Press coverage of 4M ham radio lunar payload

LX0OHB-4M amateur radio lunar payload - Credit LuxSpace

LX0OHB-4M amateur radio lunar payload – Credit LuxSpace

The successful amateur radio lunar payload 4M launched on October 23 has generated a number of articles, the latest is in The Daily Beast.

Read The Daily Beast article about the first privately-funded spacecraft to travel the Moon at

Since its launch 4M has been transmitting the digital mode JT65B on 145.980 MHz. The signal was first picked up 79 minutes after launch by Roland Zurmely PY4ZBZ in Brazil. The signal was very weak as 4M flew around the Moon but radio amateurs still managed to copy it. 4M is now heading back toward Earth.

4M reception by Berend PA3ARK signal level -8 dB

4M reception by Berend PA3ARK

Ghislain Ruy LX2RG has provided some additional information on the 4M project:

This project is entirely funded by our company [Luxspace], with strictly no commercial purpose. It means also that it had to be cheap, fast, efficient. In the partner page, you will find all those partner companies that have provided their services for free or at reduced cost.

I had only 6 months to set it all up, starting from blank page or quite so. I mean all really. And on top of that a mission from my boss: take the youngest by the hand and lead them to success. Done. I have repaid what I have been given by the elders when I was a beginner.

Here are at Luxspace, we are quite a lot of skilled high level engineers, and to say the truth, we do not object having fun on top of that.

LSE space offered for free to deal with all the data handling and setup all the website, data base, and so on. They did it in a very few months, and choose the most practical way for them in order to be in time and operational. And we are. As simple as it is.

We have learned a lot during these 6 months, and the last 6 days have been quite an education also.

The next mission will integrate all what was discovered and learned. My homework this week is to write it all down. Now, it is Java, and that’s it. Could have been better, but it works as expected or so, and that’s what counts. Fine tuning will come later.

Believe or not, I knew nothing of JT65B 7 months ago. We have put it all in a small microprocessor, including SDR !

Read the 4M blog at

For tracking information just enter your latitude and longitude at

Lunar Ham Radio Payload Launched

ARRL – Radio Amateurs Report Hearing 4M Moon Orbiter JT65B Signal


Bandplan released for 146 MHz

New Ways of Amateur CommunicationsFriday, October 31 is the formal start of the 146-147 MHz ‘experiment’ for Full licence holders with NoV’s and the RSGB has released a bandplan.

The bandplan has an allocation for digital modes with up to 500 kHz bandwidth and 12.5 kHz channels for narrowband digital modes including digital voice.

Users of wideband modes may need to use bandwidth tailoring to ensure no RF extends into the weak signal satellite segment at 145.8-146.0 MHz (the Lunar 4M JT65B beacon uses 145.980 MHz) or goes above 147.0 (or 146.93750 where applicable).

146 MHz Spectral CompatibilityDownload the bandplan from

Some amateurs will be active in the early hours of Friday with the digital voice mode FreeDV which uses Codec2, download FreeDV from

Apply now for your NoV at

146-147 MHz Usage and Band Planning FAQ

RSGB 146 MHz Information




Founded in 1975 AMSAT-UK is a voluntary organisation that supports the design and building of equipment for amateur radio satellites.

AMSAT-UK initially produced a short bulletin called OSCAR News to give members advice on amateur satellite communications. Since those early days OSCAR News has grown in size and the print quality has improved beyond recognition. Today, OSCAR News is produced as a high-quality quarterly colour A4 magazine consisting of up to 40 pages of news, information and comment about amateur radio space communications.

The new lower-cost E-membership provides OSCAR News as a downloadable PDF file giving members the freedom to read it on their Tablets or Smartphones anytime, anyplace, anywhere.

An additional advantage is that the PDF should be available for download up to 2 weeks before the paper copy is posted.

AMSAT-UK FUNcube Mission Patch Rev4 20100609

AMSAT-UK FUNcube Mission Patch

The Membership year lasts for 12 months starting on January 1 each year.

If you join after July 31 of any particular year, then you will receive complimentary membership for the whole of the following year, i.e. join on August 10, 2014, and you have nothing more to pay until Dec 31, 2015.

Take out an Electronic membership here

E-members can download their copies of OSCAR News from

A sample issue of OSCAR News can be downloaded here.

146-147 MHz Usage and Band Planning FAQ

New Ways of Amateur CommunicationsThe new 146-147 MHz allocation is available to UK Full licence holders from October 31, 2014. The RSGB have issued a FAQ document which answers some of the common questions about the new allocation.

They say in terms of enabling innovation and experimentation it might have been preferable if Ofcom was prepared to grant 146 MHz NoVs to holders of all classes of UK amateur licence. However, the Ofcom view was that because Full licensees have demonstrated a greater comprehension of the interference aspects, NoVs will only be available for holders of full amateur licences.

