Barry Baines, WD4ASW Interview with Amateur Radio Newsline

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(L-R) AMSAT President Barry Baines, WD4ASW, ARRL CEO Dave Sumner, K1ZZ, and AMSAT Vice President Engineering Tony Monteiro, AA2TX with the Fox-1 engineering model at the 2013 Dayton Hamvention. (KB1SF photo) Click on image to enlarge.

The weekly broadcast of the Amateur Radio Newsline interviewed AMSAT President Barry Baines, WD4ASW at the Dayton Hamvention about the Fox-1 cubesat and the current situation in working with ITAR regulations. This is included in Amateur Radio Newsline Report 1868, dated May 31 2013 and carried on-the-air during many nets and amateur radio news reports. Here is a transcript of the interview with Barry, titled, “HAMVENTION 2013:  PART 2 – WRAPPING IT UP”, by Amateur Radio Newsline’s Stephan Kinford, N8WB:

“While most tend to report on the Dayton Hamvention based on number of attendees and new equipment released or at least previewed, there is a lot more to this annual gathering. This is also a place where breaking news is first reported and according to AMSAT North America President Barry Baines, WD4ASW, hams involved in space communications had at least two things to smile about. The first was the announcement of a launch commitment for one of the group’s newest birds.

Baines:  “The biggest project we are doing is called Project Fox.  It’s a 4 inch by 4 inch cube that will weight about three pounds that will be an amateur radio repeater plus carry a scientific payload that will be flown into orbit. We have learned this week that NASA is assigning us to a launch opportunity to be flown in November of 2014 so that’s when we expect Fox 1 to be flown”.

Baines also told Newsline that it looks as if there will soon be some good news on the cooperation front with other AMSAT groups around the world.  This, thanks to a pending change in US laws.

Baines:  “Congress in 1999 passed a law called ITAR, the International Traffic in Arms Regulations that decided that satellites, no matter what their purpose or how sophisticated or unsophisticated their purpose is, are considered to be a munition and subject to regulation. So under ITAR we cannot have collaboration with foreign nationals on evolving technology that’s being developed.  We can only talk about it with foreign nations once its completed placed in the public domain. So we publish what we do and then we can talk about it after the fact.”

Baines continued, “Congress passed a bill called the National Defense Authorization Act last December which gives the President at his discretion to transfer items from ITAR to a less restrictive category under Export Arms Regulations.  We are now waiting for the Department of State to come out with revised rules.”

Thanks to Amateur Radio Newsline for this report.