IZ0UDF to lift off to ISS

Astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti IZ0UDF - Credit NASA-Robert Markowitz

Astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti IZ0UDF – Credit NASA-Robert Markowitz

Former fighter pilot Samantha Cristoforetti IZ0UDF is all set for her mission on the International Space Station, the launch will be broadcast live.

ISS Expedition 42 official crew poster

ISS Expedition 42 official crew poster

She will be Italy’s first female astronaut and expects to leave Earth on Sunday, November 23 at 2101 UT from Baikonur in Kazakhstan, also on-board will be Terry Virts and Anton Shkaplerov. She is expected to arrive at the ISS on Monday, November 24 where she will join crew members Elena Serova, Alexander Samoukutyaev and Barry Wilmore.

Since Alexander Gerst KF5ONO and Reid Wiseman, KF5LKT returned to Earth on November 10 the ISS has been left without any radio amateurs onboard.

On November 24, the Milan based company Accurat plans to launch a website Friends in Space and what they describe as the first social network that extends beyond Earth; a 6 months-long open window to make new friends from all over the world and join astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti IZ0UDF @AstroSamantha #Futura42 in her expedition to the International Space Station.

Friends in Space

In this video Samantha explains the story behind her mission name Futura, and recounts the journey to becoming an astronaut

Watch the launch live at

Follow @AstroSamantha at https://twitter.com/AstroSamantha

Download the high resolution (57 MB) Expedition 42 poster from

It has been reported on the GEO Yahoo Group that Soyuz Telemtry/Voice is expected on 143.625 MHz and 121.500 MHz on the European passes at 02:35 and 04:10 UT on Monday, November 24.

International Space Station Briefly “Ham-less” After Crew Members Return to Earth

Astronaut Radio Amateurs http://www.w5rrr.org/astros.html

Happy Birthday, $50SAT/MO-76!

Yaesu handheld and $50SAT 1.5U PocketQube

Yaesu handheld and $50SAT 1.5U PocketQube

Friday, November 21, 2014 marked the one year anniversary of the launch of $50SAT/MO-76 PocketQube satellite.

Michael Kirkhart KD8QBA writes:

Our little creation was launched from Dombarovsky Air Base in Russia at 07:01 UT (which was 2:01 AM here in EN82 land) as one of 33 satellites aboard a Dnepr rocket. It was first heard by Jan, PE0SAT, at 08:46 UT, and by Stuart GW7HPW at 09:17 UT, and has been operating continuously ever since!

The $50SAT/MO-76 Dropbox now contains a snapshot of all the telemetry gathered from launch day through November 21, 2014.

$50SAT/MO-76 continues to operate normally, but the battery capacity has been slowly dropping to the point where it barely registers above 3500 mV when passing over EN82 land during daytime (decending) passes. I have been able to capture telemetry while it passes over Anton’s (ZR6AIC) WebSDR station http://zr6aic.giga.co.za:8902/ which is located in South Africa. During ascending passes, which occur between 20:00 and 21:30 UT, $50SAT/MO-76 has just transitioned from being in sunlight to being in eclipse, and the battery voltage is between 3602 and 3642 mV.

Over the life of $50SAT/MO-76, we have observed the following:
The maximum battery voltage was 3824 mV, while the minimum was 3440 mV
The maximum PCB temperature was 25 degrees C, while the minimum was -29 degrees C
The maximum RFM22 temperature was 29 degrees C, while the minimum was -30 degrees C
The maximum MPPT (solar) power was 312.84 mW
The maximum idle (RFM22 off) current was 3 mA, while the minimum was 2 mA
The maximum receive mode current was 31 mA, while the minimum was 21 mA
The maximum transmit mode current was 88 mA, while the minimum was 77 mA

On December 4, 2013, the folks at NORAD and Celestrak (with help from Mike, DK3WN) were able to identify $50SAT/MO-76 as object 2013-066W. At this time, apogee was at 640 km, and perigee was 595 km. As of November 21, 2014, apogee is at 599 km, and perigee is at 565 km. This means the average altitude has decreased by about 36 km. A spreadsheet, along with a graph of the orbital data is available on the $50SAT/MO-76 Dropbox

While we did not have time to demonstrate this at the AMSAT-NA Space Symposium, we now have a working Arduino/RFM22 based groundstation. It utilizes a slightly modified version of the Sparkfun RFM22 Arduino shield https://www.sparkfun.com/products/11018 Additional information, including photos, marked up schematics, and the Arduino sketches, is available (guess where?) on the $50SAT/MO-76 Dropbox.

