ANS-355 AMSAT News Service Weekly Bulletins for Dec. 20

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 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]

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In this edition:

  • SSTV Event to Mark 20 Years of Ham Radio Operation in Space
  • Launch for AMSAT’s RadFxSat-2 / Fox-1E Delayed by Covid-19
  • AMSAT-NA Mailman Upgrades
  • Upcoming Changes to AMSAT News Service Bulletins Distribution
  • AMSAT CW Activity Day 2021
  • Amateur Satellite Operation From Wales During Covid-19 Restriction
  • Changes to AMSAT-NA TLE Distribution for December 17
  • Satellite Podcast Available
  • ARISS News
  • Upcoming Satellite Operations
  • Hamfests, Conventions, Maker Faires, and Other Events
  • Satellite Shorts From All Over

SB SAT @ AMSAT $ANS-355.01
ANS-355 AMSAT News Service Weekly Bulletins

AMSAT News Service Bulletin 355.01
DATE 2020 December 20
BID: $ANS-355.01

SSTV Event to Mark 20 Years of Ham Radio Operation in Space

Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) will continue its year-long 20th anniversary celebration of continuous ham radio operation from the ISS this month, with a slow-scan television (SSTV) event over the holidays. The first ARISS school contact took place in December 2000, not long after the first ISS crew arrived on station a month earlier and had made test contacts. The commemorative late-December SSTV event will be held December 24 through December 31, although dates are subject to change. The frequency will be 145.800 MHz, using SSTV PD-120 mode. Over its 20 years, ARISS has supported nearly 1,400 scheduled ham radio contacts with schools, student groups, and other education organizations.

“ARISS would not be the complex and growing program of education, operations, and hardware were it not for ARRL, AMSAT, NASA, and the ISS National Lab (INL),” said Rosalie White, K1STO, ARISS-US Delegate representing ARRL. “For these past 20 years and for the years to come, when we grow into lunar ham radio opportunities and more, the ARISS team will continue to be grateful to ARRL and all our sponsors. We could not do it without you!”

The ARISS ham radio gear, for what would become NA1SS on board the station, arrived ahead of the Expedition 1 crew, headed by Bill Shep- herd, KD5GSL. Shepherd made the first ARISS school contact with students at Luther Burbank Elementary School in Illinois on December 21, 2000. NASA has marked the ARISS milestone with an infographic highlighting the educational contacts via amateur radio between astronaut crew members aboard the ISS and students.

ARISS will continue to sponsor various commemorative events through November 2021, including more of the very popular ARISS SSTV sessions. In celebration of the 20th anniversary of ham radio on the space station, ARISS took part in the ISS Research and Development Conference (ISSRDC) panel session, “20 Years of STEM Experiments on the ISS.” A video developed for the session describes the program, conveys some key lessons learned over the past 20 years, and describes the ARISS team’s vision for the future.

“Twenty years of continuous operations is a phenomenal accomplishment,” said ARISS-International Chair Frank Bauer, KA3HDO, who’s been with the program from the start. “But what makes it even more extraordinary is that ARISS has achieved this through hundreds of volunteers who are passionate in paying it forward to our youth and ham radio community. On behalf of the ARISS International team, I would like to express our heartfelt thanks to every volunteer who has made ARISS such an amazing success over the past 20 years. Your passion, drive, creativity, and spirit made it happen.”

In September, ARISS announced that the initial element of its next-generation Interoperable Radio System (IORS) had been installed in the ISS Columbus module, replacing outmoded and problematic station gear.

A helpful addition to the ARISS website is a “Current Status of ISS Stations,” which reports the present or coming operating mode of ARISS radios in the Columbus and Service modules. Click on General Contacts and then Current Status of ISS Stations on the drop-down menu of the ARISS website to access the reports.

(ANS thanks ARRL for the above information)

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the AMSAT office is closed until further notice. For details, please visit

Launch for AMSAT’s RadFxSat-2 / Fox-1E Delayed by Covid-19

Virgin Orbit has announced that all launch operations have been put on hold due to a large number of staff either testing positive or requiring quarantine due to exposure to Covid-19. The launch window for their LauncherOne Launch Demo 2 mission had been scheduled to open on December 19. When it is rescheduled, 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

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]

AMSAT-NA Mailman Upgrades

AMSAT’s IT team has been working to upgrade the Mailman software that supports mailing lists (aka reflectors, listserv, BB, etc). This up- grade became necessary for several reasons, one of which was the re- lease of a new major revision of the Mailman software itself. The new version of Mailman has many improvements, including: an updated web UI, management of all list memberships with a single account, and a web UI for searching and browsing archives.

The upgrade requires existing mail list users to sign up for a “new” account, which will be used to manage their existing list subscriptions and preferences. This will also require everyone to validate their preferences, aliases (if any), etc. Most existing preferences from the previous version of Mailman did not migrate. Please see the procedures below. Please contact [email protected] with any questions or concerns regarding this upgrade.

