Amateur radio enthusiasts to gather at annual Space Symposium

March 11th, 2019, Published in Articles: EngineerIT

Amateur radio’s newest and first geostationary satellite will be a major focus at the annual AMSAT SA Space Symposium to be held in Midrand on 16 March 2019. Es’hail-2 was launched late last year and includes an amateur radio transponder. The payload was recently activated and is providing radio amateurs in Africa, Europe and the Middle East with 24/7 communications.

One of the sessions will be devoted to the home construction of an economical ground station including a live demonstration of how to point the dish to the right spot in the sky and communicate with other radio amateurs. Radio amateurs are continually experimenting with technology and are often leading new developments. It is often said that radio amateurs can be innovative because they are not pressurised to deliver against a timeline or budget.

There are several new topics on the agenda such how to use artificial intelligence to identify satellite signals, building a SATNOGS ground station, and a cube-sat to teach learners about space and satellite communications.

There will be presentations on two South African cube-sat projects, Kletskous and AfriCube, with practical demonstrations of some of the latest technologies. Kletskous is a cube-sat with an analogue transponder that will be able to handle three different contacts simultaneously while AfriCube includes a digital transponder using software defined radio (SDR) technology.

AMSAT SA has also developed a new space frame which include deployable solar panels. The new frame will be demonstrated at the symposium

All AMSAT SA projects are built by volunteers who, through their participation, develop and expand their high-tech skills. Amateur radio also creates an ideal environment for young people who are planning a career in communications and technology.

The AMSAT SA Space Symposium is an annual event to update the amateur radio community on new developments and innovation in space communications.

Attendance of the symposium is open to all interested persons at very low cost. Students in secondary and tertiary educational institutions can apply to attend free-of-charge. Details are available at www.amsatsa.org.za.

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