[amsat-bb] ANS-103 AMSAT News Service Weekly Bulletins

E.Mike McCardel mccardelm at gmail.com
Sat Apr 12 19:13:15 PDT 2014


The AMSAT News Service bulletins are a free, weekly news and infor-
mation 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

The news feed on http://www.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.org.

In this edition:

* March/April 2014 AMSAT Journal is Ready
* NASA, SpaceX Officials Continue Preparations for 14 April Launch
* KickSat CubeSat to Deploy Smallest Earth-Orbiting Satellites
* AMSAT at the Dayton Hamvention - 2nd call for volunteers
* N8PK appears with students in YouTube video
* ISS HamTV moves to 2369 MHz
* FUNcube/AO-73 Transponder plans for the future
* Upcoming AMSAT Events
* ARISS News
* Satellite Shorts From All Over

SB SAT @ AMSAT $ANS-103.01
ANS-103 AMSAT News Service Weekly Bulletins

AMSAT News Service Bulletin 103.01
DATE April 13, 2014
BID: $ANS-103.01

March/April 2014 AMSAT Journal is Ready

The March/April 2014 AMSAT Journal is completed. It is on its way to
the print shop and then to your mailbox. Here is what you will find
in this issue:

+ AMSAT Announcements:
  Straight Key Night on OSCAR Results
  Steve Coy, K8UD Joins the AMSAT Board of Directors

+ Apogee View by Barry Baines, WD4ASW

+ G. Gould Smith, WA4SXM - Thank You for Your 25 Years
  of Accomplishment

+ 2014 AMSAT Board of Directors Election Notice by
  Alan Biddle, AMSAT Corporate Secretary, WA4SCA

+ Anthony "Tony" J. Monteiro, AA2TX Silent Key

+ Upcoming Amateur Radio Cubesats: The Flood Has Arrived
  by Bryan Klofas, KF6ZEO

+ W5PFG/P: Observations from a roving operator
  by Clayton Coleman, W5PFG

+ Fox-1 Telemetry Coding and Modulation Design
  by Phil Karn, KA9Q; Paul Williamson, KB5MU;
  Michelle Thompson, W5NYV

+ AMSAT Field Day Announcement

+ Meet Jerry Buxton, N0JY AMSAT Vice-President of Engineering

+ AMSAT Field Operations Group Updates Events
  by Patrick Stoddard, WD9EWK

+ AMSAT-NA Board of Directors Meeting Minutes
  by Alan Biddle, AMSAT Corporate Secretary, WA4SCA

Please send your operating information, articles, and photos to the
AMSAT Journal mailbox: journal at amsat.org. Our editors are looking
forward to working with you to get your items published!

[ANS thanks the AMSAT Journal Team for the above information]


NASA, SpaceX Officials Continue Preparations for 14 April Launch

NASA and SpaceX officials decided this morning to continue
preparations for launch of a commercial resupply run to the
International Space Station on Monday after a computer failed aboard
the complex Friday, but managers will meet again Sunday morning to
make a final decision on whether to proceed with the launch.
The failed computer, called a multiplexer-demultiplexer, or MDM,
provides redundancy for the space station's mobile transporter, part
of the outpost's robotics system that allows the Canadian-built robot
arm to move along the lab's truss backbone.

The robot arm will be used to grapple the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft
when it arrives at the space station. In a statement issued Saturday,
NASA said the Canadian-built robot arm has other backup capabilities
not affected by the failed computer.

NASA says the failed MDM is known as "EXT-2" and measures 10.5 x
14.9 x 16.4 inches and weighs 50.8 pounds. The computer failed during
a routine health check of the device, according to NASA.

"Station program officials, flight controllers and teams of
engineers are working to determine whether there is any risk to
launching the SpaceX cargo craft Monday," the statement said. "They
will evaluate whether the station has enough redundancy to permit the
launch to proceed."

NASA says a separate team is planning a contingency spacewalk to
replace the failed computer box, but no date for the spacewalk has
been set.

