Newly Revised 2020 Digital Edition of “Getting Started with Amateur Satellites” Now Available

The 2020 edition of AMSAT’s Getting Started with Amateur Satellites is now available on the AMSAT store. A perennial favorite, Getting  Started is updated every year with the latest amateur satellite information, and is the premier primer of satellite operation. This definitive reference is written for the new satellite operator, but includes discussions for the experienced operator who wishes to review the features of amateur satellite communications. The new operator will be introduced to the basic concepts and terminology unique to this mode. Additionally, there are many practical tips and tricks to ensure making contacts, and to sound like an experienced satellite operator in the process. The book is presented in DRM-free PDF format, in full color, and covers all aspects of making your first contacts on a ham radio satellite.

Joining the cover art for the first time this year is a depiction of the next generation of AMSAT satellites – AMSAT’s GOLF series of 3U CubeSats.

The digital download is available for $15 at 2020 Edition of Getting Started with Amateur Satellites – Digital Download

Clayton Coleman, W5PFG, Elected AMSAT President

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

At a special meeting held via teleconference, the AMSAT Board of Directors elected Clayton Coleman, W5PFG, President. Coleman previously served as a member of the Board of Directors from 2017-2019 and also served as AMSAT’s Secretary during this time. He has also volunteered in several other capacities for AMSAT, including chairing the 2016 AMSAT Space Symposium held aboard the cruise ship Carnival Liberty.

Coleman’s first introduction to amateur radio in space was with SAREX and Mir. An interest in setting up an AX.25 BBS and nodes led to him  trying out the Mir Personal Message System (PMS) and digipeater to make contacts in the early 1990s. It wasn’t until a visit from a  friend in 2011 that Coleman was bitten by the OSCAR bug and began his AMSAT journey chasing operating awards.

Having held other leadership roles in his community, nonprofits, and critical infrastructure, Coleman’s desire is working with constituents to improve organizational processes and align them with strategic goals. Professionally, Coleman works in the industrial process control sector as both a consultant and business development manager. He resides in the North Texas area with his spouse and two children.

AMSAT members will have the opportunity to meet Coleman at the Orlando HamCation on Saturday, February 8th. He will hold a meet and greet at the AMSAT booth from 9:30am-10:30am and 2:00pm-3:00pm. He will also make remarks at the AMSAT Forum, which will be held at 12:30pm Saturday in Room CS III at the Lakeside Pavilion.

FoxTelem Version 1.08 Released

I am releasing Version 1.08 of FoxTelem.  This release provides several enhancements and needed changes for FOX-1E and HuskySat, a partnership with the University of Washington.

You will need to download this version to successfully decode data from 2 new spacecraft which will transmit BPSK telemetry on 70cm.  Oh, and now is a good time to put up a 70cm antenna if you do not have one 🙂

You can download it from:

Key Changes

  • Make PSK decoders easier to select
  • Automatically change the band from 2m to 70cm and the mode from FSK to PSK  if needed (and enabled).  Allow default mode to be set for each spacecraft
  • No longer overwrite the user settings (such as max/min frequency) when spacecraft files updated
  • Save the properties whenever they are changed (rather than just at exit)
  • Allow the user to change the display name for a spacecraft without changing the KEPS name
  • Prevent FOXDB from being corrupted when power restarted
  • Better memory management so that long running FoxTelem sessions do not end  up out of memory
  • Allow MAX and MIN records to be displayed in table on the telemetry tab.
  • Show the Capture Date for the record being displayed e.g. RT, MAX, MIN
  • Delete existing files when server data downloaded
  • Tie the STP date more accurately to the position of the SYNC word in the bit buffer to avoid stamping frames with the same date
  • Fixed many small bugs and crashes
  • And many other bug fixes.

Full list of changes here:

Feel free to email me any questions, suggestions or bug reports.




A quick addition to Chris’ announcement.  This version of FoxTelem has been tested on Fox-in-a-Box installations (that is, FoxTelem running on a Raspberry Pi).  Starting immediately, (serial number 110) V1.08r will be on the SD card that you order from the AMSAT store.

If you have a Fox-in-a-Box with an older version and you wish to upgrade it (highly recommended), just download to the Desktop using the browser on your FIAB and double click it to extract a directory (folder) named FoxTelem_1.08r_linux.  Now stop the running FoxTelem and edit the file on your desktop called StartFoxTelem (right click and choose Text Editor).  On about the third line from the bottom change”foxtelem_1.07_linux” to FoxTelem_1.08r_linux” (be sure to get the capital letters right). Exit from the editor and double click on StartFoxTelem and then chose “Execute”.  The new FoxTelem will start running, and as described in the manual you will start getting questions about whether you want to upgrade things.  Say yes to each question.  After FoxTelem has started successfully, you should be all set, and FoxTelem should start automatically every time your reboot.

If you have any issues, please let me know.




AMSAT and ARISS Designing Amateur Radio System for Lunar Gateway

As announced at the AMSAT Forum at the Dayton Hamvention, AMSAT and ARISS are working on the design of a ham radio system for NASA’s Lunar Gateway. The Gateway will be a small spaceship in orbit around the Moon that will provide access to more of the lunar surface than ever before with living quarters for astronauts, a lab for science and research, ports for visiting spacecraft, and more. First sections of the Gateway are scheduled for launch in 2022.

To make this happen we are leveraging the work and expertise of the world-wide AMSAT organizations and the international ARISS community in this endeavor. We have an international team working this and are meeting 2x a month to mature the concept. In May we presented our solid concept to NASA and got great, positive feedback. This was followed up a few weeks later at the ARISS-I meeting at the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) in Montreal where we received great feedback from the CSA Gateway Program Manager after he saw our presentation.

The AREx (Amateur Radio Exploration) team have done some really good work. The challenge for amateurs will be on the order of a 30 dB signal path loss as compared to LEO. But the link margins on our design seem to close.

AMSAT NA, UK & DL and ARISS-together — are working this phenomenal ham radio challenge. Come to the AMSAT Symposium in DC to hear more.

Lunar Orbit Gateway Configuration

To help make this project a reality, please consider a one time or recurring donation to ARISS today.