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Garsfontein 0042
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Tel:  012 991 4662


Weekly satellite report

11 March 2018 click here


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February/March 2018 edition is available

To request a trial copy send your email address here with trial copy in the subject line



AMSATSA Space Symposium 2018

The 2018 AMSAT SA Space Symposium will be  held at the Innovation Hub in Pretoria, South Africa on Saturday 19 May 2018.

Theme: Exploring satellites and new space frontiers

The symposium features interesting subjects including:

*Development of a new SDR transponder,

*Building a ground station to operate Amateur Radio first geostationary satellite EsHail-2,

*A  BACAR-ready 10 GHz beacon to exercise your Es’hail-2 receiver,

*A  practical approach to improving modular system reliability,

*FunCube Data and some of its secrets

*Progress reports on Kletskous and its next generation transponder and systems

Get the booking form here

Student applications
Depending on sponsorships received, a number of students will be able to attend the symposium free of charge. Please complete the Student Application form available here

For sponsorship options please call AMSATSA on 082 781 4631 or send an email to


SAM's Radio Shack



AMSAT-LU (Argentina) has launched a  Sky tracker 20m HF WSPR pico balloon. The payload is a totally solar-powered and was  launched on a long duration super pressure balloon. It will be in South Africa’s RF range in the next few days. The Callsign, LU1ESY, is transmitted at the 6 minute mark. A telemetry field is transmitted at the 8 minute mark with a callsign beginning  with a "1". The flight prediction map is showing a direct pass over South Africa. The WSPR frequency is 14,0956   MHz. Reports to

The balloon is currently 1000 km south of South Africa. For more information send an email to  WB8ELK at

Fox-1D Launched, Designated AMSAT-OSCAR 92

Right on schedule at 03:59 UTC on January 12, 2018, the solid-fueled first stage and ground-lit strap on boosters of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO)’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle in its XL configuration (PSLV-XL) ignited and hurtled AMSAT’s Fox-1D CubeSat along with 30 other satellites onboard the PSLV-C40 mission towards a sun-synchronous orbit. The events along the path to orbit happened rapidly. 30 seconds into the flight, the air lit strap on boosters were lit. One minute into the flight, the ground lit strap on boosters separated. Two minutes into flight, first stage separation and second stage ignition were confirmed. Now came a crucial moment. On August 31, 2017, the PSLV-C39 mission was doomed when its payload fairing failed to separate leaving the payload trapped inside the fairing and in a lower than planned orbit. Two minutes and thirty seconds into the flight, the call was heard on the ISRO webstream of the launch: “Payload fairing separation!” The cheers in mission control were audible as the liquid-fueled second stage continued to propel the payloads to orbit. Four minutes into the flight, the second stage separated and the solid-fueled third stage was lit to perform its duty. Seven minutes in, the third stage burned out. After a short coast period, the third stage was discarded and the liquid-fueled fourth stage ignited eight minutes and thirty seconds into the flight. Sixteen minutes and thirty seconds into the flight, the fourth stage shut down, having placed the vehicle into its initial orbit. A minute later, the primary payload, a Cartosat-2 series imaging satellite for the Indian government separated followed by other satellites on the mission. Twenty-seven minutes into the flight, confirmation came that all of the nanosatellites had been deployed. Fox-1D was in orbit!

For more update visit

RadFxSat (Fox-1B) Launched, Designated AMSAT-OSCAR 91 (AO-91)

The Delta II rocket carrying RadFxSat (Fox-1B) launched at 09:47:36 UTC on November 18, 2017 from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California. 

Following a picture-perfect launch, RadFxSat was deployed at 11:09 UTC. Then the wait began. At 12:12 UTC, the AMSAT Engineering team, watching ZR6AIC's WebSDR waterfall, saw the characteristic "Fox Tail" of the Fox-1 series FM transmitter, confirming that the satellite was alive and transmitting over South Africa. Shortly after 12:34 UTC, the first telemetry was received and uploaded to AMSAT servers by Maurizio Balducci, IV3RYQ, in Cervignano del Friuli, Italy. Initial telemetry confirmed that the satellite was healthy. 

