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 http://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.
In this edition:
- ARISS Responds to the COVID-19 Pandemic
- New TQSL Version Provides Better LoTW Rover Support
- AMSAT-EA Registering SanoSat-1 for AMSAT Nepal
- ESA and LibreSpace Report: SDR’s for Small Satellites
- Brazil Holds 430 and 1240 MHz Hearing
- Upcoming Satellite Operations
- ARISS News
- Hamfests, Conventions, Maker Faires, and Other Events
- Satellite Shorts from All Over
SB SAT @ AMSAT $ANS-103.01
ANS-103 AMSAT News Service Weekly Bulletins
AMSAT News Service Bulletin 103.01
From AMSAT HQ KENSINGTON, MD.
April 12, 2020
To All RADIO AMATEURS
ARISS Responds to the COVID-19 Pandemic
In light of the recent COVID-19 pandemic, the ARISS team is working to transform its activities for the health and safety of ourstudents, host educational institutions and its team. It has instituted an immediate response effort followed by a more strategic, longer term initiative to protect all. ARISS leadership, working with a physician on the team, is carefully reviewing all of its procedures in light of the evolving COVID-19 recommendation. ARISS will continue to monitor the local and global situations and will modify its local and global planning as these situations change.
ARISS has two primary initiatives underway. One is to develop “virtual school” contacts to link each student in their home through its telebridge stations. The other is to plan SSTV (picture downlink) sessions during which pictures from ISS can be received by all in their homes.
For further information on the ARISS plan, see: https://www.ariss.org/COVID-19
[ANS thanks Frank Bauer, KA3HDO, ARISS International Chair for the above information.]
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the AMSAT office
is closed until further notice. For details, please visit
New TQSL Version Provides Better LoTW Rover Support
The latest version of TrustedQSL (TQSL), version 2.5.2, offers improved Logbook of The World (LoTW) support for operations from several locations, as well as the ability to detect uploads that contain incorrect location data.
The primary new feature in TQSL 2.5.2 allows logging programs, in conjunction with TQSL, to avoid incorrect contact uploads, while adding mechanisms to allow easy uploading of logs for roving stations. LoTW had required rovers to identify each location used as a separate location in TQSL. The new version of TQSL allows these operations to be handled much more smoothly by using information from the station’s logging program.
When a log is signed by TQSL, the station details — call Sign, DXCC entity, grid square, and other location details provided by the selected station location (and call sign certificate) — are compared with the details in the log. If the US state and station location in a log do not agree, TQSL 2.5.2 will reject the contact, detecting errors in instances when an incorrect station location has been chosen.
This feature will necessitate changes in many logging programs, because it requires that the log provide station details previously not used by TQSL. Once a logging program supplies these (MY_STATE, MY_DXCC, MY_CQ_ZONE, etc.), then TQSL will validate them against the log. Currently, Cabrillo logs use the CALLSIGN field to verify that the contacts are for the correct call sign.
Optionally, a station performing roaming operations (e.g., from multiple grid squares) can choose to have TQSL assume that the log is correct. When call sign or home station are provided with the log, TQSL will automatically update the details on the upload. Select “Override Station Location with QTH Details from your Log” on the “Log Handling” preference page to enable this feature.
This release also includes an update to the most recent TQSL configuration file.
[ANS thanks the ARRL 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
AMSAT-EA Registering SanoSat-1 for AMSAT Nepal
The Union of Spanish Amateur Radio Operators’ satellite group, AMSAT-EA, is registering with IARU and the ITU the AMSAT Nepal satellite SanoSat-1. This is being done due to the difficulty of carrying out this procedure in the Asian country. This is a one-off collaboration which will allow said satellite to fly under the Spanish flag. It should be launched jointly with the AMSAT-EA EASAT-2 and Hades satellites possibly with SpaceX later this year.
SanoSat-1 is a 5cm/side pocketQube 1P designed and developed affordably for the hobbyist community by using readily available commercial of-the-shelf components (COTS).
The SanoSat-1 satellite integrates a gamma radiation sensor as a payload. Its main mission will be to measure space radiation while orbiting, and periodically transmit its level to Earth using RTTY-FSK modulation. All radio amateurs will be able to receive and decode radiation measurement data.
The secondary mission of the SanoSat-1 satellite is also to demonstrate the storage and forwarding concept which will be useful in remote disaster-prone locations. The satellite will collect data from ground sensors, store it on board and transmit it to Earth’s main station. The design and kit for the ground sensors will be made available to the general public.
One of AMSAT Nepal’s goals is to encourage more people to join the group of radio amateurs by receiving data from SanoSat-1 which will also transmit a CW beacon with its internal status.
Another activity scheduled to promote radio amateurs and satellite technology to science and technology students around the world is the organization of hands-on workshops on the construction of pico-satellites and ground stations. There will be an opportunity to build an affordable open source ground station (SatNOGS) and a dedicated GFSK receiver ground station to receive the data. The design of the satellite itself will be open source as well.