In addition to the original, receive-only sketch (S50SAT_receiver), there is a new version (S50SAT-Groundstation) which includes transmit capability, which supports all three open uplink commands. Both versions are capable of receiving all GFSK based packets, including the FEC packets.

I have successfully received $50SAT info and FEC packets from about 1200 km slant range with my groundstation using an Advanced Receiver Research P432VDG LNA http://advancedreceiver.com/page5.html with my homebrew 6 element WA5VJB yagi. The LNA is needed to improve the sensitivity of the RFM22, which is about -99 dBm. Since the RFM22 can only output 20 dBm (100 mW) and the minimum EIRP needed to uplink to $50SAT/MO-76 when it is directly overhead is about 36 dBm (4W), either a 16 dB gain antenna, an external linear amplifier, or both will be needed to successfully uplink.

Speaking of uplinking, no one has completed the $50SAT/MO-76 Uplink Challenge. This challenge is open to any licensed amateur radio operator, and the prize for successful completion is (drum roll…) a certificate of technical achievement, signed by all three of the $50SAT/MO-76 developers.

Our thanks to all who has supported us in this project, including all of you telemetry gathers. Please keep the telemetry coming!

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/

Ham radio launches to deep space

ARTSAT2:DESPATCH Internal Structure

ARTSAT2:DESPATCH Internal Structure

ARTSAT2:DESPATCH is going to launch on a mission into deep space on November 30, 2014 carring a 7 watt CW transmitter on 437.325 MHz.

It will fly with the asteroid mission Hayabusa 2 and another amateur radio satellite Shin’en 2.

ARTSAT2:DESPATCH will have an elliptic orbit around the Sun and travel to a deep space orbit between Venus and Mars. Its inclination will be almost zero, which means Shin’en 2 will stay in the Earth’s equatorial plane. The distance from the Sun will be between 0.7 and 1.3 AU. An Astronomical Unit (AU) is 149,597,871 km.

ARTSAT2 DESPATCH  Deep Space Sculpture

ARTSAT2 DESPATCH Deep Space Sculpture

The team have released the following information:

1. Despatch CW Format is now available!

Yesterday, we opened a wiki which explains how to join the “Cooperative data reconstruction,” the main mission of Despatch.  In this wiki, you can find the CW format as well as how to report the data you received.

2. Despatch Tracking page is opened!

Since Despatch is injected into an Earth escape trajectory, TLE is unavailable. Instead, we opened a web-page for the spacecraft tracking (both antenna-pointing and receiver-tuning).

Please go to the page and enter your geographic location, and you will get nearby passes and a table with 1 minute steps that gives you AZ, EL, Freaquency, and so on. As the apparent movement and the change of the Doppler shift are slow, manual pointing of the antenna and tuning of the receiver every 10 minutes or so will do.

3. Reception Report page is opened!

We opened a web page in which you can report the data you received.

Thanks in advance and all the best,

Akihiro Kubota, ARTSAT project

Web http://despatch.artsat.jp/en/Main_Page
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/artsat
Twitter https://twitter.com/DESPATCH_ARTSAT

Shin’en2 and Japanese Asteroid Mission

RSGB Youth Committee Chair Announced

Chair of RSGB Youth Committee Mike Jones 2E0MLJ

Chair of RSGB Youth Committee Mike Jones 2E0MLJ

The Radio Society of Great Britain has appointed 17-year-old Mike Jones, 2E0MLJ, as Chair of the RSGB Youth Committee.

