RAGazine now available for free download

National Space Centre Leicester

National Space Centre Leicester

The latest issue of the free BAA-RAG radio astronomy publication RAGazine is now available for download.

The British Astronomical Association Radio Astronomy Group (BAA-RAG) Coordinator Paul Hyde G4CSD writes:

1. RAG 2014
A reminder that BAA RAG is holding this year’s General Meeting at the National Space Centre, Leicester on Saturday, May 17, starting at 10:30.  We have two keynote speakers in Prof Paul Cannon (on solar superstorms) and Dr Klaas Wiersema (on Gamma ray Bursts) plus seven supporting talks to create a packed day on radio astronomy and geophysics.  Tickets are still available at £15 (£12 for BAA members) which includes free admission to the NSC and free parking.  Further information on the event, including details of the presentations, can be found on the BAA RAG website at www.britastro.org/radio/.  Bookings can be made by post, phone, fax or email using the Booking Form downloadable from the same website.

RAGazine March 2014

RAGazine March 2014

2. RAGazine
The 3rd edition of the RAG quarterly newsletter is now available for download from the BAA RAG website (see above).  This edition contains Karl Jansky’s 1932 paper identifying additional radio noise to that originating from thunderstorms, a review of the recent book on the life and times of Sir Bernard Lovell, and a description of the Siberian Solar Radio Telescope, along with articles on meteor scatter, magnetometry and VLF activity, plus Tony Abbey’s Technology Watch column.

We are always on the look-out for material for RAGazine.  The publication is an informal newsletter for sharing information and experiences in amateur radio astronomy and geophysics and we do depend upon input from those reading it.  We would like to move to publishing every other month, rather than quarterly, provided we can get a steady supply of material.  The Editor (Dave James) is keen to feature members’ home observatories, outreach activities, co-operative ventures and the like. We would also like to find one or two more contributing editors or correspondents for specific areas who can provide regular material on particular areas they feel would be of interest to readers.

If you can offer anything here please contact the Editor – dave<at>greenover.net.

3. HLOG project
The Hydrogen Line Observing Group was set up by Gordon Dennis and Brain Coleman to make use of Brian’s 3.7m diameter dish at Redenham Observatory for measuring Hydrogen Line emissions from the Galactic Plane.  Despite the high winds earlier in the year which twice damaged the azimuth gear box, observations have been largely completed from Galactic Longitude 20 to 94 degrees with some observations at 108, 110 and 180 degrees. The team is now looking for additional volunteers to extend the survey to at least 120 degrees longitude and maybe to 180 and beyond, plus an increased range of latitudes, in some cases as far as ± 14 degrees to capture all the “structure” detectable with the instrument.  Help is also needed to process the resultant data and re-check observations.

The project provides you with an opportunity to do some serious observing with a decent size dish.  All you need to participate is internet access and the time to set up and monitor individual scans.  As an observer you have access to the data collected by the whole Group for your own analysis work.

Those wishing to join the team should contact Gordon Dennis at gordon.dennis<at>koalapub.co.uk

Best wishes

Paul Hyde G4CSD
BAA RAG Coordinator

Download the March 2014 RAGazine from http://www.britastro.org/radio/ragazine/RAGazine_March_2014_rD.pdf

Back editions of RAGazine are available at http://www.britastro.org/radio/downloads.html

Join the BAA-RAG Yahoo Group at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/baa-rag

The STELAR Project 2014

STELAR Logo SmallThe education and science charity STELAR has been active in promoting radiocommunications in schools and colleges for over 20 years, as part of curriculum enrichment and personal and professional development for teachers.

Through its specialist courses, it has achieved much notable success in establishing radio clubs in schools and inspiring young people to seek careers in science, electronics and industry. It has played a major role in space and satellite communications in schools.

In 2013 it provided opportunities for satellite experiment by offering SDR receivers to schools allowing them to participate in the current series of FUNCUBE satellite experiments.

