IARU at WRC-15

IARU WRC-15 team inside CICG

IARU WRC-15 team inside CICG

With WRC-15 entering the 4th and final week the opportunity was taken to get most of the group together for a photograph.

Taken inside the main CICG meeting room, sitting from left to right is Bryan Rawlings VE3QN (Canada), IARU Region 3 Secretary Ken Yamamoto JA1CJP (JARL), Hans Blondeel Timmerman PB2T (Netherlands), Colin Thomas G3PSM (UK).

Standing from left to right is IARU Vice-President Ole Garpestad LA2RR (Norway), IARU Region 2 President Reinaldo Leandro YV5AM, Ulrich Muller DK4VW (DARC), ARRL Chief Technology Officer Brennan Price N4QX (USA) and IARU Region 3 Director Don Wallace ZL2TLL (New Zealand).

Not pictured was Flavio Archangelo PY2ZX (Brazil) who worked tirelessly with the CITEL group and Dale Hughes VK1DSH (Australia) the sub-working group Chairman who successfully steered the 5 MHz agenda item through to a successful conclusion, IARU President Tim Ellam VE6SH and IARU Region 1 Vice-President Faisal Alajmi 9K2RR (Kuwait/ASMG) .

Photo courtesy of LA2RR

In his report for Day 16 of the conference Colin Thomas G3PSM says:

Discussions took place on suggested frequency bands for possible new or an upgrade of existing allocations to the space operations service within the frequency ranges 150.05-174 MHz, 400.15-420 MHz [and 420-450 MHz] for short duration satellites.

This potential future agenda item is an attempt to overcome the problem of non-amateur nano- and pico-satellites using the amateur service bands. No decision was reached and the document has been passed to plenary for decision.

WRC-15 reports http://rsgb.org/main/blog/category/news/special-focus/wrc-15/

IARU Region 1 http://iaru-r1.org/

Successful SSTV and Digitalker transmissions from SPROUT

SPROUT SSTV received by Paulo PV8DX Nov 22, 2015

SPROUT SSTV received by Paulo PV8DX

On November 22, 2015 SSTV and Digitalker transmissions were made from the SPROUT amateur radio satellite on 437.600 MHz FM (+/- 9 kHz Doppler shift). These transmissions are planned to take place every Sunday (Japanese Standard Time).

Many FM radios can be switched been wide and narrow deviation FM filters. For best results you should select the wider filter designed for 5 kHz deviation FM.

SPROUT (Space Research On Unique Technology) was built by students from Nihon University. It is a 20 x 20 x 22 cm nano-satellite with a mass of 7.1 kg in a 654 km, 97.9 degree inclination Sun Synchronous Orbit (SSO).

Paulo PV8DX in Brazil reports receiving both the SSTV image and the Digitalker transmission a recording of which can be heard here:

Real-Time tracking of SPROUT at http://www.n2yo.com/?s=39770 (tick Draw Footprint)

SPROUT SSTV and Digitalker are active every Sunday

Second Birthday of FUNcube-1

FUNcube-1 flight model - Image credit Wouter Weggelaar PA3WEG

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

FUNcube-1 (AO-73) was launched into space two years ago on November 21, 2013.

We are delighted to be able to report that more than 900 stations, including many schools around the world, have received the telemetry from the spacecraft since launch. Our Data Warehouse is storing more than 750 MB of data from almost 1 million data packets. We are very grateful to everyone who has been contributing to the success of this mission. Please continue to keep the data flowing as it will provide a valuable resource for students in the future.

The stats continue – speeding along at around 17,500 mph, FUNcube-1, which had a launch mass of just 982 grams, has completed more than 10,500 orbits of the earth. This means a total distance travelled of more than 260 million miles.

All telemetry sensors continue to provide valid data, real time, whole orbit and high resolution channels alike. The flight code is really robust and we have only had three unexpected “events” since launch. Two of these we believe to have been caused by noise of the command receiver being incorrectly interpreted as a command and only one appears to have been caused by a RAM error. The battery and solar panels also continue to work perfectly and provide a very positive power budget.