Map illustrating where 146 MHz cannot be used

Map illustrating where 146 MHz cannot be used

It is expected the allocation will be used for wideband digital transmissions. Bandwidth tailoring will be imperative to ensure no RF extends into the weak signal satellite segment at 145.8-146.0 MHz (the Lunar 4M JT65B beacon uses 145.980 MHz). Narrow band users in 147 MHz must also be protected from any increase in the noise floor.

The FAQ says:

The 146‐147 MHz band is ideal for testing new forms of medium bandwidth data transmission that can surpass traditional methods such as amateur AX25 packet data. Some higher speed data modes used by amateurs on microwave frequencies produce a very wide transmitted spectrum and are clearly not suitable for the 146‐147 MHz band. Even the 128kbps medium data rate D‐Star ‘DD Mode’ used on the 1296 MHz band fills up over 500 kHz of bandwidth at 60dB down on the peak transmitted power. However we do expect that amateurs will be able to develop solutions compatible with the spectral constraints of the 146‐147 MHz band.

146 MHz Spectral CompatibilityIn the initial 146‐147 MHz band plan there is a recommendation that wider bandwidth data modes should be centred at 146.500 MHz to make sure that all of the sidebands are contained within the 146‐147 MHz band. For initial experiments the recommendation is to use data rates of no more than 350 kbps and measure the total bandwidth at the transmitter output in order to ensure maximum protection of other users at the 147 MHz band edges and amateur satellite users below 146 MHz. As amateur radio access to the 146‐147 MHz band has been granted on a non‐interference basis, it is important that all amateurs adhere to these guidelines in order to ensure that there is no interference with users of adjacent bands. In the longer term it might be possible with bandwidth tailoring and pre‐distortion techniques to produce cleaner transmitters to permit greater data rates with sharper spectral slopes.

Apply now for your NoV at

The application asks you for your Licence Number which appears on page 1 of your licence. If you don’t have it simply login to the Ofcom licencing page and download a new licence PDF at

RSGB 146 MHz


146 MHz talk slides

UK radio hams start 146 MHz development

New UK Amateur Radio 146 MHz allocation

FUNcube-1 Telemetry Statistics

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

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

FUNcube-1 was launched on November 21, 2013 and since then radio amateurs and schools have been collecting the telemetry which has been stored in the Data Warehouse.

The Data Warehouse statistics as of 21:49 GMT on October 25, 2014 were:

Number of registered users: 1286
Number of active users (data received in last two weeks): 195
Number of active users since launch: 757

Number of packets transmitted by satellite since deployment: 5865120 (1.5GB)
Number of packets uploaded by users before deduplication: 6370976 (1.63 GB)

Number of packets stored in warehouse: 1466239 (376.9 MB) which also
represents the same number of realtime data points (collected once every
5 seconds),

Whole orbit Data: 276.3 days of data (collected once every minute)
High Resolution Data: 806 hours of data (collected once every second, for a period of a minute, every other minute)

Whole orbit Data: 276.3 days of data (collected once every minute)
High Resolution Data: 806 hours of data (collected once every second, for a period of a minute, every other minute)

Recovery rates:
Realtime  (25%)
WOD (81%)
HiRes (22%)

As always, many thanks to all those who have and continue to send data.

Data Warehouse – Telemetry Archive
Dashboard App – Telemetry Decoder


4M Lunar Payload Update

LX0OHB-4M amateur radio lunar payload - Credit LuxSpace

LX0OHB-4M amateur radio lunar payload – Credit LuxSpace

On October 25 Ghislain Ruy LX2RG provided this update on the 4M lunar amateur radio payload.

Signals from 4M are quite weak. This is not due to a loss of power as telemetry shows normal parameters, but to the attitude of the last stage that places a deep of the radiation pattern in the direction of the Earth. I hope that Earth’s movement with respect to the inertial attitude of the last stage will give better results in the coming days.

The 4M is becoming a real challenge now, and receiving the signals during flyby will be quite an achievement. A little bit away from the original goal though, but this risk was known.

One sure result is the radiation measurement that showed what was to be expected, and the graphs will soon be pubished on the blog.

I hope you will be able to receive during the AMSAT-DL AGM this weekend, but you will have to put 16+dB [antenna] gain at least.

Radio amateurs are encouraged to receive and report the signals

For tracking information just enter your latitude and longitude at

See the 4M payload Blog at

Lunar Ham Radio Payload Launched

4M Lunar Payload


UK STEM 434 MHz Balloon Flight to Release Plane

MARS BalloonElysium, a MARS Balloon flight is expected to launch at noon (+/- 1 hour) on Sunday, October 26. The 434 MHz USB signal should cover much of the UK and can also be received world-wide online using the SUWS WebSDR.