Now in 2014 STELAR is offering a new challenge to educators both professional and Amateur. The phenomenal success of the Raspberry Pi computer has opened up new opportunities and stimulated demand for educational projects linking communications systems, via computers.

This year STELAR is seeking to support the very best of those ideas by making available grants to educational groups, with projects designed to stimulate experiments with radio linked computing.

Typically these might take the form of:
• Radio systems linked to but not exclusively, a Raspberry Pi, computer.
• A detailed Teachers guide to the use and benefits of FUNCUBE or similar satellite systems in schools,
• The creation of radio-science projects to aid teachers personal and professional development.

Educational groups can apply for funding to develop a project of their choice, by submitting ideas for consideration by June 30, 2014. Groups should set out their aims and giving as much detail as possible. Successful entries will be notified during the Autumn term.

Interested ? then make contact by visiting the STELAR website http://www.stelar.info/contact

KickSat launch postponed until Friday

KickSat Sprite CompetitionThe SpaceX CRS-3 Dragon launch of five CubeSats and 104 Sprite satellites has been postponed until Friday, April 18, 2014 at 1925 UT.

SpaceX were finally set to launch their Dragon spacecraft on its third Commercial Resupply Services mission to the ISS Monday, prior to a scrub being called over an hour ahead of lift-off. It is reported there was a helium leak on the first stage, the next launch opportunity is Friday.

The launch had been planned for December 2013 but has suffered a number of delays.

Read the full story at

KickSat information

Frequencies of the other CubeSats can be found at

Video of ISS HamTV – Koichi Wakata KC5ZTA April 13, 2014

HamTV Transmitter in the ISS Columbus Module

HamTV Transmitter in the ISS Columbus Module

The final configuration of the International Space Station (ISS) HamVideo Digital TV system took place on Sunday, April 13 at 1823 UT. ISS commander Koichi Wakata KC5ZTA operated using the call sign OR4ISS.

Final Commissioning of the HamTV equipment Koichi Wakata KC5ZTA

Final Commissioning of the HamTV equipment Koichi Wakata KC5ZTA

Configuration 4 was used:
* ARISS antenna 43
* Frequency 2395 MHz
* Symbol rate 2.0 MS/s

Ground stations G4KLB, F6DZP, IK1SLD and KI (Livorno) received the signals and streamed the video over the BATC server. The DATV signal was received for about 6 minutes.

Commander Wakata congratulated ARISS for this achievement and answered a series of questions, prepared in the manner of a school contact. He also proceeded to a microgravity experiment.

Congratulations to the Ham Video team for this outstanding performance.

Next step should be a video enhanced ARISS school contact. We will keep you informed on any progress.

Gaston Bertels, ON4WF
ARISS Europe chair

Watch the 2395 MHz ISS Digital TV transmission received by F6DZP in Poitiers, France

The Ham Video transmitter has downlink frequencies of 2.369, 2.395, 2.422 and 2.437 GHz in a DVB-S type format (symbol rates of 1.3 Ms/s and 2.0 Ms/s). The two patch antennas, ARISS 41 and ARISS 43, are located on the nadir of the Columbus module. The Ham Video transmitter puts out approximately 10 W EIRP. The camera is a Canon XF-305.

Report by Jean Pierre F6DZP about his reception of HamTV on April 13, 2014

Read the HamTV overview by Gaston Bertels ON4WF http://tinyurl.com/HamTVoverview

Join the ISS HamTV Yahoo Group http://groups.yahoo.com/group/HamTV

Webstream of the TV transmissions http://batc.tv/ch_live.php?ch=4

ARISS-EU HamTV Bulletins http://www.ariss-eu.org/

HamTV on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/Hamtvproject

Juno spacecraft QSL cards sent out

Juno Spacecraft QSL Card October 9, 2013

Juno spacecraft QSL card October 9, 2013

Juno QSL cards have been sent out to those radio amateurs who participated in the Juno Earth flyby experiment.