After confirmation of signal reception, OSCAR Number Administrator Bill Tynan, W3XO, sent an email to the AMSAT Board of Directors designating the satellite AMSAT-OSCAR 91 (AO-91). Bill's email stated: 

"RadFxSat (Fox-1B) was launched successfully at 09:47 UTC today November 18, 2017 from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California and has been received by several amateur stations. 

RadFxSat (Fox-1B), a 1U CubeSat, is a joint mission of AMSAT and the Institute for Space and Defense Electronics at Vanderbilt University.

The Vanderbilt package is intended to measure the effects of radiation on electronic components, including demonstration of an on-orbit platform for space qualification of components as well as to validate and improve computer models for predicting radiation tolerance of semiconductors. 

AMSAT constructed the remainder of the satellite including the spaceframe, on-board computer and power system. The amateur radio package is similar to that currently on orbit on AO-85 with an uplink on 435.250 MHz (67.0 Hz CTCSS) and a downlink on 145.960 MHz.

Experiment telemetry will be downlinked via the DUV subaudible telemetry stream, which can be decoded using the FoxTelem software.  

RadFxSat (Fox-1B) was sent aloft as a secondary payload on the United Launch Alliance (ULA) Delta II rocket that will transport the Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS)-1 mission. RadFxSat (Fox-1B) is one of four CubeSats making up this NASA Educational Launch of Nanosatellites (ELaNa) XIV mission, riding as secondary payloads aboard the JPSS-1 mission.  

Since RadFxSat (Fox-1B) has met all of the qualifications necessary to receive an OSCAR number, I, by the authority vested in me by the AMSAT President, do hereby confer on this satellite the designation AMSAT-OSCAR 91 or AO-91. I join amateur radio operators in the U.S. and around the world in wishing AO-91 a long and successful life in both its amateur and scientific missions. 

I, along with the rest of the amateur community, congratulate all of the volunteers who worked so diligently to construct, test and prepare for launch the newest amateur radio satellite. 

William A. (Bill) Tynan, W3XO
AMSAT-NA OSCAR Number Administrator" 

AMSAT Engineering reminds stations that the satellite will not be available for general use until the on-orbit checkouts are complete.

Please continue to submit telemetry to assist the Engineering team in completing the commissioning process.


More about RadFXSat
RadFxSat is a partnership with Vanderbilt University ISDE and hosts four payloads for the study of radiation effects on commercial off the shelf components. RadFxSat features the Fox-1 style FM U/v repeater with an uplink on 435.250 MHz (67.0 Hz CTCSS) and a downlink on

145.960 MHz. Satellite and experiment telemetry will be downlinked via the "DUV" subaudible telemetry stream and can be decoded with the FoxTelem software:


RadFxSat (Fox-1B) Doppler Shift Correction 

Memory 1 (AOS)     - TX 435.240 MHz (67.0 Hz Tone), RX 145.960 MHz Memory 2 (Rise)    - TX 435.245 MHz (67.0 Hz Tone), RX 145.960 MHz Memory 3 (TCA)     - TX 435.250 MHz (67.0 Hz Tone), RX 145.960 MHz Memory 4 (Descend) - TX 435.255 MHz (67.0 Hz Tone), RX 145.960 MHz Memory 5 (LOS)     - TX 
Frequencies are subject to change post-launch. 

Thanks AMSAT Vice-President Engineering, Jerry Buxton, NØJY, for the  above information.


Following on the first SDR Conference hosted by CPUT in Belville, a second Workshop was arranged by AMSAT SA in conjunction with the SARL. This took place on Saturday the 4th of November this year, at the conference venue of the Oakdale Club in Bellville.

