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: https://mailman.amsat.org/postorius/lists/ans.amsat.org/
In this edition:
- AMSAT CubeSatSim First Official Release – v1.0
- AMSAT FoxTelem Version 1.11 Released
- AMSAT Pacsat Ground Station Version 0.43 Released
- FalconSat-3 Status
- Field Day Score Deadline – Friday, July 16th
- MIR-SAT1 Gold Award Winners
- Long Live PCSAT (NO-44) (and PCSAT-11)
- Changes to AMSAT TLE Distribution for July 8, 2021
- ARISS News
- Upcoming Satellite Operations
- Hamfests, Conventions, Maker Faires, and Other Events
- Satellite Shorts From All Over
AMSAT News Service Bulletin 192.01
To: All RADIO AMATEURS
From: Radio Amateur Satellite Corporation
712 H Street NE Suite 1653
Washington, DC 20002
DATE 2021 Ju1 11
Join the 2021 President’s Club!
Score your 2″ 4-Color Accent Commemorative Coin with Polished Gold Finish,
Full Color Certificate and Embroidered “Remove Before Flight” Key Tag
By donating today at
You won’t want to miss it!
AMSAT CubeSatSim First Official Release – v1.0
I am very pleased to announce the first software release of the CubeSatSim software v1.0! Along with the first hardware release v1.0 last month, this is an important milestone for this AMSAT educational project.
All the CubeSatSim software and hardware is fully open source. The v1.0 release info is available on GitHub here: https://github.com/alanbjohnston/CubeSatSim/releases/tag/v1.0 and the v1.0 hardware info including gerber files is available here: https://github.com/alanbjohnston/CubeSatSim/tree/v1.0/hardware/v1.0
Thanks to Bruce Paige, KK5DO, we have CubeSatSim blank PCB sets and CubeSatSim Raspberry Pi SD cards available on the AMSAT Store. For the moment, they are only available to ship to US addresses. In a post-COVID future, we hope to offer worldwide shipping.
The CubeSatSim Raspberry Pi SD Card is a 16 GB micro SD card with Raspberry Pi OS Lite and all the CubeSatSim software installed and configured on it. It is available at the AMSAT Store for $20 https://www.amsat.org/product/amsat-cubesatsim-raspberry-pi-sd-card/ You can also download the image and flash it to your own SD card using these instructions https://github.com/alanbjohnston/CubeSatSim/wiki/2.-Software-Install Here is the readme file for the CubeSatSim software https://cubesatsim.org/download/cubesatsim-readme.pdf
With the 3 board sets of blank PCBs, you can order the parts and solder your own CubeSatSim. They are available at the AMSAT Store for $35 https://www.amsat.org/product/amsat-cubesatsim-pcb/
I want to take this opportunity to thank the team that has been working on the CubeSatSim Project including Pat Kilory, N8PK, Jim McLaughlin, KI6ZUM, and David White, WD6DRI. In addition, Chris Thompson, G0KLA/AC2CZ has been instrumental in helping me get the FSK/BPSK transmit code working and has added support for the CubeSatSim to FoxTelem. Yesterday’s release of FoxTelem v1.11 has full CubeSatSim support.
And of course, thank you to the AMSAT Board of Directors and the AMSAT membership who have supported this project for many years.
P.S. AMSAT has CubeSatSim Loaners available to ship to your event or presentation or STEM outreach activity – just contact me if you have an upcoming event.
[ANS thanks Alan Johnston, KU2Y, AMSAT Vice President – Educational Relations, for the above information]
AMSAT FoxTelem Version 1.11 Released
I am releasing version 1.11 of FoxTelem. This primarily supports new features needed for GOLF-TEE development and the CubeSatSim. If you are using FoxTelem in the lab or classroom then this release should be installed. It also fixes several bugs that will help with live decoding of AO-95. It is not a mandatory upgrade but it is recommended.
Specifically it addresses the following:
- Fixes a bug where Costas decoding can stop if audio is being monitored
- Supports all the latest features needed for the CubeSatSim
- Better warnings for tracking and Find Signal errors
- Supports all the latest GOLF-TEE layouts
- Fixes a bug where strong signals may not be tracked correctly
- Supports math expressions in telemetry conversions
- Better handles USB device errors
You can download FoxTelem here:
Feel free to reach out to me with questions or comments.
[ANS thanks Chris Thompson, G0KLA/AC2CZ, AMSAT FoxTelem Developer, for the above information]
AMSAT Pacsat Ground Station Version 0.43 Released
I’m releasing an update to the Pacsat Ground Station. This version:
- Parses the MO-112 FailSafe beacons and saves them for analysis.
