AMSAT Expands Ground Terminal Development to Texas


AMSAT has expanded the development of ground terminals for the Phase 4B and other digital/microwave satellites it’s working on in partnership with Virginia Tech. The second ground terminal will be in the Dallas, Texas, area. Hardware was recently ordered from National Instruments Corp for delivery to Bill Reed, NX5R, to equip a second AMSAT ground terminal community. AMSAT said that expanding the system to the Dallas area will allow more collaboration, development, and testing by AMSAT and North Texas Microwave Society amateurs with San Diego and other regions. San Diego is the site of the first.

“The development of a ground terminal along with satellite projects is part of a plan to offer a way for amateurs to buy, build, or access ideas to develop their own ground terminals which will be useful for many future AMSAT satellite missions for years to come,” said AMSAT Vice President of Engineering Jerry Buxton, N0JY. “The concept of common uplink (5 GHz) and downlink (10 GHz) frequencies with software-defined transponders allows many different experimentation and communications opportunities, ranging from simple texting to voice, streaming video, data exchange, and reliable EMCOMM access in remote areas, with bandwidths to support many satellites and users.”

Michelle Thompson, W5NYV, has been leading the effort in the San Diego area. That ground terminal project started when the P4B project was announced earlier this year. Radio amateurs in the Southern California area from AMSAT, the Palomar Amateur Radio Club, and the San Diego Microwave Society have been implementing a terrestrial system to mimic the ground and space segments of a digital satellite communications link and developing code and hardware techniques for use in the P4B and future high-Earth orbit opportunities that AMSAT is pursuing.

Another ground terminal system is planned for the East Coast, and AMSAT is recruiting individuals and groups to work together to establish increased regional technical activity in support of satellite service goals. By involving amateurs who have expertise in both microwave and digital communications and in varying terrain and conditions, as well as including people with various backgrounds and experience, AMSAT plans to produce a ground terminal that will be useful with a variety of next-generation satellites, including Phase 4B, Phase 3E, the Heimdallr Lunar Cube Quest CubeSat, and an AMSAT-developed HEO CubeSat — all projects that AMSAT and ASCENT (Advanced Satellite Communications and Exploration of New Technology) teams are currently pursuing. — Thanks to AMSAT News Service