Procedures to Signup for New Mailman List Service

  1. Visit
  2. Click “Signup” in the top right corner.
  3. Fill out the form. For username, it is recommended that you use your e-mail address.
  4. You will receive a confirmation e-mail. Click the link in the e-mail, and then click the “Confirm” button.
  5. Login with your new AMSAT-NA Mailman account.
  6. Navigate to the User Profile/Settings area by clicking the drop- down at the top right, and selecting “Account.”
  7. Fill in your First Name, Last Name, time zone and click the “Update” button.
  8. If you have alternate e-mail addresses you use to subscribe to lists, they can be added using the “E-mail Addresses” tab.

Notable Changes from Previous Version of Mailman

  • A single account is used to manage your subscription and preferences (and list settings if you are a list owner). Delivery preferences, account updates, and subscription changes can all be made for any list you are a member of, with a single account.
  • All archives are now searchable in a web-based interface. See or click the Archives link at the top of the site.
  • All e-mails from the Mailman system are encrypted in transit.
  • The mail server itself has an updated SPAM detection infrastructure, and improved validation of inbound and outbound messages. This should result in more reliable SPAM detection, and also improved “whitelisting” of legitimate AMSAT-NA e-mails.

[ANS thanks Matthew Alberti, KM4EXS, AMSAT IT Team, for the above information]

Upcoming Changes to AMSAT News Service Bulletins Distribution

Due in part to the e-mail system upgrades and ongoing changes in technology more generally, distribution of the AMSAT New Service (ANS) bulletins (the bulletins you are reading right now) will change slightly in the new year.

Beginning January 1, 2021, ANS bulletins will no longer be sent with hard returns (CR/LF) inserted at 72 characters or fewer. Line length has traditionally been delineated for transmission on packet networks. However, few such networks remain operational, and most users receive the bulletins via a computer or mobile device.

For the time being, ANS bulletins will continue to be sent in plain text, and most users will notice no change. A few may have to turn on or adjust the “word wrap” feature in their email client, but for the vast majority, bulletins will display on their devices as they always have. The only difference most might notice is fewer hyphens breaking words in the various news stories.

This is a first step toward moving to an HTML format that will eventual- ly allow bulletins to be sent with color and photo illustrations, much as bulletins from ARRL and other sources have been for some time. AMSAT News Service is moving slowly toward this change, so users may expect the plain text distribution to continue for some months yet.

[ANS thanks Mark Johns, K0JM, ANS Senior Editor 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.

AMSAT CW Activity Day 2021

You are cordially invited to participate in CW Activity Day 2021, sponsored by AMSAT-NA for amateurs around the world. Operate CW through any amateur satellite on 1 January 2021 UTC.Straight keys and bugs are encouraged but not required. You need not send in a log, but are encouraged to post a brief report of your activity on the amsat-bb bulletin board, [email protected]. You need not be an AMSAT member.

Protect your satellites!Please remember to use the minimum power needed to complete your QSOs.

[ANS thanks Ray Soifer, W2RS, for the above information]

Amateur Satellite Operation From Wales During Covid-19 Restriction

Barry Amateur Radio Society (BARS), located in South Wales-UK, usually operates from its club station at his time of the year using our call signs and extend seasons greetings from Wales to other operators and families throughout the world.

Sadly due to the lock down and restrictions imposed due to the Covid-19 virus we are unable to gain access to operate from our club station.

Fortunately we have had confirmed that our club members can operate using the call CC4BRS/A(A is alternative) from their own QTH and the rules being adhered to.

During the period Sunday, December 20 through Saturday, December 25, two of the club members plan to operate via radio amateur satellites. With the success and coverage of QO-100 this will be the prime operation and we hopefully can extend our greetings to many other operators.

Ken, GW1FKY, will operate using the allocated call GC4BRS/A from his QTH in South Wales – grid locator IO81em. Bernard, MW0GBW, will also operate the club call from his QTH – grid locator IO81jkbut not at the same time of course unless he can perhaps operate in digital mode. To keep things simple an exchange of confirmation of call sign – name – signal report and grid locator will make it easier in the event of multiple operators calling on the operating frequency. QSL Manager for the event is Glyn Jones ( GW0ANA )

[ANS thanks Ken Eaton, GW1FKY, 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

Changes to AMSAT-NA TLE Distribution for December 17

The following satellites have decayed from orbit and have been removed from this week’s AMSAT-NA TLE Distribution:

SiriusSat 1 – NORAD Cat ID 43595 (Decayed on December 9, 2020 per Space-Track).

SiriusSat 2 – NORAD Cat ID 43596 (Decayed on December 9, 2020 per Space-Track).

To subscribe to the weekly email distribution of fresh Keplerian Two-Line Elements (TLE) login at

[ANS thanks Ray Hoad, WA5QGD, AMSAT Orbital Elements Manager, for the above information]

Satellite Podcast Available

AMSAT Board of Directors member Michelle Thompson, W5NYV, was the recent guest of Eric Guth on his “QSO Today” amateur radio podcast.

