AMSAT NEWS SERVICE
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.
The news feed on http://www.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: [email protected]
You can sign up for free e-mail delivery of the AMSAT News Service Bulletins via the ANS List; to join this list see: http://www.amsat.org/mailman/listinfo/ans
In this edition:
- ARRL, AMSAT Seek Changes in FCC Orbital Debris Mitigation Proposals
- House Committee Leaders Request FCC Delay Rulemaking on Space Debris
- 3D Printed Cubesat Simulator Frame Design Posted
- New OSCAR T-Shirt Available from AMSAT Zazzle Store
- Receiving SMOG-P and ATL-1 Nano Satellites With an RTL-SDR
- Commercial Blogs Feature Introductions to Satellite Operations
- Upcoming Satellite Operations
- ARISS News
- Hamfests, Conventions, Maker Faires, and Other Events
- Satellite Shorts From All Over
SB SAT @ AMSAT $ANS-110.01
ANS-110 AMSAT News Service Weekly Bulletins
AMSAT News Service Bulletin 110.01
From AMSAT HQ KENSINGTON, MD.
DATE 2020 April 19
To All RADIO AMATEURS
ARRL, AMSAT Seek Changes in FCC Orbital Debris Mitigation Proposals
ARRL Washington Counsel Dave Siddall, K3ZJ, and AMSAT Executive Vice President Paul Stoetzer, N8HM, on April 8, discussed with senior FCC International Bureau staff by telephone the FCC’s draft Report & Order (R&O) on mitigation of orbital debris (IB Docket No. 18-313). The amateur representatives told the FCC staff that “two aspects of the draft regulations are of particular concern…. and would seriously hinder amateur radio’s future operations in space, if adopted as proposed without the relatively minor changes that we propose.”
First, ARRL and AMSAT requested a revision to proposed language that otherwise would allow only private individual licensees to indemnify the U.S. for the operations of an amateur space satellite. ARRL and AMSAT requested that satellite owners be added to that provision. The amateur representatives, noting that amateur radio licensees may only be individuals under the amateur rules, stated that “[i]n no other service would an individual be required to personally make a similar indemnification” and that “it would be difficult to impossible to find an individual Amateur Radio licensee willing to bear that risk.”
Second, ARRL and AMSAT asked the FCC to delay by 3 years the proposed effective date of April 23, 2022, for a rule that would require satellite operators to certify that space stations “be designed with the maneuvering capabilities sufficient to perform collision avoidance” for spacecraft designed to operate above 400 kilometers in altitude. Citing the long lead times to design and construct Amateur satellites, ARRL and AMSAT suggested that a more reasonable date would be April 23, 2025 and noted that, based on recent past years, only an estimated 3-5 amateur satellites likely would be launched during the extra period.
“We do not disagree with the purpose of this requirement,” they told the FCC staff, but “the proposed effective date is unreasonable in the case of amateur radio satellites.” The new effective date “would allow time for amateur spacecraft designers to adapt to this new requirement,” they said.
Citing the value of amateur satellites to the development of the commercial small satellite industry, and student participation in such projects, ARRL and AMSAT said a strong and robust Amateur Satellite Service will help inspire future developments in satellite technology. The requested changes to the draft R&O would help ensure that amateur radio continues to have a future in space and contribute to the public interest on an educational, non-pecuniary basis.
The FCC is expected to consider the R&O at its April 23 open meeting. The AMSAT/ARRL document may be read in full at: https://bit.ly/2KjfHjf
[ANS thanks the American Radio Relay League for the above information]
House Committee Leaders Request FCC Delay Rulemaking on Space Debris
House Science, Space, and Technology Committee Ranking Member Frank Lucas, Chairwoman Eddie Bernice Johnson, Space & Aeronautics Subcommittee Ranking Member Brian Babin, and Space & Aeronautics Subcommittee Chairwoman Kendra Horn sent a letter requesting that the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) delay on their Proposed Rulemaking in the matter of Mitigation of Orbital Debris in the New Space Age.
The Science Committee Members raised a number of concerns with moving forward on the rule, including the timing of the action during the COVID-19 pandemic. “Given the unprecedented circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 crisis, the immense effort undertaken to recover from the pandemic, and the potential for the FCC’s proposal to exacerbate impacts on U.S. industry and international competitiveness at a critical period in our nation’s history, we hope that you will agree to postpone future action,” the letter reads.
The letter also raises substantive concerns with the rule itself, the rulemaking process, and the potential for regulatory and legislative inconsistency, noting significant concerns from stakeholders [including AMSAT].
“The proposal contradicts Executive Branch policy and is inconsistent with existing and proposed legislative action,” the letter states. “Regulatory action by the FCC at this time, without clear authority from Congress, will at the very least create confusion and undermine the Commission’s work, and at worst undermine U.S. economic competitiveness and leadership in space.” The letter also mentions that FCC action could duplicate efforts at the Department of Commerce.
The full text of the letter is available at: https://bit.ly/3bhJqoC
[ANS thanks spaceref.com for the above information]
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the AMSAT office is closed until further notice.
