Astronaut issues challenge for UK students to “make that call”

Tim Peake KG5BVI, the first British ESA astronaut, has issued an invitation to UK school pupils to contact him via amateur radio whilst he is in space.

Tim will launch to the International Space Station (ISS) in November of this year and will spend 6 months working and living on the ISS. Thanks to a collaboration between Amateur Radio on the International Space Stations (ARISS), the UK Space Agency, the Radio Society of Great Britain (RSGB) and the European Space Agency (ESA), UK school pupils will be able to contact him whilst he is on board the ISS via a scheduled amateur radio link-up. Continue reading

Satellite operation from Isle of Mull

Camb-Hams operating from the Isle of Mull in 2012

Camb-Hams operating from the Isle of Mull in 2012

Ten members of the Camb-Hams are returning to Grasspoint IO76EJ on Mull (IOTA EU-008) from May 15-21, 2015 as GS3PYE/P.

They will be QRV with multiple stations on HF on 3.5-28MHz SSB, CW, RTTY and PSK with dipoles and verticals and up to 400W if necessary.

VHF activity will be on 50MHz, 70MHz and 144MHz, all bands QRO with sizeable antennas.

VHF will be mainly QRV using JT6m or ISCAT on 50MHz, FSK441 on 70MHz and FSK441 and JT65b (for EME) on 144MHz, but SSB and CW is also possible, especially in any sporadic E propagation openings. Other modes by agreement.

Hilltop satellite operation from Mull in 2012 with Peter 2E0SQL and Robert M0VFC - Image Credit Lawrence M0LCM

Hilltop satellite operation from Mull in 2012 with Peter 2E0SQL and Robert M0VFC – Image Credit Lawrence M0LCM

Satellite operations on 2m & 70cm will use an Icom IC-910 and X-Quad antennas mounted on a fully automatic AZ/EL tracking system. If internet connectivity allows, the VHF operators will monitor ON4KST Chat for terrestrial activity and N0UK JT65 chat for EME. You can submit your VHF sked requests online here: http://tiny.cc/gs3pyesked

The team will be QRV in the 80m CW CC event on the 21st and in the 144MHz contest on the 16th and 17th. They may do very short side trips to Iona and the Treshnish Islands and will announce these nearer the time on the website.

Please QSL only via OQRS on ClubLog for direct or bureau cards. Do not send any cards direct or via the bureau.

For the latest info see
http://dx.camb-hams.com/
http://twitter.com/g3pye
http://facebook.com/CambHams
http://youtube.com/CambHams

FUNcube-1 Solar eclipse update

As expected, FUNcube-1 (AO-73) entered the shadow of the moon around 1000 UT on Friday, March 20, 2015.

Solar panel currents dropped to almost zeroThis is what happened to the solar panel currents, they dropped to almost zero.

This what we usually see from our Whole Orbit Data telemetry

This is what we usually see from our Whole Orbit Data telemetry. Normally the CubeSat is in the sun for 60 minutes and in eclipse for around 30 minutes…but not this morning!

FUNcube-1 (AO-73) Telemetry:
• Dashboard App http://funcube.org.uk/working-documents/funcube-telemetry-dashboard/
• Data Warehouse Archive http://warehouse.funcube.org.uk/
• Whole orbit data shows the effect http://warehouse.funcube.org.uk/wod.html?satelliteId=2

Southampton students to launch 434 MHz eclipse payload

Assembling SUSF payloads for solar eclipse launchThe University of Southampton Spaceflight Society will be launching for the solar eclipse on Friday, March 20, with two 434 MHz Slow Scan Digital Video (SSDV) balloon payloads.

The transmitters are as follows:

MAJORA – 434.211 MHz USB, 600 bps RTTY, 600 Hz Shift, 8n2 – (SSDV + no GPS)
OLAF – 434.149 MHz USB, 300 bps RTTY, 880 Hz Shift, 8n2 – (SSDV + GPS)
There may also be a backup tracker on 434.700 MHz USB.

