[amsat-bb] US barriers to orbit (Re: Amateur communication satellites)

Paul Stoetzer n8hm at arrl.net
Wed Jun 29 22:32:06 UTC 2016

AO-73 is a 1U cubesat and power positive with a 20 kHz wide linear
transponder at about 300 mW PEP. With a 10m downlink, you have less
path loss to contend with than on 2m (but more loss through the
ionosphere), but I'd think it would be doable if the passband is kept
relatively narrow and the power output low.


Paul, N8HM

On Wed, Jun 29, 2016 at 6:26 PM, Robert Bruninga <bruninga at usna.edu> wrote:
>> How big and or heavy will this 15/10 bird be?
> A small cubesat.  To support a linear transponder takes a lot of power.  We
> might have to leave it off at night.  Not sure until we do the analysis.
> Bob
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Robert Bruninga [mailto:bruninga at usna.edu]
> Sent: Wednesday, June 29, 2016 3:28 PM
> Cc: bruninga at usna.edu
> Subject: RE: [amsat-bb] US barriers to orbit (Re: Amateur communication
> satellites)
>>> Within the US, when someone like Bob, WB4APR, tries to build amateur
>>> communication sats, he runs into needless obstacles from FCC and NTIA.
>> Expand, please.
> The FCC had held up our Advance Notice (API) filing on the Naval Academy's
> last 5 Amateur Satellites (2 in orbit!) in a disagreement over whether
> Amateur Satellites built by students at the Service Academies can be amateur
> or must operate under NTIA rules in Federal Bands.
> Since the 5 satellites all had 2-way ham-user transponders on them on 2m and
> 70cm, the NTIA disagreed and said it was an FCC part 97 operation.
> FCC said it had to be Federal (and back and forth).  Note, we CANNOT get an
> "Experimental license" from the FCC, because it is true, that our
> institution is Federal.  But when  our students build an Amateur Satellite,
> it does not matter who built it, what matters is how it is OPERATED.
> Finally, I think the paperwork was accepted by the FCC for OPERATION in
> support of users in the Amateur Satellite Service and we have our fingers
> crossed that they will forward the API Notices to the ITU.
> To avoid any recurrence of this debate, our next student experimental
> satellite will be a bent-pipe HF linear transponder like the early AMSATS
> with uplink on 15m and downlink on 10m.
> We walk a fine line...  In order for DOD to launch it, the experiment has to
> have some educational value to DOD.  In order for us to be able to build
> something useful and economical at the undergraduate level, it needs
> to be amateur.   So by proposing an HF transponder for our next project,
> The Feds have NO SATELLITE allocations in HF, but the Amateur Satellite
> Service does. Therefore if they want to let us learn anything about HF
> satellites, then they have to let us operate it in the Amateur Satellite
> Service where there will be plenty of "users" to exercise it.
> So it will be a 100% amateur radio satellite for all hams worldwide and what
> we learn from it will have value to understaning HF satellites.
> Again, fingers crossed.  This would be a 2018 satellite at the earliest.
> LESSON LEARNED:  Don't let anyone but the Amateur Satellite Control operator
> get involved in the paper work.  He files the paperwork and he takes the
> responsibility for ON/OFF command as required by the FCC.
> Bob, WB4APR
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