For details, please visit https://www.amsat.org/amsat-office-closed-until-further-notice/
3D Printed Cubesat Simulator Frame Design Posted
AMSAT VP – Educational Relations, Dr. Alan Johnston, KU2Y, posted his build of the 3D printed ‘Universal 1U Cubesat Frame’ by Juliano85 at: https://thingiverse.com/make:789484 Alan notes, “It is a perfect frame for the new AMSAT CubeSatSim, a low cost CubeSat functional satellite model.” Information on building the Simulator can found at: http://cubesatsim.org
The CubeSatSim is a low cost satellite emulator that runs on solar pan els and batteries, and transmits UHF radio telemetry. The simulator is a tool for education and demonstrations. It can be used in a classroom or training setting to introduce the basics of satellites, or it can be used to teach STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math) concepts. It can also be a stepping stone in a project to build and launch an actual flight model CubeSat.
[ANS thanks Alan Johnston, KU2Y, VP – Educational Relations, 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
New OSCAR T-Shirt Available from AMSAT Zazzle Store
Thanks to an post on Twitter from Michael Styne, K2MTS, AMSAT is pleased to offer a new t-shirt on the AMSAT Zazzle Store. This t-shirt design is available in variants suitable for printing on either dark or lightly colored shirts.
The shirt features a representation of AMSAT-OSCAR 7 in orbit with the tagline “OSCAR – Adventure and Excitement in Space Age Communication” This image was used in advertisements for the 1978 ARRL book “Getting to Know OSCAR.” The ARRL has granted AMSAT permission to republish this classic image as a t-shirt.
Get yours today! 25% of the purchase price goes towards Keeping Amateur Radio in Space.
[ANS thanks Paul Stoetzer, N8HM, AMSAT Executive VP, for the above information]
Receiving SMOG-P and ATL-1 Nano Satellites With an RTL-SDR
Zoltan Doczi (HA7DCD) has published a tutorial that shows how to receive signals from the SMOG-P and ATL-1 nano satellites which were launched via Rocket Lab back in late 2019.
SMOG-P is a Hungarian nano satellite developed by BME University. It’s payload consists of an on board spectrum analyzer that is designed to measure electromagnetic pollution (electrosmog) from space, and to also monitor the DVB-T spectrum. It currently holds the title of the world’s smallest satellite in operation. ATL-1 is another Hungarian satellite this time developed by ATL Ltd. Its mission is to test a new thermal isolation material in space and to monitor the DVB-T spectrum.
To receive telemetry from these satellites one can use a Raspberry Pi, RTL-SDR, Yagi, and optionally an LNA and filter. In his post Zoltan shows how to install the SMOG-P decoder, and provides a script that automatically decodes, uploads packets to the BME University server, and archives old IQ files and packets.
Zoltan notes that if you wish to receive these satellites, now is the time to do so as these nano satellites are in a very low orbit and only have an orbital lifespan of only 6-8 months total.
[ANS thanks Zoltan Doczi, HA7DCD, and RTL-SDR.com 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.
Commercial Blogs Feature Introductions to Satellite Operations
The official corporate blogs of two businesses closely related to the amateur radio market have focused attention on introducing newcomers to the world of satellites in this past week. Icom America, Inc. and DX Engineering have both featured satellite operations in blog posts, and have promoted these posts on their corporate social media channels.
Electronics manufacturer Icom America featured a post introducing satellite operations to newcomers this week. The blog post, authored by Jim Wilson, K5ND, is titled, “Satellite Operations – Amazing Technology, Grids and Grins.” The post is dated April 13, 2020.
In a social media post the same day, @IcomAmericaInc tweeted: “Have you ever tried satellite operations? If you haven’t, we have a short blog by Jim Wilson @k5nd that can spark your interest. Find out more at: https://bit.ly/2WWF0PU ”
The blog entry, which includes many photos and graphics, offers some basic information on satellites currently available, discusses ideas for possible ground stations, and mentions satellite operating activities such as DX, grid chasing, and roaming. The post also includes a link to amsat.org and promotes the 2019 Edition of Getting Started with Amateur Satellites, published by AMSAT.
[ANS thanks Icom America for the above information]
Also, amateur radio retailer DX Engineering placed a satellite post in the Technical Articles section of their “On All Bands” blog. The post, by Sean Kutzko, KX9X, appeared on April 15.
Titled, “How to Predict and Track a Satellite Pass,” the post offers a basic primer on satellite tracking and reviews a number of online satellite tracking sites, as well as some of the available tracking software and apps for Windows, iOS, and Android operating systems. SatPC32, which is available through AMSAT, is prominently mentioned.
A Tweet from @SeanKutzko states: “To access a #hamradio satellite, you have to know when it’s above the horizon and where to point your antenna. My latest blog for @DXEngineering shows you how to do both! https://onallbands.com/how-to-predict-and-track-a-satellite-pass/ @AMSAT #amsat #hamr #arrl #KX9X”
[ANS thanks Sean Kutzko, KX9X, for the above information]
Upcoming Satellite Operations
Due to COVID-19, there are no announced satellite operations at this moment. Any roving activity of which AMSAT becomes aware will be posted at: https://www.amsat.org/satellite-info/upcoming-satellite-operations/
Until then, stay safe and keep making contacts from home.