The launch will take place from Pepperbox Hill near Salisbury, at 7am due to the NOTAM, so it will be sent up slowly, perhaps landing in France.

Live launch webstream: http://www.batc.tv/streams/m0dny
Prediction: http://predict.habhub.org/#!/uuid=eb10ee6e7030c615d2e0f49243add969e42465b0
Project page: http://susf.co.uk/launches/eclipse/
Eclipse summary page: http://ukhas.org.uk/news:balloon_launches

Thanks in advance to all those who will try to listen

Matt Brejza

The 434 MHz signals transmitted by High Altitude Balloons can have a range of up to 800 km. The path of the balloons can be tracked in real-time at http://spacenear.us/tracker/

Useful links for tracking, receiving and decoding the telemetry from 434 MHz balloons can be found at
http://amsat-uk.org/beginners/balloons/

Listen for 434 MHz balloon signals online using the SUWS WebSDR, further details at
http://amsat-uk.org/2014/08/15/suws-websdr-moves-to-new-site/

434 MHz balloon launch at BBC Stargazing event
http://amsat-uk.org/2015/03/16/434-mhz-balloon-launch-at-bbc-stargazing-event/

Ulster 434 MHz Solar Eclipse Balloon

Radio amateur Philip Heron MI0VIM reports on a Raspberry Pi balloon which will be launched for the eclipse and should be receivable across the British Isles.

All being well there will be a launch from Cookstown, N.Ireland on Friday, March 20 at about 0700 UT.

The plan is to have it rise high enough before the time of maximum solar eclipse, and maybe image the lunar shadow on the horizon. This will have a slow ascent rate and should hopefully float at about 36km, on a path which takes it south towards Dublin, before turning east to Wales and on towards Germany.

Callsign: EAGLE
Frequency: 434.250 MHz USB
Mode: RTTY 300 baud 8N2

The payload consists of a Raspberry Pi A+, camera and a Pi In The Sky module. It will be sending SSDV images throughout the flight.

The 434 MHz signals transmitted by High Altitude Balloons can have a range of up to 800 km. The path of the balloons can be tracked in real-time at http://spacenear.us/tracker/

Useful links for tracking, receiving and decoding the telemetry from 434 MHz balloons can be found at
http://amsat-uk.org/beginners/balloons/

Listen for 434 MHz balloon signals online using the SUWS WebSDR, further details at
http://amsat-uk.org/2014/08/15/suws-websdr-moves-to-new-site/

434 MHz balloon launch at BBC Stargazing event
http://amsat-uk.org/2015/03/16/434-mhz-balloon-launch-at-bbc-stargazing-event/

Radio ham over the moon at decoding space message

International Space Station - Image Credit NASA

International Space Station – Image Credit NASA

The Kent and Sussex Courier newspaper reports a picture from space has been decoded by an over-the-moon radio amateur from Tunbridge Wells.

Colin Bowman M0NLP spoke to his local newspaper after receiving a Slow Scan TV (SSTV) picture from the International Space Station (ISS) and in doing so gained some good publicity for the hobby.

He told the Courier: “I went mad when I realised I had decoded an entire picture.”

“I had to e-mail my children straight away, though, as they are both licensed amateurs as well and my daughter has just started a new job in the space industry in Turin.”

Read the full story at
http://www.courier.co.uk/Tunbridge-Wells-radio-man-moon-decoding-space/story-26160562-detail/story.html

ISS images received by radio amateurs world-wide are at http://www.spaceflightsoftware.com/ARISS_SSTV/

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

OSCAR News Issue 209

OSCAR News 209 front coverIssue 209 of the AMSAT-UK amateur radio satellite publication OSCAR News was released on March 17, 2015. E-members can download it here.

The paper edition is usually posted 2-3 weeks after publication of the electronic issue.