We have sent out many Fitter messages for school and other similar events. On November 17, 2015 there was a demonstration at Thorne Green Top School in Yorkshire. Here is a report from Dave Ryan EI4HT/M0GIW:

FUNcube-1 Educational Outreach - Thorne Green Top School in Yorkshire

FUNcube-1 Educational Outreach – Thorne Green Top School in Yorkshire

Good Morning All  

Firstly -thanks to all for your help, we had a great morning at Green Top and the highlight was FUNcube.

I started with a slide show talking about communications from cave paintings all the way up to smartphones, we looked at space communications and travel from Sputnik to Astra and Apollo to the Millennium Falcon! We spoke about satellites and how they are used every day and how we all got to watch “I’m A Celebrity” via Satellite last night from Australia.

I brought in lots of props too, some old Motorola MX330 radios, some PMR 446, and a marine band radio .I also had a small model of a CubeSat that I knocked up over the weekend, I also passed around some NOAA images from last week’s Abigail storm and I had a few QSL cards from ISS and MIR from years ago when I lived in Ireland.  

The FUNcube pass was great, really strong signals, I had my turnstile and FCD set up and had audio through speakers and used the class projector to show Satpc32 and the Dashboard.  

There was a great buzz of excitement when we got the first packet and even more when the Fitter messages came through. The kids were fascinated to see the signal arrive just as the software predicted and then hear the telemetry and the decode.  

After the pass we were able to look at the Warehouse online and print off the QSL card and certificate.

 I didn’t get a chance to take many pics but Mrs Overson will update the School Blog and she took lots of pics.


Once again thanks to all at FUNcube, looking forward to Tim Peake on the ISS in the New Year and planning another visit to the School then.


Dave EI4HT / M0GIW

PS: I was back dropping my own kids off this morning and Mrs Overson told me they have printed a QSL card and Certificate for each of the students and they have used them for their class journals.

As well providing a great educational resource, FUNcube-1 operates at night and generally at weekends with the linear transponder active for radio amateurs to use for communications. The transponder continues to provide an excellent service. As users will be aware, the transponder uplink frequencies vary with receiver temperature. The RX temp telemetry channel is the best one to use for tracking this effect. This does make it quite difficult to use full computer control for transponder operations and we have already developed new oscillator circuits to improve this performance for future missions.

For the telemetry uplinked to the Data Warehouse, it is possible to download special Certificate or QSL Card here http://amsatuk.me.uk/on/funcube_qsl.php and, for transponder users, the “73 on 73 award” continues at http://amsat-uk.org/funcube/73-on-73-award/

The Nayif-1 CubeSat mission, which includes a full FUNcube payload, is expected to be launched into a similar orbit in the first half of next year and will provide an additional level of service to the community.

Meanwhile we hope everyone will continue to have fun with FUNcube-1!

FUNcube-1 http://amsat-uk.org/satellites/communications/funcube-1/
Nayif-1 http://amsat-uk.org/satellites/communications/nayif-1/
FUNcube on Twitter https://twitter.com/FUNcubeUK
AMSAT-UK on Twitter https://twitter.com/AmsatUK
Facebook https://facebook.com/AmsatUK
YouTube https://youtube.com/AmsatUK

SPROUT SSTV and Digitalker active every Sunday

SSTV image received from SPROUT by Mario LU4EOU on May 31, 2014 at 0408 UT

SSTV image received from SPROUT by Mario LU4EOU on May 31, 2014 at 0408 UT

Slow Scan TV (SSTV) images in Scottie 1 format will be transmitted from the SPROUT satellite every Sunday (Japanese Standard Time) on 437.600 MHz FM (+/- 9 kHz Doppler shift). The Digitalker will also be active.

SPROUT, a 20 x 20 x 22 cm amateur radio nano-satellite with a mass of 7.1 kg, launched successfully with the L-band (1236.5 MHz/1257.5 MHz/1278.5 MHz) Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) satellite ALOS-2 on May 24, 2014 at 0305 UT. SPROUT is in a 654 km, 97.9 degree inclination Sun Synchronous Orbit (SSO).