[ANS thanks Spaceflightnow.com for the above information]


KickSat CubeSat to Deploy Smallest Earth-Orbiting Satellites

When the third SpaceX ISS resupply mission launches on April 14 from
Cape Canaveral, it will carry the 3U KickSat CubeSat into orbit. NASA
TV is scheduled to broadcast the launch live. If all goes according
to plan, KickSat, in turn, will release 200 "Sprite" satellites --
each about the size of a small cracker -- into orbit. They will become
the smallest Earth-orbiting satellites ever. Zac Manchester, KD2BHC --
a Cornell University PhD student in aerospace engineering -- is
heading up the project, which was funded via Kickstarter.

"Our goal is to dramatically lower the cost of spaceflight, making
it easy enough and affordable enough for anyone to explore space,"
the KickSat project website proclaims. "We can do this by shrinking
the size and mass of the spacecraft, allowing many to be launched

The tiny Sprite spacecraft will be single-function, short-lifespan
units operating on 437 MHz. Each is essentially a double-sided
printed circuit board measuring 3.5 cm × 3.5 cm, incorporating a
microcontroller or two, radio, and solar cells. Each can carry single-
chip sensors, such as thermometers, magnetometers, gyroscopes, and

All Sprites operate on the same frequency -- 437.240 MHz -- and use
Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA). Transmitters run 10 mW output
of minimum shift keying (MSK) modulated binary data, with each data
bit modulated as a 511 bit pseudo-random number (PRN) sequence (The
ITU emission designator is 50K0G1D).

Andy Thomas, G0SFJ, points out that the Sprites will only operate
when in sunlight. "Characteristically they have a 60 kHz bandwidth,
and so narrowband receivers are not of any use to receive them," he
explained in a tutorial that describes plans for a simple Earth
station. "Therefore, the receiver of choice is a software defined

When KickSat reaches orbit, it will perform a "de-tumble" maneuver
and establish communication with Cornell University's ground station.
After everything has been checked out, the spacecraft will be put in
a sun-pointing attitude and spun up to maintain that attitude. Then a
command signal from the ground will trigger deployment, and the
Sprites will be released as free-flying spacecraft. The Cornell
ground station in Ithaca, New York, will monitor telemetry and sensor
measurements from the individual Sprites, with assistance from
several other Amateur Radio ground stations around the world.

Due to their low orbit, the Sprites will have short lifetimes,
perhaps as long as six weeks in a best-case scenario but possibly a
lot shorter, depending on atmospheric conditions.

KickSat is being planned as a technology demonstration mission for
the Sprite spacecraft. It's being launched through NASA's Educational
Launch of Nanosatellite (ELaNa) program. The KickSat project was
founded in 2011 by members of the Space Systems Design Studio at
Cornell University and is an outgrowth small spacecraft research that
has been conducted there since 2007.

[ANS thanks ARRL for the above information]


AMSAT at the Dayton Hamvention - 2nd call for volunteers

The Dayton Hamvention is less than five weeks away!

It is time to be creating your shopping list and making your travel
plans.  If you can stay for more than a day and you want to stay with
at the AMSAT hotel, contact Martha ASAP.

Last year, we had 41 people assist with the AMSAT booth at the
Dayton.  We've had a good response so far to our call for volunteers,
but we could really use another 10-15 people.   The interaction with
AMSAT members, satellite operators, designers, and builders makes the
whole experience a lot of fun.  Meet or renew acquaintances, exchange
operating tips, and find out what antennas, software and equipment
other AMSAT members use.  We currently expect all of the AMSAT senior
officers and 6 of the 7 board members to be there too.

The 2014 Hamvention is May 16-18.  Would you consider helping AMSAT
at Dayton this year?

If you're an experienced operator, great!  We can use you and your

If you've never operated a satellite before, but want to learn more,
that's OK.  We can use your help too.

