Lambda-Sat CubeSat – ISS Deployment

Some of the Lambda-Sat Team (right to left) Dr. Periklis Papadopoulos, Kostas Alexandrou, Eriana Panopoulou, Vaggelis Christodoulou, Maria Dimitrakopoulou, Charalabos Koulouris and Simos Kanis

Some of the Lambda-Sat Team (right to left) Dr. Periklis Papadopoulos, Kostas Alexandrou, Eriana Panopoulou, Vaggelis Christodoulou, Maria Dimitrakopoulou, Charalabos Koulouris and Simos Kanis

Lambda-Sat was launched to the International Space Station (ISS) from the Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia on July 13, 2014, in an Orbital Sciences’ Antares rocket CRS-2/ORB-2. UPDATE: Deployment from the ISS took place on March 4, 2015 along with the MicroMAS CubeSat. This followed the deployment of two other CubeSats GEARRSAT and TechEdSat-4.

Lambda-Sat

Lambda-Sat

The Lambda team encourages amateur radio operators around the world to listen for and report the Lambda-Sat signal.

Frequency: 437.462 MHz
Downlink: AX.25 Unnumbered Information (UI) packets at 1200 bps AFSK
Transmission Power : 1W
Call Sign KK6DFZ

The Secretary of the Cyprus Amateur Radio Society (CARS) Nestor  has written an article on Lambda-Sat, he says:

The naming of the Λ-sat satellite came from the Greek letter L (Λ – lambda) a reminder of Hellas, Helios, the Greek word Thalassa for sea, the Greek word Lithos which directly translates to stone (meaning “Land of Light”).

LambdaSat and MicroMAS CubeSats deploying from ISS March 4, 2015

LambdaSat and MicroMAS CubeSats deploying from ISS March 4, 2015

The Λ-sat was constructed entirely of Greek volunteers who worked feverishly, selflessly and without any personal gain. Members of Λ-sat contributed to the construction of the satellite system each with their knowledge in robotics, electronics, software development and telecommunications. The group consists of young people from Greece who traveled to Silicon Valley in California to participate in this project.

“I want to motivate the youth in Greece to continue to dream,” says the original initiator of the project, Periklis Papadopoulos, Professor of Aerospace Engineering of the Federal University of California San Jose, which has been awarded from NASA for his contribution with the prize Turning Goals Into Reality (TGIR). As the professor states, “My goal is to demonstrate the capabilities of young people in Greece.” The professor believes that our country could be active in this area and this is not an economic issue, but a question of will alone (!).

Submit reception reports of Lambda-Sat at http://lambdasat.com/?page_id=181

Lambda-Sat http://lambdasat.com/

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/lambdateam

Article on Lambda-Sat by
http://www.cyhams.org/index.php/en/news-and-events/359-the-first-greek-microsatellite-is-a-fact

MicroMAS and Lambda-Sat deploying from the ISS on March 4 2015 - Image NASA / NanoRacks

MicroMAS and Lambda-Sat deploying from ISS on March 4, 2015 – Image NASA / NanoRacks

RSGB respond to Ofcom 5G consultation

Ofcom-logo-col-tThe RSGB have responded to the Ofcom Call for Input on Spectrum above 6 GHz for future mobile communications (5G) consultation.

The range of frequencies Ofcom are considering included the Primary amateur and amateur-satellite allocation at 47-47.2 GHz.

Read the RSGB response at
http://rsgb.org/main/files/2015/03/RSGB_Spectrum-above-6GHz_response.pdf

Ofcom consultation on spectrum above 6 GHz
http://www.southgatearc.org/news/2015/january/ofcom_consultation_on_spectrum_above_6_ghz.htm

$50SAT/MO-76: 15 months, 15 orbits per day, and some unexpected behavior

Yaesu handheld and $50SAT 1.5U PocketQube

Yaesu handheld and $50SAT 1.5U PocketQube

Saturday, February 21, 2015 marked the 15 month anniversary of the launch of $50SAT/MO-76, and you guessed it – it is still operating.

Thursday, February 12, 2015 marked a different milestone – its orbit has decayed to the point where its mean motion crossed the 15 orbits per day threshold.  The TLEs from Saturday, February 21, 2015 indicate it is now at 15.00521293 orbits per day.

Some of you noticed that something odd started happening on Monday, February 23, and Tuesday, February 24.  We also noticed the same thing – during daytime passes in the northern hemisphere, $50SAT was transmitting once per minute, always sending telemetry in RTTY format, but never sending GFSK telemetry packets.  Moreover, the total reset count kept going up by one each time.

