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:
- Launch Window for AMSAT’s RadFxSat-2/Fox-1E Opens December 19, 2020
- FoxTelem 1.09 Released
- VUCC Awards-Endorsements for December 2020
- FO-29 operation schedule for December 2020 and January 2021
- IARU Coordinates Frequencies for Three Satellites in November
- Orbital Mechanics for Dummies
- Brandmeister DMR Network Announces Password Implementation
- Upcoming Satellite Operations
- ARISS News
- Satellite Shorts from All Over
SB SAT @ AMSAT $ANS-341.01
ANS-341 AMSAT News Service Weekly Bulletins
AMSAT News Service Bulletin 341.01
From AMSAT HQ KENSINGTON, MD.
December 06, 2020
To All RADIO AMATEURS
Launch Window for AMSAT’s RadFxSat-2/Fox-1E Opens December 19, 2020
Virgin Orbit has announced that the launch window for their LauncherOne Launch Demo 2 mission opens on December 19. This launch will carry AMSAT’s RadFxSat-2/Fox-1E to orbit.
RadFxSat-2, like RadFxSat/Fox-1B, now AMSAT-OSCAR 91, is a partnership opportunity between Vanderbilt University and AMSAT and will carry a similar radiation effects experiment, studying new FinFET technology.
RadFxSat-2 is the fifth and final Fox-1 satellite built by AMSAT. The RadFxSat-2 spacecraft bus is built on the Fox-1 series but features a linear transponder “upgrade” to replace the standard FM transponder in Fox-1A through D. In addition, the uplink and downlink bands are reversed from the previous Fox satellites in a Mode V/u (J) configuration using a 2 meter uplink and 70 cm downlink. The downlink features a 1200 bps BPSK telemetry channel to carry the Vanderbilt science data in addition to a 30 kHz wide transponder for Amateur Radio use. Telemetry and experiment data can be decoded using FoxTelem version 1.09 or later. FoxTelem is available at https://www.amsat.org/foxtelem-software-for-windows-mac-linux/.
Participation in telemetry collection by as many stations in as many parts of the world as possible is essential as AMSAT Engineering looks for successful startup and indications of the general health and function of the satellite as it begins to acclimate to space. AMSAT will send a commemorative 3D printed QSL card to the first station capturing telemetry from RadFxSat-2.
RadFxSat-2 / Fox-1E Frequencies:
Telemetry Downlink 435.750 MHz
Inverting Linear Transponder Uplink 145.860 MHz – 145.890 MHz
Inverting Linear Transponder Downlink 435.760 – MHz 435.790 MHz
[ANS thanks AMSAT for the above information]
FoxTelem 1.09 Released
Chris Thompson, G0KLA/AC2CZ announced the availability of FoxTelem 1.09. This release provides several enhancements and needed changes for RadFxSat-2/FOX-1E. This new spacecraft sends 1200bps BPSK telemetry in parallel with a linear transponder. Downloading telemetry and sending it to the server will assist AMSAT and the Radiation tolerance experiments from Vanderbilt University.
You can download FoxTelem 1.09 at:
- The changes from 1.08 to 1.09 are as follows:
- Performance improvements on the telemetry tabs. This uses less CPU than 1.08.
- Clearer display of historical records on the telemetry tabs for RT, MAX, MIN and WOD.
- Bug fixes for Fox-1E decode and display of diagnostic tables, Whole Orbit Data, and formatting of telemetry.
- Ignore extra commas in conversion curve comments.
- Allow a single spacecraft to be downloaded from the Fox Server, even if FoxTelem stores many spacecraft.
- Latest Golf-T layouts for development.
- BPSK CRC checksum calculation for GOLF-T.
- Another new way to decode and display the mode.
- More generic tab layouts to allow future expansion through soft coding.
- Throttle the DDE requests when decoder stopped.
- Many other bug fixes
See the complete list on github at: https://tinyurl.com/ANS-341-FoxTelem
On Saturday, December 5, 2020, Chris added the following information:
“If you are having difficulty upgrading to FoxTelem 1.09 because it says that it can not write some files, then I have put together a procedure to migrate your data. If in frustration you reset the FoxTelem properties file and now you don’t have your old telemetry from 1.08, then this will still likely work and recover the data. Details are at:
“Many thanks to Frank K6FW who helped work out this procedure. Feel free to reach out to me for help.”
Burns Fisher, WB1FJ adds, “For those of you with Fox-In-A-Box telemetry stations (Fun Cube Dongle in a Raspberry Pi with FoxTelem software), FoxTelem 1.09 has been successfully tested on an FIAB.
