Fox-1Cliff launch – your help is needed!
Following the successful launch and
deployment of Fox-1Cliff, all amateur radio satellite
enthusiasts can play an important part in the
commissioning of the new satellite.
Telemetry helps us tremendously, starting ASAP after
startup (~59 minutes after deployment*) and for the next
72-96 hours at least (for the life of the satellite is
preferred!) as we look for successful startup, watch the
general health and function as the satellite begins to
acclimate to space, and start to perform the on orbit
The first station to successfully receive and submit
telemetry to the AMSAT server will receive a special 3D
printed QSL card acknowledging their contribution.
If you are capturing telemetry with FoxTelem, please be
sure that “Upload to Server” is checked in your settings
and your Ground Station Params are filled in as well.
You can help AMSAT and everyone waiting to get on the
air with Fox-1Cliff tremendously, by capturing
In the initial Safe Mode after startup, which we
actually call Beacon Mode, the transmitter is limited to
10 seconds on time then does the two minutes off cycle.
For those of you capturing telemetry, that means that
you will only see Current frames and no High or Low
frames because the High and Low are truncated as it
takes just over 10 seconds to send two frames. You will
hear Veronica announcing “Fox-1Cliff Safe Mode” while in
We will likely leave the satellite in Beacon Mode for 24
hours to observe power telemetry. If we are seeing good
readings from what you gather, when it comes over the
U.S. for the first good pass after that holding period
we will command it from Beacon Mode to normal Safe Mode.
That puts Fox-1Cliff in full (still Safe Mode though)
operation and transmits a full two frames of telemetry
which is one Current frame followed by, and alternating
each ID cycle, a High or a Low frame.
We will begin the rest of the in orbit checklist
activities at that time, and it is expected to take 7 to
10 days given the Thanksgiving holiday.
Help your friends and all of our satellite ham friends
get on the air and have fun sooner by being polite and
The in orbit checkout procedure is similar to Fox-1D and
could be completed in as little as 7 days if we have the
cooperation of the users. It is very important, not to
mention just plain good Amateur Operating Practice, to
refrain from using the transponder uplink so we can do
the on orbit tests, including when we turn on
transponder mode for testing.
I cannot stress enough, the importance of this
cooperation not just for us but also for all users,
simply having a little patience so we can conduct the
tests as quickly and accurately as possible.
AMSAT will make it broadly known when the tests are
complete and the transponder is available for all to
use. If you hear someone on the transponder, please do
not assume that it is open for general use – check our
website, Facebook, Twitter, to be sure you are not
accidentally jumping in with and unwittingly causing
interference as well.
Many hams put thousands of volunteer hours of their time
into making Fox-1Cliff happen. Just like any ham radio
project you might undertake, we build satellites. We do
it because we like to, and when we are done, we freely
share our project with hams everywhere as is the spirit
of amateur radio. I have to say though, that the
incidents we have experienced in the past with stations
intentionally disregarding the command stations requests
to keep the frequency clear during testing not only
delays the commissioning, but also negatively impacts
the enthusiasm that our volunteers feel toward handing
over a new bird to the members and users as soon as
I am asking all satellite hams to contribute just a
little bit of your time to the fun now, by being patient
and just gathering telemetry, not using the transponder
uplink, and helping us complete the last few days of
getting Fox-1Cliff in orbit and operating for all of
Thank you very much, see you on the bird!
Jerry Buxton, N0JY
(AMSAT VP Engineering)