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AMSAT SA to shift main focus to AfriCUBE, a digital SDR CubeSat
The AMSATSA CubeSat development team has shifted their CubeSat development focus from an analogue transponder to a digital SDR based unit.
The development of the AfriCUBE digital SDR transponder under the leadership of Anton Janovsky ZR6AIC has reached an advanced stage and will soon be ready to undergo its first field trials.
The team is not abandoning the development of the KLETSKous analogue transponder, which performed well during the BACAR 7 flight on 12 October 2019. Leon Lessing ZS6LMG has taken the development to this point but unfortunately, due to personal commitments, cannot continue to work on Kletskous. “I would like to thank Leon for his support and wish him well in his future endeavours,” Hannes Coetzee ZS6BZP, AMSAT SA CubeSat project leader said.
During the BACAR flight test it showed that further development is needed to improve the transponder’s receiver sensitivity. “Here is a great opportunity for young enthusiastic engineers in the amateur radio community to take on the challenge. I invite interested persons with RF experience to contact me and become part of the team. While there is no financial reward, the experience and achieving something great that will fly in space outweighs this many times. It will certainly look good on anyone’s CV”, Hannes said.
The EPS (electronic power system), space frame and stabilisation system are complete. The development of the solar panel and antenna deployment systems are making good progress. Frik Wolf ZS6FZ said he will be ready by mid-January 2020 for the project review and field testing.
Currently work on a new onboard control system has been paused while Fritz Sutherland ZS6FSJ is working with Anton Janovsky to get AfricaCUBE ready for on-the-air trials.
Nico van Rensburg ZS6QL will continue work on the documentation crucial to secure a launch opportunity and Hans van de Groenendaal ZS6AKV will work on frequency allocations and explore launch opportunities and the marketing of the project.
AMSAT SA is continuing its dialogue with SANSA and its contractor to place a transponder on EOSAT- 1, a planned high performance earth-observation satellite designed to produce data for a broad range of earth observation applications. The development of AfriCUBE will enhance this opportunity.
Join the AMSAT SA CubeSat team
AMSAT SA invites radio amateurs with RF, electronic and software experience to join the Satellite Development team and make a contribution to technology and human capital development in South Africa. The team meets every alternate Monday on a Skype conference and quarterly face-to-face. Send your contact details and your main interest in the CubeSat project to email@example.com. Hannes Coetzee ZS6BZP or another team member will contact you.
AMSAT SA Dual Band Yagi
FOR EXPORT IF ORDERED IN BATCHES OF 6 UNITS
Following requests from many amateurs outside South Africa we can offer the yagi for export if ordered in a batch of 6, at R950 each (approx US $65), total for a batch of 6 R5700. (approx US $ 390). Available to countries in the European Union and the USA. The Yagi has a unique element called a ‘Open Sleeve’ which is a director very close to the driven element. The driven element is sized for 2M. When operating on 70cm the ‘Open Sleeve’ acts as part of the driven element on 70cm (Third harmonic of 2M).
The original concept was developed in 1946 by Dr J T Bolljahn of the Stanford Research institute but was not introduced into amateur radio until the 1950s. The AMSAT SA version is based on a design by DK7ZB with modifications by WB5CXC. More details and order form here. Order form for South Africa here
The downlink frequency is 10 489.550 to 10 489.800 MHz with the centre of the band being 10 489.675 MHz. Vertical polarization will be used.
The preferred modes of operation will be SSB and CW. 5 Watt uplink power to a 60 to 75 cm offset dish should be more than sufficient for the uplink. The transponder will also be fitted with a “LEILA” (LEIstungs Limit Anzeige) input power limiter to ensure fair play and that the AGC of the transponder is not triggered (hogged) by a single, high power transmission, thus reducing the sensitivity of the satellite. In short, running higher uplink power than necessary will be counterproductive,
A detailed paper was presented by Hannes Coetzee ZS6BZP at the 2018 AMSAT SA Space Symposium. Plans are being made to have a live demonstration at the 2019 AMSAT SA Space Symposium on 16 March 2019. Down the ZS6BZP paper here.
AMSAT SA SPACE SYMPOSIUM 2020 First call for papers
Amateur Radio in Space – exploring VHF, UHF and Microwaves
Papers are invited for presentation at the conference and publication on the web. Please send your synopsis by 28 February 2020 in a word document of no more than 300 words to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please tell us if you will be available to present your paper at the conference.Speakers attend free.
DATE: 11July 2020
Note new date
Venue: Premier Hotel Midrand
RS, the component supplier in South Africa has become
a component sponsor for the KLETSkous project.
TRAX SPONSOR PCBs for KLETSkous More about TRAX
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