SPROUT (Space Research On Unique Technology) was built by students from Nihon University and its objectives are:

SPROUT Satellite - Credit Nihon-Univ. Miyazaki Laboratory

SPROUT Satellite – Credit Nihon-Univ. Miyazaki Laboratory

1. Operation of satellite by radio amateurs.

A FM Digitalker will enable the satellite to speak to amateurs around the world.

The Voice Message Box will record transmissions from radio amateurs and play them back.

Pre-loaded images from the Message Gallery can be transmitted using Slow Scan TV (SSTV).

Pictures of the Earth can be transmitted by SSTV and radio amateurs can receive it using free software such as MMSSTV. As part of the Earth mapping project the team ask radio amateurs to contribute pictures they have received from the satellite for display on the SPROUT website.

The satellite also has a packet radio Digipeater and Text Message Box function.

SPROUT in orbit2. Demonstration of the deployment of the combined membrane structure and verification of the design method of the structure SPROUT has a triangular membrane supported by two tubes like framework. They are folded and stored in the satellite before the launch. After the launch, the nitrogen gas is injected into the tubes in space, and they extend, so that the membrane deploys (called “combined membrane structure”).

3. Demonstration of attitude determination and control of a nanosatellite using the sun sensors, gyros, geomagnetic sensor and magnetic torquers.

Callsign: JQ1ZJQ
Size: 214x210x220 mm
Weight: 7.1 kg
Mode: 1200bps AFSK, 9600bps GMSK
CW downlink 437.525 MHz
FM packet downlink 437.525 MHz
Digipeater uplink 437.600 MHz
Digitalker downlink 437.600 MHz
SSTV downlink 437.600 MHz

Many FM radios can be switched been wide and narrow deviation FM filters. For best results you should select the wider filter designed for 5 kHz deviation FM.

SPROUT Amateur Radio SSTV Satellite

SPROUT Amateur Radio SSTV Satellite

SPROUT English website http://sat.aero.cst.nihon-u.ac.jp/sprout-e/

SPROUT Japanese website http://sat.aero.cst.nihon-u.ac.jp/sprout/

Nihon-Univ. Miyazaki Laboratory on Facebook

Telemetry Software http://sat.aero.cst.nihon-u.ac.jp/sprout-e/2-Software-e.html

Telemetry format http://sat.aero.cst.nihon-u.ac.jp/sprout-e/2-Formats%20of%20telemetry-e.html

SPROUT launch data page
http://sat.aero.cst.nihon-u.ac.jp/sprout-e/2-Launch%20data-e.htmlTLE’s from the North American Aerospace Defence Command (NORAD) are also available at http://celestrak.com/NORAD/elements/tle-new.txt

Free Slow Scan TV (SSTV) software MMSSTV http://hamsoft.ca/pages/mmsstv.php

The JE9PEL website has information on other satellites on this launch

Read the Overview of the L-band SAR Onboard ALOS-2 here.

SPROUT satellite students at Nihon-Univ. Miyazaki Laboratory

SPROUT satellite students at Nihon-University Miyazaki Laboratory

Updated SSETI Express Observation Report

SSETI Express LogoNeil Melville-Kenney PA9N has made more sightings of the SSETI Express (XO-53) satellite during a further visit to ESRANGE.

He has updated the SSETI Express Phase E 400-800 THz Downlink Report with his latest observations. This report provides a clear insight into the work carried out during their recent campaign and to methods and equipment used.

It is worthy of note that ten years ago there was only one radio amateur in the launch team and that, since then, four of the other five team members have now obtained their licences.

Read the latest EXPRESS_E_ESA_2015-11-14_-_400-800_THz_Downlink_Report

As the report states, further observations will be much appreciated!

10th anniversary of SSETI Express XO-53 launch

AO-85 Commissioned


AO-85 (Fox-1A) Flight Unit

AO-85 has been formally commissioned and turned over to AMSAT-NA Operations, who are now responsible for the scheduling and modes.

The following guidelines are provided for users:

Uplink power should be on the order of minimum 200 W EIRP for full quieting at lower antenna elevation angles. Your mileage may vary. With an Arrow, 5 W has been used successfully to make contacts.

