AO-109 (RadFxSat-2/AMSAT Fox-1E) Open For Amateur Use

The AMSAT Engineering and Operations Teams are pleased to announce that AO-109 (RadFxSat-2/AMSAT Fox-1E) is now open for amateur use. Users are advised to use efficient modes such as CW or FT4 for making contacts, since issues with the satellite make SSB voice contacts challenging at best.

Please see the May/June 2021 issue (Vol. 44, No. 3) of The AMSAT Journal for an article by Burns Fisher, WB1FJ, and Mark Hammond, N8MH, detailing the various attempts to characterize AO-109 and its apparent problems.

On behalf of the Engineering and Operations Teams–

73,
Jerry, N0JY and Drew, KO4MA

AO-109 Frequencies
Inverting Linear Transponder
Uplink 145.860 MHz – 145.890 MHz
Downlink 435.760 MHz – 435.790 MHz
1k2 BPSK Telemetry 435.750 MHz (non-operational)

[ANS thanks AMSAT Vice President – Engineering Jerry Buxton, N0JY, and AMSAT Vice President – Operations Drew Glasbrenner, KO4MA, for the above information]

AMSAT CubeSatSim First Official Release – v1.0

I am very pleased to announce the first software release of the CubeSatSim software v1.0!  Along with the first hardware release v1.0 last month, this is an important milestone for this AMSAT educational project.

All the CubeSatSim software and hardware is fully open source.  The v1.0 release info is available on GitHub and the v1.0 hardware info including Gerber files is available here.

Thanks to Bruce Paige, KK5DO, we have CubeSatSim blank PCB sets and CubeSatSim Raspberry Pi SD cards available on the AMSAT Store. For the moment, they are only available to ship to US addresses. In a post-COVID future, we hope to offer worldwide shipping.

The CubeSatSim Raspberry Pi SD Card  is a 16 GB micro SD card with Raspberry Pi OS Lite and all the CubeSatSim software installed and configured on it.  It is available at the AMSAT Store for $20.  You can also download the image and flash it to your own SD card using these instructions. Here is the readme file for the CubeSatSim software.

With the 3 board sets of blank PCBs, you can order the parts and solder your own CubeSatSim. They are available at the AMSAT Store for $35.

I want to take this opportunity to thank the team that has been working on the CubeSatSim Project including Pat Kilory, N8PK, Jim McLaughlin, KI6ZUM, and David White, WD6DRI.  In addition, Chris Thompson, G0KLA/AC2CZ has been instrumental in helping me get the FSK/BPSK transmit code working and has added support for the CubeSatSim to FoxTelem. Yesterday’s release of FoxTelem v1.11 has full CubeSatSim support.

And of course, thank you to the AMSAT Board of Directors and the AMSAT membership who have supported this project for many years.

73,

Alan
KU2Y
AMSAT Vice President for Educational Relations

P.S. AMSAT has CubeSatSim Loaners available to ship to your event or presentation or STEM outreach activity – just contact me if you have an upcoming event.

Andy MacAllister, W5ACM, SK

Andy, W5ACM (ex WA5ZIB), became a Silent Key on May 19, 2021. He has been a close friend of mine since I became a ham in 1993. That was when I found satellites and AMSAT. Andy had been doing the Houston AMSAT Net and I became involved in the net. We have done over 1400 episodes of the net since then. Andy and I had a great time at many AMSAT Symposiums where we would work satellites from parking lots of restaurants or outside a hotel. During the AMSAT Symposium in 2016, we worked each other from the deck of the cruise ship when we were standing about 3 feet from each other.

Andy spent some time in the early 90’s on the AMSAT Board of Directors. Many of today’s hams would not remember the K2ZRO tests on AO-13. When the satellite was at apogee, Andy would transmit a string of CW characters. He would then reduce his power by 50% and transmit another string of characters. This would be done 8 times to a point where the signals were very weak. Hams around the world would participate and receive a certificate with an endorsement for the level you achieved.

Andy got into balloon launches. I do not remember when BLT-1 was launched but BLT-12 was launched in 1993 and they are into the 60’s now. The balloons have gone up with all types of experiments on them and have come down in many a strange place. One came down in the Gulf of Mexico, picked up by a fishing boat and they called the number on the package. Of course that one was not reusable as everything was a tad bit wet. The balloon came down in someone’s front yard once and they picked it up and took it inside. GPS told the tale and knocking on the door, the homeowner returned the package. A few recent balloon launches have traversed the globe one or two times.

Andy had worked at NASA and was a member of the Johnson Space Center ARC as well as the Brazos Valley ARC in Houston, the ARRL and AMSAT. More recently he was the Chief Engineer for the radio station, KTRU, at Rice University in Houston. Andy gave talks and demos at many Houston area hamfests.

It was only a few months ago in February that Andy went in for a quick procedure and they found something that should not be. He was sent home for hospice care. You will be missed my friend. … _._

73…Bruce

A funeral service will be held on Thursday, May 27th 2021 at 12:30 PM at the Pines Presbyterian Church (12751 Kimberley Ln, Houston, TX 77024-4097). A graveside service will be held on Thursday, May 27th 2021 at 2:30 PM at the Memorial Oaks Cemetery (13001 Katy Fwy, Houston, TX 77079). Andy’s wife, Heather, has requested that donations in his name be made to AMSAT or the Brazos Valley Amateur Radio Club,  P.O. Box 2997, Sugar Land, TX 77487-2997 (reference the Andy MacAllister BLT Memorial Fund). Donations to AMSAT in his name may be made through the form below.

In Memory of Andy MacAllister, W5ACM

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Donation Total: $25.00 One Time

Call for Nominations – 2021 AMSAT Board of Directors Election

AMSAT solicits nominations for the 2021 AMSAT Board of Directors election, to be held in the third quarter of the year. The seats of the following four incumbent Directors expire in 2021 and will be filled by this year’s election:

Jerry Buxton N0JY
Drew Glasbrenner KO4MA
Patrick Stoddard WD9EWK
Michelle Thompson W5NYV

Further, up to two Alternate Directors may be elected for one-year terms.

A valid nomination for Director must be written and requires either one Member Society or five current individual members in good standing to nominate an AMSAT member. Written nominations, with the nominee’s name, call sign, and contact information, as well as the nominators’ names, call signs, and contact information, should be sent to the AMSAT Secretary:

Jeff Davis, KE9V
1909 S. Batavia Avenue
Muncie, IN 47302-2044
ke9v at amsat.org

A copy should be sent to Executive Vice President Paul Stoetzer, at n8hm at amsat.org.

The AMSAT bylaws require that the nomination be written and in the form specified by the Secretary. The Secretary has elected to accept written nomination materials via mail or in electronic form, including e-mail or electronic image of a paper document. Fax transmissions cannot be accepted.

No matter what means are used, petitions MUST be received by the Secretary no later than June 15th. The Secretary will verify the qualifications of candidates and nominating members or Member Societies as petitions are received, and will notify candidates whether their nominations are in order by the end of June.