Whether you're available for only a couple of hours or if you can
spend the entire weekend with us, your help would be greatly

Please send an e-mail to Steve, n9ip at amsat dot org if you can
Thank you!

[ANS thanks Steve N9IP for the above information]


N8PK appears with students in YouTube video

Pat Kilroy, N8PK makes a brief appearance in a recently released
video on YouTube.  In it, he is working with a couple of his students
working the AMSAT satellites as practice for future NASA engineers.
They get a whole minute of the seven-minute limelight starting at
about the 2:07 mark.  And get a little chuckle at the tail end during
our thank you's:

That video was shot, at the same time the follwing was recorded,
last summer and released last fall:

[ANS thanks Pat N8PK for the above information]


ISS HamTV moves to 2369 MHz

The Digital Amateur TV (DATV) station in the Columbus module of the
International Space Station has changed frequency to 2369 MHz

Presently, Ham Video is transmitting permanently a "blank" image and
no audio in configuration 5:
* ARISS antenna 43
* Frequency 2369 MHz
* Symbol rate 1.3 Ms/s

Reports on reception of blank transmissions are very welcome.
Reports can be filed via this webpage:

Participants using the Tutioune receiving software can record as
well as stream detailed parameters of the received signal. Please see:

Reports are available at

Thank you for your participation to the Ham Video testing campaign.

[ANS thanks Gaston Bertels, ON4WF for the above information]


FUNcube/AO-73 Transponder plans for the future

Following the 48 hour test last weekend, we have concluded that the
battery temp does reduce slightly during full time transponder mode,
but only by a degree C or so; it remains within specification. Hence
we have decided in future to switch the satellite into 'forced
eclipse mode', ie full time transponder and low power beacon at
weekends. The aim is tosignificantly increase the availability of the
transponder to radio amateurs. We will continue with this plan until
further notice.

We plan to switch to full time transponder mode during the first
suitable pass over the UK on Friday evenings, normally between 19:30
and 22:30 UTC. If for some reason this is not possible, then the
switch will be done on the first suitable pass on Saturday, normally
between 09:30 and 12:00 UTC. We plan to switch the full time
transponder mode off during a suitable pass on Sunday evenings (UK
time), which normally occur between 1930 and 22:30 UTC. Again, if
this is not possible the switch off will be made on Monday mornings,
approx. 09:30 to 12:00 UTC.

Do PLEASE NOTE that this schedule is totally reliant on the
availability of command stations, who will do their very best to
ensure it is maintained. We will not normally announce successful
full time transponder mode on/off commands, but if it proves not
possible to make one of them, then we will make a note here and on
the FUNcube web site at

So please do enjoy the transponder, and use it any time you hear it
on. We are always pleased to hear of your activity, so either leave a
comment on the website, or email g3wgm -at- amsat.org.

A recent QSO made by Paulo PV8DX can be seen at
Thanks for the report, Paulo!

[ANS thanks Jim G3WGM for the above information]


Upcoming AMSAT Events

Information about AMSAT activities at other important events around
the country.  Examples of these events are radio club meetings where
AMSAT Area Coordinators give presentations, demonstrations of working
amateur satellites, and hamfests with an AMSAT presence (a table with
AMSAT literature and merchandise, sometimes also with presentations,
forums, and/or demonstrations).

Monday, 28 April 2014 - presentation at Franklin County Amateur
Radio Club meeting in Greenfield MA by Barry Baines WD4ASW (AMSAT

Saturday, 3 May 2014 - Cochise Amateur Radio Association's Larry
Warren Hamfest in Sierra Vista AZ (southeast of Tucson) - AMSAT will
have a table at this hamfest, and satellite demonstrations are

Friday through Sunday, 16-18 May 2014 - Dayton Hamvention
AMSAT will have their usualy booth set-up with a sales area, display
of Engineering and Education activities, outside satellite
demonstrations and will present anAMSAT Forum. Set-up is Thursday 15
May 2014.