The general principles of SDR, spelled out at the first conference, was put into practice at this Workshop. Here participants were introduced to the set-up of the now very popular RTL-SDR dongle as a receiving module in conjunction with a PC. The required software packages for the manipulation of the received RF signals were supplied ready for use on a memory stick, and a step by step process were followed by Johan, ZS1RX and George, ZS1GFL, in explaining all that was necessary for the setup of the system. It did not take long before spectrum and waterfall displays appeared on the laptop screens.

As with our previous conference, radio amateurs active in the well-established small satellite space industry in the Western Cape, were also in attendance. This further strengthened our ties with the broader space community where communication by means of software systems are becoming the norm.


BACAR 5 Launched and recovered successfully
After the second attempt BACAR 5 was successfully launched and recovered at around 13:00 near Ermelo.  After the first balloon was inflated, strong winds caused damage and the balloon burst. A second balloon was inflated, but failed to lift off all the payloads which totalled around 9kg. The balloon was decoupled from the payload and additional hydrogen was pumped in.

At the second launch attempt the balloon surged up and soon disappeared from view. Some payload failed to operate while others seem to have developed problems. Kletskous' transponder operated fine while on the ground but failed to respond after take-off. The payload have all been recovered.  The data will be analysed and determine the problem area. The Kletskous transponder was still operation. It is suspected that something went wrong with one of the antenna.

Some of the members of the Kletskous team


Video of  rough ride down click here The video was recorded by the camera  installed on the Jeugland Amateur Radio Club BACAR payload.


Kletskous is crowd funded. Please make a contribution to the Kletskous fund. The account number is ABSA 40 8982 6281 Branch code 632 005. Please send payment advice to,za with your details so that your name can be added to the donor list on the web.

For more details about Kletskous  listen to Hannes Coetzee here

Kletskous transponder V3 demonstrated

Leon Lessing, ZS6LMG  successfully demonstrated the version 3 of the Kletskous transponder at the AMSATSA/SARL SDR workshop held on 19 August 2017

Watch it here


Speaking at the AMSAT SA Space Symposium  held on 27 May at the Innovation Hub Hannes Coetzee said that good progress has been made on KLETSKOUS.

The University of Stellenbosch has come on-board and the optimization of the space frame was addressed by a mechanical engineering student, Francois Oberholzer. Francois is now busy with post graduate studies and manufactured a prototype of this optimised design.

 Hannes Coetzee admiring the new Space frame developed  by Francois Oberholzer (left), based on the Deon Coetzee ZS1DE original design,  with Fritz Sutherland jr ZS6FSJ

Deon Coetzee is developing the mounting and deployment mechanisms for the antennas as well as for the multiple solar panels on KLETSKOUS.

A Command Link will be required for housekeeping purposes and also maybe for in-flight reprogramming of the onboard controller, although this is risky business as the satellite may be killed if the reprogramming is unsuccessful. The best option would be to launch the satellite with flawless software already loaded, if at all possible. 

A Scheduler will switch the transponder on and off at pre-determined times. These times will correlate to certain areas being over flown by the satellite. It will be possible to set the onboard clock of the Controller to ensure that the Scheduler performs correctly. 

A Telemetry Downlink will be required. Some of the parameters that must be monitored on the ground include battery voltage and temperatures, orientation of the satellite via the radiation sensors in the centres of the five solar panels and the output voltages of the solar panels. It is planned that the Command and Telemetry functions be based on those implemented on the High Altitude Balloon Experiment, HABEX. All the above functionality is under the control of the OBC. 

The third prototype On Board Controller (OBC) has been completed and the house keeping software is currently being developed and tested by Brian McKenzie.


Electric Power System (EPS)

Fritz Sutherland jnr. is developing the EPS for KLETSKOUS. The third prototype of the EPS is performing very well. Use is made of a new generation, high power density LiFe battery. Integration with the OBC has also commenced.

In the photograph: Fritz Sutherland explains the PSU to Francois Oberholzer with Frik Wolff ZS6FZ looking on.