“It is easy to update your FIAB with the new FoxTelem version. Some time ago, I provided the instructions for upgrading to a new FoxTelem and they will not have changed significantly other than the version numbers. You can view the instructions at:
“In any case, over the next few days, I will update and post the instructions as well as making the new version available on the FIAB SD cards sold in the AMSAT store and (a bit after that) on the free download.”
[ANS thanks Chris Thompson, G0KLA/AC2CZ and Burns Fisher,WB1FJ 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
VUCC Awards-Endorsements for December 2020
Ron Parsons, W5RKN reports the endorsements and new VUCC Satellite Awards issued by the ARRL for the period November 1, 2020 through December 1, 2020. Congratulations to all those who made the list this month!
CALL Nov Dec
WC7V 1218 1229
W5CBF 657 723
AA8CH 702 718
NS3L 600 625
N9FN 486 499
K5IX 402 450
W0NBC 176 435
AB1OC 215 261
AA2HJ 100 253
W8LR 200 225
DL4ZAB 178 201
NA1ME 126 150
W9TTY 100 114
N8URE 101 104
AD5JK New 102
DL6KBG New 101
KC2BBU New 101
AI4IC New 100
Ron adds,”If you find errors or omissions. please contact me off-list at <mycall>@<mycall>.com and I’ll revise the announcement. This list was developed by comparing the ARRL .pdf listings for the two months. It’s a visual comparison so omissions are possible. Apologies if your call was not mentioned. Thanks to all those who are roving to grids that are rarely on the birds. They are doing most of the work!”
[ANS thanks Ron Parsons, W5RKN for the above information.]
FO-29 operation schedule for December 2020 and January 2021
The Japan Amateur Radio League has released the FO-29 operation schedule for December 2020 and January 2021. Times are in UTC. The operation runs until the UVC (lower limit voltage control) activates.
5 01:52, 03:35
6 02:45, 04:30
12 02:25, 04:15
13 03:20, 05:05
14 02:25, 04:10
19 01:20, 03:05
20 02:10, 03:55
26 01:55, 03:40
1 01:40, 03:25
3 01:35, 03:20
9 01:20, 03:05
10 02:10, 03:55
11 01:15, 03:00
[ANS thanks Hideo Kambayashi, JH3XCU 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!
IARU Coordinates Frequencies for Three Satellites in November
During the month of November the IARU coordinated frequencies for three upcoming Amateur Radio satellites:
+ GASPACS The primary mission is to deploy a one meter long inflatable UV curable boom (AeroBoom) from a 1U CubeSat in low-Earth orbit and to photograph the deployed AeroBoom and transmit a clear picture back to earth. GASPACS will also operate an AX.25 automatic digipeater for Amateur Radio testing and communication purposes.
All of the code that the satellite and ground station runs will be open source and published to Github (except telecommand encryption) allowing Amateurs to use the knowledge and code for their own projects. The UHF downlink uses 9k6 2GSK with AX25. Planning a CSLI deployment from the ISS in Q1 2022. A downlink on 437.365 MHz has been coordinated More info at http://gas.usu.edu and https://tinyurl.com/ANS-341-GASPACS
The link to the Github documentation can be found at: github.com/SmallSatGasTeam/CubeWorks.
+ SMOG-2 SMOG-2 is a 3p PocketQube continuation of SMOG-P and SMOG-1 spectrum monitoring pocketqube class satellites with wider monitored spectrum range focused on HAM, ISM and broadcasting bands. Worldwide Amateur Radio stations can receive its spectrum monitoring data to help create a global electromagnetic pollution map to be published at http://gnd.bme.hu. The UHF downlink uses 5kb GMSK. Planning a RocketLab launch from New Zealand into a 600 km SSO in 2021. A downlink on 437.150 MHz has been coordinated.
+ D3 The mission is a 2U CubeSat intended to demonstrate the performance of a novel drag-based targeted point re-entry algorithm using repeatedly deployable/retractable drag surfaces to perform orbital maneuvers that guarantee spacecraft re-entry at a pre-defined location. If successful, the D3 module can be adapted to other Amateur Radio satellites to ensure consistent re-entry and help reduce the concentration of space debris. The mission is run solely by Amateurs with the purpose of helping future Amateur missions. The UHF downlink uses 9k6 GMSK downlink for AX25 telemetry and data and 1k2 AFSK for a beacon. Planning a launch to the ISS in September 2021. Downlinks on 437.080 MHz and 2432.000 MHz have been coordinated. More info from http://adamus-d3-website.herokuapp.com/.