Amateur radio operators sent a very slow CW (1/25 WPM) to NASA’s Juno spacecraft during its Earth flyby on October 9, 2013.

Hams sent “HI” every 10 minutes as Juno approached Earth, and the message was clearly detected several times. The Juno team confirmed that more than 1400 radio hams participated, representing all seven continents.

Data video: http://youtu.be/Vg80vaGj2Gg
Data video & image caption: http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA17744
Mini documentary: http://youtu.be/hg9xY1zvrsw
Archived event page: http://missionjuno.swri.edu/hijuno

Radio hams say Hi to Juno http://amsat-uk.org/2013/10/09/radio-hams-say-hi-to-juno/

Final ISS Ham Video Commissioning – 2395 MHz

Front panel of the HamTV transmitter

Front panel of the HamTV transmitter

The final Ham Video Commissioning Pass 4 is  planned for Sunday, April 13 at 1823 UT.

Configuration 4 will be used:
* ARISS antenna 43
* Frequency 2395 MHz
* Symbol rate 2.0 MS/s

Koichi Wakata KC5ZTA installing CubeSat deployers on the Multipurpose Experiment Platform inside the Kibo laboratory of the ISS

Astronaut Koichi Wakata KC5ZTA

ISS astronaut Koichi Wakata KC5ZTA will operate using the call sign OR4ISS. Ground stations F6DZP and IK1SLD will receive the signals and stream the video over the BATC server. The video is expected to be received during 5 minutes.

This will mark the end of the Blank Transmissions.

We thank the operators who filed reception reports of blank transmissions. Your  participation to the Ham Video testing campaign has been invaluable.

No decision has been taken yet on the future use of Ham Video. We will keep you informed on any progress.

Gaston Bertels, ON4WF
ARISS Europe chair

HamTV Antennas at ARISS Telebridge Station IK1SLD in Casale Monferrato, Italy

HamTV Antennas at ARISS Telebridge Station IK1SLD

Read the HamTV overview by Gaston Bertels ON4WF http://tinyurl.com/HamTVoverview

Join the ISS HamTV Yahoo Group http://groups.yahoo.com/group/HamTV

Webstream of the TV transmissions http://batc.tv/ch_live.php?ch=4

ARISS-EU HamTV Bulletins http://www.ariss-eu.org/

HamTV on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/Hamtvproject

KickSat Sprites – Radio Competition

KickSat Sprite Competition

On the KickSat updates page Zac Manchester KD2BHC has announced a competition to receive the first amateur radio signals from the KickSat CubeSat and the tiny Sprites satellites.

KickSat Sprite satellites deployed - Image by Ben Bishop VK2FBRB

KickSat Sprite satellites deployed – Image by Ben Bishop VK2FBRB

The KickSat CubeSat will carry 104 tiny Sprite satellites into a 325×315 km 51.5 degree inclination orbit. The launch carrying four other CubeSats, SporeSat, TSAT, PhoneSat-v2.5 and ALL-STAR/THEIA is planned for Friday, April 18, 2014 at 1925 UT and should be broadcast live on NASA TV and also streamed on Ustream.

Zac writes:

Our launch coming up in less than a week and, to keep things fun, I’d like to announce a little contest…

I’ll be offering prizes to the first several people who receive telemetry packets from KickSat as well as the first few who receive signals from the Sprites. The prizes will include souvenir Sprites and CRS-3 and ELaNa-V mission patches.

437 MHz Sprite

437 MHz Sprite

Now for the rules:
• In the case of KickSat telemetry, you have to send me the raw hex or ASCII packet data and I have to be able to successfully decode it.
• In the case of the Sprite signals, you have to send me a raw baseband recording and I have to be able to decode at least one Sprite signal from it.
• I’ll continue offering prizes until I run out of cool swag.
• I have the ultimate say on whether or not you win.

To get in on the fun, check out our wiki and join the KickSat mailing list. Let the games begin!