In this issue:
• 4M: A Moon Mission
• FUNcube-1/AO-73 Report
• Work FM Satellites with your HT!
• Controlled Impedance “Cheap” Antennas
• Prototype L/V transponder tested for ESEO mission
• Operation of the FUNcube-1 transponder — First European 73-on-73 award
• QB50P1/EO79 – FUNcube-3 Update
• 29 MHz Uplinks: A New Alternative
• ITU Symposium & Workshop on small satellite regulation and communication systems – Prague March 2015
• Fox-1 “In the Bag” (Updated)
• Debris opinion spotted in the internet
• The AlSat-Nano Project

AMSAT-UK FUNcube Mission Patch

AMSAT-UK FUNcube Mission Patch

Membership of AMSAT-UK is open to anyone who has an interest in amateur radio satellites or space activities, including the International Space Station (ISS).

E-members of AMSAT-UK are able to download OSCAR News as a convenient PDF that can be read on laptops, tablets or smartphones anytime, anyplace, anywhere. Join as an E-member at Electronic (PDF) E-membership

There are two rates for the paper edition to cover the extra postage costs:
UK
Rest of the World (Overseas)

PDF sample copy of “Oscar News” here.

Join AMSAT-UK using PayPal, Debit or Credit card at
http://shop.amsat.org.uk/shop/category_9/Join-Amsat-UK.html

E-members can download their copies of OSCAR News here.

ITU: Small satellite communication systems regulatory requirements

2011-ITU-logo-officialThe ARRL reports International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) representatives were in Prague earlier this month to join discussions on the regulatory aspects of orbits and spectrum usage for nanosatellites and picosatellites.

On hand for the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Symposium and Workshop March 2-4 were IARU Vice President Ole Garpestad, LA2RR, and former IARU Region 1 President Hans Blondeel Timmerman, PB2T. In particular, discussions centered on the application of the ITU Radio Regulations. The symposium concluded with the unanimous endorsement of the “Prague Declaration on Small Satellite Regulation and Communication Systems.”

“The symposium provided a unique opportunity for experts to examine the procedures for notifying space networks and consider possible modifications to enable the deployment and operation of small satellites,” said ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao. “‘The Prague Declaration’ represents an important step in this direction.”

More than 160 participants from some 40 countries attended the symposium. The gathering is being considered an important step in preparing for the 2015 World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC-15) in Geneva November 2-27.

Delegates discussed challenges facing small satellite development, including aspects related to national and international legal and regulatory issues, frequency management, and radiocommunication standardization. Participants reiterated the need to ensure the long-term sustainability of small satellites in outer space. They stressed the importance of implementing national regulatory frameworks that clearly define the rights and obligations of all stakeholders, in conformance with international laws, regulations, and procedures established by the UN General Assembly, the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space, and the and ITU.

These regulatory issues relate to the registration of objects launched into outer space, frequency coordination, and the registration of satellite networks, as well as compliance with the space debris mitigation guidelines.

ITU Radiocommunication Bureau Director François Rancy, said the ITU, in partnership with key players, including academe, “is addressing newly emerging requirements by various industry sectors to place small communication satellite systems in orbit. “We are examining the regulatory aspects of the use of radio frequency spectrum and satellite orbits to facilitate the launch and operation of a new generation of small satellites,” he said.

The symposium was organized by ITU in cooperation with ITU Academia Member, the Czech Technical University’s Faculty of Electrical Engineering (CTU FEE).

Source ARRL
http://www.arrl.org/news/itu-symposium-endorses-small-satellite-regulation-and-communication-systems-declaration

ITU symposium addresses regulatory requirements for small satellite communication systems
http://www.itu.int/net/pressoffice/press_releases/2015/CM04.aspx

434 MHz balloon launch at BBC Stargazing event

SSDV picture from a PIE balloon - Image credit Dave Akerman M6RPI/2E0LTX/M0RPI

SSDV picture from a PIE balloon – Image credit Dave Akerman M0RPI

Radio amateur David Akerman M0RPI will be launching a 434 MHz balloon from the BBC Stargazing Live solar eclipse event in Leicester on March 20.