- Fixes a bug where FalconSat-3 telemetry data could not be downloaded from the server
- Defaults FalconSat-3 to not check Pacsat File Header checksums. This was annoying for partially downloaded files.
You can download it here:
[ANS thanks Chris Thompson, G0KLA/AC2CZ, AMSAT Pacsat Ground Station Developer, for the above information]
I had sufficient WiFi to check out FalconSat-3 around 1200 UTC 8 July 2021. Thankfully, only the TX had gone off and a reload right now isn’t necessary. If I can make the time, I’ll look over the telemetry logs and see if we had a low voltage trip or something, but not sure.
Users—until further notice, please limit the size of your uploaded files to around 10k or less. Just before the bird went silent, numerous large files were being uploaded and downloaded. I cannot say for sure if this is related to the recent issue, but let’s call it a hunch.
In the meantime, FalconSat-3 is again open for BBS and digipeater use – please limit file upload size to 10K or less.
[ANS thanks Mark Hammond, N8MH, AMSAT Director and Command Station, 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.
Field Day Score Deadline – Friday, July 16th
The deadline for submission of AMSAT Field Day scores is 11:59 P.M. Central Time on Friday, July 16, 2021. I am going to be out of town the week of July 12th. I will still try to acknowledge when I get your score in my inbox.
It would be nice to get some pictures and a short note about how your Field Day was. I always like to share the stories in the AMSAT Journal article.
The submission form is located at https://www.amsat.org/field-day/
[ANS thanks Bruce Paige, KK5DO, AMSAT Director of Contests and Awards, for the above information]
MIR-SAT1 Gold Award Winners
On behalf of the Mauritius Amateur Radio Society (MARS) I am pleased to inform you that the MIR-SAT1 Gold Award winners are:
SatNOGS# 2134 / WesternMA Yagi
1062-CCERES Ground Station
SP7THR-UHF / 2012
Congratulations to them all.
Now there are 30 Silver Awards at stake, to remind the rules: one must have uploaded at least one full valid MO-112 frame to Satnogs and apply for the award by submitting their participation to MARS (link: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdCAAKTMtTmARDwrjIE_Coai1WR9b2zUFjBPFbOghMe63gqdg/viewform ).
Good luck to all for the Silver Award.
Thanking all for sending to Satnogs the TLM’s which is really appreciated and really useful to us.
[ANS thanks Jean-Marc Momple, 3B8DU, MIR-SAT1 (MO-112) Team, for the above information]
Long Live PCSAT (NO-44) (and PCSAT-11)
Some (current) APRS Amateur Satellite history:
CONSTRUCTION: For what it is worth, After 20 years, both PCSAT side A and B transponders (digipeaters) remain semi-operational as the longest running student project satellites in space. Further they were built desk-top style using simple off-the-shelf Kantronics KPC-9612 TNC’s and Hamtroncs kit TX/RX boards. All parts are COTS and chips are in sockets. Batteries are AA NiCd’s. There are no CPU’s on board. All command/control/telemetry is just what is inherent in the TNC’s. Only thing we did was replace all electrolytic caps with tantalums. Having no clean room, we just used kem wipes and alcohol to wipe off all the fingerprints and dust before bagging for delivery.
NOTE: No one should be so cavalier if their mission is REAL and costing great amounts of expectations and money. Back then it was just a free ride with no expectations other than student involvement.
SAFE MODE (NOT): The only thing wrong was stupid thinking on the power budget. As our first satellite, we put on dual A/B systems AND additional 9600 baud DUAL UHF backup link receivers so that we had QUAD backup command RX capabilities in case of failures. The problem was we decided that all systems must come up on power-up in order to have access to all the redundant backup reset and command capabilities if needed and (DUH!), if all was OK, we would turn off the unnecessary backup-UHF receivers and un-crossconnect the transmitters.
TOO-COMPLEX LOGON: That is what kills it (on every orbit). If the reason it reset is because of low battery, then the last thing you want is for EVERYTHING to be ON when you are coming into the sun and trying to charge back up. There is not yet enough power to get the command in to command off the unnecessary systems! Further, the commands required a full two-way AX.25 connection requiring 5 packets to exchange the password challenge and password response. All of which fully loaded the cross-connected XMTRs while trying to recover power.
NO CPU or OPERATING SYSTEM: PCSAT had no programmable CPU. Just two-dual-port TNCs and 2 VHF XMTrs and 2 VHF RCVRS, and 2 UHF 9600 baud RCVRS. There was nothing in which to put SMART-safe-mode power-up thinking. Hence the fatal flaw to just power up everything and command later… duh…
WITH LUCK: But luckily, the orbit occasionally has short eclipses and longer sun side (about 1 hour) which gives it enough time to sometimes have enough power to do a few user digipeats. Though after only a few, that usually kills the battery for the rest of the orbit. We long since gave up trying to go through the entire secret logon process to try to turn off the extra UHF receivers, only to have it last another’ 10 minutes or so until the next eclipse and so that is why it just does its thing and sometimes people are successful, or not.