All the Sprites operate on a single frequency of 437.240 MHz and use Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA). The transmitter runs 10 mW output of Minimum Shift Keying (MSK) modulated binary data with each data bit modulated as a 511 bit Pseudo-Random Number (PRN) sequence. The ITU emission designator is 50K0G1D.

The KickSat CubeSat has downlinks on 437.505 MHz and 2401-2436.2 MHz.

In this video Ben Bishop VK2FBRB gives an alternative view of the deployment

Wiki https://github.com/zacinaction/kicksat/wiki

KickSat mailing list https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/kicksat-gs

Kicksat Updates https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/zacinaction/kicksat-your-personal-spacecraft-in-space/posts

PRN codes for KickSat Sprites released http://amsat-uk.org/2014/03/23/prn-codes-for-kicksat-sprites-released/

Equipment for receiving the Sprite 437 MHz signals

Equipment for receiving the Sprite 437 MHz signals

Solar powered 434 MHz balloon reaches Syria

Track of the B-44 balloon launched from Silverstone, UK

Track of the B-44 balloon launched from Silverstone, UK

On Tuesday, April 8, 2014 radio amateur Leo Bodnar M0XER launched two foil “party” pico balloons from Silverstone with solar powered payloads transmitting on 434.500 MHz USB using the Contestia 8/1000 data mode. By Thursday, April 10 one of the balloons, B-44, was reported to be over Syria.

Typical pico balloon with tiny solar powered 434 MHz transmitter - Image credit Leo Bodnar M0XER

Typical pico balloon with tiny solar powered 434 MHz transmitter – Image credit Leo Bodnar M0XER

Depending on altitude the balloons could have a range of 300-500 km and remain aloft for several days.

Balloons: 90cm Qualatex foil party balloon
Payloads: 12 grams solar powered tracker
Telemetry: 434.500 MHz, USB, vertical polarisation, Contestia 8/1000
B-44 is 1500Hz higher than B-43 so it should be possible to see both in the same audio bandwidth.

These balloons use digital mode “Contestia 8/1000″. Unfortunately it is not possible to automatically configure this mode in dl-fldigi. Therefore please follow this procedure:
• Autoconfigure B-43 or B-44 flight as usual.  This will default to DOMX 16 mode.
• Select menu option  Op Mode -> Contestia ->  8/1000.  The bottom left corner of dl-fldigi should now read CTSTIA 8/1000
• Enable RxID button at the top right corner of dl-fldigi.

Downlink data contains two lines of telemetry every 4 minutes.Time between telemetry data is filled with beeps at 3 sec intervals.

Leo says “I appreciate help of everybody who joins in for tracking!”

Typical solar powered 434 MHz transmitter - Image credit Leo Bodnar M0XER

Typical solar powered 434 MHz transmitter – Image credit Leo Bodnar M0XER

Leo Bodnar M0XER balloons http://www.leobodnar.com/balloons/

You can see online real time tracks and frequencies of balloons at http://spacenear.us/tracker/

Download the dl-fldigi software from http://ukhas.org.uk/projects:dl-fldigi

Listen to balloons online (when in range of south-east UK) from anywhere in the world with the SUWS 434 MHz WebSDR (select USB) http://amsat-uk.org/2013/12/28/websdr-for-434-and-1296-mhz/

Beginners Guide to Tracking using dl-fldigi http://ukhas.org.uk/guides:tracking_guide

Check the #highaltitude IRC channel for chat about launches. A web client is available at

To get up-to-date information on balloon flights subscribe to the UKHAS Mailing List by sending a blank email to this address: ukhas+subscribe@googlegroups.com

FUNcube-1 transponder to be active at weekends

FUNcube-1 (AO-73) - Image credit Wouter Weggelaar PA3WEG

FUNcube-1 (AO-73) – Image credit Wouter Weggelaar PA3WEG

Following the 48 hour test on April 5-6, the FUNcube-1 (AO-73) CubeSat team have concluded that the battery temperature does reduce slightly during full time transponder mode, but only by a degree C or so; it remains within specification. Hence it has been decided in future to switch the satellite into ‘forced eclipse mode’, i.e. full time transponder and low power beacon at weekends. The aim is to significantly increase the availability of the transponder to radio amateurs. This will continue until further notice.

