Ham radio pico balloons keep flying

PS-31 and PS-32 balloon track as of January 26, 2015

PS-31 and PS-32 balloon track as of January 26, 2015

Different paths are being taken by the two solar-powered Australian pico balloons, PS-31 and PS-32, carrying Amateur Radio payloads, each sending 25 mW WSPR and JT9 transmissions alternately in the 10 MHz and 14 MHz bands. Their current position is here.

They are each standard 90 cm foil party balloons with a  payload that comprises a GPS receiver, two HF transmitters, battery and solar panel weighing a total of just 15 grams.

The transmitters for both balloons can be received on standard WSPR dial frequencies of 10.138700 MHz and 14.095600 MHz. For PS-31 these will put WSPR at 1400 Hz-1600 Hz, and JT9 at 1000 Hz, allowing decoding of both WSPR and JT9 without changing frequency on each band. PS-32 has a 1200 Hz JT9 offset so that it can coexisting with the PS-31 transmissions at 1000Hz offset.

Jim Linton VK3PC writes:

Launched from Melbourne on Saturday, January 24, the balloon PS-31 has now crossed the International Dateline for a second time, at the 23rd parallel in the South Pacific.

It formed the letter ‘S’ on its journey that took it to the sub-antarctic in the south, then turned back reaching the north-east coast of New Zealand, and turning again on a more easterly track. It is a third of the way between Australia and South America.

Meantime PS-32, launched from Woori Yallock 56 km east of Melbourne three days later, continues to track south-east to by-pass New Zealand on a polar route across the dateline in the Southern Ocean, before traveling around Cape Horn in South America.

They are fitted with QRP transmissions give their location, altitude, speed and other data, with PS-31 using the callsign VK3YT while PS-32 is signing VK3ANH.

Both are following their predicted trajectory paths in a Jetstream forecast by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Andy Nguyen VK3YT who launched them, and an international tracking effort, have their fingers crossed that both will at least reach South America.

Waiting and listening are radio amateurs using open-source software tools eager to report progress of the southern hemisphere flights.

Earlier, PS-30 was launched from Melbourne on December 27. It crossed the African continent entering through Namibia. There it was tracked to near Madagascar before poor weather and lost after 20 days.

Combined tracking map http://spacenear.us/tracker/fullscreen.php?filter=PS-31;PS-32

More info at Andy VK3YT’s web site http://picospace.net/

Download free WSJT and WSPR software to decode the transmissions from
http://physics.princeton.edu/pulsar/k1jt/

ARTSAT2:DESPATCH 3D Printed QSL Card

ARTSAT2:DESPATCH QSL card

ARTSAT2:DESPATCH (FO-81 – JQ1ZNN) QSL card

The ARTSAT2:DESPATCH team have sent a a 3D printed QSL card to Michał Zawada SQ5KTM and the Polish team to confirm their reception of the amateur radio signal from the FO-81 spacecraft at a distance of 2,715,228 km from Earth.

ARTSAT2:DESPATCH signal received by Polish team on December 9, 2014

ARTSAT2:DESPATCH signal received by the Polish team on December 9, 2014

Michal writes:

On 9 December 2014, at 9:50:23 p.m. UTC we received signals from the ARTSAT 2: DESPATCH space probe, which was at this time at distance of 2,715,228 km from Earth.

The last signals received by us from ARTSAT 2: DESPATCH were very weak, but clearly stood out on the waterfall diagram of the monitoring program. To avoid misinterpretation we asked for confirmation directly from the creators of the space probe: Tama Art University and The University of Tokyo. The data reported by us were analyzed, compared with the model and successfully authenticated – we have received confirmation with thanks.

Important result of our work are gigabytes of data, which were sent for further analysis to the operators of both space probes.

ARTSAT2 DESPATCH  Deep Space Sculpture

ARTSAT2 DESPATCH 3D Printed Deep Space Sculpture

This result has been achieved courtesy of PIAP [www.piap.pl] which made it possible for us to use 4.5m diameter parabolic mesh dish antenna, the involvement of PIAP employees, the support of fellow amateurs, and of course the understanding families of all those involved.

In our project of monitoring signals from ARTSAT 2: DESPATCH and Shin-En2 space probes , except the antenna, we used radio amateur equipment (purchased and also of our own design), especially designed and made by us emitter which was set in place of the antenna focus, especially prepared software. Preparations of our ground station took us almost two weeks, including some hours on a roof at freezing weather conditions.

Our station operators during all of seven nights were: Piotr SP5MG, Piotr SP5ULN, Lukasz SQ5RWU and Michał SQ5KTM.
Technical support: SQ7GMO, SQ5DRC, team of a few PIAP Institute employees
Guests invited to our station: SP5XMU, SQ5NWI, SQ5AAG, and some more persons.

Ham radio spacecraft launched into deep space
http://amsat-uk.org/2014/12/03/ham-radio-spacecraft-launched-into-deep-space/

Shin'en2 on left - ARTSAT2:DESPATCH on right

Shin’en2 on left – ARTSAT2:DESPATCH on right

LightSail-1 launch announced

LightSail-1 with sail deployed - Credit Justin Foley KI6EPH

LightSail-1 with sail deployed – Credit Justin Foley KI6EPH

The first of The Planetary Society’s two LightSail spacecraft will ride to space aboard an Atlas V rocket in May 2015.

