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KLETSkous CubeSat Project
SA AMSAT has embarked on
the development and launching of two South African Amateur satellites.
These satellites will be based on the CubeSat principle. The first, that
is also the subject of this paper, will be a basic satellite with a
short time to launch.
It is proposed that the development phase of the satellite been known as
Project KLETSkous. This reflects nicely on the mission and functionality
of the satellite: “Klets” is an Afrikaans work for talking a lot. We
want the Southern African radio amateurs to talk and operate much more
via satellite. “Kous” is the Afrikaans word for a sock. The transponder
that is planned for the satellite can also be referred to as a
“bent-pipe” transponder, aligning the idea to the “sock”.
Once the satellite nears
completion it is recommended to run a competition to decide on an
applicable name for the satellite as was the case for SumbandilaSat.
To give Radio Amateurs in Southern Africa easy access to a Low Earth
Orbit (LEO) satellite on as many of the available passes as possible.
While it is considered that a 2m uplink and 70 cm downlink is desirable
from an user perspective, the IARU advises that two metre uplinks are
problematic as in many parts of the world there are too many non-amateur
applications that may interfere. This means that a tone access system
will be highly desirable.
Given that most hand-hold
transceivers sold today are both 70cm and 2 m capable, the problem of
non availability of 70 cm transmitting equipment is fast diminishing
A linear transponder with a
bandwidth of 20 kHz which can be utilised for FM and SSB with an uplink
on 70 cm, downlink on 2 m is proposed.
However switchable tone
access may be implemented. Over Southern Africa the tone access will be
switched off to give Amateurs with modest equipment easy access to the
satellite. For the rest of the world where the Amateur population is
denser, tone access will be required to reduce unwanted interference
even on 70 cm uplinks.
For educational purposes a
beacon and parrot functionality may be highly desirable. Proposals for
additional payloads will be considered. It should however be remembered
that the amount of available power is a limiting factor.
A Command Link will be required for housekeeping purpose and also maybe
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 that will correlate to
certain areas being over flown by the satellite. The Scheduler will also
determine when the Access Tone will be required. It will be possible to
set the onboard clock of the Controller to ensure that the Scheduler
A Telemetry Downlink will
be required. Some of the parameters that must be monitored on the ground
including battery voltage and temperature. A “squelch counter” that
counts the amounts of time that the transponder’s squelch was broken may
give an indication of the activity through the satellite, especially if
it is time stamped.
Deon Coetzee ZR1DE with tghe
prototype space frame
JOIN THE TEAM
If you have an interest and would like to work on the
project, send your details to
DONATE TO THE KLETSkous FUND
Become a share holder in KLETSkous donate to the
fund. Your contribution will be acknowledged on this page.
Donations may be paid into the SA AMSAT fund:
Bank: ABSA Menlyn
Branch code 632 005
Account number 560 153 171
Send details of your donation to