The flight is to primarily to take photographs during the partial solar eclipse. Slow Scan Digital Video (SSDV), RTTY and LoRa telemetry beacons will be transmitting from the balloon in 434 MHz, so plenty of stuff to tune in to.

The launch activities will be recorded and some of the footage will be transmitted on the special BBC Stargazing show from 9am to 10am on that day.  There will also be a couple of very brief live segments where, hopefully, Dave will get to show some pretty live images.  Also, assuming the payload is recovered, some of the recorded video should end up on the main Stargazing show in the evening (9pm-10pm, BBC2).

There will be 2 Raspberry Pi trackers each sending telemetry and SSDV using both RTTY and LoRa modulation. RTTY frequencies are Upper Sideband (USB).

Pi #1 (camera with solar film):
MARVIN:  434.300 MHz, RTTY, 910 Hz shift, USB, 300 baud 8 N 2
ZAPHOD:  434.350 MHz, LoRa, Implicit mode, Bandwidth 20.8 kHz, Error coding 4:5, SF6

Pi #2 (bare camera):
KRYTEN:  434.400 MHz, RTTY, 910 Hz shift, USB, 300 baud 8 N 2
RIMMER:  434.450 MHz, LoRa, Implicit mode, Bandwidth 20.8 kHz, Error coding 4:5, SF6

UPDATE March 18 – An additional beacon has been added:
BUZZ: 434.315 MHz, 425 Hz shift, 50 baud, 7 N 2

Launch time 8am Friday, March 20, 2015

As well as the TV stuff, the BBC are running a “spectacular live event” from the racecourse, open to the public from 9am to 3pm and then 6pm to 9pm.  Entry is free to please do come along if you can.  They have a real astronaut, Paolo Nespoli IZ0JPA, and plenty else of interest – see
http://www.bbc.co.uk/mediacentre/latestnews/2015/stargazing-live-leicester

Radio hams will be at BBC Solar Eclipse event
http://amsat-uk.org/2015/03/02/radio-hams-will-be-at-bbc-solar-eclipse-event/

The 434 MHz signals transmitted by High Altitude Balloons can have a range of up to 800 km. The path of the balloons can be tracked in real-time at http://spacenear.us/tracker/

Useful links for tracking, receiving and decoding the telemetry from 434 MHz balloons can be found at
http://amsat-uk.org/beginners/balloons/

Listen for 434 MHz balloon signals online using the SUWS WebSDR, further details at
http://amsat-uk.org/2014/08/15/suws-websdr-moves-to-new-site/

Two Million Packets Uploaded to Data Warehouse

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

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

The FUNcube team are pleased to announce that the Data Warehouse has received two million packets of telemetry data from ground stations around the world.

FUNcube-1 (AO-73) was launched on November 21, 2013 and since then radio amateurs and schools have been receiving the telemetry packets transmitted by the satellite and passing them to the AMSAT-UK Data Warehouse for analysis and storage.

There are normally several people uploading the same packet but for the 2 millionth it was an individual:

Carlos Eavis, G3VHF

The Data Warehouse statistics as of 09:53 UT on March 15, 2015 were:

Number of registered users: 1529
Number of active users (data received in last two weeks): 193
Number of active users since launch: 818

Number of packets transmitted by satellite since deployment: 8312304 (2.13 GB)
Number of packets uploaded by users before de-duplication: 8539662(2.19 GB)

Number of packets stored in warehouse: 2000000 (512 MB)

Number of packets recovered & stored – Time – Coverage
• Realtime 2M – 115 days – 25%
• HiRes 3.9M – 1085 minutes – 19%
• WOD 0.56M – 385.78 days – 80%

As always, many thanks for all those individuals and groups who are sending data to the warehouse.

FUNcube-1 (AO-73) Telemetry:
• Dashboard App http://funcube.org.uk/working-documents/funcube-telemetry-dashboard/
• Data Warehouse Archive http://warehouse.funcube.org.uk/
• Whole orbit data http://warehouse.funcube.org.uk/wod.html?satelliteId=2