Here are all the RTTY telemetry messages (that I am aware of) gathered on Monday and Tuesday:

(daytime pass)
2015-02-23,08:57,KO33,EU1XX,$50SAT,128,,2392,,,56,3,,21,141,77,,2910,1492,3521,*74
2015-02-23,08:58,KO33,EU1XX,$50SAT,128,,2393,,,58,3,,21,139,77,,2910,1492,3440,*72
2015-02-23,08:59,KO33,EU1XX,$50SAT,128,,2394,,,59,3,,21,138,77,,2910,1492,3501,*71
2015-02-23,09:01,KO33,EU1XX,$50SAT,128,,2396,,,62,3,,21,135,77,,2930,1492,3460,*72

(daytime pass)
2015-02-23,17:01,EN82,KD8QBA,$50SAT,128,,2503,,,60,3,,21,137,77,,2910,1492,3440,*78
2015-02-23,17:05,EN82,KD8QBA,$50SAT,128,,2506,,,64,3,,21,133,77,,2890,1492,3400,*70

(daytime pass)
2015-02-23,17:04,EM13,WB2A0Z,$50SAT,128,,2505,,,63,3,,21,134,77,,2779,1492,3380,*74
2015-02-23,17:05,EM13,WB2A0Z,$50SAT,128,,2507,,,65,3,,21,133,77,,2890,1492,3400,*70
2015-02-23,17:06,EM13,WB2A0Z,$50SAT,128,,2507,,,66,3,,21,132,78,,2849,1492,3400,*79
2015-02-23,17:07,EM13,WB2A0Z,$50SAT,128,,2508,,,67,3,,21,130,77,,2970,1492,3380,*7E
2015-02-23,17:08,EM13,WB2A0Z,$50SAT,128,,2509,,,68,3,,21,129,78,,2869,1492,3339,*7C
2015-02-23,17:09,EM13,WB2A0Z,$50SAT,,,2510,,,70,2,,21,,77,37,3677,1492,3359,*70

(nighttime pass)
2015-02-23,18:15,LO24,R4UAB/KD8QBA,$50SAT,128,,2510,,,48,3,,21,146,78,,82,1492,3400,*7D

(nighttime pass)
2015-02-24,03:45,EN82,KD8QBA,$50SAT,128,,2654,,,57,3,,21,138,78,,102,1492,3440,*44

(daytime pass)
2015-02-24,16:57,EN82,KD8QBA,$50SAT,128,,2810,,,57,3,,21,140,77,,2910,1492,3481,*7E
2015-02-24,16:58,EN82,KD8QBA,$50SAT,128,,2811,,,58,3,,21,139,77,,2768,1492,3460,*70
2015-02-24,16:59,EN82,KD8QBA,$50SAT,128,,2812,,,60,3,,21,138,77,,2869,1492,3400,*71
2015-02-24,17:00,EN82,KD8QBA,$50SAT,128,,2813,,,61,3,,21,136,78,,2768,1492,3420,*7C
2015-02-24,17:01,EN82,KD8QBA,$50SAT,128,,2814,,,63,3,,21,135,77,,2849,1492,3380,*74
2015-02-24,17:02,EN82,KD8QBA,$50SAT,128,,2815,,,64,3,,21,134,77,,2829,1492,3380,*75
2015-02-24,17:03,EN82,KD8QBA,$50SAT,128,,2816,,,65,3,,21,132,77,,2809,1492,3359,*77
2015-02-24,17:04,EN82,KD8QBA,$50SAT,128,,2817,,,66,3,,21,131,77,,2910,1492,3400,*74
2015-02-24,17:05,EN82,KD8QBA,$50SAT,128,,2818,,,68,3,,21,130,78,,2829,1492,3339,*7D
2015-02-24,17:06,EN82,KD8QBA,50SAT,128,,2819,,,69,3,,21,129,78,,2849,1492,3339,*73

(daytime pass)
2015-02-24,17:03,EM13,WB2A0Z,$50SAT,128,,2815,,,64,3,,21,134,77,,2829,1492,3380,*75
2015-02-24,17:04,EM13,WB2A0Z,$50SAT,128,,2816,,,65,3,,21,132,77,,2809,1492,3359,*77
2015-02-24,17:05,EM13,WB2A0Z,$50SAT,128,,2817,,,66,3,,21,131,77,,2910,1492,3400,*74
2015-02-24,17:06,EM13,WB2A0Z,$50SAT,128,,2818,,,68,3,,21,130,78,,2829,1492,3339,*7D
2015-02-24,17:07,EM13,WB2A0Z,$50SAT,128,,2819,,,69,3,,21,129,78,,2849,1492,3339,*73
2015-02-24,17:08,EM13,WB2A0Z,$50SAT,,,2820,,,70,2,,21,1,77,35,3698,1492,3359,*4C

