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: [email protected]
In this edition:
- Ballot Return Date is September 15
- Two-Minute Engineering Video Update Available
- New Distance Records
- ORI’s Digital Microwave Broadband Communication System Determined to be Free of ITAR
- SmallSat 2020 Virtual Conference Proceedings Available Online
- Upcoming Satellite Operations
- ARISS News
- Satellite Shorts from All Over
SB SAT @ AMSAT $ANS-236.01
ANS-236 AMSAT News Service Weekly Bulletins
AMSAT News Service Bulletin 236.01 >
From AMSAT HQ KENSINGTON, MD.
August 23, 2020
To All RADIO AMATEURS
Ballot Return Date is September 15
With four weeks of balloting remaining, I think a reminder of procedures is warranted.
Ballots for the AMSAT board of directors election must be received by 5 p.m. US Eastern Time on Tuesday, September 15. If you have received your ballot and wish to vote, please mail your ballot with sufficient time to arrive by this time.
If you have not received your ballot and were a member of AMSAT on July 1, please email me at [email protected] to request a replacement ballot. All such requests that were made by today (Monday, August 17) have been fulfilled no later than today.
A note to non-US based members: The printed return envelope does not specify that the return address is in the United States. The design of the envelope (my effort alone) may be fairly criticized on this basis. Several non-US members have added USA to the printed return address and successfully returned the ballot. This is my recommended remedy, but if for whatever reason it’s too late for that (and I know of one such case), I will gladly send a replacement (as I have in said case).
I am verifying envelopes against the voter list and keeping them unopened until the time of counting, when they will be opened face down and separated from the ballot without immediate counting to maintain secrecy. This is a key part of verifying that each ballot going out generates no more than one ballot coming back in. Presumably out of an understandable but self-defeating desire to ensure the secrecy of the ballot beyond this procedure, about ten members have sought to obscure the return address or use a different envelope, either with no return address or a different return address.
In all but one of those cases, the printed address was insufficiently obscured, or the alternate address was traceable to a member who had not yet voted. The attention required to verify the nonconforming envelope in each case substantially exceeded the attention normally necessary, and actually increased the possibility of me inadvertently discerning the contents without opening the envelope through inspection I would ordinarily forego. Nevertheless, these envelopes have been accepted for eventual accounting.
[ANS thanks Brennan Price, N4QX, AMSAT Secretary for the above information.]
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic,
the AMSAT office is closed until further notice.
For details, please visit
Two-Minute Engineering Video Update Available
Jerry Buxton, N0JY, Vice President-Engineering has published a two-minute video update on the progress of AMSAT projects. Among the highlights are:
- The RadFxSat-2 / Fox-1E satellite is ready for delivery and integration and is expected to launch by the end of the year.
- The University of Maine will use an AMSAT LTM-1 module for command and control of their upcoming CubeSat mission, MESAT-1. The LTM-1 also provides a linear transponder for amateur radio use. AMSAT is in discussions with additional partners about flying LTM-1 modules.
- Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, vendors have been delayed in supplying printed circuit boards for the GOLF-TEE project. The impact of the pandemic has also affected the amount of time AMSAT’s volunteer engineers have for their hobby work. Completion of GOLF-TEE is expected by the end of June 2021.
- Dependent on fulfilling its primary mission, the GOLF-TEE satellite may include a X-band downlink parrot of the V-band uplink and L/S band uplinks which are planned for GOLF-1.
- Research is underway to place GOLF-1 into a higher orbit while meeting regulatory requirements.
- GOLF-TEE is a candidate for a launch on an upcoming DoD mission.
You can view Jerry’s update at: https://youtu.be/9H4iM1hoVG4.
[ANS thanks Jerry Buxton, N0JY, Vice President-Engineering for the above information.]
New Distance Records
Congratulations to Jerome LeCuyer, F4DXV and Joseph Werth, KE9AJ on extending their record distance on AO-7 by another 140 km! The new record stands at 8,204.592 km. KE9AJ was in DM79IQ58 and F4DXV was in JN14CH76.
Jerome also claimed two other records during his trip to JN14. First, on 10-Aug-2020, he worked VE1VOX in Nova Scotia on AO-92, a distance of 5,011 km. Three days later, a QSO with Nathan White, N5LEX in FN11 set a new record distance covered of 6,183 km on AO-91. The QSO occurred at 13:37 UTC on 13-Aug-2020.
[ANS thanks Paul Stoetzer, N8MH, AMSAT Executive Vice President for the above information.]
ORI’s Digital Microwave Broadband Communication System Determined to be Free of ITAR
The United States Department of State has ruled favorably on Open Research Institute’s commodity jurisdiction request, finding that specified “Information and Software for a Digital Microwave Broadband Communications System for Space and Terrestrial Amateur Radio Use” is not subject to State Department jurisdiction under ITAR, the International Traffic in Arms Regulations.
Export regulations divide both technical information and actual hardware into three categories. The most heavily restricted technologies fall under ITAR, which is administered by the State Department. Technologies subject to more routine restrictions fall under EAR, the Export Administration Regulations, administered by the Department of Commerce. Technologies that are not subject to either set of regulations are not restricted for export.
