SpaceX launches Es’Hail-2, first geostationary amateur radio satellite

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio News' started by W0PV, Nov 15, 2018.

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  1. W0PV

    W0PV Ham Member QRZ Page

    SpaceX Falcon 9 launches Es’Hail-2 from 39A

    "As well as its commercial transponders, Es’hail-2 carries an amateur radio payload, AMSAT Phase 4A (AMSAT-P4A), which is being flown as a result of a partnership between Es’hailSat, the Qatar Amateur Radio Society (QARS) and Germany’s AMSAT-DL – part of the global amateur satellite radio community.

    AMSAT-P4A consists of two transponders: a narrowband transponder for conventional analog communications and a second wideband transponder which will be used for digital communications including the first spaceborne Digital Amateur Television (DATV) beacon. Es’hail-2 will be the first geostationary satellite to carry an amateur radio relay."



    Deployment @ 54:30

    Last edited: Nov 15, 2018
    VU2USA, K4YOF, N2NUR and 2 others like this.
  2. W0PV

    W0PV Ham Member QRZ Page

    IMO this has potential for causing just as much if not a more significant paradigm shift in amateur radio operations then any new digi mode.

    Just imagine, when gear becomes available, an artificial yet reliable intercontinental propagation path open 24/7/365.

    We could just fill up that 250 Khz of analog transponder bandwidth with FT8 signals :rolleyes: (NOT!)

    Anxiously awaiting a North American coverage bird; perhaps this is another Sputnik 1 style wake-up call ...

    73, John, WØPV
    PD0JBV, KF4ZKU, VE4DLA and 2 others like this.
  3. K0RGR

    K0RGR XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Yes, a geostationary bird, particularly if linked to others providing global coverage, would be a revolution. I remember the Phase III satellites and what fun they were to operate. It was like having an HF band open to all of the Northern Hemisphere at the same time. A geostat bird would be terrific for cliff dwellers and those with other antenna restrictions.
    K5BM, KG5WOY, KF4ZKU and 2 others like this.
  4. KV4BL

    KV4BL Ham Member QRZ Page

    I was reading an article elsewhere in which people questioned why we don't have such a geostationary bird over North America. One response from the satellite upper crust was regarding the million$ it would take to get such up there and running. How is it that the third-world (generally) gets such a bird, first? Next, with all the crappy "here now, gone in a few minutes" non-geostationary birds we have put up over the decades, why is it such an insurmountable task to get one up and running over North America, preferably US and Canada for language compatibility?
    VA7RAK, W7XLR, KA2FIR and 4 others like this.
  5. NA1NA

    NA1NA Ham Member QRZ Page

    We don't have a geostationary bird over North America due to the failure of AMSAT-NA, who, after AO-40 blew-up, decided that FM transponders (ugh!) were the future. No vision, no expanding the art, no taking advantage of Space-X (and others) who could put something in orbit for us.....hard to believe that the best days were AO-7 and AO-10. I'd even settle for a 2-to-10 meter bird. Imagine how much we could have accomplished with a couple of GEO birds over NA in this low-to-nasty solar minimum. Wishful thinking :(
    W7XLR, KA2FIR, KB5CUS and 5 others like this.
  6. KA0HCP

    KA0HCP XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    KV4BL, NA1NA; Are you both Life Members of AMSAT=NA? How much have you donated in the last few years? Put your money where your mouth is!

    Clearly neither of you are familiar with any of these issues over the last ten years; since these issues have been addressed many times. Harumph!

    p.s. Qatar isn't a Third World nation, nor is it poor; it is one of the richest in the world.
    p.p.s. Neither is Germany.
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2018
    KO6KL, KO4MA, WE4B and 4 others like this.
  7. N8HM

    N8HM Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Correct. AMSAT's goal has always been to deploy high-altitude systems and there are constantly discussions with partners and others about how best to accomplish this. Unfortunately, none of those have borne fruit yet.