More information is available at: https://tinyurl.com/ANS-103-Sa
[ANS thanks the Union of Spanish Amateur Radio Operators 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.
ESA and LibreSpace Report: SDR’s for Small Satellites
The European Space Agency and Libre Space Foundation have published a paper comparing many common software defined radios (SDR’s). The devices they examined are:
- RTS-SDR v3
- Airspy Mini
- SDRPlay RSPduo
- LimeSDR Mini
- BladeRF 2.0 Micro
- Ettus USRP B210
- Pluto SDR
The report looked at several bands of interest, but not the HF bands — not surprising considering that some of the devices can’t even operate on HF. They did examine VHF, UHF, L band, S band, and C band performance. Some of the SDR’s have transmit capabilities, and for those devices, they tested the transmit function as well as receive.
The review isn’t just subjective. It calculates noise figures and dynamic range, along with other technical parameters. It also includes GNURadio flowgraphs for their test setups, which would be a place to start if one wanted to do these kinds of measurements oneself.
Towards the end of the 134 page report is an assessment of SDR software and how the boards are supported. There was no clear winner or loser although the report did mention how SDRPlay’s closed source limited software support in some applications.
Read the complete report at: https://tinyurl.com/ANS-103-SD
[ANS thanks Hackaday for the above information.]
Brazil Holds 430 and 1240 MHz Hearing
A public hearing is being held in Brazil concerning both the 430 MHz and the 1240 MHz Amateur Radio bands.
On March 23, 2020 the National Telecommunications Agency, ANATEL, published a Public Consultation proposal number 14/2020 on technical and operational requirements for the use of the frequency bands from 430 MHz to 440 MHz and from 1240 MHz to 1300 MHz by stations of the Private Limited Service (SLP) for radiolocation applications.
The national amateur radio society LABRE says “The Radio Amateur community is concerned about the possible occurrence of interference, especially in the 70 cm band.”
Read the translated LABRE post at: https://tinyurl.com/BrazilLABR
[ANS thanks AMSAT-UK for the above information.]
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 (https://twitter.com/WY7AA) as the trip approaches.
[ANS thanks Robert Bankston, KE4AL 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 https://www.amsat.org/donate/
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.
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-Neam?, 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
[ANS thanks Charlie Sufana, AJ9N, for the above information.]
Hamfests, Conventions, Maker Faires, and Other Events
Due to COVID-19, many hamfests 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.
- May 2, 2020 Arrowhead Radio Amateurs Club Hamfest, Superior, WI
- June 12-13, 2020, Ham-Com, Plano, TX
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 AMSAT for the above information.]
Shorts from All Over
Fresh ISS Crew Arrives
NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy, KF5KDR, and two Russian cosmonauts arrived Thursday for their mission aboard the International Space Station, temporarily restoring the orbiting laboratory’s population to six people. The Soyuz MS-16 spacecraft carrying Cassidy, along with Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner of the Russian space agency Roscosmos, docked to the station’s Poisk service module at 10:13 A.M. after a four-orbit, six-hour flight. Their Soyuz spacecraft launched at 4:05 A.M. EDT (0805Z, or 1:05 P.M. Kazakhstan time) from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
[ANS thanks NASA for the above information.]
Rocket Lab Rocket Recovery Test Video
Before New Zealand went into COVID-19 lockdown, the folks at Rocket Lab did a test to recover a first stage Electron rocket. You can see the video at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?
[ANS thanks Terry Osborne, ZL2BAC, for the above information.]
Preparing for the Ultimate DXpedition? Read the Manual First!
For those of you who have been dreaming about operating from the moon or Mars, you can begin your preparations by reading SpaceX’s Starship User Guide Version 1.0. No, it’s not a detailed flight manual but it will help you plan your provisions. It’s light reading and can be seen at https://tinyurl.com/ANS-103-St
[ANS thanks JoAnne Maenpaa, K9JKM for the above information.]
First Transatlantic Contact on 70 Centimeters Reported
History appears to have been made on April 7, when AMSAT member Burt Demarcq, FG8OJ, on Guadeloupe in the Caribbean, and an operator at D4VHF in Cape Verde off the African Coast and , completed a contact on 70 centimeters using FT8 — a distance of 3,867 kilometers (2,398 miles). This would mark the first transatlantic contact on that band that did not involve satellites or moonbounce. The most likely mode of propagation was marine ducting, with the signal being trapped close to the ocean surface.
One day earlier, 9Y4D in Trinidad copied D4VHF over a distance of 4,006 kilometers (2,484 miles), but no contact was made. D4VHF is the VHF-UHF contest call sign of the Monteverde Contest Team (D4C).
Perhaps not coincidentally, FG8OJ was the first to span the Atlantic on 2 meters over the same path, when he worked D41CV in Cape Verde on June 16, 2019.
[ANS thanks the ARRL 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