Polarity is important. The satellite antennas are linear. So, if you are using linearly polarized antennas, you will need to adjust throughout the pass. Full duplex operation facilitates these adjustments while transmitting and is highly recommended.

The downlink is very strong and should be heard well with almost any antenna.

Downlink audio is 5 kHz deviation, as expected. Many will perceive that the audio is “low.” This is an effect of the filtering below 300 Hz, which provides for the DUV telemetry, coupled with any noise on the uplink signal resulting from lack of full quieting or being off frequency. That makes for less fidelity than a typical receiver in terms of audio frequencies passed.

Transmit (downlink) frequency varies with temperature.  Due to the wide range of temperatures we are seeing in the eclipse cycle, the transmitter can be anywhere from around 500 Hz low at 10°C to near 2 kHz low at 40°C.

Receive frequency has been generally agreed to be about 435.170 MHz, although the AFC makes that hard to pin down and also helps with the uplinks that are off frequency.

Probably the most notable observations about AO-85 are an apparent lack of sensitivity and difficulty in turning on the repeater with the 67 Hz CTCSS when it is not yet activated, or holding it on by the presence of the CTCSS.  We have determined a probable cause for the sensitivity issue and while that can’t be fixed on AO-85 we are taking steps to prevent similar issues on the rest of the Fox-1 CubeSats.  The tone detection threshold along with the receive sensitivity issue makes it hard to bring up the repeater.  This is being addressed by adjusting the values for a valid tone detection in the other Fox-1 CubeSats now that we have on orbit information about temperatures and power budget. Full details will be in the Nov/Dec AMSAT Journal.

It is important to remember that science is the reason behind the Fox-1 satellites. Not only does science help with the launch cost, it provides a great amount of educational value both from the science payload and in amateur radio itself. The data-under-voice (DUV) telemetry is an excellent way to provide the science without sacrificing the use of the satellite for communications, which would be the case if higher speed downlinks were needed. DUV provides constant science as long as the repeater is in use, which in turn provides more downlink data for the science – a mutually beneficial combination.

Fox-1A is AMSAT-NA’s first CubeSat. Many new techniques are incorporated and lessons will be learned, as with any new “product.” The Fox-1 Project is a series of CubeSats. A total of five will be built and flown. Launches are scheduled for three more, and a new NASA CubeSat Launch Initiative proposal will be submitted for the fifth. We will incorporate changes from what we learn in each launch, to the extent possible, in subsequent Fox-1 CubeSats.

Of the four NASA sponsored CubeSats on the ELaNa XII launch October 8, we are sad to report that ARC1 was never heard from and BisonSat was lost after a few weeks of operation. AMSAT extends our deepest sympathy to the people who worked so hard on these projects. To our members, we want to say that the Fox Team is very proud and pleased that our first CubeSat is very successful and hopefully will be for some time.

AO-85 information http://amsat-uk.org/satellites/communications/ao-85-fox-1a/

Nayif-1 at YouthConnect

Nayif-1 at YouthConnectYouthConnect is an initiative led by the Expo 2020 UAE team and is catered specifically for the Youth of today. The Nayif-1 team took part in the event by throwing a workshop titled “Introduction to Cubesatellites.”

What's a CubeSat ? Brainstorming Session

What’s a CubeSat ? Brainstorming Session

YouthConnect is the first in a long-lasting and wide-ranging series highly interactive forums designed by youth for youth. The inaugural event took take place on Saturday, November 14, 2015. This first interactive, full-day forum, part of a far wider programme to talk to the younger members of society, was open to all UAE residents between the ages of 18-25.

“From our earliest days conceiving Expo”, says Her Excellency Reem Al Hashimy, UAE Minister of State and Director General of the Bureau Dubai Expo 2020 “we were determined to put our youth at the heart of our plans. It is these young men and women who will be representing and leading our nation in the years to come. So it is important that they contribute to these events and decide what they want to see and do on the day.”