MISSION: Side A of PCSAT (AKA W3ADO-1) remains operational on 145.825 digipeating when power permits. Same for side B which has a digipeater with a 144.39 MHz downlink for use over North America which at the time was thought would be useful for communicating *TO* normal 144.39 travelers who may be traveling outside of range of the terrestrial network for a while.
TODAY (June 8, 2021), one of our sysops tested the side “B” and confirmed it remains operational. That is why you might occasionally see PCSAT-11 in the APRS logs. Although within the rules at the time of launch, in the last decade, the IARU has officially made notice that operation of satellite downlinks in the old 144.30-144.40 range are no longer authorized. Besides, we never came up with a good use of the side B anyway. (Broadcast an APRS message to all North American mobiles, or special traffic to a specific mobile).
Of course, we learned those lessons and had 6 successful follow-on APRS satellites with only the last two (PSAT and PSAT2) had programmable CPUs (BASIC Stamps). See http://aprs.org/sats.html
[ANS thanks Bob Bruninga, WB4APR, for the above information]
Changes to AMSAT TLE Distribution for July 8, 2021
The following satellite has been added to this week’s AMSAT TLE Distribution:
TUBIN – NORAD Cat ID 48900 (Thanks to Nico Janssen, PA0DLO for the identification.)
The following satellite has been deleted from this week’s AMSAT TLE Distribution:
STAR-Me Mother – NORAD Cat ID 43640 (Decayed June 26, 2021)
Drew Glasbrenner, KO4MA (OSCAR Number Administrator) announced July 3, 2021 in AMSAT News Service Bulletin ANS-185 that MIR-SAT1 has been designated MIRSAT-OSCAR 112 or MO-112.
Thus, MIRSAT1 (NORAD Cat ID 48868) is now shown as MO-112 in this week’s TLE distribution.
[ANS thanks Ray Hoad, WA5QGD, AMSAT Orbital Elements Manager, for the above information]
AMSAT’s GOLF Program is about getting back to higher orbits, and it all
begins with GOLF-TEE – a technology demonstrator for deployable solar
panels, propulsion, and attitude control, now manifested for launch on
NASA’s ELaNa 46 mission. Come along for the ride. The journey will be
TBD, Russia, direct via TBD
The ISS callsign is presently scheduled to be RSØISS
The downlink frequency is presently scheduled to be 145.800 MHz
The scheduled astronaut is Pyotr Dubrov
Contact is a go for 2021-07-14 20:10 UTC
Watch for possible operation mode change sometime after ARRL Field Day. Exact date and time TBD but it will probably be after the week of 2021-07-12 to 2021-07-18.
Current Status of ISS Stations
IORS (Kenwood D710GA) – STATUS – ACTIVE. supporting cross band repeater operation (145.990 up [67 Hz tone] /437.800 down MHz). Next mode change to packet operations targeting after Field Day.
Supporting USOS scheduled voice contacts, packet and voice repeater ops.
Service Module radios:
Kenwood D710E – STATUS – Radio usually off.
Supporting ROS scheduled voice contacts and SSTV.
The latest information on the operation mode can be found at https://www.ariss.org/current-status-of-iss-stations.html
The latest list of frequencies in use can be found at https://www.ariss.org/contact-the-iss.html
[ANS thanks Charlie Sufana, AJ9N, one of the ARISS operation team mentors, for the above information]
Want to fly the colors on your own grid expedition?
Get your AMSAT car flag and other neat stuff
from our Zazzle store!
25% of the purchase price of each product goes
towards Keeping Amateur Radio in Space
Upcoming Satellite Operations
VP2V/K3TRM: I will be operating from Tortola, BVI as VP2V/K3TRM on July 4-17, 2021. Activity will be on 40-6M SSB & digital, and satellite.
EN57/67: @SeanKutzko KX9X and @Nancy_N9NCY will celebrate Sean’s birthday in the Michigan’s Keweenaw Peninsula July 15-19. Look for them on FM and SSB satellites, with the possibility of some Parks On The Air activity as well. They will also hit EN57/67 on 7/14&19 on the Yooper Rove.
K0JM, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday (July 12-14) I’ll be on the north shore of Lake Superior. I hope to get in at least one pass in each of the grids: EN36, EN46, EN47, EN48, EN57 and EN58. But this will be holiday style, so no guarantees. Mostly linears, but some FM perhaps.