[ANS thanks the IARU for the above information.]
Orbital Mechanics for Dummies
Orbital Mechanics has been around since well before artificial satellites were even remotely possible. (Remember that Johannes Kepler — who gave us Keplerian elements we use in tracking satellites today — published his book, The Cosmographic Mystery, in 1596! And Walter Hohmann first described transfer orbits in 1929.)
Rendezvousing with another object in the same orbit is perhaps the most counter-intuitive, as you must adjust your orbital period by leaving the shared orbit and later re-entering it. To “slow down” you accelerate to increase the height of your orbit, lengthening your orbital period relative to the other craft, let time pass, and then re-enter the original orbit once they’ve caught up. Conversely, to catch up, you decrease velocity to achieve a smaller, more eccentric orbit, which has a shorter orbital period.
There are tons of resources out there for diving into the math of orbital mechanics. Surprisingly, one of the easiest to read comes from the FAA’s Office of Aerospace Medicine as part of their “Advanced Aerospace Medicine On-line” course at: https://bit.ly/3oaOSzM.
You can also play with orbits in a simulator at: https://orbitalmechanics.info/.
Or, if you really want to develop a more intuitive sense of two-body orbital mechanics while having a blast (pun very much intended), play the Kerbal Space Program (not a free game) at:
[ANS thanks The Orbital Index 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.
Brandmeister DMR Network Announces Password Implementation
The AMSAT DMR talkgroup is 98006 on the Brandmeister Network. Walter Holmes, K5WH, has received notice of changes coming to Brandmeister from the network administrators:
“Due to issues that have been happening recently, we are going to need to start requiring users to set a hotspot security pass-word to gain access to the US Masters. If you already have a hot spot security password set on the BM portal, you can ignore this post. We are going to start requiring this on master these US master servers:
- 3101 changes on December 1
- 3102 changes on December 4
- 3103 changes on December 11
“This is already implemented on the RU masters, and other Master Servers will follow. At this time this will just be for hotspots. The API is being worked on to allow repeater owners to make this change as well, but it is not quite ready to go.”
Walter noted, “Since we all use the US DMR Master servers, 3101, 3102, or 3103, they will be changed starting as early as December 1, 2020, requiring a HotSpot PASSWORD be set, or you will no longer be able to use DMR. Whether you have a Hotspot, BlueDV, DudeStar, DroidStar, or ANY of the other applications to access DMR, these change is required.”
Be sure to log into the Brandmeister site, and create an account right away if you don’t already have one, as it may take a few days to get that authorized: https://brandmeister.network/
For instructions on how to set your hotspot security on the Brandmeister portal visit https://tinyurl.com/ANS-341-DMR.
In conclusion Walter said, “If you’re not comfortable with these steps, help is available via a Zoom channel. Reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org for the link.”
[ANS thanks Walter Holmes, K5WH, and the Brandmeister Network for the above information.]
Upcoming Satellite Operations
CN96/97, DN06/07 December 6, 2020 @KI7UXT is planning to activate CN96/97 line (priority CN97) and DN06/07 line (priority DN07) on Sunday, December 6, 2020. His son’s football event is in Ellensburg, WA. All subject to change. All normal disclaimers apply.
EM87 December 10-13, 2020 @N4DCW will be working passes.
[ANS thanks Paul Overn, KE0PBR for the above information.]
+ Upcoming Contacts
Athlone Community College, Athlone, Ireland, direct via EI1ISS. The ISS callsign is presently scheduled to be OR4ISS. The downlink frequency is presently scheduled to be 145.800 MHz. The scheduled astronaut is Shannon Walker KD5DXB. Watch for live stream at: https://youtu.be/viVQBI4WzKs. Contact is go for: Mon 2020-12-07 14:50:49 UTC.
Turkish State Meteorological Service; Mehmet Zakir Ekni High School, Yenimahalle, Turkey; Kuyubasi Sehit Oguzhan Duyar Secondary School, Keçiören, Turkey; Ted Ankara College Foundation High School, Gölbasi, Turkey; Maya Anatolian High School, Gölbasi, Turkey; Direct via TC2TSC The ISS callsign is presently scheduled to be OR4ISS. The downlink frequency is presently scheduled to be 145.800 MHz. The scheduled astronaut is Shannon Walker KD5DXB. Contact is go for: Mon 2020-12-07 14:50:49 UTC.