(nighttime pass)
2015-02-24,18:16,LO24,R4UAB/KD8QBA,$50SAT,128,,2820,,,48,3,,21,147,78,,82,1492,3400,*72

$50SAT Boards

$50SAT Boards

What seems to be happening on the decending (daytime) passes is the CPU is reset just after sending a full RTTY telemetry message, as here are no GFSK packets sent, but within a half minute the FM Morse beacon is heard with Stuart’s callsign (GW7HPW, the first one in the rotation).  My guess is the battery voltage is decaying during the operational cycle, and goes below the 2.9V reset threshold just after sending the RTTY or just as it is about to send the GFSK packets.  Once the satellite is able to enable solar power (PCB temperature >= 0 degrees C), it starts behaving normally; it is now able to send GFSK packets.  During ascending (nighttime) passes, it behaves normally, at least here in EN82 land.

There was a brief time where this behavior stopped (2015-02-25, 17:05 UTC through 2015-02-26, 3:47 UTC).  It did, however, start back up sometime before 2015-02-26, 05:21 UTC, and has continued since.

Why is this happening now?  We are still investigating, but it is apparent when looking at the chart of battery voltage over the lifetime of $50SAT/MO-76 that the battery has suffered a sizeable drop in capacity.  If the battery voltage under load is dropping below 2.9V, how is it able to recover back above 3.3 V (the minimum required to enable transmission) and nearly complete another operational cycle?  Moreover, why does it always seem to be able to finish sending an entire RTTY packet before resetting?  In the hopes of better understanding what is happening, I am in the process of re-assembling my “BoxSat” test setup in an effort to reproduce on the ground what is happening in space.  In the meantime, the once-per-minute transmission is actually convenient from telemetry monitoring standpoint, as one no longer has to wait 3 minutes for $50SAT/MO-76 to start transmitting.  So, for any of you who have not heard $50SAT/MO-76, now is the time.  Who knows how long it will continue to operate in this manner?  Who knows how long it will continue to operated at all?  Every time an anomaly has occurred and thought, “this is it – well, it was great while it lasted”, $50SAT/MO-76 has proven me wrong.  I hope that is the case here as well.

The Dropbox has been updated with all the telemetry observations through today (Wednesday, March 4 2015), and can be accessed via the following URL:

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/l3919wtfiywk2gf/AABRl4iM5BFqVAcLQGSmdsVga/Telemetry-analysis/Current-Telemetry

I have also uploaded an MP3 file from the daytime pass over EN82 land on Friday, February 27, 2015 starting at 16:59 UTC (11:59 AM local time); it can be accessed via the following URL:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/2vfbtu51qn63aoa/50USDSat-LSB-FM-2015-02-27T1659Z.mp3

During the recording, I switch back and forth between FM and LSB modes so I can hear the FM Morse beacon as well as the RTTY telemetry.

Please keep the telemetry observations coming, especially now!

73 Michael Kirkhart KD8QBA
$50SAT/MO-76 team

$50SAT was a collaborative education project between Professor Bob Twiggs, KE6QMD, Morehead State University and three other radio amateurs, Howie DeFelice, AB2S, Michael Kirkhart, KD8QBA, and Stuart Robinson, GW7HPW. The transmitter power is just 100 mW on 437.505 MHz (+/-9 kHz Doppler shift) FM CW/RTTY. $50SAT uses the low cost Hope RFM22B single chip radio and PICAXE 40X2 processor.

There is a discussion group for $50SAT http://groups.yahoo.com/groups/50dollarsat/

50DollarSat http://www.50dollarsat.info/

Radio hams will be at BBC Solar Eclipse event

Astronaut Paolo Nespoli IZ0JPA

Astronaut Paolo Nespoli IZ0JPA

Two radio amateurs, Dave Akerman M0RPI and Paolo Nespoli IZ0JPA, will be at the BBC Stargazing Live solar eclipse event at Leicester on March 20.

Dave Akerman M0RPI is well known for many High Altitude Balloon flights. These have carried the Rapsberry Pi computer board as part of the payload and produced spectacular pictures some of which were transmitted in the 434 MHz band using the amateur radio Slow Scan Digital Video (SSDV) mode.

