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Registration 2016/111111/08


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Garsfontein 0042
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Tel:  012 991 4662
Fax: 012 991 5651


Weekly satellite report

12 February 2017


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 SA AMSAT embarked on the development and launching of a South African Amateur satellite. The satellite is based on the CubeSat principle.


To request a trial copy send your email address here




AMSAT SA Space Symposium 2017

Note change in date

Saturday 27 May 2017

To accommodate the SARL Radio Amateur Examination which is now scheduled on 20 May 2017 AMSAT has change the date.

Final call for Papers

see righthand column for details

Turn your laptop into  a 24 MHz - 1.7 GHz receiver

Booking has now closed

Date: 18 February 2017  9:30 - 12:00

Venue: SARL National Amateur Radio centre, Sender Technology Park, Octave Street, Radiokop, Roodepoort.

Check who is registered here

Join the SDR Conversation

AMSAT SA has resumed it regular SDR conversation. The concept is to share ideas and experiences on Software Defined Radio. It takes place on a Skype call starting at 20:30. To participate it is essential that the participant runs the latest version of Skype.

The next session will be on 8 February Book your participation by 6 February by sending an email to with your Skype name and cellphone number. The discussion is moderated by Deon Coetzee ZR1DE.


Listen to an interview with Francois Oberholzer about the space frame manufacturing project.  Click here ( higher audio quality  here)

The manufacturing of the KLETSkous CubeSat spaceframe is picking up steam.  The process chain development is a major component of the project.  This will ensure that the manufacturing processes used does not create excess waste and is as streamline as possible.  The STC LAM, Stellenbosch Technology Centre’s Laboratory for Advanced Manufacturing, manufactures the CubeSat rails using a WEDM Wire Cutting machine.  This process ensures high dimensional accuracy of the parts, while achieving the required surface roughness as specified by the CubeSat Design Specifications document. 

Loci Laser Cut and Manufacturing is a manufacturing company situated in Stellenbosch that specialise in laser cutting and high precision bending.  They will laser cut the top and bottom panels of the spaceframe.  These parts are to intricate to machine using WEDM technologies, and the laser cutter will achieve the required accuracy and manufacture the parts at extremely high speeds.

The side panels of the KLETSkous spaceframe will be manufactured out of titanium.  Because of the reflective properties of this alloy, the laser cutter could not be used.  Leading Edge Engineering & Waterjet Cutting specialises in the cutting of precision parts using a waterjet cutter.  They are situated in the Plankenburg industrial area in Stellenbosch forms part of the manufacturing cluster that will produce the first KLETSkous prototype.  The waterjet cutter forces a stream of water through a tiny hole inside a diamond nozzle which creates the extreme forces that are necessary to cut through titanium.

By combining all of these manufacturing processes we are able to manufacture precision parts at very high speeds through the help of a manufacturing cluster situated in the Stellenbosch area.

Es’hail-2 with Amateur Radio Transponder  launch now Q3, 2017

Scheduled for launch in Q3 2017, this high-powered, advanced satellite will further boost broadband delivery, broadcasting and global connectivity in Qatar, the entire region and beyond.

Es’hail-2 will  provide the first Radio Amateur Satellite Corporation (AMSAT) geostationary communication capability that connects users across the visible globe in one single hop and in real-time. It will allow also the AMSAT community to validate and demonstrate their DVB standard.

Es’hail-2 is being manufactured in Japan by MELCO (Mitsubishi Electric Corporation). Es’hail-2 will have Ku-band and Ka-band capabilities and support TV distribution, telecoms and government services to strategic stakeholders and commercial customers who value broadcasting independence, interference resilience, quality of service and wide geographical coverage.  


AMSAT SA is planning to arrange a weekly satellite day to encourage radio amateurs to operate satellites.  The proposal is to dedicate preferred slots for satellite operation, for example Tuesday between and 18:00 and 23:00. There are a number of relatively easy to operate satellites. These will be identified and operating slots with details about the orbit and time over South Africa and neighbouring countries   will be published in advance. AMSAT SA is seeking input from radio amateurs who would be interested in participating. Please send your proposals and ideas to

Getting ready for Amateur Radio’s first geostationary satellite

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






Listen to Hannes Coetzee ZS6BZP as he updates the projects and talks about the way forward in 2017 here


The 2017 AMSAT SA Space Conference will be held on Saturday 27 May 2017 in Pretoria. This is the first call for paper proposals. 

The theme of the conference is “Conquering Space as an educational pastime". 

Proposals should include a brief synopsis of the proposed paper. The closing date for proposal is 23 February  2017. The following is the complete time schedule: 

Final Closing date for paper proposals
23 February 2017

Authors will be notified of acceptance
28 February 2017

Full paper in word                               22 April 2017

PowerPoint presentation                     23 May 2017 *

*may be brought to the conference on a memory stick 

Papers will be made available to all delegates on a memory stick or CD 

For sponsorship opportunities please call AMSAT SA on 082 781 4631


Section dedicated to Software Defined Radio applications in space.
Join the conversation

Listen to an interview about SDR with Deon Coetzee ZR1DE here

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


AMSAT SA is building its own
space frame

Listen to an interview with Deon Coetzee ZR1DE Click here

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 Kopp: 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
Pal 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

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