It will be difficult to implement active stabilisation in a 1U package together with the transponder required for the main payload. A passive (magnetic) stabiliser should keep the antennas adequately orientated during a pass over Southern Africa. This is also the solution implemented on FunCube. Frik Wolff, ZS6FZ, has made very good progress with the development of the passive stabiliser. A form, fit and function version is ready for integration with the rest of KLETSKOUS.

The prototype, 2m and 70cm crossed dipoles are performing well, even in close proximity to the space frame.


Leon, ZS6LMG, has taken over the development of the transponder. The first prototype transponder has been repaired after it was damaged by a power supply problem. Integration between the transponder and the On Board Controller (OBC) has been started. The command link and telemetry downlink are being addressed. Lessons learned and updates required will be implemented on the next prototype that is due soon.

For the full document presented at the space symposium download here.

Getting ready for Amateur Radio’s first geostationary satellite

Find out more at the AMSATSA Space Symposium how easy it is to get up and running

Download brochure here

If all goes according to plan the Qatar Satellite Company’s second satellite, Es’hailSat-2, will be placed in a geostationary orbit by a Space-X Falcon-9 rocket in the third quarter 2017. The Qatar Amateur Radio Society (QARS) managed to secure the privilege to have an Amateur Radio payload as part of Es’hailSat-2. Discussions regarding the payload were held with experts from AMSAT-DL, AMSAT-OH and AMSAT-UK. 

In a paper presented at the 2016 AMSAT Space Symposium, Hannes Coetzee, ZS6BZP explained that the gain of an antenna on a geostationary satellite is limited by the area that needs to be covered (the satellite’s footprint). With too much gain the beam width becomes very narrow leading to areas not being illuminated by the antenna on the satellite. This is the case for spot beams. In order to cover all the visible Earth from geostationary orbit the beam width may not be less than 17.4° leading to a maximum gain of ~20 dB.  

Read the full article here and learn about an inexpensive way to set up a ground station.

AMSAT Kletskous transponder


Download the presentation (PDF)  here

Watch the video presentation by Jacques Roux here



Photo by ZR1DE


The electric power system (EPS) is the sub-system that provides the satellite with power. The sub-system started out as a set of specifications and requirements which evolved to a basic block diagram. From there a few simple conceptual experiments eventually led to the first prototype. The first prototype was based on 10 V (open-circuit) solar panels, a 2-cell lithium polymer battery and 2 switch mode step-down converters for 3.3 V and 5 V power conditioning. Taking the risk of fire or explosion was somewhat justified by the good energy to weight and power to weight ratio it offered. However, in the meantime a new battery technology has emerged from the laboratory stage to being (fairly) commonly available on the market. This new technology is the lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4) battery. Also based on lithium it still offers a fairly high energy to weight but it is inherently much safer and has electrical characteristics that are very similar to the lithium polymer and lithium ion type batteries. Another advantage is the longer expected lifetime of the LiFePO4 battery.


An easy to operate satellite recently launched by AMSAT NA

Get all the details here

CPUT planning a successor to Africa’s first nanosatellite 

The Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) is planning a successor to its first CubeSat and has set it vision on ship-tracking. In a paper presented at the recent SAAMSAT space Symposium in Pretoria Daniel de Villiers, Development Engineer at French South African Institute of Technology (F’SATI)  at CUPT, said that  ZACube-2 will be the second satellite in F’SATI’s ZACube-I nanosatellite mission series. These missions are developed at the French South African Institute of Technology (F’SATI) and the Africa Space Innovation Centre (ASIC) at CPUT with funding principally from the Department of Science and Technology (DST) and the National Research Foundation (NRF). Development of some subsystems has been ongoing for a number of years and has yielded a suite of commercial CubeSat parts that is ready for use in the satellite.