Nayif-1 was built by students at the American University of Sharjah, UAE, in partnership with the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre. The nanosatellite will incorporate a novel autonomous attitude determination and control system. This will be the first flight of this system. Additionally it will carry a UHF to VHF linear transponder that will have up to 0.5 watt output and which can be used by Radio Amateurs worldwide for SSB and CW communications.

A launch is planned for the first half 2016 on the SpaceX Falcoln 9 SHERPA mission with deployment into an elliptical, sun synchronous, Low Earth Orbit (LEO) of about 450 by 720 km.

Follow Nayif-1 on Twitter https://twitter.com/Nayifone

Frequency information http://amsat-uk.org/satellites/communications/nayif-1/

YouthConnect at Expo 2020 Dubai

CubeSat at YouthConnect

DeorbitSail Update and Initial Camera Image

DeorbitSail project team members

DeorbitSail project team members

Chris Bridges 2E0OBC of the Surrey Space Centre provides this update on the status of the DeorbitSail Cubesat.

Dear AMSAT Community,

We would like to express our gratitude for your cooperation in the DeorbitSail project, and update you on the status of the mission.

As you know the DOS mission was launched on 10th July. After 4 months of operations, the satellite is healthy and stable, although unfortunately we have not been able to meet all of the mission objectives. Initial contact with the satellite was established relatively smoothly and we received a lot of good data, both through our own ground station but also via the network of you radio amateurs who have been very generous with your time and help.

First image taken by DeorbitSail

Initial image taken by DeorbitSail

We achieved a power stable state early on, with good comms (uplink and downlink) established within the first few days. We deployed the solar panels successfully, and managed to return to a good and stable power state after deployment. The ADCS has been challenging from the start, and continues to be challenging – we have struggled to accurately determine the satellite tumble rate and get it under control  (more detail on that is included below). We know that the satellite has seen some very high spin rates for various reasons, including some inherent design/magnetic characteristics which have become apparent.

Despite many attempts, we have unfortunately not been able to deploy the sail, and having recently thoroughly analysed and investigated the possible causes, mission events and ground test data and history, we are now reaching the conclusion that achieving successful sail deployment is very unlikely. Again there is more detail on that in the main body of text below.

We thank you for your patience and would like to apologise  for not keeping you updated on mission progress as often as we’d hoped. The operations phase has been a learning and sometimes stressful experience for all of the team at SSC, with a lot of head scratching and sleepless nights involved.



Here is some more detailed information regarding what progress and achievements have been made during the operations to date.

• After the launch on the 10th of July, and the first week in orbit, with a power safe and healthy satellite, the operation passed from the LEOP phase to the ADCS Commissioning phase. This second phase was estimated to last between three and four weeks; this proved to be optimistic.

• Although the spin up of the S/C was much higher than expected and saturated the sensors, the SU simulations and the available data suggested a large Z-spin rate on DOS which was confirmed by the B-field and MEMS magnetometry measurements. To induce a bigger difference in the Moments of Inertia (MoI) of the two non-longitudinal axes, the decision was taken to deploy the solar panels. This operation was performed the 10th of August.

• More than a month after the launch the satellite was really healthy, power safe and with great comms through newly developed software defined radio and database backend operations. Although the stabilization wasn’t achieved even with the solar panel deployment, at one month from the launch the team decide to proceed with  the sail deployment.

• This decision was agreed with DLR that confirmed that tumbling rates were no issue for the sail deployment, because the Moments of Inertia increase rapidly slowing down the tumble rate. DLR has performed a deployment test on Gossamer while tumbling before coming to this opinion.

• On the 15th of August, the first attempt for sail deployment was performed, the command was sent and the acknowledgement from the S/C was received, but no current was drawn from the boom deployer motor. Multiple experiments were performed to try and determine the cause of sail deployment failure.

• At this point, after a thorough investigation, the most plausible hypothesis and justification seems to be a physical disconnection of the motor cables. (Note that after the vibration test, it wasn’t possible to physically inspect the connection due to the design itself of the S/C)

Our simulations showed that with the actual configuration (deployed solar panels, undeployed sail) the decay time should be 20 years circa.