Please submit any additions or corrections to ke4al (at) amsat.org
[ANS thanks Robert Bankston, KE4AL, AMSAT VP-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 https://www.amsat.org/donate/
ARISS lets students worldwide experience the excitement of talking directly with crew members of the International Space Station, inspiring them to pursue interests in careers in science, technology, engineering and math, and engaging them with radio science technology through amateur radio.
The ARISS team continues to test and firm up a plan to transform ARISS contacts and how ARISS interacts with youth and education institutions. ARISS will provide distance learning with every student and staff member in their own homes (even quarantined).
[ANS thanks ARISS for the above information]
Hamfests, Conventions, Maker Faires, and Other Events
Want to see AMSAT in action or learn more about amateur radio in space? 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 cancelled 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.
May 2, 2020Arrowhead Radio Amateurs Club Hamfest, Superior, WI
Postponed to September 26, 2020
- June 12-13, 2020, Ham-Com, Plano, TX
The following events scheduled to have an AMSAT presence have been CANCELED:
- March 21, 2020, Midwinter Madness Hamfest, Buffalo, MN
- March 21, 2020, Scottsdale Amateur Radio Club Hamfest, Scottsdale, AZ
- March 28, 2020, Tucson Spring Hamfest, Tucson, AZ
- March 29, 2020, Vienna Wireless Winterfest, Annandale, VA
- April 4, 2020 River Bend Wireless and Mechanical Society Presentation, Faribault, MN
- 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 1517, Hamvention, Xenia, OH
A copy of the AMSAT hamfest brochure is available for download from: https://bit.ly/2ygVFmV
This color brochure is designed to be printed double-sided and folded into a tri-fold handout.
To include your upcoming AMSAT presentation and/or demonstration, please send an email to ambassadors (at) amsat (dot) org.
[ANS thanks Robert Bankston, KE4AL, AMSAT VP-User Services for the above information]
Satellite Shorts From All Over
+ The Hubble Space Telescope explores the universe 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. That means it has observed some fascinating cosmic wonder every day of the year, including on your birthday. What did Hubble look at on your birthday? Enter the month and date to find out at: https://go.nasa.gov/2RJeAxu
(ANS thanks NASA.gov for the above information)
+ The Youth on the Air Camp in the Americas, a summer camp for licensed amateur radio operators ages 15 through 25 that was scheduled to take place June 21 through June 26, 2020 at the National Voice of America Museum of Broadcasting in West Chester Township (North Cincinnati), Ohio has been postponed until the summer of 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A satellite session had been planned for this event. For more information about YOTA in the Americas can be found at YouthOnTheAir.org.
(ANS thanks Camp Director Neil Rapp, WB9VPG, for the above information)
+ Houston, we’ve had a problem. April 11th marked the 50th anniversary of Apollo 13’s launch. Check out the amazing Apollo 13 in Real Time to follow the mission as it happened or jump to any point in the mission timeline) at: https://apolloinrealtime.org/13/ NASA also released “Apollo 13: Home Safe,” a 30 minute documentary that follows the mission, available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WM8kjDF0IJU Apollo 13 remains one of the greatest all-time feats of human ingenuity and improvisation under pressure.
(ANS thanks The Orbital Index for the above information)
+ Space has not been insulated from the virus. An article cataloging some of the impacts of the pandemic on the spaceflight, “How the Coronavirus Outbreak is Affecting the Space Industry,” can be found at: http://www.satmagazine.com/story.php?number=818620039
(ANS thanks SatMagazine for the above information)
+ The International Space Station Expedition 62 crew, consisting of NASA Flight Engineer Jessica Meir, Flight Engineer Andrew Morgan, KI5AAA, and Commander Oleg Skripochka, RA0LDJ, departed the International Space Station and landed in Kazakhstan on Friday, 17 April. The Soyuz MS-15 spacecraft undocked from the aft port of the station’s Zvezda service module at 0153z Friday, and landed on the Kazakh steppe at 0516z. The replacement crew, consisting of NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy, KF5KDR, and Roscosmos cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner arrived at the ISS on April 9. (ANS thanks SpacelightNow for the above information)
+ ARRL members will now receive digital access to four ARRL magazines beginning with their latest issues. Joining QST and On the Air magazines on a digital platform will be the bimonthly editions of QEX — The Forum for Communications Experimenters and NCJ — National Contest Journal. Print subscriptions of QEX and NCJ will continue to be available at additional cost for those who want to receive them. All four magazines are easily accessed through any web browser from members-only links, or via the free ARRL Magazines app is available for iOS and Android.
(ANS thanks ARRL for the above information)
+ Intelsat’s IS-901 satellite is nearly 20 years old, and well beyond its expected lifespan, but a small spacecraft built by Northrop Grumman succeeded in docking with the satellite and giving it another five years of service, the companies announced on Friday. The feat is a space industry first. Full article at:
(ANS thanks Zach Metzinger, N0ZGO, and CNBC.com 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 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,
Mark D. Johns, K0JM
k0jm at amsat dot org