Download the paper here



Saturday 5 May 09:00 - 13:00
National Amateur Radio centre

SDR workshop on RF Noise Monitoring, Discussions and presentations  include what antenna to select and build, how to upload to the server. Get details and registration form here


More Kletskous Progress

A flight-ready solar panel for Kletskous.

The solar cells are glued to the PC board using conductive silver epoxy. This is done under vacuum to prevent bubbles being formed in the epoxy. Bubbles may burst in the vacuum of space, fracturing the paper thin glass solar cell and destroying it in the process.

BOOKED FOR SDR Worksop 5 May 2018

Name  Callsign
Anton Janovsky  ZR6AIC
Anette Jacobs ZR6D
James Archibald ZS6NS
Jon Stiekema ZS6YPJ
Dawie Arndt  
Hans van de Groenendaal ZS6AKV
Nico van Rensburg ZS6QL
Vince Harisson  ZS6BTY

AMSAT SA welcomes the following new members:
Ron Richmond ZS5ABD  Ladysmith
Peter Dormehl ZS5HF Durban
Gavin Halse ZR5YJ Kloof
Peter Leonard ZS5PL Pinetown
Tom van den Bon, Vanderbijlpark


Become a partner in space

Donate to the AMSAT SA Kletskous fund and become a partner in space

Please make your contribution. You may pay directly into our account electronically. Please send the payment details with your name, callsign, email and  postal address to

All contributions will be acknowledged on this page (Scroll down). Donations of R500 or more will be acknowledged with a certificate.

Bank Details: AMSAT SA, ABSA Menlyn, Branch code 632 005
Account: 40 8982 6281

African Radio Amateurs will soon have access to a geostationary satellite

In the next few years radio amateurs will have access to two geostationary platforms, one that will service the Americas and another one, particular attractive to South Africans, that will be  positioned at 26° East giving 24 hour access to Africa, Europe and the Middle East. These two geostationary projects will be included in commercial platforms similar to Amateur Radio Satellite (AMSAT) South Africa seeking to have an amateur radio transponder included in South Africa’s next satellite currently designated as EOS-1 (Earth Observation Satellite). Read the full story here



RS, the component supplier in South Africa has become a component sponsor for the KLETSkous project.

RS Components is the market leader in the high service level distribution of electrical, electronic, mechanical & industrial products as well as tools.  Offering over 400 000 products across 2000 leading brands at, RS serves every sector of industry in the procurement of their products relating to maintenance, repair, operations, low volume production, research and development.

TRAX SPONSOR PCBs for KLETSkous More about  TRAX

Avnet : a broad line supplier of semiconductors,  passives, magnetics, enclosures, optoelectronic, GPS / GSM, interconnect, electromechanical, embedded products and components

Deon Coetzee ZR1DE
Tobile Koni ZS6TKO
Jan van Rooyen ZR5JR
Pravin Ashok
Donald Jacobs ZS2BW
Ray Webber ZS6RSW
Tarries Brink  ZS6MNO*
Kempton Park  Amateur Radio Technical Society ZS6KTS
Paul Roos ZS6HQ*
Anton Janovsky ZR6AIC
Pine  Pienaar ZS6OB
Gert Botha ZS6GC
David Horne
Etienne Saayman ZS5EFS
Nic van Duffelen ZR6AEZ
Andre Rox ZS6ARX
Carl Wentzel ZS6CFW
Gert Kok
Gordon Prentice ZR6RA
Rassie Erasmus ZS1YT
Guy Eales ZS6GUY
Bert van der Ploeg ZS6VDP
Wally Watson
Rickus de Lange ZS4A
Kerverne Thurling ZS1ABU
Lem Melidonis ZS1LEM
Paul Johnson ZS1S
Martinus Grobbelaar
Michael Boast ZS5BGV
Francois Basson ZS6DGN
Robe Bareham ZS1SA
Thomas Ambrose  ZS1TA
Craig Hardman ZS5CD
Ton van den Bon

*Denotes  that the person has made several donations over time. Thank you