    The reality is terms of geostationary orbit is that no one deploying a satellite over North America has been willing to accommodate amateur radio without a payment of several million dollars. To launch our own full-size satellite to GEO or HEO would cost even more - in the range of $10-$15 million just for the launch. With a membership of 3,300 and probably less than 100,000 amateur radio operators worldwide who would even be interested in such a thing, it's simply not realistic to raise that kind of money. Es'Hail-2 is a unique situation in that Qatar's state-owned satellite company was willing to devote spare systems on board their satellite to amateur radio and operate it through a partnership with the Qatar Amateur Radio Society and AMSAT-DL.

    AMSAT's Fox-1 and, now, GOLF programs have been designed to leverage the plethora of opportunities for CubeSat launches to LEO. The Fox-1 program proved AMSAT could build a series of robust CubeSats. These successes have resulted in numerous partnerships and opened the doors to several future opportunities. GOLF will continue that progress with new technologies such as use of microwave bands, attitude determination and control, deorbiting devices (necessary to comply with orbital debris mitigation rules), and software defined radio. The goal for the GOLF program is to eventually deploy CubeSats to HEO or GEO orbits. Of course, we are always looking for payload opportunities on other's satellites as well.

    AMSAT will also be involved with our international ARISS partners in working on an amateur radio system aboard NASA's Lunar Orbit Gateway, which could result in some neat capabilities for amateur radio opeartors.
    KO6KL, N3VQH, KO4PV and 10 others like this.
  8. W0PV

    W0PV Ham Member QRZ Page

    Of course it takes funding. And of course building and launching independently would be the highest cost and shouldn't be necessary, as Es'Hail-2 hopefully is proving.

    BUT, "...a payment of several million dollars", as a similar secondary payload spot and ride doesn't seem entirely unreasonable or prohibitive. Just what is the more exact number?

    These days there are rumors of SEVEN FIGURE private donations being made to Amateur Radio causes. Plus even regular Hams may be far more willing to make smaller yet cumulatively significant contributions, easily coordinated online, if they were clearly earmarked for a well defined concrete objective of a Phase 4 Oscar serving NA.

    Who from NA / USA is performing "constantly discussions with partners and others"? There ought to be some publication of the details, especially in regards to any Phase 4 efforts. Who with government, scientific, or commercials sats and which programs are being approached for partnership and how? Who are the negotiators for AR?

    IMO many organizations within Amateur Radio under-estimate and under-appreciate the degree of support and influence that may come from within the ranks, even those that are not members, if only they would be more transparent with the formation, prioritization, and execution of their objectives.

    Perhaps AMSAT-NA is just not the right org to take on HEO / GEO projects for NA?

    73, John, WØPV
  9. WN1MB

    WN1MB Ham Member QRZ Page

    Geostationary, artificial propagation enhancement tool with embedded loss of autonomy - just a thought.
    VK6APZ likes this.
  10. W4FS

    W4FS Ham Member QRZ Page

    Are you willing to donate millions of dollars? Also saying that AMSAT-NA has failed is simply untrue. A lot of old dudes like to sit back and their chair and bitch and moan about not being happy with the way things are going and the fact that we don't have any HEO sats. If you don't like what's been done, get off your couch and actually do something. It's easy to complain over the internet, I doubt you'd say that AMSAT-NA is failing to the faces of the hard working individuals that have gotten a lot of stuff done. The FM transponders are really great in one respect in particular. All you need is an HT and a small antenna to get started. This low barrier to entry gets folks involved in the hobby that otherwise don't bother because they can't afford it or don't have the room. Lots of folks say we need new, young blood in the hobby, well this is a cool thing you can do with a license with little investment or physical space required and it's getting lots of young folks and newly licensed people involved. So sick of the whiners from the days of old. Things have changed and it's not a trivial thing getting something launched into a high orbit. AMSAT-NA has done a ton of good and I am happy to be a member and I enjoy doing what little I can to support them in their current endeavors.
    K4WNY, KW1NG, VE5RH and 18 others like this.

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