July 11 DN25 daytime passes
July 12 DN27 with a guest Gridmaster hopefully
July 13-16 DN28 holiday style
July 17 DN38 holiday style
July 18 DN47/48 daytime passes
July 21-23 DN54 holiday style
July 25-27 DN64 holiday style
July 30-31 DN63 holiday style
July 11 & 18 will all be planned trips just for Sat passes FM and SSB. I will try to publish passes ahead of time on Twitter and QRZ. The remainder of the trip will be camping in remote areas with little to no internet or Twitter. I will get info out as I can, but I won’t be able to setup skeds ahead of time. Lots of POTA activations on Sats and HF as well.
Please submit any additions or corrections to Ke0pbr (at) gmail.com
[ANS thanks Paul Overn, KE0PBR, AMSAT rover page manager, for the above information]
Hamfests, Conventions, Maker Faires, and Other Events
AMSAT is pleased to announce that the 39th Annual AMSAT Space Symposium and Annual General Meeting will be held in late October at the Crowne Plaza Suites: MSP Airport – Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota. The Crowne Plaza Suites is conveniently located adjacent to the American Blvd station on the Metro Blue Line, providing easy access to the Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport, downtown Minneapolis, and the Mall of America. The AMSAT Board of Directors will meet prior to the Symposium. Further details, including final dates, hotel reservation details, tours, and other events will be shared in the coming months.
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.
AMSAT Ambassador and ARRL registered instructor Clint Bradford, K6LCS, is certainly keeping busy! He reports a long list of completed online presentations. Think a 90-minute lively, informative, and fun “How to Work the Easy Satellites” Zoom presentation would be appropriate for your convention or club? Always includes are overviews of the ARRL, AMSAT, and ARISS … and pre-presentation questions are solicited and welcome. Send Clint an email or call!
Clint Bradford K6LCS
Tom Schuessler, N5HYP, has put out a call for assistance for an upcoming event:
In person events are back! The Frontiers of Flight Museum in Dallas, TX is this year returning to their in-person “Moon Day” space themed STEM event on July 24th. I have signed up for AMSAT and Amateur Radio in Space as an exhibito, as we have in past years. I will have the AMAT Cubesat Simulator and the Fox Engineering model to show off to the kids attending and will use iPad apps and SatPC32 to show orbits/footprints and such. There even are a couple AO-91 passes during the event.
I have already a few volunteers for the event but if you live in the DFW area and enjoy communicating with young people, I would love to hear from you.
Location: Frontiers of Flight Museum, Love Field, Dallas, TX
Time: Setup 7:30-9:45AM, Event 10:00AM through 3PM, teardown to follow.
Drop me an email, and I will give you more details.
Tom Schuessler, N5HYP at amsat.org
[ANS thanks the AMSAT Symposium Committee, Tom Schuessler, N5HYP, and Paul Overn, KE0PBR, AMSAT Events Page Manager, for the above information]
Satellite Shorts From All Over
+ Congratulations to Mike McCoy, KC9ELU, on completing the AMSAT GridMaster Award for working and confirming QSOs with all 488 grid squares in the continental United States. Mike is the 32nd recipient of AMSAT’s GridMaster Award. More details about the GridMaster Award can be found at https://www.amsat.org/gridmaster/ [Thanks to Bruce Paige, KK5DO, AMSAT Director of Contests and Awards]
+ Several new products are available on the AMSAT Zazzle store, including a set of coasters, a watch, a t-shirt featuring the AMSAT round logo, and more. Check out the new items! 25% of the purchase price goes towards Keeping Amateur Radio in Space. https://www.zazzle.com/amsat_gear
+ All issues of The AMSAT Journal dating back to 2014 are now available to AMSAT members on AMSAT’s new membership portal. The 1969-2013 archive will be added at a later date. All editions of AMSAT’s Symposium Proceedings are also available for members. If you’re a current AMSAT member, get logged on today. If you are not yet a member, consider joining today at https://launch.amsat.org/
+ The 2020 edition of AMSAT’s Getting Started with Amateur Satellites is available on the AMSAT store. A perennial favorite, Getting Started is updated every year with the latest amateur satellite information, and is the premier primer of satellite operation. The book is presented in DRM-free PDF format, in full color, and covers all aspects of making your first contacts on a ham radio satellite. The digital download is available for $15 at https://tinyurl.com/2020GettingStarted. The print edition is $30 plus shipping and is available at https://tinyurl.com/GS2020Print
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. President’s Club donations may be made at https://www.amsat.org/join-the-amsat-presidents-club/
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.
Join AMSAT today at https://launch.amsat.org/
73 and remember to help Keep Amateur Radio in Space,
This week’s ANS Editor,
Paul Stoetzer, N8HM
n8hm at amsat dot org