Italian astronaut Paolo Nespoli IZ0JPA was on the October 2007 Shuttle STS-120 mission to the International Space Station. In 2010/11 he was flight engineer for ISS Expeditions 26 and 27 and installed amateur radio equipment in the Columbus module of the space station.

The Leicester Mercury newspaper reports the BBC is staging a spectacular show at the racecourse in Leicester to coincide with the solar eclipse on March 20.

It says Leicester was chosen by the BBC because it is home to the National Space Centre and Leicester University which are at the forefront of space exploration and were involved in the Beagle 2 mission to Mars in 2003.

Paolo Nespoli IZ0JPA said: “I’ve never been to Leicester and I’m really looking forward to visiting.”
“It will be great to interact with the kids and share my enthusiasm of space, science, maths and technology”.

The free event will be open from 9am until 3pm and from 6pm until 9pm on March 20.

Read the Leicester Mercury story at
http://www.leicestermercury.co.uk/BBC-live-event-Leicester-racecourse-mark-solar/story-26096057-detail/story.html

BBC Stargazing Live event details http://www.bbc.co.uk/stargazing

Information on the Solar Eclipse from Chelmsford Amateur Radio Society member Peter Meadows M0ZBU http://www.southgatearc.org/news/2015/march/partial_solar_eclipse_march_20.htm

Essex Partial Solar Eclipse Friday March 20, 2015
http://www.petermeadows.com/Essex_Partial_Solar_Eclipse_Mar15.pdf

RSGB respond to Ofcom UHF review

Ofcom-logo-col-tThe RSGB has responded to the Ofcom call for inputs to the strategic review of the 420-470 MHz spectrum.

The review includes the key Amateur 430-440 MHz and Amateur-Satellite 435-438 MHz allocations.

The consultation had been due to close on February 19 but was extended to February 26 to give more time for responses.

Read the RSGB response http://rsgb.org/main/files/2015/02/RSGB_UHF-Review_response.pdf

Ofcom: 420-470 MHz Consultation
http://www.southgatearc.org/news/2014/december/ofcom_420_470_mhz_consultation.htm

APRS balloon heads for UK

CNSP-22 Predicted Track for February 26 to March 1, 2015

CNSP-22 Predicted Track for February 26 to March 1, 2015

An amateur radio balloon CNSP-22, call sign K6RPT-11, is crossing the Atlantic at an altitude of 11,150 metres and should reach the British Isles on Friday, February 27.

The solar powered around-the-world high altitude balloon was released by the California Near Space Project team from San Jose on Monday, February 23 and is expected to reach the UK on Friday. The APRS beacon should have a radio range of up to 400 km.

The amateur radio APRS frequency is not standardized world-wide. The USA uses 144.390 MHz FM while the British Isles and Europe use 144.800 MHz. It is understood the balloon will change frequency to 144.800 MHz when it reaches this side of the Atlantic.

See the K6RPT-11 APRS track at
http://aprs.fi/#!mt=roadmap&z=11&call=a%2FK6RPT-11&timerange=86400&tail=86400

California Near Space Project
Web http://www.cnsp-inc.com/
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/pages/California-Near-Space-Project/255864787858630
Twitter http://twitter.com/k6rpt

APRS http://www.aprs.org/

APRS frequencies used around the world http://info.aprs.net/index.php?title=Frequencies

APRS-UK Yahoo Group https://groups.yahoo.com/group/APRSUK

ISS SSTV in a Brazilian School

Paulo PV8DX of AMSAT-BR turned the recent Slow Scan TV transmissions from the International Space Station (ISS) into an education outreach opportunity for amateur radio.

On Monday, February 23, 2015 at the Gonçalves Dias school he explained amateur radio to the students and demonstrated receiving an ISS SSTV picture on 145.800 MHz FM.

The ISS pass he received did not produce a strong signal and only part of the picture was captured but as can be seen from the video the students were enthusiastic and excited to be receiving a signal from space.

Paulo expressed the hope that the ISS will send images on school days more often.

Watch ISS – SSTV , By PV8DX

AMSAT-BR https://sites.google.com/site/amsatbr/

Information on receiving ISS SSTV http://amsat-uk.org/2015/02/11/more-iss-slow-scan-tv/

Space Station SSTV and Packet Radio via SUWS WebSDR

ISS SSTV and Packet Radio signals on the SUWS WebSDR

ISS SSTV and Packet Radio signals on the SUWS WebSDR

Martin Ehrenfried G8JNJ reports excellent SSTV and Packet Radio signals from the International Space Station (ISS) using the online SUWS WebSDR.

