Flashback Friday: Satellite Tracking with QUIKTRAK for the Commodore 64 and Apple II

For Flashback Friday, AMSAT is releasing disk images of QUIKTRAK for both the Commodore 64 and Apple II. These disk images should work in any emulator for the platforms, such as VICE for the Commodore 64 and AppleWin or LinApple for the Apple II.  They can also be imaged to floppy disk or used with a floppy emulator on real vintage hardware. These disk images have AMSAT’s club call, W3ZM, and Washington, DC set as the default callsign and QTH. Current Keplerian elements for AO-7 (as of September 13, 2019) are included. These programs provide a fun look back at the state of the art in satellite tracking in the mid-1980s.


QUIKTRAK.D64 (Commodore 64/128)

QUIKTRAK was written by Bob McGwier, N4HY, utilizing tracking routines originally developed by Tom Clark, W3IWI (now K3IO). While the Commodore 64 version is in compiled BASIC (Blitz), the AppleSoft BASIC source code for the Apple II version is included on the disk image and can be LISTed.

Additionally, Paul Williamson, KB5MU, recently made the InstantTrack program for the IBM PCs and PC compatibles freely available on his website.

If anyone has any copies of additional historic tracking programs, please email n8hm at amsat.org to arrange preserving this portion of AMSAT’s history.

Tracking AO-7 with MAPTRAK for the Commodore 64 in VICE.


Showing the next AO-7 passes in Washington, DC using QUIKTRAK for the Apple II in LinApple.

Amateur Radio Digital Communications (ARDC) Awards Generous Grant to ARISS

Amateur Radio Digital Communications (ARDC) has awarded a very generous grant to ARISS for the Next Generation radio system. ARDC is  the owner and manager of the Internet network known as the AMPRNet. In June of 2019, ARDC initiated a philanthropic endeavor to provide monetary grants to organizations, groups, projects, and scholarships which have significant potential to advance the state of the art of Amateur Radio, and digital communications in general.

The ARISS Next Generation radio system (or Inter Operable Radio System – IORS) will support easier radio mode transition, to enable new, exciting capabilities for hams, students and the general public including:

  • New amateur radio communication and experimentation capabilities, including an enhanced voice repeater and updated digital packet radio (APRS) capabilities.
  • Slow Scan TV (picture up and downlinks) in both the US and Russian segments of ISS.
  • New multi-voltage power supply will support present and future radio capabilities and allow wireless experiments to be conducted.

In July, the Inter Operable Radio System successfully completed a battery of stressful tests required as part of the final certification of the hardware for launch to and operation on the International Space Station. Final assembly of the flight safety certification in preparation for launch is now underway and ARISS is working towards launch ready status by the end of the year.

For more information on the award please see: https://www.ampr.org/g2019-09-01a/

To contribute to ARISS and the IORS please see: https://www.ariss.org/donate.html

ARISS and AMSAT thank ARDC for their generosity in supporting this important project.

[ANS thanks ARISS, the AMSAT office, and ARDC for the above information.]

IORS testing
IORS testing at Johnson Space Center (L to R) Lou McFadin and Kerry Banke


50th Anniversary AMSAT Space Symposium Banquet Speakers Announced, Tickets Now Available

AMSAT is pleased to announce that the AMSAT Symposium Saturday Evening Banquet on Saturday, October 19th will feature a panel of guest speakers presenting “The Foundations of AMSAT” followed by a question and answer period. Guest speakers will include:

Lance Ginner, K6GSJ (Project OSCAR)
George Jacobs, W3ASK (Author, Diplomat)
Dr. Perry Klein, W3PK (Founding President of AMSAT)
Dr. Owen Mace (Australis-OSCAR 5 Builder, University of Melbourne)
Richard Tonkin (Australis-OSCAR 5 Builder, University of Melbourne)
Jan King, W3GEY (Founding member of AMSAT and Australis-OSCAR 5 Project Manager)

The 50th Anniversary AMSAT Space Symposium and General Meeting will be held on Friday through Sunday, October 18-20, 2019, in Arlington, Virginia at The Hilton Arlington. Symposium registration is available for $60 from now until September 15th. Banquet tickets are $55. Tickets are now available on the AMSAT Store at https://www.amsat.org/product-category/amsat-symposium/

Tickets are also now available for the Sunday tour. On Sunday, October 20th, a bus tour will take attendees to the the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, an annex of the National Air and Space Museum. Two large hangars display thousands of aviation and space artifacts, including a Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird, a Concorde, and the Space Shuttle Discovery. Bus capacity is limited to 35 attendees. Tickets are $30 per person. Attendees who wish to drive may also join the tour group. Parking at the Udvar-Hazy Center is $15.

On Monday, October 21st, AMSAT President Joe Spier, K6WAO, will lead a walking tour of the National Mall. No reservations are required. Transportation to the National Mall will be via the Washington Metro.

Additional information, including hotel reservation information is available at https://www.amsat.org/amsat-symposium/


DCUdvar-Hazy Center

BRICSAT2 and PSAT2 Designated Navy-OSCAR 103 (NO-103) and Navy-OSCAR 104 (NO-104)

On June 25, 2019, the United States Naval Academy PSAT2 and BRICSAT2 cubesats were launched on a Falcon Heavy launch vehicle from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. PSAT2 and BRICSAT2 were developed by Naval Academy students in the USNA Satellite Lab and operated in cooperation with the USNA Amateur Radio Club. PSAT2 carries a PSK31 transponder, digipeater, SSTV-downlinked camera images, and a DTMF to voice/APRS system. BRICSAT2 carries a digipeater and thruster experiment. Both satellites are currently active.

At the request of the Naval Academy Amateur Radio Club, AMSAT hereby designates BRICSAT2 as Navy-OSCAR 103 (NO-103), and PSAT2 as Navy-OSCAR 104 (NO-104). We congratulate the owners and operators, thank them for their contribution to the amateur satellite community, and wish them a long mission and continued success on this and future projects.


Drew Glasbrenner, KO4MA
AMSAT VP Operations / OSCAR Number Administrator

NO-104 (PSAT2)