Monthly Archives: May 2015


05/29/2015 The Planetary Society is blaming a software glitch for causing its LightSail-A CubeSat to go dark, but the organization’s satellite team is hoping the situation is temporary and that it can reboot the CubeSat’s onboard computer. In a lengthy blog post, the Planetary Society’s Jason Davis said the LightSail mission “is paused, while engineers wait out a suspected software glitch that has silenced the solar sailing spacecraft.” “Following a successful start to the mission last Wednesday [May 20], LightSail spent more than 2 days sending about 140 data packets back to Earth,” Davis recounted. “But the long Memorial Day […]

LightSail CubeSat Stops Transmitting


05/29/2015 This week the average daily sunspot number dropped 36 points to 56.1, and average daily solar flux was down 25.7 points to 97.6. Geomagnetic numbers indicated more stability than the previous week (May 14-20) with average daily planetary A index declining from 10 to 4.4, and mid-latitude A index down from 9.7 to 5. The latest forecast from NOAA/USAF has solar flux at 90, 95, 100, 105 and 110 on May 29 through June 2, 115 on June 3-4, 125 and 120 on June 5-6, 115 on June 7-10, 110 and 105 on June 11-12, 100 on June 13-14, […]

The K7RA Solar Update


05/28/2015 A Littleton, Colorado, radio amateur and mountaineer was happy to have his hand-held transceiver along on May 17 after he slipped and fell from an icy ledge in Berthoud Pass while snowshoeing. Summits On The Air (SOTA) enthusiast Brad Byland, WA6MM, said he’s been climbing and mountaineering for many years now and never before came this close to “a possible life-ending disaster.” “I’m doing fine,” Byland told ARRL this week. “I didn’t get hurt…only bad wind and sunburn on my face! My daughter says my geeky hobby — ham radio — saved me from my dangerous hobby — climbing […]

Radio Call Saves SOTA Climber Following Fall



05/28/2015 The Herzliya Science Center is inviting stations with the ability to send compressed APRS packets to take part in testing the Duchifat-1 CubeSat, launched almost 1 year ago by high school students in Israel. The satellite will collect packets worldwide and downlink them from time to time over the Herzliya Science Center’s ground station. Participants must register in advance to have their packets identified on the map. Received packets will be displayed on a map on the Science Center’s website, and QSL cards will be sent via the bureau. The Duchifat-1 sponsors say there is no way they can […]

Hams Invited to Test APRS on Duchifat-1 CubeSat


05/28/2015 British singer Sarah Brightman has announced that she is postponing plans to go into space as a paying guest aboard the International Space Station. She was set to launch on the September Soyuz TMA-18M mission with Danish astronaut Andreas Mogensen, KG5GCZ, and Russian cosmonaut Sergei Volkov, RU3DIS. There had been some speculation that Brightman might use Amateur Radio during her ISS stay; she apparently would be eligible to do so using the GB1SS call sign. The British soprano is reported to have paid $52 million to be a “spaceflight participant” for 10 days. Brightman said she was putting her […]

Sarah Brightman Spaceflight Postponed


05/28/2015 Fourteen of the schools and organizations that submitted proposals to host Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) contacts are moving into the final stage of the selection process. Schools or organizations ultimately selected would host scheduled Amateur Radio contacts with an ISS crew member during the first half of 2016. “This is a significant step in ARISS’s continuing effort to engage young people in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) activities and raise their awareness of space exploration, space communications and related areas of study and career possibilities,” said ARRL Education Services Manager Debra Johnson, K1DMJ. AMSAT […]

Fourteen US Schools/Groups on List to Host Ham Contacts with Space Station



05/27/2015 Summer is nearly here, and that means it’s time for the ARRL June VHF Contest, June 13-15! Participants in the US and Canada (and their possessions) work stations in as many different 2 × 1° Maidenhead grid squares as possible, using the bands above 50 MHz. Stations outside the US and Canada may only work stations in the US and Canada (and their possessions). Stations in KH0-9, KL7, KP1-KP5, CY9, and CY0 count as W/VE stations and may be worked by DX stations for contest credit. The June VHF Contest occurs at the start of the summer sporadic E […]

Got Grids? ARRL June VHF Contest is June 13- 15


05/27/2015 When extremely heavy rainfall hit Texas and Oklahoma over the Memorial Day holiday weekend, Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) and SKYWARN volunteers scrambled to assist local emergency operations centers and National Weather Service (NWS) offices. “This has probably been the most significant weather event to hit Texas,” ARRL South Texas Section Manager Lee Cooper, W5LHC. “We have had major tropical storms and hurricane events, but the widespread combination of heavy rains, tornadoes, and flooding all at same time and covering two-thirds of the state, is pretty much unprecedented for us.” Oklahoma Section Emergency Coordinator Mark Conklin, N7XYO, said communication […]

Amateur Radio Volunteers Muster for “Unprecedented” Weather Event


05/27/2015 Nick Lance Jr, KC5KBO, of Houston, Texas, died May 24. He was 65. A retired NASA engineer and an ARRL member, Lance was a veteran member of the Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) team, and one of his roles was to prepare the astronauts to pass their Amateur Radio license exams. Lance was named ARRL Professional Educator of the Year in 2003. ARISS International Chairman Frank Bauer, KA3HDO, called Lance “a smart, caring, considerate, and helpful person” who loved Amateur Radio. Bauer said he would miss Lance’s quick wit and sense of humor.  “As the primary […]

Nick Lance, KC5KBO, SK — Prepared Astronauts to Become Radio Amateurs



05/26/2015 CAMSAT has announced that the CAS-3 amateur satellite system is nearing completion, and six Chinese amateur satellites will be launched in mid-July. “All six satellites are equipped with substantially the same Amateur Radio payloads, a U/V mode linear transponder, a CW telemetry beacon and an AX.25 19.2k/9.6k baud GMSK telemetry downlink,” the CAMSAT announcement said. CAMSAT said that each Amateur Radio complement has the same technical characteristics, but will operate on different 70 centimeter uplink and 2 meter downlink frequencies. CAMSAT said it has worked closely with DFH Satellite Co Ltd, a Chinese government aerospace contractor, to complete the […]

China Set to Launch Several Amateur Radio Satellites this Summer