Irvine Cubesat Program Requests Amateur Radio Help

The Cube Satellite program is a program that involves the construction, deploying, and successful communication with a satellite measuring 10 cm x 10cm x 10cm. The schools involved are four from the Irvine Unified School District, and one from Tustin Unified school district. Woodbridge High School, my high school, is in charge of the communications to and from the satellite. The other schools are in charge of things from propulsion (orbital calculations and adjustments as well as hardware) to prime (the payload consisting of a 3 mega pixel camera and sun sensors. Our satellite will be launched from Russia with a tentative launch date of March 1, 2017.

Now, on to the HAM stuff. At some point during this month or next month the Communications Team and the Propulsion Team will be conducting a drill to see how quickly we can identify a satellite. We will be requesting the help of local HAMs, such as yourselves, as well as from HAMs around the world. We will be choosing a satellite, then requesting our HAM helpers to listen for the beacon from the satellite and then identify where they were when they heard it as well as when they heard it as well as where the satellite was (altitude and azimuth) when they heard it. Once the HAMs have gotten this data, we will request that they submit the data to some, as of yet undetermined, place where the Communication Team will compile the data and then forward that information to the Propulsion Team who will use that data to calculate an orbit and identify the satellite. This drill will be a test for what we will need to do when our satellite is launched and we need to locate it and establish communication with the satellite.

If you have any further questions feel free to contact me at this email address: or

Our Cube Sat Twitter: @irvinecubesat

Best Regards,
Matthew Sandoval, KM6ATX

May 7: SOARA Hams Assist High Desert Trails Rally

High Desert Trails Rally
Ridgecrest, California
Release Date: 4/21/2016 – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Photography – Mathew Mendoza

High Desert Trails Performance Rally – Saturday May 7th, 2016

Kicking off its 9th consecutive run, the High Desert Trails Rally has been a part of rally in Southern California since 1973. On dirt roads Southwest of Ridgecrest and North of the Jawbone Canyon Station, the rally takes competitors through fast and flowing valleys and tight and twisty forest sections in the beautiful high desert on county roads. Competitors will tackle over 100 miles of racing flat out.

The High Desert Trails Rally is a performance time trial event. Rally Racing is a motorsport where a driver and navigator (co-driver) race down closed dirt roads, one car at a time, as fast as they can. The cars race against the clock, and not head-to-head. The racing sections are called Special Stages and closed to all non-rally traffic. The vehicles stay on the road and do not go “off-road” into the desert. When not racing on the closed stages, the cars transit with normal traffic.

The cars are specially equipped production based models (Example: Volkswagen Golf, Dodge Neon, Subaru Impreza) and not buggies or tube chassis vehicles. They are all licensed, registered, and insured to drive on public roads. They have roll cages and safety features added along with heavy duty suspension and tires. We invite you to check them out on Friday night between 6:30PM – 7:30PM May 1st in Ridgecrest. Unfortunately this year, due to a change in the route caused by the winter rains, there will be no public spectating area. This means there will be no place you will be able to see the cars race without volunteering.

The rally utilizes hundreds of volunteers to help with communications, timing, and controls. Working a rally is a rewarding challenge that’s a lot of fun! This is the best way to see the event up close and get to interact with the drivers and co-drivers. Plan to spend a day outside, and plan to drive your vehicle over smooth dirt roads. We like to provide our workers with goodies like T-Shirts, lunch, waters, and giveaways. Your help is always appreciated by the competitors. Sign up at –

Approximately thirty teams will take the challenge of the High Desert Trails this year. This event kicks off the 2016 California Rally Series Championship. Supporting rally events all over the Southwest, the CRS is celebrating its 42nd season! More info –

High Desert Trails is also proud to be sanctioned by NASA Rally Sport (NRS), an organization focused on competitor fun and providing support for rally organizers nationwide. Providing tools to the racers, organizers, and fans to increase their enjoyment of rally is one of the core missions of the organization. –

For more information, check out –
Join us for some fun on the roads of the high desert!

Picture: Driver John Trucks & Navigator Chris Fine tackle a steep downhill section. Picture by Mathew Mendoza of