The mission is a shakedown cruise designed to test out the CubeSat’s critical systems. The LightSail-1 entry on the IARU Satellite Frequency Coordination Panel status page lists a 9k6 GMSK AX25 amateur radio payload on 437.325 MHz.

In 2016, the second LightSail spacecraft will piggyback into orbit aboard the first operational flight of SpaceX’s new Falcon Heavy rocket for a full-fledged solar sailing demonstration.

This video about the project features Bill Nye (the Science Guy on PBS TV) as well as Justin Foley KI6EPH, Alex Diaz KJ6KSF and Stephanie Wong.

Watch LightSail – Flight by Light (full version)

IARU Satellite Frequency Coordination Panel Status Page http://www.amsat.org.uk/iaru/

LightSail – Flight by Light http://sail.planetary.org/

3400 MHz and 10 GHz – ARRL’s comments on WRC-15

Logo WRC RA 2015The ARRL has commented on two draft recommendations of the FCC’s 2015 World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC-15) Advisory Committee (WAC) as well as on a draft proposal provided to the FCC by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA).

Regarding 3400 MHz they say:
“[The] failure to even superficially address the protection of all existing services — including the Amateur and Amateur-Satellite services — is glaring,” the ARRL said. The WAC’s so-called “View A” — to make no change in the allocation — in part said, “The secondary nature of the Amateur Service allocation requires flexibility in frequency selection to permit an Amateur Service licensee to use the allocation and fulfill his or her obligation not to cause harmful interference to the numerous primary services, including the FSS [Fixed-Satellite Service].”

On 10 GHz the ARRL supported the FCC WAC view on Agenda Item 1.12 that the US not be added to international footnote 5.480 — basically an exception — to the Table of Allocations that could make part of the 10.0-10.5 GHz segment vulnerable to additional allocation for Fixed Service applications. The Amateur and Amateur-Satellite services have a secondary allocation in the band, and the Federal Radiolocation Service is primary. The proposed “footnote amendment,” the League argued, “plainly, clearly, and indisputably contradicts existing United States regulations.” The League’s comments accused Mimosa Networks, which has argued in favor of having the US sign on to the international footnote, of advancing an “illogical construction to obtain the result it desires.”

Read the full ARRL story at
http://www.arrl.org/news/arrl-comments-to-fcc-on-wrc-15-draft-recommendations

ED-SAT CubeSat Training Kit

Nader Omer ST2NH brings news of the ED-SAT training kit, a Cube Satellite simulator.

It has been developed for inspiring young people at variety of educational levels provide opportunities to discover and apply learning to real-world scenarios.

It aims to provide a unique environment for students at any fields to explore, just to name a few. Science, Electronics, Communication, Programming, Mechanic and Physics.

Watch ED-SAT training kit

Educational Satellite Co Ltd
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Educational-Satellite-co-ltd/233280410183741

Amateur radio satellite talk near Farnham

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

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

This Monday, January 26 there will be a presentation on the FUNcube-1 (AO-73) and SO-50 satellites at the Hog’s Back Amateur Radio Club near Farnham.

Mike Parkin, G0JMI, will give a talk entitled: Amateur Radio Satellites: A General Overview and Understanding of FUNcube-1 (AO-73) and Saudi-Sat 1c (SO-50).

Satellite operation is not quite as daunting as it can at first appear, and Mike will enlighten the audience with some of his experiences, as well as the equipment and techniques used for satellite communication.

Doors open at 7:30 pm for 8:00 pm on Monday, January 26, 2015 at the Crondall Scout Hut, Pankridge Street, Crondall, Farnham, Surrey, GU10 5RQ. As usual the kettle will be on to provide the refreshment.

A map of the meeting place can be found on the Contact Details page at
http://www.hogsback-arc.org.uk/

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/groups/Hogsbackarc/

Radio ham interviewed on TV about Beagle 2

Illustration of the UK Beagle 2 lander on Mars - Credit ESA

Illustration of the UK Beagle 2 lander on Mars – Credit ESA

Essex-born radio amateur Dave Rowntree M6DRQ was interviewed on Channel 5 TV news about the Beagle 2 Mars mission.

Dave, formerly drummer in the band Blur, is currently a DJ on London radio station XFM 104.9 MHz.

On December 25, 2003 the pioneering UK spacecraft Beagle 2, developed by a team led by Professor Colin Pillinger, landed on Mars, however, communications with it could not be established. This meant it was not known if the landing had been successful or where on the planet it was.

On July 30, 2004 Professor Pillinger gave a presentation about Beagle 2 to the AMSAT-UK International Space Colloquium in Guildford, he received a standing ovation from the audience.

On January 15, 2015 it was announced that Beagle 2 had been located in images taken of Mars. These confirmed it had made a successful soft landing on the planet. Sadly Professor Pillinger had passed away a few months earlier on May 7, 2014.

