I don’t work for Celestron or have any business dealings with them and this is just something I saw. Apparently there are 10 free STEM activities covering Astronomy, nature and Wildlife, and The Microscopic World. Check out:

NASA has a STEM page with fun activities to do at home. Check out

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, I will try to provide everyone with near-real-time updates.

The following schools have now been postponed or canceled due to COVID-19:


  • SPDW Voortrekker Movement, Oranjeville, South Africa, direct via ZS9SPD
  • RO-SAT One, Piatra-Neamț, Romania, direct via YRØISS
  • McConnell Middle School, Loganville, GA, prefer direct via KD4TGR
  • Monroe Carrell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt, Nashville, TN, direct via N4FR
  • Oakwood School, Morgan Hill, CA, direct via AE6XM
  • Ramona Lutheran School, Ramona, CA, direct via N6ROR


  • Electromagnetic Field, Ledbury, United Kingdom, direct via GB4EMF

The ARISS webpage is at

Watch for future COVID-19 related announcements here also.

[ANS thanks Charlie Sufana, AJ9N, of the ARISS Operations Team, for the above information]

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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.

Hamfests, Conventions, Maker Faires, and Other Events

AMSAT Ambassadors provide presentations, demonstrate communicating through amateur satellites, and host information tables at club meetings, hamfests, conventions, maker faires, and other events.

Due to COVID-19, many hamfest and events around the United States have been canceled or postponed. While we make every effort to ensure the information contained below is correct, there may be some that we missed.

We wish all of you safekeeping and hope to be at a hamfest near you soon.

Current schedule:

  • May 2, 2020 Arrowhead Radio Amateurs Club Hamfest, Superior, WI
  • June 12-13, 2020, Ham-Con, Plano, TX
  • October 16-18, 2020, AMSAT Symposium and Annual General Meeting, Bloomington, MN

The following events scheduled to have an AMSAT presence have been CANCELED:

  • April 18, 2020 Brainerd Area Amateur Radio Club Hamfest, Brainerd, MN
  • May 2, 2020, Cochise Amateur Radio Association Hamfest, Sierra Vista, AZ
  • May 8-9, 2020 Prescott Hamfest, Prescott, AZ
  • May 15-17, Hamvention, Xenia, OH

[ANS thanks Robert Bankston, KE4AL, AMSAT Vice President – User Services 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

From the Mountains to the Bay (CM88,89,98,99 DM09,19,29 DN00,01,02,10,11,20,21) April 12-21, 2020
RJ, WY7AA, is hitting the asphalt again, roving from Wyoming to Vacaville, CA. He’s attending a class from April 15-19, so most of the roving will be outside of this time. Grids to be covered include: 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.

[ANS thanks Robert Bankston, KE4AL, AMSAT Vice President – User Services for the above information]

Satellite Shorts From All Over

  • At 15:41 UTC on April 2nd, the thrusters of Progress MS-13 fired for 427.5 seconds to provide Δv 0.48. m/s and raise the ISS’s orbit height by about 0.9 km. (ANS thanks @Zarya_info on Twitter)
  •  New distance records have been claimed for XW-2B and EO-88. F4DXV reports working VO1FOG on XW-2B on April 1st and again on EO-88 on April 2nd. The 4,086 km trans-Atlantic QSOs are the longest claimed on either of these two satellites. For more records, check
  • The Folding at home project is a distributed computing project that is currently running calculations to analyze protein structures on the COVID-19 virus. 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
  • The 2020 Eastern VHF/UHF Conference has been canceled, so there will be no Proceedings published. All the papers submitted so far are now available online at: (more papers may be coming – there is no hard deadline) (ANS thanks the 2020 Eastern VHF/UHF Conference)
  • AMSAT-EA has applied for IARU coordination of the Hades satellite. Hades, a 1.5p Pocketqube will feature a V/U linear transponder, a regenerative transponder for FM/FSK/ASK and 0.05kbps-125kbps ASK/FSK/PSK telemetry, store & forward and data transmission from ground stations. (ANS thanks the IARU for the above information)
  • Bob Beatty, WB4SON, reported a successful “Satellites for Beginners” presentation via Zoom to the Rochester VHF Society on Saturday, April 4th. If your group would like to host a virtual AMSAT presentation, email ambassadors at
  • Happy First Contact Day! 43 years from today, Zefram Cochrane will break the warp barrier with the Phoenix and make first contact with the Vulcans.


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,

Paul Stoetzer, N8HM
n8hm at amsat dot org