144 MHz prototype helix antenna

144 MHz prototype helix antenna

The omni-direction helix antennas at the WebSDR were designed with high elevation satellites in mind. Conventional antennas concentrate the radiation pattern towards the horizon resulting in weaker signals when a satellite is above 15 degrees elevation. Comparisons with other WebSDRs show the SUWS antennas provide a 6 to 10dB better signal to noise ratio on similar passes.

Martin says: “I had been experimenting with single turn ‘twisted halo’ design, and decided to try stacking them to see if I could achieve more gain. Modelling suggested that a stretched 3 turn helix with a helix circumference of approx 1/2 wave length and an overall length of 1/2 wave at 70cm, and fed with a gamma match at the centre would offer reasonable gain, an omni-directional pattern and mixed polarisation.”

You can use the free online SUWS Web Software Defined Radio from your PC or Laptop to receive the ISS and the many amateur radio satellites transmitting in the 144-146 MHz or 435-438 MHz bands. It also provides reception of High Altitude Balloons in the 434 MHz band and coverage of the microwave 10368-10370 MHz band.

The SUWS WebSDR is located at Farnham not far from London, 51.3 N 1.15 W, listen to it at http://websdr.suws.org.uk/

Full details of the antennas are available at http://g8jnj.webs.com/currentprojects.htm

Brazilian radio amateur uses SUWS WebSDR to receive ISS SSTV
http://amsat-uk.org/2014/09/06/iss-sstv-on-suws-websdr/

ISS SSTV image 9/12 received by Martin Ehrenfried G8JNJ using the SUWS WebSDR on Dec 18, 2014

ISS SSTV image 9/12 received by Martin Ehrenfried G8JNJ using the SUWS WebSDR on Dec 18, 2014

IARU-R1 VHF Newsletter Released

IARU_Region_1_logoIARU Region 1 has released issue 65 of the VHF-UHF-uW newsletter, it covers WRC-15 which could affect a number of amateur radio bands.

The newsletter says agenda items at the ITU World Radiocommunication Conference includes topics that affect amateurs in the 5MHz, 5GHz, 10GHz, 24GHz and 77GHz bands.

WRC-15 decides the agenda items for the next conference (WRC-19). IARU Region 1 has proposals in CEPT concerning these potential agenda items:
• 50 MHz Amateur-Satellite Service allocation
• 3.4 GHz harmonisation

There may be a need to raise the option of a new allocation such as 1300-1310 MHz in order to mitigate restrictions that are appearing in the existing 23cm band.

Read the newsletter here

Stunning Results from ISS SSTV

ISS SSTV image 2 received by Andrew Garratt M0NRD Feb 22, 2015

ISS SSTV image 2 received by Andrew Garratt M0NRD February 22, 2015

The ISS Slow Scan television Transmissions have already produced some great pictures, more will be sent Monday on 145.800 MHz FM until 2130 UT.

On the AMSAT Bulletin Board (AMSAT-BB) Clint Bradford K6LCS posted:

Receiving SSTV from the ISS really CAN be simple: For my first time ever, I simply fired up a $3 iOS app, and held my iPod touch near my Yaesu FT-60R’s speaker, and downloaded one of the images from the ISS.

I didn’t think there was too much left in the hobby to excite me – but I was WRONG!!!

Greg KO6TH said “I’ve never received a clearer SSTV picture from anywhere, let alone outer space!”

Twelve different images depicting space pioneer Yuri Gagarin – the first human to orbit Earth – are being sent on 145.800 MHz using the SSTV mode PD180, with a 3-minute off time between transmissions.

The transmitter on the ISS uses 5 kHz deviation FM. If your rig has selectable FM filters (most mobiles do) make sure you choose the wider setting designed for 20 or 25 kHz channel spacing, usually marked FM or FMW.

Images received so far by radio amateurs world-wide are at
http://www.spaceflightsoftware.com/ARISS_SSTV/

Find out more about receiving these transmissions and links to decoding software at
http://amsat-uk.org/2015/02/11/more-iss-slow-scan-tv/

Amateur Satellite Tutorial Videos

David Casler KE0OG has released a series of tutorial videos for the US Extra class license two of which cover amateur radio satellites.

The first deals with Orbital Mechanics and the second covers the radio aspects of amateur satellites.

Watch Extra Lesson 2.3, Amateur Satellites (Part 1)

Watch Extra Class Section 2.3 Satellite Operations (Part 2)

See the other tutorial videos at https://www.youtube.com/user/davecasler/videos