AMSAT Office Closed Until Further Notice

Due to Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan’s order closing all non-essential businesses in the State of Maryland in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the AMSAT office is closed until further notice, effective today at 5:00pm EDT.

While the office is closed, AMSAT will continue to accept new and renewal memberships. However, membership packets will not be mailed until the office reopens. T-shirts, hats, and other items stocked in the office will also not be available until the office reopens. Digital downloadable content, including SatPC32 and MacDoppler will remain available from the AMSAT store. Antenna, name badge, and awards orders will be forwarded for processing.

The March/April issue of The AMSAT Journal will be produced on time. However, it may only be possible to publish it in digital format. Stay tuned for further updates.

Any questions about memberships, orders, or office operations can be sent to info@amsat.org. Please note that no mail or phone service will be available until the office reopens. Vendors billing AMSAT for goods or services may email the above address to arrange payment.

Sean Kutzko, KX9X, Appointed AMSAT Volunteer Coordinator

AMSAT President Clayton Coleman, W5PFG, has announced the appointment of Sean Kutzko, KX9X, as Volunteer Coordinator.

AMSAT Volunteer Coordinator Sean Kutzko, KX9X

First licensed in 1982 as KA9NGH, Kutzko served as both ARRL Contest Branch Manager (2007-2013) and ARRL Media and Public Relations Manager (2013-2017). He was the creator and co-administrator of the ARRL National Parks on the Air (NPOTA) program in 2016. An active HF and VHF contester, DXer and backpack QRP enthusiast, Kutzko started working satellites in 2011 and has transmitted from over fifty different grid squares. He has written instructional materials on satellite operating for the AMSAT website, QST, and blogs regularly on satellite topics for the DX Engineering blog “On All Bands.”

“It’s an honor to be able to volunteer for AMSAT,” Kutzko said. “When [new AMSAT president] Clayton [Coleman, W5PFG] asked if I would help coordinate a team of volunteers, I jumped at the opportunity. AMSAT is a great organization and helping find good volunteers who are willing to help all areas of AMSAT’s growth and development is the least I could do for the organization that has given me a lot of enjoyment and technical skill.”

Outside of Amateur Radio, Kutzko is a freelance PR/communications consultant and voiceover artist, as well as a baker of artisan breads, pizza and pastries. He also plays drums in a classic rock/country band, Silverweed. He lives in Urbana, Illinois.

ANS-082 AMSAT News Service Weekly Bulletins for March 22nd

AMSAT NEWS SERVICE
ANS-082

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:

  • AMSAT President Urges Members to Renew/Donate Now
  • AMSAT Treasurer’s Report Posted
  • 2020 AMSAT Academy Canceled
  • IARU Announces R2 Satellite Communication Workshop 31 May 2020
  • AMSAT-BR Announces QO-100 FT8 QRPp Experiment
  • Changes to AMSAT-NA TLE Distribution for March 19, 2020
  • Upcoming Satellite Operations
  • Hamfests, Conventions, Maker Faires, and Other Events
  • ARISS News
  • Satellite Shorts from All Over

SB SAT @ AMSAT $ANS-082.01
ANS-082 AMSAT News Service Weekly Bulletins

AMSAT News Service Bulletin 082.01
From AMSAT HQ KENSINGTON, MD.
March 22, 2020
To All RADIO AMATEURS
BID: $ANS-082.01

AMSAT President Urges Members to Renew/Donate Now

AMSAT President Clayton Coleman, W5PFG, has put out a call for new and renewing AMSAT members to act now and register online.

Coleman says, “All things considered, cancellation of Hamvention 2020 was the right thing to do and we recognize the difficult decision that the Dayton Amateur Radio Association Executive Committee had to make.”

“The cancellation of Hamvention will have a dramatic effect on the well-being of many vendors and associations that serve the Amateur Radio community.  AMSAT is no exception.  Hamvention has always been a major fund-raising tool for both recruiting and renewing members as well as selling AMSAT branded merchandise, software, books and antennas.  The loss of this important venue has the potential to adversely affect the projects that AMSAT has underway already and planned for the months and years ahead.”

“This is a very exciting time for Amateur Radio in Space with the new InterOperable Radio System for ARISS, the GOLF satellite program, updating member services and launching our Youth Initiative.  It has been many years since we have seen this kind of excitement and interest in space communications.  We would hate to lose that momentum and fall behind.”