Watch Dave talking about Beagle 2

Radio ham becomes XFM 104.9 DJ
http://www.southgatearc.org/news/2014/february/radio_ham_becomes_xfm_dj.htm

Dave Rowntree M6DRQ on Twitter https://twitter.com/DaveRowntree

2011 BBC interview with Professor Colin Pillinger
http://www.southgatearc.org/news/december2011/bbc_interview_with_colin_pillinger.htm

AESP-14 CubeSat on ISS awaiting deployment

AESP-14 CubeSat

AESP-14 CubeSat

The AESP-14 is a 1U CubeSat developed by undergraduate and graduate engineering students at the Technology Institute of Aeronautics (ITA) in Brazil. The satellite’s primary mission is to test the various subsystems in the space environment.

The satellite was sent to the International Space Station (ISS) on January 10 by the SpaceX Falcon 9 launch and it is now awaiting release into space by the JEM orbital deployer (J-SSOD) at the Kibo Japanese module.

The satellite has an amateur radio experiment developed by the Americana Amateur Radio Club (CRAM). The experiment consists of the random transmission of 100 sequences of ASCII characters prefixed with the “CRAM” word that will used as part of a contest among receiving stations. The first 10 amateur radio stations that complete receiving the 100 sequences will be awarded a commemorative diploma. A web site is being developed to collect the sequences. The site address will be announced shortly.

AESP-14 will transmit with an RF power of 500 mW on 437.600 MHz using the 9600 bps G3RUH modulation (GFSK) and AX.25 UI framing. Radio amateurs are encouraged to send any telemetry frames received back to the team. Telemetry format and more information will be published in the project web site http://www.aer.ita.br/~aesp14

An update bulletin will be released as soon as the final launch date is announced by NASA.

73, Edson PY2SDR

UK Space Industry in Guardian Newspaper

Dr Chris Bridges M6OBC / 2E0OBC working on STRaND-1 - Image credit Surrey Space Centre

Dr Chris Bridges M6OBC / 2E0OBC working on STRaND-1 – Image credit Surrey Space Centre

The Guardian interviewed radio amateur Dr. Chris Bridges 2E0OBC for their story on the growing UK space industry.

Chris 2E0OBC worked on the Surrey Space Centre’s STRaND-1 spacecraft which carries an amateur radio payload. The newspaper also interviewed Steve Greenland, Senior Systems Engineer at Clyde Space, who worked on the UKube-1 spacecraft which carries the FUNcube-2 amateur radio transponder.

Read the Guardian article at
http://www.theguardian.com/education/2015/jan/14/the-space-industry-is-growing-and-looking-for-talented-postgrads

Both Steve and Chris have given presentations to the annual AMSAT-UK International Space Colloquium, see the videos from 2014 at http://amsat-uk.org/colloquium/colloquium-2014/presentation-videos/

STRaND-1 http://amsat-uk.org/satellites/digital-satellites/strand-1/

UKube-1 transponder test http://amsat-uk.org/2015/01/05/funcube-2-ukube-1-update/

Video of FUNcube-1 demonstration at IARU-R1 conference

Graham Shirville G3VZV demonstrates FUNcube-1 with Kjetil Toresen LA8KV holding the antenna

Graham Shirville G3VZV demonstrates FUNcube-1 with Kjetil Toresen LA8KV holding the antenna

Riaan Greeff ZS4PR has released a video of the demonstration of the FUNcube-1 (AO-73) CubeSat by Graham Shirville G3VZV to delegates at the IARU Region 1 Conference in September 2014.

Watch the video Graham G3VZV demonstrates FUNcube satellite

Mats SM6EAN has posted a brief report on the Swedish Amateur Radio Society (SSA) website about the FUNcube-1 CubeSat presentation at the IARU Region 1 General Conference in Varna-Albena, Bulgaria.

The following is translated from the original Swedish post.

After the session of the VHF, UHF and Microwave C5 Committee had completed the delegates were given two interesting presentations.

Graham Shirville G3VZV did a poolside demonstration of the FUNcube-1 satellite which was launched in November 2013. Using a computer, FUNcube SDR dongle and a turnstile antenna, held by Kjetil Toresen LA8KV, he received FUNcube-1 and displayed the telemetry data on the computer screen. The satellite’s telemetry beacon on 145.935 MHz was also heard using a handheld SSB receiver.

A presentation was also made about Hamnet which is being expanded, especially in Germany. Hamnet is a high-speed multimedia network and it was discussed whether and how IARU Region 1 could support the expansion of this network.

Post by Mats SM6EAN in Swedish http://www.ssa.se/iaru-reg-1-dag-4/

FUNcube http://FUNcube.org.uk/

FUNcube SDR Dongle http://FUNcubeDongle.com/

FUNcube Yahoo Group http://amsat-uk.org/funcube/yahoo-group/

Dashboard App – Telemetry Decoder http://funcube.org.uk/working-documents/funcube-telemetry-dashboard/

Data Warehouse – Telemetry Archive http://warehouse.funcube.org.uk/

Hamnet http://hamnetdb.net/

IARU Region 1 Conference documents and pictures http://iarur1con2014.bfra.bg/