The aim now is to exercise and exploit the parts of the satellite that are working, and gain more confidence and experience with the SU ADCS system, the ISIS TRXUV and solar panels, and the SSC SDR groundstation and database tools to explore better the interaction of the panel circuitry with the attitude stabilisation. That will allow us to improve our performances in the next missions.

From here, the team have worked hard to take images of the Earth and via SU’s CubeSense camera – which we are delighted to show you today. This would not be possible without the dedication from the SSC team here and, of course, the amateur telemetry you kindly send us. We are going to continue imaging and testing at higher resolutions too so watch this space.

We thank you for all the support.

Chiara Massimiani, DOS Project manager & Prof Guglielmo Aglietti SSC Director and DOS PI

DeorbitSail http://amsat-uk.org/satellites/telemetry/deorbitsail/

Surrey Space Centre http://www.surrey.ac.uk/ssc/research/space_vehicle_control/deorbitsail/

Activation of IO-86 / LAPAN-ORARI FM Transponder



Dirgantara Rahadian YF0EEE has posted this information about the FM voice satellite IO-86 to the AMSAT-ID Facebook page:

We have Schedule Testing 1 Pass with LAPAN Command Center to Open Voice Transponder IO-86 / LAPAN-ORARI for all Country in Equatorial can Use and give me report via email yd1eee@gmail.com,
Date 14 November 2015 at 01:35 UTC – 03:40 UTC ..

Every Amateur can use the Voice Transponder
– Uplink 145.880 MHz tone 88,5
– Downlink 435.880 MHz

Note: IO-86 is in an equatorial orbit and should provide coverage between 30 degrees North and 30 degrees South of the equaror.

IO-86 Keps:

1 40931U 15052B 15316.15776324 .00001070 00000-0 60618-4 0 9994
2 40931 6.0030 69.3893 0012877 275.6206 84.2533 14.76374433 6653

AMSAT-ID on Facebook

HamTV on the ISS – Goonhilly update

While at Goonhilly Graham Shirville G3VZV received ISS HamTV on 2395 MHz with a 60cm dish

While at Goonhilly Graham Shirville G3VZV received ISS HamTV on 2395 MHz with a 60cm dish

Noel Matthews G8GTZ of the BATC provides an update on the amateur radio ground station at Goonhilly which will receive video from the ISS during the mission of Tim Peake KG5BVI.

Some of you may remember the presentation Graham Shirville G3VZV, gave at CAT15 subtitled “Tim Peake on a TV near you”.

Some of you may have also noticed a new station on the Tutioune map located at Goonhilly in Cornwall.

This station is using a 3.8 m dish is being loaned to the ARISS project by Satellite Catapult, and will be used to track the ISS and provide real time video during the schools contacts scheduled for early next year. This dish is almost in the shadow of the 29 metre dish built in 1962 to receive the first transatlantic television signals from the Telstar-1 spacecraft.

Last week, we (G8GTZ, M0AEU and G3VZV) installed a PC with mini-tutioune software and a DB6NT downconverter to receive the ISS on the dish – It was no surprise that during the tests, we received video for 8.5 minute during one pass and had an MER of 30 dB :-)

Currently the dish is not tracking the ISS but will be doing so in the near future and will be dedicated to this task for the next 6 months :-) In the mean time, the dish is pointing up at 90 degrees (zenith) but the receiver is connected and we received 25 seconds of blank video (visible on the TT monitor page) this morning when the ISS flew over the top of the dish!

There will be a full article on the ARISS Tim Peake project in the next CQ-TV along with pictures of the Goonhilly site.

Whilst we were at Goonhilly last week, Graham could not resist seeing if it was possible to receive the HamTV signal using only a handheld 60cms dish and the Tutioune software – much to the team’s surprise Graham was successful and this was the first reception of the ISS at Goonhilly as the equipment had was yet to be installed on the ground station dish!

Watch CAT15 HamTV on the ISS by Graham Shirville G3VZV

Tutioune map

HamTV http://amsat-uk.org/satellites/hamtv-on-the-iss/

Satellite Catapult https://sa.catapult.org.uk/

British Amateur Television Club (BATC) http://batc.org.uk/
Twitter https://twitter.com/BATCOnline