“I am asking everyone to act now and join or renew their AMSAT membership NOW while it is on our minds.  Your immediate willingness to act will help strengthen AMSAT and help ensure our mission of ‘Keeping Amateur Radio in Space’ continues.” There are membership opportunities for everyone to consider:

Coleman also adds, “And, while you’re at it, don’t be afraid to kick in a few extra dollars with a one-time or sustaining donation to AMSAT’s general operating fund.  Especially appreciated are those Amateurs who can make an extra difference by contributing to the President’s Club with contributions of $120 or more.  Whatever you can contribute, please understand that every dollar counts.”

“Additionally, with Hamvention’s cancellation, we lost the opportunity to personally greet and thank all of AMSAT’s membership and to share our enthusiasm for the upcoming year.  Watch for upcoming news on our plans and launches for 2020. We’ll be talking soon.”

[ANS thanks Clayton Coleman, W5PFG, AMSAT President for the above information]

Memberships, both new and renewals, can be purchased at:  https://www.amsat.org/shop

For a limited time, AMSAT is making the Getting Started With Amateur Satellites book available free for a limited time as a download with any paid new or renewal membership purchased via the AMSAT store.

 Make your online donations at: https://www.amsat.org/donate

           Purchase AMSAT Gear on our Zazzle storefront.
          25% of the purchase price of each product goes
            towards Keeping Amateur Radio in Space
              https://www.zazzle.com/amsat_gear

AMSAT Treasurer’s Report Posted

During the AMSAT Board of Directors meeting held March 17, 2020 Robert Bankston, KE4AL, AMSAT Treasurer presented a report to the board members.  Bankston said,” Now that I’ve had a few months to settle into my new position as AMSAT Treasurer and spend a little time digging through the numbers, I thought it was time to share what I have found and set the record straight about some of the misinformation that is being spread about AMSAT’s financial position.”

“Despite rumors and misquotes of AMSAT being on an unsustainable path, let’s look at where we really are and how we are doing.

  • Over the past ten years (2010-2019), AMSAT has averaged a $34,357 increase in net assets (what most people refer to as profits) per year.
  • Our combined revenues over expenditures (profits) for the past 5 years (2015-2019) were $110,962, which includes launching 4 amateur satellites into space, readying RadFxSat-2 (Fox-1E) and the ARISS InterOperable Radio System for flight, and getting started on GOLF and Lunar Gateway projects.
  • In 2019, AMSAT generated $756,256 in revenues with $617,425 in expenditures.”

“Year to year fluctuations are generally a result of timing differences between project fundraising efforts and when AMSAT needs to spend money. In addition, AMSAT maintains its reserves in investment accounts, which are subject to market price fluctuations and must be included in our financial statements.”

“2018 is a perfect example:

  • AMSAT authorized a $62,055 payment to NASA, which was not reimbursed until 2019.
  • AMSAT spent $62,397 on the initial hardware development for GOLF.
  • AMSAT launched two satellites in 2018, Fox-1D (AO-92) and Fox-1 Cliff (AO-95).
  • AMSAT had to report a $77,128 fair market value loss in investments (which was fully recovered in 2019).”

Bankston adds, “Don’t get me wrong – there is certainly room for improvement. I have already identified and started to implement cost-saving and budgetary control measures that can and will make us more efficient. As AMSAT Treasurer, it is my job to safeguard AMSAT’s resources from both fraud and waste, and I intend to do exactly that. I look forward to what more we can achieve.”

In his report Bankston also summarized a number of other financial matters:

Membership

  • Membership revenues continue to rise and have increased 65.68% in just that past 5 years, all without any increase in dues rates for its members.
  • New memberships, renewals, life memberships, and AMSAT Store purchases for the first three months of 2020 are on track to exceed the same revenue sources for 2019.

Transparency

AMSAT is fully committed to financial transparency.  Its financial statements and regulatory informational reports (Form 990’s) are and have always been publicly available.  Furthermore, to add confidence, an independent certified public accounting firm reviews AMSAT’s financial statements and includes their report with our financials. AMSAT financial reports and related documents are available online at www.amsat.org/audit-and-other-financial-reports/.

Solvency

AMSAT is on a solid financial footing and headed in the right direction. AMSAT started this year with over $134,000 in cash and over $591,000 in investments. The level of its reserves, its ability to generate more revenues than expenses, and its ability to continue to grow its members has AMSAT fiscally positioned to accept whatever challenges and opportunities tomorrow brings.

Bankston concluded his report by saying, “AMSAT does not expect to fully fund itself with membership dues. Member dues are meant to cover member services and benefits.  Funding for everything else must come from other sources.