Kursk, Russia, direct via Kursk, Russia, direct via RKØJ. The ISS callsign is presently scheduled to be RSØISS. The downlink frequency is presently scheduled to be 145.800 MHz. The scheduled astronaut is Sergey Kud-Sverchkov. Contact is go for 2020-12-09 11:45 UTC.
RO-SAT One, Piatra-Neamt, Romania, direct via YRØISS The ISS callsign is presently scheduled to be OR4ISS. The downlink frequency is presently scheduled to be 145.800 MHz. The scheduled astronaut is Mike Hopkins KF5LJG. Contact is go for: Sat 2020-12-12 12:35:56 UTC.
+ Completed Contacts
Amur State University, Blagoveshchensk, Russia, direct via RKØJ. The ISS callsign was RSØISS. The astronaut was Sergey Ryzhikov. Contact was successful on Thu 2020-12-03 08:45 UTC.
Scuola Secondaria di I grado “Anna Frank”, Pistoia, Italy, multi-point telebridge via IK1SLD. The ISS callsign was OR4ISS. The astronaut was Victor Glover KI5BKC. Contact was successful on Fri 2020-12-04 12:25:22 UTC.
Tecumseh High School Electronics and Amateur Radio, Tecumseh, OK, direct via K5THS. The ISS callsign was NA1SS. The astronaut was Shannon Walker KD5DXB. Contact was successful on Fri 2020-12-04 18:33:30 UTC.
Note: A multi-point telebridge contact means that each student will be on the telebridge from their own home.
The latest information on the operation mode can be found at: https://www.ariss.org/current-status-of-iss-stations.html
[ANS thanks Charlie Sufana, AJ9N for the above information.]
Hamfests, Conventions, Maker Faires, and Other Events
+ January 9, 2021 Ham Radio University 2021 With Covid-19 restrictions precluding in-person gatherings, the 22nd annual Ham Radio University (HRU) educational conference will be held as a virtual event on Saturday, January 9, 2021 from 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM as a GoToWebinar on-line video conference.
HRU 2021 will feature 14 informational presentations by local experts in a broad range of Amateur Radio activities including: Amateur Radio Emergency Communications; Basics of HF Operating; Communicating Through Amateur Radio Earth Satellites; Remote Station Operating Over the Internet; Software Defined Radios; HF and UHF Digital Communications; and Using RaspberryPi Computers in Amateur Radio. In addition to viewing the presentations, on-line attendees will have the opportunity to ask questions of the presenters.
Presented in memory of Ham Radio University’s founder, Phil Lewis, N2MUN, who passed away in March, HRU 2021 also will be the on-line convention of the ARRL’s NYC-Long Island Section.
As in years past, participation in HRU 2021 will be free of charge, with an optional suggested donation of $5.00, but advance registration starting December 15, 2020, will be required for each presentation.
Further information, including the schedule of forums and advance registration starting December 15, 2020, is on line at: http://www.HamRadioUniversity.org
[ANS thanks Peter Portanova, W2JV 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/
Satellite Shorts from All Over
+ FCC to Require Email Addresses on Applications
Amateur radio licensees and candidates will have to provide the FCC with an email address on applications, effective sometime in mid-2021. If no email address is included, the FCC may dismiss the application as defective.
The FCC is fully transitioning to electronic correspondence and will no longer print or provide wireless licensees with hard-copy authorizations or registrations by mail. Read the complete story at: https://tinyurl.com/ANS-341-FCC
[ANS thanks the ARRL for the above information.]
+ New IARU VHF Handbook (v9.00) Now available as Free PDF
A new edition (v9.00) of the free IARU VHF Handbook covering the bands at VHF and Above is now available for download. It contains all the decisions regarding the bands at VHF and Above that were made at the 2020 IARU Region 1 virtual General Conference.
The band plan on page 46 (PDF 47) covers the 145 satellite allocation and page 50 (PDF 51) shows the changes to 436-438 MHz. Download the free PDF at: https://tinyurl.com/ANS-341-Handbook.
[ANS thanks AMSAT-UK for the above information.]
+ New SDRUno Plug-in Video Demo for SSTV
Earlier this year SDRplay updated their SDRuno software to have plug-in functionality. This allows third party programmers to implement their own decoders and software which interfaces with SDRuno directly. One plug-in that may be of interest to ISS-SSTV fans who own SDRPlay radios is a SSTV decoder. View the demo at: https://tinyurl.com/ANS-341-Plug-in.
[ANS thanks rtl-sdr.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,
N1UW n1uw at amsat dot org