The team plan to switch to full time transponder mode during the first suitable pass over the UK on Friday evenings, normally between 1930 and 2230 UT. If for some reason this is not possible, then the switch will be done on the first suitable pass on Saturday, normally between 0930 and 1200 UT. It is planned to switch the full time transponder mode off during a suitable pass on Sunday evenings, which normally occur between 1930 and 2230 UT. Again, if this is not possible the switch off will be made on Monday mornings, approx. 0930 to 1200 UT.

Do please note that this schedule is totally reliant on the availability of command stations, who will do their very best to ensure it is maintained. We will not normally announce successful full time transponder mode on/off commands, but if it proves not possible to make one of them, then we will make a note here and on the AMSAT Bulletin Board (AMSAT-BB).

So please do enjoy the transponder, and use it any time you hear it on. We are always pleased to hear of your activity, so either leave a comment below, or email g3wgm -at- amsat.org

Watch a recent FUNcube-1 contact made by Paulo PV8DX

Thanks for the report, Paulo!

There has been a small change to the data that’s presented on the FUNcube-1 Telemetry Upload Ranking page: http://warehouse.funcube.org.uk/ranking.html?satelliteId=2

The count column is now coloured to show the period in which the last data was received from the user:
Green – within the past 7 days
Yellow – within the past 14 days
Light-grey – longer than 14 days

If you would like it more granular, please start a discussion on the ‘forum’ at http://forum.funcube.org.uk/

Thai Amateur Radio Delegation Visit DARC

Thai Amateur Radio and Citizens Band Sub-Committee visit DARC

Thai Amateur Radio and Citizens Band Sub-Committee visit DARC

Thai radio amateurs are hoping to get a number of license improvements this year, including access to the Amateur Satellite Service band at 435-438 MHz as well as 146.0-146.5 MHz.

100 Watt Magazine Thida Denpruektham HS1ASC

100 Watt Magazine Thida Denpruektham HS1ASC

On Sunday, March 30, 2014 a delegation of the Thai National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) Amateur Radio and Citizen Band Development Sub-Committee (ARCB) visited the Deutscher Amateur Radio Club (DARC) amateur radio center in Baunatal.

Martin Köhler DL1DCT, Thilo Kootz DL9KCE, the DARC service team and Thomas Wrede DF2OO received the visitors and provided information on amateur radio topics in Germany and Europe, especially with regard to emergency radio activities and youth work.

The visit was organized by Thida Denpruektham HS1ASC. She is editor of the Thai “100 Watts Magazine” as well as a member of the ARCB.

The DARC expressed their thanks to Benji Klingler DJ5BK/HS6SSE. She acted as interpreter and ensured there were no problems communicating even in the more complex topics. At the end of the nearly three-hour visit, the guests visited the club station DF0AFZ.

In May 2012 Thailand had 246,959 radio amateurs holding the basic entry level VHF license and 717 Intermediate and Reciprocal HF license holders.

Benjamas Klingler DJ5BK / HS6SSE

Benjamas Klingler DJ5BK / HS6SSE

The reason for the low number of HF license holders seems to be because it’s impossible to sit an exam to upgrade. There appears to have only been one Intermediate exam for just 151 candidates held in almost 10 years, see

It is hoped that the granting of 28.0 – 29.7 MHz to the basic entry license holders later this year should significantly increase HF activity from the country.

Thailand is also planning to introduce an Advanced license class equivalent to the USA Extra and UK Advanced.

100 Watts Magazine http://tinyurl.com/100WattsMagazine

100 Watts on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/100WattsMagazineOfficial

Radio Amateur Society of Thailand (RAST) http://www.qsl.net/rast/

DARC in Google English http://tinyurl.com/GermanyDARC