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P O Box 90438
Garsfontein 0042
South Africa
Tel:  012 991 4662
Fax: 012 991 5651


Weekly satellite report

20 November  2016

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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



Progress on kletskous modular space frame.

The first prototype of the Kletskous modular space frame will be completed in nthe next two week. Listen to an interview with Francois Oberbolzer as he talks about the latest developments here



AMSAT SA is holding a half day SDR workshop in cooperation with the SARL at the NARC on 26 November 2016. The workshop will include videos and presentations on Software Defined Radio and a practical demonstration. AMSAT SA started a conversation with radio amateurs interested in SDR and soon realised that there is a wider interest in this developing technology in Amateur Radio.

The cost of attending is a contribution to the Kletskous development fund with a minimum of R20 to cover refreshment.

Get draft programme here  To book click here

Check your registration here


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.


SCS Space  (subsidiary of the privately owned South African SCS Aerospace group) partnered AMSAT SA to assist with internationally distributed ground station facilities for their up and coming QB50 satellite, "nSight-1". The use of multiple ground stations will multiply the downloaded science and imagery (32m resolution) data generated by the satellite. 

QB50 is a constellation of 50 CubeSats that will be launched into a low earth orbit to study the earth's lower thermosphere. QB50 will provide multi-point, in-situ measurements. Each satellite will carry one of three science sensors that will generate data that must be downloaded to the ground daily. As part of the agreement with the QB50 consortium each team must submit 2 Mbit of science data every second day during science payload operation periods (a six month period at the beginning of life and another 6 month period at the end of mission life, estimated to be 1 year after launch). In addition to science data, the regular telecommand and telemetry data must also be conveyed over the available RF channels.  

In a record short time of 6 months, SCS Space is building and contributing a 2U CubeSat, called nSight-1 to the constellation. nSight-1, will carry a Space Advisory Company designed CubeSat camera called ('Gecko'), a Stellenbosch University designed control subsystem and CPUT's CMC transceiver which supports up to 9.6 kbps in a VHF uplink and UHF downlink on frequencies in the 2m and 70 cm amateur bands.

This a unique opportunity for Radio Amateurs in South Africa to participate in an interesting satellite project.  To participate please send details of your station, such as transceiver and antennas available as well as your location to 

 The next step will be to participate in a briefing session that will be conducted on Skype in two weeks' time.


The President of the International Amateur Radio Union has awarded the IARU Diamond Award to Hans van de Groenendaal ZS6AKV for his many years of service. The citation on the award reads “Presented to Hans van de Groenendaal, ZS6AKV in grateful appreciation for many years of outstanding dedication and diligence as IARU Satellite Adviser.”

In 1994 the IARU Administrative Council appointed an Ad Hoc committee under chairmanship of the late Thomas Atkins VE3CDM. Other members of the committee were Michael Owen VK3KI, David Wardlow, VK3ADW and Hans van de Groenendaal, ZS6AKV.  The brief of the committee was to report on various aspects of the amateur satellite service and canvass the views of the satellite community in all three regions on the role the IARU should play. The committee consulted widely and sent out over 60 questionnaires to canvas the opinion of various interested AMSAT and other satellite interest groups.  The committee submitted one interim report and its final report in November 1994. The committee recommended the appointment of an IARU Satellite Adviser with the function to keep the IARU Administrative Council informed on all technical and operational aspects of the amateur satellite service and to provide advice and assistance to enable the Council to adopt appropriate polices, and to better inform the satellite community of the IARU. ZS6AKV was appointed to that position. He retired from as IARU Satellite Adviser in 2016 after 22 year of service.

Over the years the amateur satellite scene expanded considerably and the Satellite Adviser appointed and advisory committee representative of all 3 IARU regions. Hans has been succeeded by Hans Blondeel Timmerman, PB2T, past IARU Region 1 President.

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


Deon Coetzee ZR1DX was awarded the SARL President's award 2015. The award, a gold pen, was presented to Deon at the SARL National Convention Gala Dinner and Awards  evening by SARL President Fritz Sutherland ZS6SF.  The event was held in Sasolburg on 21 May 2016 and hosted by the Sasolburg Amateur Radio Club.  Deon received the ward for  his contribution to amateur satellite communications with special reference to his work on  the design and construction of the Kletskous space frame.


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.


SA AMSAT’s stand at the Science Forum South Africa which was held at the CSIR conference centre on 7 and 8 December was visited by many delegates and dignitaries from the Department of Science and Technology, the SA Space Agency and the Education Department. Various elements of Kletskous, SA AMSAT’s CubeSat project were on display with demonstration of the operational prototype of the transponder. 


SA AMSAT has launched the “Take your science project into space with Amateur Radio” initiative. For more information about the initiative download the information leaflet here


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






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 .

You will receive an acknowledgment certificate and will be listed on the list of donors. (See  lower down) The account details are:


Account no 560 153 171

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

Science Forum South Africa 2015

Click on picture to see a larger version



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