The balloon will be launched from the Mendips (51.254, -2.714) and is expected to travel almost directly east for a landing near Basingstoke. The estimated flight time is 135 minutes with a peak altitude of 30 km.

Callsign $$ELYSIUM frequency 434.250 MHz, USB RTTY 50 Baud 560 Hz Shift ASCII-7 no parity 2 stop bits

55 science experiments submitted by 36 schools from across the UK will soar 30 km up into the atmosphere and back. The flight will also contain a plane from Bristol SEDS, activated before launch and to be released at peak altitude, with a separate onboard tracker. Expected to fly further east than Basingstoke.

Callsign $$UBSEDS3 frequency 434.600 MHz LSB RTTY 50 baud 400 Hz shift ASCII-8 no parity 2 stop bits.

Updates on Twitter @marsballoon hashtags #STEM #MARSBalloon
Elysium Tracking

Useful links for tracking and receiving 434 MHz balloons

Pupils at the King Edward VI Grammar School (KEGS) Chelmsford, Essex are among those who have developed an experiment for MARS Balloon, see @KEGS_engineers


NoV suggestion for Airborne Ham Radio

Ofcom-logo-col-tThe RSGB response to the Ofcom licence consultation raises the suggestion of the use of NoV’s for aeronautical amateur radio operation.

The UK amateur radio licence currently prohibits airborne operation and amateurs have had to transmit using licence exempt spectrum instead.

The Society is critical of Ofcoms’ proposals regarding 470 kHz pointing out they do not align with the Wireless Telegraphy Act, nor are they the minimum necessary under the ITU Radio Regulations. The RSGB also say the 470 kHz proposals set a dangerous precedent in relation to interference.

Regarding the proposal to remove the 15 minute ID requirement and replace it with ‘as frequently as practicable’ the Society say it is open to too great a range of interpretation (and in some cases might be more burdensome than the well known 15-minute rule). The RSGB also suggests there is currently an ambiguity regarding embedding callsign data in modes such as Digital Voice.

In total over 2,000 people responded which is believed to be a record for an Ofcom consultation. It is thought Ofcom may take some time to publish all the responses but when they do they should be at

Read the full RSGB response, airborne is referenced in Question 9

RSGB – UK Amateur Licence Review

Lunar Ham Radio Payload Launched

4M - Chang Zheng CZ-3C-G2 launch vehicle

4M – Chang Zheng CZ-3C-G2 launch vehicle

The 4M amateur radio payload with a WSJT JT65B 145.980 MHz beacon was launched on Thursday, October 23 at 1759 UT.

The Chang’e-5-T1 mission 4M payload launched on the Chang Zheng CZ-3C/G2 rocket from the LC2 launch complex at the Xichang Satellite Launch Center, Sichuan. The first telemetry from the JT65B beacon was received at 1918 UT by Roland Zurmely PY4ZBZ in Brazil.

A number of Australian radio amateurs have reported receiving the signals from 4M. Among them was Rob Whitmore VK3MQ at Mount Dandenong, Victoria (QF22qe) who reports that at best, the strength was -13 on the JT65B scale and could also be totally down into the noise with no decodes.

4M reception by Berend PA3ARK signal level -8 dB

4M reception by Berend PA3ARK signal level -8 dB

Rob VK3MQ says “I am using the “Before” TLE as published on the Luxspace website with Gpredict to stear my 6 element yagi and TS2000. With Doppler the frequency is 145.9787 MHz at the time of writing. So far the decodes have included callsign, telemetry and a story of Manfred Fuchs threading through alternate decodes.”

Sam Jewell G4DDK @DXING Tweeted “Had around 40 minutes of near 100% copy from the moon probe 4M transmitter from around 1725z [Oct 24]. 9 element Yagi and K3/2m on 2m /JT65B”

The spacecraft will head into a Lunar Transfer Orbit (LTO), before performing a flyby around the Moon. Radio amateurs are encouraged to receive and report the signals.

For tracking information just enter your latitude and longitude at

See the 4M payload Blog at

4M Lunar Payload


UK Students CubeSat Project

Warwick University WUSAT-2 CubeSat

Warwick University WUSAT-2 CubeSat

The Coventry Telegraph newspaper reports on students at Warwick University who are building their own satellite WUSAT-2.

Lucy Lynch writes that eight engineering students are designing their own satellite which will be sent into space. In February or March 2015 they and the project director Dr Bill Crofts will don winter woollies and take their creation to a launch site in northern Sweden, near the town of Kiruna.

It is the second student satellite designed at the university. The first one, last year, was sent up from mid Wales in a high altitude weather balloon.

Once the current satellite has been launched the next step is to create a satellite capable of orbiting the Earth.

Dr Crofts said: “This is a stepping stone to a full orbital launch.”

Read the full article at

Twitter @WUSAT_Team

UK Students Fly CubeSat to 30km