AMSAT-UK recently announced two additional amateur radio satellites that will be launched from the SaxaVord UK Spaceport later this year. Those are in addition to three others that had been previously identified. The announcement includes specific details on the individual satellites and their payloads.

According to Wikipedia:

SaxaVord Spaceport, previously known as Shetland Space Centre, is a planned spaceport to be located on the Lamba Ness peninsula on Unst, the most northerly of the Shetland Islands off of mainland Scotland. The proposed site is near the RAF Saxa Vord radar station and the settlement of Skaw, adjacent to the Saxa Vord distillery.

I’ve been curious if having access to an incredible resource like the geostationary satellite Es’hail-2 that carries sophisticated amateur radio transponders (QO-100) providing round the clock coverage for a third of the planet might dampen European enthusiasm for developing additional amateur radio satellites and payloads. Not to worry, this announcement suggests that keeping ham radio in space continues to be an important mission for radio enthusiasts around the world and that’s very good news.

The variety of missions proposed on this cluster launch show a continued interest in the very small formats and development of low-earth-orbit. Finding interesting things to do with these resources has sometimes been difficult with the default almost always yet another FM repeater in the sky.

Outside the box thinking can make for interesting results and one of the satellites, the MARIA-G, will include FM voice and AX.25 / APRS 300 / 1200 bps communications. The satellite will also transmit telemetry with its status and voice and CW messages. It will also include a simple guessing game implemented by students at Maria Guerrero High School in Collado Villalba in Madrid.

The satellite will “send a clue each week in CW so radio amateurs will have to solve the mystery by having all the clues and to make reception of signals from this satellite fun for the young ones, expecting them to be future radio amateurs…”