Apogee View – January/February 2017

January / February 2017
Barry Baines, WD4ASW, President

Happy New Year! I trust the holiday season was a joyous one for you with good cheer and opportunities to be with friends and family. May 2017 be a wonderful year.

During the holiday season, Kathy (WD4ASX) and I were in the midst of transition, establishing a new household in Keller, TX. We wanted to be near one pair of grandchildren during the fall and winter months. We’ve gotten to the point where the majority of boxes and packing materials have been recycled, and the residence is starting to feel like “home.” We have much yet to do to get the chaos under control, but at least we see some daylight at the end of the tunnel. We’re looking forward to becoming more familiar with the Dallas/Ft. Worth Metroplex.

In the spring and summer, we’ll be spending time in the Boston area to be near the second pair of grandchildren as we establish a second residence. So the chaos will continue later. The beginning of the New Year also serves as a kickoff for AMSAT as we transition our focus towards this year’s activities. This year promises to be an exciting one for AMSAT with new launches and new venues for two of the most popular gatherings for AMSAT members, Hamvention and Symposium, and ARISS continuing to make huge impacts on education.

Four Fox-1 Satellite Launches

First, we’re looking forward to the launch of four Fox-1 class satellites. NASA has announced that the launch of RadFXSat (Fox-1B) under ELaNa-XIV has been moved to August 29, 2017, as the primary payload ( JPSS-1) has been delayed. The Mission Readiness Review is targeting May 1-2 in San Luis Obispo, CA following the Cal Poly CubeSat Workshop in San Luis Obispo. AMSAT has attended the CubeSat Workshop in prior years, and we expect to attend this year’s event as well.

Fox-1Cliff and Fox-1D are manifested under an AMSAT contract with Spaceflight, Inc., to fly on a Falcon-IX launch vehicle. SpaceX had a successful launch of the Falcon-IX the week of January 9, 2017, which bodes well for SpaceX to announce both its launch schedule and when we can expect our launch. We think that announcement will come in the very near future.

RadFxSat-2 (Fox-1E) is still scheduled to be launched in December 2017 under ELaNa-XX, though experience suggests that we shouldn’t be surprised if this time frame changes. IARU coordination has been filed. Transponder development is coming along well, and the Engineering Team expects the satellite to be completed on schedule.

Along with upcoming launches, we’re also planning for two key events in 2017: Hamvention (May 19-22), and the AMSAT Space Symposium and Annual General Meeting. Our Dayton Team Leader is Steve Belter, N9IP, who already is communicating with the Hamvention Exhibit Chairman about AMSAT’s booth presence at the new venue and securing an area for our satellite demos led by Paul Stoetzer, N8HM. Steve and his team of volunteers are examining the new commercial exhibit booth layout and coming up with some enhancements to improve AMSAT’s presence.

Our initial impression is that the Hamvention leadership is working hard to make the new venue at Greene County Fairgrounds a success. We’ll be releasing more information about AMSAT’s Hamvention participation in the next couple of months.


The 2016 AMSAT Space Symposium @ Sea was a resounding success based on the enthusiasm of the attendees, the number of participants, and the quality of the presentations. Everyone who attended had a great time, and the presence of so many satellite operators with their portable stations operating from the decks of Carnival Liberty was certainly impressive.

Adding to the success was the number of spouses, significant others, and family members who took advantage of the cruise ship venue to come along with their Symposium attendee. I suspect that having a venue with lots of opportunities for non- Symposium participants helped build interest in Symposium itself.

Given the overall success of the 2016 AMSAT Space Symposium @ Sea, where will the 2017 AMSAT Space Symposium & Annual General Meeting take place? And will that location encourage family members to come along as well? The good news is that AMSAT has selected a location for the 2017 AMSAT Space Symposium & Annual General Meeting: Reno, NV. An ANS announcement about Symposium was included in ANS-22. The event will take place the weekend of October 27-29, 2017, and the Symposium hotel will be the Silver Legacy Resort, 407 N. Virginia Street in downtown Reno. The Silver Legacy is a 4-star Resort/Hotel/ Casino with a massive round dome and spires centered in downtown. The Silver Legacy is typically lit green at night and is referred to by many as the “Emerald City” of Reno. In support of the University of Nevada Wolf Pack, the Silver Legacy will sometimes turn blue.

As a downtown hotel, the Silver Legacy is close to a variety of restaurants and points of interest including museums and entertainment. If you have time before or after Symposium, other locations to visit include Lake Tahoe and Virginia City.

Please mark your calendar and join AMSAT in Reno the weekend of October 27-29.

By the way, AMSAT-UK will be holding its Colloquium two weeks before our Space Symposium (October 14-15) at a new venue in conjunction with the RSGB Convention at the Kents Hill Park Conference Centre, Timbold Drive, Milton Keynes, MK7 6BZ. If you’re interested in learning more about Colloquium, check the AMSAT-UK website (www.amsat-uk.org) for details as they become available. Having both meetings occur in the same month provides an opportunity for amateur satellite operators to participate in two gatherings taking place on two continents focused on amateur radio in space.


If you’re an ARRL member, I hope you saw Kenwood’s two-page ad in the February 2017 of QST that features their support for ARISS. After spending an evening unpacking boxes and getting things organized, I downloaded the February 2017 issue of QST. I was reviewing the issue when I came across the ad on pp. 30-31. All I can say is “WOW!” The imagery is stunning. I was impressed to see the ARISS logo prominently displayed, and the text in support of ARISS is certainly excellent.

Most importantly, the Kenwood ad asks ARRL members to support ARISS and includes the AMSAT-NA address (“Attn: ARISS Donation”) for people to mail their checks and also references the AMSAT website for electronic donations. In a subtle way, this ad recognizes the important role that AMSAT plays with ARISS. Hopefully, this will translate into more web interest for AMSAT as well.

Kenwood’s support for ARISS, not only with regard to providing the TM-D710GA and their engineering expertise but now with significant publicity support for fundraising is certainly a welcome effort. Clearly, the efforts of the entire ARISS team in support of education in space is being noticed and, hopefully, that increased awareness also will translate into financial support by ARRL members.

A great way to start the year — an outstanding image and message in QST!