“In 2019, member dues accounted for only $134,570 of AMSAT’s total revenues. The remaining $621,686 came from the kind hearts of our donors and the incredible work of our volunteers – seeking out new revenue streams and securing grants to further support our mission.”

“We, at AMSAT, are keeping our promise to Keep Amateur Radio in Space and doing so in a fiscally responsible manner.”

This report including graphs and charts can be seen at https://www.amsat.org/amsat-treasurers-report.

[ANS thanks Robert Bankston, KE4AL, AMSAT Treasurer for the above information]

2020 AMSAT Academy Canceled

Due to the unfortunate cancellation of the 2020 Hamvention, the AMSAT Academy has also been canceled.  Registrants will be notified directly with refund information.

[ANS thanks Robert Bankston, KE4AL, AMSAT Vice President User Services 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.
        https://amsat.org/product-category/hardware/

IARU Announces R2 Satellite Communication Workshop 31 May 2020

This 3-hour online workshop is an opportunity for all English speaking Radio Amateurs in IARU Region 2 and specifically the Caribbean to meet and share their experience with amateur satellite communications. No prior experience in satellite communications is required.

Tentative workshop agenda will include:

  • How to get started in satellite communications
  • A practical demonstration using inexpensive and simple components (Handy and portable Antennas)
  • Useful tools, helpful tips, techniques and websites to find information on how to get started
  • Explain the different components of a ground station for more advanced users (LNA, Cross-Polarized Antennas, phased lines, coaxial loss at VHF and upper frequencies, equipment, SDR’s, etc.).
  • Using satellite communications as a way to encourage young people to become Amateurs and generate connections and projects with local universities, college and schools in STEM programs.
  • Attendees are all Amateurs interested in satellite communications,
    whether experienced or wanting to learn how to get started.

Workshops General Information:

  • Working language will be English for both workshops.
  • Preference will be given to amateurs in the Caribbean.
  • Workshops will start at 1400 local time (AST/ET, 1800 UT).
  • Access will be via Zoom, an easy to use online conference tool available on a number of platforms.
  • Agenda and information on how to participate will be sent to registered participants in mid-May.

Registration for the online workshop can be found at https://tinyurl.com/ANS-082-IARU-Workshop

[ANS thanks the IARU for the above information]

AMSAT-BR Announces QO-100 FT8 QRPp Experiment

AMSAT-Brazil is organizing a reverse beacon FT8 QRPp experiment/contest via the QO-100 geostationary amateur radio transponder.

The first ten spotted stations with lower SNR will receive a Certificate of Accomplishment.  The dead line will be May 1, 2020. To qualify, the SNR must be lower than -18 dB (as measured by the FT8 decoder). The receiver will be active on Saturdays and Sundays from 12:00 UTC to 24:00 UTC and will be tuned to 10.489540 GHz with a 3.5 kHz bandwidth. All stations calling CQ will be logged.

The objective for the project is to incentive low power experimentation through the QO-100 narrow band transponder. Stations participating in the experiment are welcome to send a brief description of their setup, including information about RF power output, hardware and software setups, antenna type and gain, photos, etc. to the email address py2sdr at gmail dot com.

[ANS thanks AMSAT-UK for the above information]

Changes to AMSAT-NA TLE Distribution for March 19, 2020

Ray Hoad, WA5QGD, reports, “I am pleased to announce that AMSAT-NA’s request to re-distribute TLE elements from Space-Track website has been approved for the period April 1,2020 to April 1, 2021. Our ODR (Orbital Data Request) to re-distribute the Space-Track TLE’s was approved by Air Force 18 SPCS on February 27, 2020 (Received March 12, 2020).  Thanks to Air Force 18 SPCS, Perry Klein, W3PK, and Joe Fitzgerald, KM1P, for their help in this yearly process.  We are ‘good to go’ for another year.”

The following Amateur Radio satellites have been removed from this week’s TLE distribution:

EO-79   – NORAD CAT ID 40025 – Non-operational
UKube-1 – NORAD CAT ID 40074 – Non-operational
AO-85   – NORAD CAT ID 40967 – End of Mission

[ANS thanks Ray Hoad, WA5QGD, for the above information]

Upcoming Satellite Operations

River Bend Wireless Rove (EN22,EN33,EN34,EN42,EN43,EN44) April 2-4, 2020
Mitch AD0HJ is looking to add six more grids to his rover basket just before the April 4 AMSAT presentation/demonstration at the River Bend Wireless and Mechanical Society in Faribault, MN. Mitch will be activating the EN43/EN44 grid line on April 2nd, the EN32/EN42 grid line on April 3, and the EN33/EN34 grid line on April 4, 2020. Watch Mitch’s Twitter feed as the dates approach for a detailed schedule at https://twitter.com/AD0HJ.