Saturday, 7 June 2014 - Kachina Amateur Radio Club's White Mountain
Hamfest in Show Low AZ (eastern Arizona, south of US-60/AZ-77/AZ-260)
- AMSAT will have a table at this hamfest, and satellite
demonstrations are planned.

Friday and Saturday, 13-14 June 2014 - Ham-Com in Plano TX (north of

Thursday through Sunday, 17-20 July 2014 - ARRL Centennial
Convention in Hartford CT.  AMSAT will host a day-long Satellite
Workshop on Thursday, and have a booth at the convention along with
an AMSAT Forum and demonstrations throughout the convention.

Saturday and Sunday, 30-31 August 2014 - Shelby Hamfest in Shelby NC
(west of Gastonia and Charlotte) - Barry Baines WD4ASW (AMSAT
President) will host an AMSAT Forum on Saturday of this weekend

Friday through Sunday, 12-14 September 2014 - ARRL Southwestern
Division Convention 2014 in San Diego CA (north of the city center,
near Montgomery Field airport & I-805/CA-163 interchange) - AMSAT
will have a booth at this convention, there will be on-air
demonstrations using satellites throughout the convention, and a
presentation on amateur satellites and AMSAT

AMSAT maintains and updated list of known upcoming events at

[ANS thanks AMSAT-NA for the above announcement]



Due to Koichi Wakata's, KC5ZTA, increased work load beginning 2014-
03-11, ARISS has had to move 3 schools back to our long term waiting
list. We hope to get to them in the fall of 2014. There are also
several other schools that are on the list  for possible postponement
to the fall.

>From 2014-05-12 to 2014-06-15,  ARISS will be going into a period of
no contacts as there will be no hams  onboard.

[ANS thanks ARISS, and Charlie AJ9N for the above information]


Satellite Shorts From All Over

+ GNURadio Code and other stuff for setting up a Sprite ground station


  [ANS thanks Zac Manchester KD2BHC for the above information]

+ KickSat Technical Summary


  [ANS thanks Andrew Vaudin and The British Interplanetary Society
   for the above information]

+ Funcube's Jim Heck talks to Tx Factor about Transponder tests

  Project Manager Jim Heck G3WGM has given an exclusive audio
  interview to the TX Factor's Bob McCreadie, G0FGX which explains
  what the tests were all about.

  Will these tests lead to more time being made available to
  amateurs wanting to communicate via the satellite?

  Listen to the interview at www.txfactor.co.uk
  (click on the link under 'TX Factor Exclusive!')

  [ANS thanks Southgate ARN for the above information]

+ SatMagazine and MilsatMagazine now online

  April edition of SatMagazine is now online

  March edition of MilsatMagazine in now online

  Free Satnews Subscriptions

  Satnews allows you to choose which of our free services you wish
  to receive. Our news coverage includes all aspects of the commercial
  and military satellite industry. We value your privacy and will not
  sell or share your email or other information with any other


  [ANS thanks ANS Editors for the above information]

+ Make a #GlobalSelfie with NASA on Earth Day

  NASA invites you -- and everyone else on the planet -- to take
  part in a worldwide celebration of Earth Day this year with the
  agency's #GlobalSelfie event.

  The year 2014 is a big one for NASA Earth science. Five NASA
  missions designed to gather critical data about our home planet
  are launching to space this year. NASA is marking this big year
  for Earth science with a campaign called Earth Right Now, and as
  part of this campaign the agency is asking for your help this
  Earth Day, April 22.

  While NASA satellites constantly look at Earth from space, on
  Earth Day we're asking you to step outside and take a picture of
  yourself wherever you are on Earth. Then post it to social media
  using the hashtag #GlobalSelfie.

  See details at

  [ANS thanks NASA 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 addi-
tional benefits. Application forms are available from the AMSAT

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 stu-
dent rate for a maximum of 6 post-secondary years in this status.
Contact Martha at the AMSAT Office for additional student membership

This week's ANS Editor,
EMike McCardel, KC8YLD
kc8yld at amsat dot org

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