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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.

Project Name
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.

Mission of KLETSkous
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. 

House Keeping
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 performs correctly. 

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


 If you have an interest and would like to work on the project, send your details to saamsat@intekom.co.za


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 saamsat@intekom.co.za