From the Mountains to the Bay (CM88,89,98,99; DM09,19,29; DN00,01,02,10,11,20,21) April 12-21, 2020
RJ, WY7AA, is hitting the asphalt again, roving from Wyoming to Vacaville, CA. He’s attending a class from April 15-19, so most of the roving will be outside of this time. Grids to be covered include: CM88,89,98,99; DM09,19,29; DN00,01,02,10,11,20,21. Specific pass details will be posted on WY7AA QRZ page and Twitter (https://twitter.com/WY7AA) as the trip approaches.

[ANS thanks Robert Bankston, KE4AL for the above information]

Hamfests, Conventions, Maker Faires, and Other Events

  • May 2, 2020 – Arrowhead Radio Amateurs Club Hamfest, Superior, WI
  • May 2, 2020 – Cochise Amateur Radio Association Hamfest, Sierra Vista, AZ
  • May 8-9, 2020 – Prescott Hamfest, Prescott, AZ
  • June 12-13, 2020 -Ham-Con, Plano, TX

Be sure to check this page and event organizers for cancellations.

To include your upcoming AMSAT presentation and/or demonstration, please send an email to ambassadors at amsat dot org.

[ANS thanks Robert Bankston, KE4AL, for the above information]

ARISS News

Completed Contacts
Turkey Space Camp, Izmir, Turkey, telebridge via W5RRR.
The ISS callsign was NA1SS.
The astronaut was Drew Morgan KI5AAA.
Contact was successful on Thursday, March 19, 2020.
In an ARISS first due to COVID-19, all of the questions were pre-recorded by the students and no students were on site during
the contact.

Upcoming Contacts
SPDW Voortrekker Movement, Oranjeville, South Africa, direct via ZS9SPD.
The ISS callsign is presently scheduled to be NA1SS.
The scheduled astronaut is Drew Morgan KI5AAA.
Contact is go for: Friday, March 27, 2020 at 09:47:49 UTC.

Amur State University, Blagoveshchensk, Russia, direct via RKØJ??.
The ISS callsign is presently scheduled to be RSØISS.
The scheduled astronaut is Oleg Skripochka.
Possible contact on Tuesday, March 31, 2020 at 2020-03-31 08:50 UTC.

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, I will try to provide everyone with near-real-time updates.”

[ANS thanks Charlie Sufana, AJ9N, for the above information]

Shorts from All Over

AMSAT February 4, 2020 BoD Minutes Available Online
The minutes for the AMSAT Board of Directors meeting held on February 4, 2020 are now available online for viewing at https://tinyurl.com/ANS-082-BoD-Minutes

[ANS thanks the AMSAT office for the above information]

Sean Kutzko New Article: Upgrading to Linear Satellites
Wondering what to do after working the FM birds?  Sean Kutzko, KX9X, has updated his series of satellite operating tips with “Satellite Basics (Part 3): Upgrading to the Linear Satellites”.  Covering everything from equipment suggestions to proper tuning procedures, this information-packed article can be found at https://tinyurl.com/ANS-082-Linear-Birds.

[ANS thanks the Sean Kutzko, KX9X for the above information]

Hamvention Announces Refund Information
The Dayton Amateur Radio Association has made the following announcement regarding Hamvention refunds:

“Due to unfortunate cancellation of Hamvention 2020, we know that tickets, inside booth spaces and flea market spaces have been purchased.  These purchases have been made by online credit cards, mail order checks and purchased from our outside vendors. All refunds will be through the same method of purchase.  All credit card sales will be refunded to the original card used to make the charge.  All check and cash sales will be refunded by check.  We anticipate all refunds completed as soon as possible but not later than August 1.”

Further information is available at https://hamvention.org/.

[ANS thanks DARA for the above information]

Australis OSCAR 5 Book Available in the U.S.
Australis OSCAR 5 – The Improbable Story of Australia’s First Private Satellite book (second edition) is now available in the U.S.  The book details how, in the 1960’s, a group of University of Melbourne Science and Engineering students and one Law student banded together to build a satellite in their spare time.

