AMSAT has been informed that the launch for the NASA Educational Launch of Nanosatellites (ELaNa) XX mission carrying RadFxSat-2 (Fox-1E) has been scheduled for December 2017.
In addition to RadFxSat-2, the ELaNa XX mission will carry 12 CubeSats constructed both by NASA and several universities around the United States. The mission will be launched by Virgin Galactic on their LauncherOne air launch to orbit system from Mojave, CA
RadFxSat-2, like RadFxSat (Fox-1B), is a partnership opportunity between the Vanderbilt University Institute for Space and Defense Electronics and AMSAT and will carry a similar radiation effects experiment, studying new FinFET technology.
RadFxSat-2 will be the fifth Fox-1 satellite built by AMSAT. Fox-1A, now AMSAT-OSCAR 85 (AO-85), was launched on October 8, 2015 and is fully operational, providing science data from it’s onboard experiments and FM transponder service for the amateur radio community. Fox-1Cliff and Fox-1D are scheduled for launch this fall and RadFxSat is scheduled to launch in early 2017.
The RadFxSat-2 spacecraft bus will be built on the Fox-1 series but will feature a linear transponder “upgrade” to replace the standard FM transponder in Fox-1A through D. In addition, the uplink and downlink bands will be reversed from the previous Fox satellites in a Mode V/u (J) configuration using a 2 meter uplink and 70 cm downlink. The downlink will feature a 1200 bps BPSK telemetry channel to carry the Vanderbilt science data in addition to a 30 kHz wide transponder for amateur radio use.
The YX0V DXpedition to Aves Island, scheduled for August 31, 2016 – September 10, 2016, will include satellite operations. Aves Island, a dependency of Venezuela located west of Dominica and Guadeloupe in the Caribbean Sea (grid FK85eq), is currently the 17th most wanted DXCC entity on the Club Log DXCC Most-Wanted List and was last on the air in 2007. It was active on satellite during the YV0D expedition in 2004, but only three QSOs were made before the DXpedition was cut short due to rain.
Happy 20th Birthday to Fuji-OSCAR 29! FO-29, known as JAS-2 (Japan Amateur Satellite #2) prior to launch, was built by the Japan Amateur Radio League and launched on August 17, 1996 from Tanegashima Space Center on an H-II launch vehicle into a 1,323 km x 800 km orbit with an inclination of 98.5 degrees. In addition to a 100 kHz wide analog Mode V/u (JA) transponder, the satellite also includes a packet BBS and digitalker. While the packet BBS and digitalker are non-functional, the analog transponder continues to provide excellent service to the present day.
JAS-2 prior to launch. The satellite is a 26-faced polyhedron with a mass of approximately 50 kg.
With an apogee of 1,323 km, FO-29 provides satellite operators with excellent DX opportunities every few months when the passes over a certain area are at or near apogee. Intercontinental QSOs are regularly reported, including between Japan and Alaska as well as North America and Europe. Although the theoretical maximum range at apogee is 7,502 km, the excellent sensitivity of the transponder as well as it’s strong and solid 1 watt downlink signal allows that distance to be stretched when the conditions are suitable. The longest distance QSO made via FO-29’s analog transponder occurred on August 27, 2015 with an unscheduled 7,599.959 km contact between KG5CCI in Arkansas and F4CQA in France.
The sensitivity of the transponder and Mode V/u configuration also allow for the effective use of minimal equipment. QSOs have been reported using a single Yaesu FT-817 transceiver and the stock rubber duck antenna. Taking advantage of the large footprint and ease of use, the K1N DXpedition to Navassa Island made a total of 29 QSOs during two passes of FO-29 on February 12, 2015 using a single Yaesu FT-817 along with an Arrow antenna, activating that extremely rare DX entity on satellite for the first time since 1978. To this day, FO-29 remains the most widely used linear transponder satellite and an ideal satellite for beginners looking to become active on the linear transponder satellites to try first. The FO-29 control station maintains a blog (in Japanese) at http://blog.goo.ne.jp/fo-29. The JARL also offers an award for confirmed QSOs with ten different stations via FO-29.
The K1N Navassa Island satellite QSL card, showing operation via FO-29 using a single FT-817 and Arrow antenna.
Amater-Satellite “Fuji” Award available from the JARL for confirmed QSOs with ten different stations via FO-12, FO-20, or FO-29.