On 20 February 2020, Open Research Institute (ORI) filed a Commodity Jurisdiction (CJ) Request with the US State Department, seeking to establish that key technologies for amateur radio are not subject to State Department jurisdiction. “Information and Software for a Digital Microwave Broadband Communications System for Space and Terrestrial Amateur Radio Use” was assigned the case number CJ0003120. On 11 August 2020, the case received a successful final determination: the technology is not subject to State Department jurisdiction.
The Final Determination letter can be found at https://tinyurl.com/ANS-236-ORI
[ANS thanks Open Research Institute, Inc., 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.
Come along for the ride. The journey will be worth it!
SmallSat 2020 Virtual Conference Proceedings Available Online
The 34th Annual Small Satellite Conference was a virtual event hosted by SmallSat.org and Utah State University, Logan, Utah. The event attracted 8,100 participants over three days August 1-3, 2020. With the conference theme, “Space Mission Architectures – Infinite Possibilities,” the conference explored the realm of possible space mission architectures and how they can be practically achieved to support the diverse needs of the global space community.
Organized along twelve technical tracks, all 162 presentations are available to the public. Additionally, literally hundreds of posters can be downloaded for viewing. Especially useful is a search function on the site that can search keywords to help find presentation and posters that deal with specific topics.
For those interested in the future of small satellites, including those in the Amateur Radio Satellite Service, there is one especially pertinent presentation entitled, “Small Satellite Regulation in 2020” with attorneys Lynne Montgomery and Christopher Bair of Wilkinson Barker Knauer LLP. In this twelve minute presentation, Ms. Montgomery thoroughly covers the range of regulations affecting small satellite operations, the agencies involved, licensing procedures and what future legal burdens are looming for small satellite operators.
The complete collection of presentations and posters can be seen at: https://smallsat.org/.
[ANS thanks SmallSat.org 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.
Upcoming Satellite Operations
* Quick Hits:
DM97/98 & EM08/09, 8/29 & 8/30: Super Rover @ADoDX is heading out for the Kansas QSO party and N0E. More to come.
* Major Roves:
@WA9JBQ is heading out to Idaho DN24,DN25,DN26 DN34, DN16, DN15, and DN14 starting August 15th. Then moving into Montana for DN35,DN36, DN37, DN38 DN49 DN47. He will be out a total of 5-6 weeks. Mostly FM some linear. Will post to twitter details.
[ANS thanks Paul Overn, KE0PBR for the above information.]
* Upcoming Contacts:
Kopernik Observatory & Science Center, Vestal, NY, direct via K2ZRO
The ISS callsign is presently scheduled to be NA1SS The scheduled astronaut is Chris Cassidy KF5KDR Contact is go for: Wed 2020-08-19 18:21:55 UTC 85 deg
Watch for live stream starting about 20 to 30 minutes ahead of AOS at: https://youtu.be/1Pwcc2rilz0
[ANS thanks Charlie Sufana, AJ9N 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/
Shorts from All Over
* NASA At Home Offerings Updated Regularly
As was reported before, NASA continually offers a variety of videos, podcasts, virtual tours, e-books and activities. This service has offerings that are of interest to adults as well as students with an interest in space exploration. The lineup changes weekly so, if you haven’t been back in a while, take a moment to see the current assortment at: https://www.nasa.gov/specials/nasaathome/index.html
[ANS thanks NASA for the above information.]
* Build a Simple ISS Tracker with Raspberry Pi
Fancy tracking the ISS’s trajectory? Looking for a project beyond using your smart phone app? All you need is a Raspberry Pi, an e-paper display, an enclosure, and a little Python code. Check out The MagPi Magazine issue #96. The download is free and can be found at: https://magpi.raspberrypi.org/issues/96.
[ANS thanks RaspberryPi.org for the above information.]
*ARS Technica Review Launch Prospects
ARS reviews four smallsat rockets that might launch this year: Astra (this month?), Firefly (November?), Virgin Orbit (EOY?), and ExPace’s Kuaizhou-11 (?). Read it at https://bit.ly/3gkyLv6.
[ANS thanks The Orbital Index for the above information]
*Faster Than the Speed of Light?
If you’re a fan of science fiction, chances are you’ve encountered spaceships that use a warp drive, “fold space,” or “jump” drive. Unfortunately, the immutable laws of physics tell us that this is simply not possible. Those same laws, however, also tell us that near-light-speed travel comes with all sorts of challenges. Luckily for all of us, NASA addresses these in a recently-released animated video that covers all the basics of interstellar travel! See it at: https://youtu.be/l4u4wV_dOi0
[ANS thanks Universe Today for the above information]
*NASA Investigating Air Leak on ISS
NASA is tracking down the source of a minor air leak on the International Space Station. Crew members of the station’s current Expedition 63 are in no immediate danger and will spend the weekend in the orbiting laboratory’s Russian segment, inside the Zvezda service module, NASA officials said in an update on Thursday, 20 August. Full story at https://bit.ly/34lVnZZ
[ANS thanks Space.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 six post-secondary years in this status.
Contact Martha at the AMSAT office for additional student membership information.
73, This week’s ANS Editor, Casey Tucker, KI7UNJ ki7unj at amsat dot org
Sent via AMSAT-BB at amsat.org. AMSAT-NA makes this open forum available to all interested persons worldwide without requiring membership. Opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not reflect the official views of AMSAT-NA.
Not an AMSAT member? Join now to support the amateur satellite program!