Michelle is a third generation amateur, beginning her ham radio journey in elementary school. Her interest in microwave circuit design and computers led her to a successful engineering career and now she is board member of AMSAT. Michelle is an advocate for open source applied to satellite design, fueling future generations of amateur spacecraft.

The podcast is available at

[ANS thanks Michelle Thompson, W5NYV, and QSO Today for the above information]


Amateurs and others around the world may listen in on contacts between amateurs operating in schools and allowing students to interact with astronauts and cosmonauts aboard the International Space Station. The downlink frequency on which to listen is 145.800 MHz worldwide.

Oregon Charter Academy, Mill City, OR, telebridge via VK4KHZ (A telebridge contact means that the contact was audible near Australia and students connected to the Australian ground station via the inter- net). The ISS callsign was scheduled to be NA1SS, and the scheduled astronaut was Shannon Walker, KD5DXB. The contact was successful: Tue 2020-12-15 19:00:49 UTC 32 degrees maximum elevation.

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 tries to provide everyone with near-real-time updates. Watch for future COVID- 19 related announcements at

The latest information on ARISS operation mode can be found at

The latest list of frequencies in use can be found at

[ANS thanks Charlie Sufana, AJ9N, one of the ARISS operation team men- tors 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

Upcoming Satellite Operations

Upcoming Roves: ****Watch Twitter, there are lots pop-up roves happening lately****

@AD7DB: DM22 : Dec 17-20 Maybe DM13,23,32 Holiday Style on FM sats.

Please submit any additions or corrections to Ke0pbr (at)

[ANS thanks Paul Overn, KE0PBR, AMSAT rover page manager, for the above information]

Hamfests, Conventions, Maker Faires, and Other Events

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, no events are currently scheduled.

[ANS thanks Paul Overn, KE0PBR, AMSAT Events page manager, for the above information]

Satellite Shorts From All Over

+ NASA and ESA (European Space Agency) have selected three astronauts to serve as crew members for NASA’s SpaceX Crew-3 mission to the International Space Station, which is expected to launch in the fall of 2021. All three astronauts are licensed amateur radio operators. The trio will consist of NASA astronauts Raja Chari, KI5LIU, and Tom Marshburn, KE5HOC, who will serve as commander and pilot, respectively, and ESA astronaut Matthias Maurer, KI5KFH, who will serve as a mission specialist. A fourth crew member will be added at a later date, following a review by NASA and its international partners. (ANS thanks NASA for the above information)

+ China has recovered precious lunar samples after a successful reentry and landing of the Chang’e-5 return capsule. The roughly 300-kilogram (660-pound) Chang’e-5 return capsule performed a ballistic skip re- entry at 12:33 p.m. Eastern (1733z) on Dec. 16, effectively bouncing off the atmosphere over the Arabian Sea. The capsule containing around 2 kilograms (4.4 pounds) of drilled and scooped lunar material landed in the grasslands of Siziwang Banner at 12:59 p.m. Recovery vehicles located the capsule shortly after. (ANS thanks SpaceNews for the above information)

+ NASA has released the first iteration of its Spacecraft Conjunction Assessment and Collision Avoidance Best Practices Handbook to share information on best practices for coordinating in-orbit activity in a safe and responsible manner. The agency aims for these best practices to bolster stability, reduce current and future operational risks, and contribute to a sustainable space environment for future public and private sector activities. The best practices handbook is available for download at: (ANS thanks NASA for the above information)

+ Whenever Jupiter and Saturn are in conjunction — that is, when they appear from earth to be very close together in the sky — it is referred to as a “Great Conjunction,” primarily because unlike conjunctions with the other bright planets, these two don’t get together very often. The last time these two planets appeared so close was on July 16, 1623, when they were only 5 arc minutes apart. We will get another 6-arc minute separation on March 15, 2080. If you’ve had a clear view to the southwest for the past few weeks you may have noticed them, two “stars,” one much brighter than the other, approaching each other night after night just after sunset. (ANS thanks for the above information)

+ Santa Claus will be performing a ceremonial fly-by of the International Space Station (ISS) on Dec. 24. The visit will honor the 20th anniversary of continuous life on the ISS, a milestone achieved in November. The official NORAD Santa Tracker at will allow users to track Santa’s journey all day on Dec. 24. New for this year, visitors will be able to see the ISS orbiting the planet in its precise real-time location by zooming out on the 3D Santa Tracker app. Other updates include additions to Santa’s traditional garb, including a face mask and space helmet. (ANS thanks for the above information)

+ NASA will not repair a faulty electronics unit on the Orion space- craft recently completed for the Artemis 1 mission after concluding there was sufficient redundancy in the overall system. In a Dec. 17 statement, NASA said it had decided to “use as is” one of eight power and data units (PDU) on the Orion spacecraft, which provide communications between the spacecraft’s computers and other components. One of two redundant channels in one of two communications cards in that PDU is not working. NASA said that the risks of damaging the spacecraft during the PDU repair outweighed any loss of data should the unit completely malfunction. (ANS thanks 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