You can order the book directly from the publisher at https://isdistribution.com/BookDetail.aspx?aId=122391

[ANS thanks Owen Mace for the above information]

FUNCube TLM Receive Antenna Available
AMSAT-UK is pleased to offer a simple, low cost antenna system, for use with a FUNcube Dongle (or any other receiver) to receive the FUNcube telemetry signals. Based around a Winkler Crossed Dipole antenna, this kit includes the antenna, a RF cable (2m long) for connection between the antenna and a FUNcube Dongle, and a USB cable (approximately 1.8 m long) for connecting the dongle to a computer.

Ordering information is available at https://tinyurl.com/ANS-082-FUNcube

[ANS thanks Graham Shirville, G3VZV for the above information]

Remote Display over USB for Kenwood TH-D74
Many operators love their Kenwood TH-D74 handheld for satellite operation but there is always room for improvement.  Tony Milluzzi, KD8RTT offers plans for an external remote display that connects to the radio’s USB port.  The device is based on a Raspberry Pi Zero W and a 16×2 LCD.  The complete plans are available at https://tinyurl.com/ANS-082-TH-D74

[ANS thanks Tony Milluzzi, KD8RTT for the above information]

Amateur Radio Satellite Spreads Fight Coronavirus Message
Indonesia’s national amateur radio society ORARI reports the ham radio satellite LAPAN-A2 (IO-86) is being used to send a Fight Coronavirus message using APRS. A translation of the ORARI post says, “Stay Healthy, Stay at Home #LawanCorona”.

See the complete story at https://tinyurl.com/ANS-082-Coronavirus.

M2 Pathfinder Satellite Launch Imminent
M2 Pathfinder satellite’s next launch window is reportedly no earlier than March 29, 2020.  The M2 Pathfinder is a collaboration between the University of New South Wales (UNSW) Canberra Space and the Australian Government.  The M2 Pathfinder will test communications architecture and other technologies that will assist in informing the future space capabilities of Australia. The satellite will demonstrate the ability of an onboard software-based radio to operate and reconfigure while in orbit.

The mission has been named ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’ in recognition of Rocket Lab board member and avid Queen fan Scott Smith, who recently passed away.

Complete information on the mission is available athttps://www.rocketlabusa.com/missions/next-mission/.

[ANS thanks Terry Osborne ZL2BAC 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,

Frank Karnauskas, N1UW
n1uw at amsat dot org

AMSAT President Urges Members to Renew/Donate Now

AMSAT President Clayton Coleman, W5PFG, has put out a call for new and renewing AMSAT members to act now and register online.

AMSAT President Clayton Coleman, W5PFG
AMSAT President Clayton Coleman, W5PFG

Coleman says, “All things considered, cancellation of Hamvention 2020 was the right thing to do and we recognize the difficult decision that the Dayton Amateur Radio Association Executive Committee had to make.”

“The cancellation of Hamvention will have a dramatic effect on the well-being of many vendors and associations that serve the Amateur Radio community.  AMSAT is no exception.  Hamvention has always been a major fund-raising tool for both recruiting and renewing members as well as selling AMSAT branded merchandise, software, books and antennas.  The loss of this important venue has the potential to adversely affect the projects that AMSAT has underway already and planned for the months and years ahead.”

“This is a very exciting time for Amateur Radio in Space with the new InterOperable Radio System for ARISS, the GOLF satellite program, updating member services and launching our Youth Initiative.  It has been many years since we have seen this kind of excitement and interest in space communications.  We would hate to lose that momentum and fall behind.”

“I am asking everyone to act now and join or renew their AMSAT membership NOW while it is on our minds.  Your immediate willingness to act will help strengthen AMSAT and help ensure our mission of ‘Keeping Amateur Radio in Space’ continues.” There are membership opportunities for everyone to consider:

Coleman also adds, “And, while you’re at it, don’t be afraid to kick in a few extra dollars with a one-time or sustaining donation to AMSAT’s general operating fund.  Especially appreciated are those Amateurs who can make an extra difference by contributing to the President’s Club with contributions of $120 or more.  Whatever you can contribute, please understand that every dollar counts.”

“Additionally, with Hamvention’s cancellation, we lost the opportunity to personally greet and thank all of AMSAT’s membership and to share our enthusiasm for the upcoming year.  Watch for upcoming news on our plans and launches for 2020. We’ll be talking soon.”

[ANS thanks Clayton Coleman, W5PFG, AMSAT President for the above information]

 

Memberships, both new and renewals, can be purchased at:  https://www.amsat.org/shop

For a limited time, AMSAT is making the Getting Started With Amateur Satellites book available free for a limited time as a download with any paid new or renewal membership purchased via the AMSAT store.

 Make your online donations at: https://www.amsat.org/donate