Mike was originally licenced as M6TMJ and is currently studying Forensic Science and Criminal Psychology at City College Plymouth. He is a member of the QRZ.com Staff helping on the database forum and is also Younsters On The Air (YOTA) Month Co-Ordinator for the UK.

At the RSGB Convention in October Mike gave an excellent presentation on July’s successful YOTA-UK event held in Wolverhampton which was organised by young people, for young people. As well as Mike 2E0MLJ the YOTA-UK organising committee included Marie-Ann M6UWS, Dax M6DAX, Jenny M6HFA and Rachel M6SOO.

Read the RadCom article on IARU Region 1 YOTA and YOTA-UK at http://www.ham-yota.eu/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/UK%20YOTA%20Report%20from%20RadCom.pdf

Follow YOTA-UK on Twitter @YOTA_UK

2E0MLJ on Twitter @MikeJ1997

OSCAR Locator App

OscarLocator-1Tom Doyle W9KE has developed a Windows satellite tracking App that reproduces the graphical display of the original cardboard OSCARLOCATOR .

Most tracking programs use an equirectangular projection which is by far the easiest to program and shows the entire Earth at once. A 3D model is often used which helps visualize orbits but does not show the entire Earth at the same time.

Tom remembers having an easier time visualizing the orbits back in the day (1970′s) when amateurs used cardboard OSCAR Locators with overlays. This Windows program lets you visualize orbits OSCAR Locator style.

Download the OSCAR Locator from http://www.tomdoyle.org/OscarLocator

Other Apps by Tom can be downloaded via http://www.tomdoyle.org/

40 Years of Tracking OSCAR-7 http://amsat-uk.org/2014/11/09/40-years-tracking-oscar-7/

SatNOGS Win Hackaday Prize

SatNOGS - Satellite Networked Open Ground Station

SatNOGS – Satellite Networked Open Ground Station

The open-source amateur satellite tracking project SatNOGS has won the Hackaday 1st prize and an amateur radio SDR won 3rd prize.

Six months ago Hackaday challenged their readers to realize the future of open, connected devices, The prize was a ticket to travel into space. The winners were announced at the Electronica trade show in Munich on November 13.

The SatNOGs project is a thrilling example of the benefits of a connected world. It opens up the use of satellite data to a much wider range of humanity by providing plans to build satellite tracking stations, and a protocol and framework to share the satellite data with those that cannot afford, or lack the skills to build their own tracking station. The hardware itself is based on readily available materials, commodity electronics, and just a bit of 3D printing.

Read the Hackaday article at

Ham Radio in Hackaday Prize Finals

SatNOGS – Satellite Networked Open Ground Station https://satnogs.org/

Chelmsford’s involvement in Rosetta

Computer generated image of Rosetta

Computer generated image of Rosetta

The UK Deputy Prime Minister congratulated one of the Chelmsford companies involved in developing key equipment for the successful Rosetta mission.

On Thursday, November 13 the Deputy PM @DPMoffice tweeted
Huge congratulations to @e2v in Chelmsford, who’ve been part of history on #Rosetta mission #spacehistory #RGF @spacegovuk

e2v developed the specialized sensors on which both Rosetta and Philae depend.

On Rosetta:
• OSIRIS – the high resolution imaging camera. It has a narrow field and wide field camera.
• NAVCAM – the navigation camera.
• VIRTIS (Visible and Infrared Thermal Imaging Spectrometer) – which maps and studies the nature of the solids and the temperature on the surface of the comet. It also identifies gases, characterizes the physical conditions of the comet and has helped to identify the best landing site (e2v’s devices are in the visible element of this instrument).

On Philae:
• ÇIVA (Comet nucleus Infrared and Visible Analyzer) – six identical micro-cameras take panoramic pictures of the surface of the comet. A spectrometer studies the composition, texture and albedo (reflectivity) of samples collected from the surface.
• ROLIS (Rosetta Lander Imaging System) – a CCD camera used to obtain high-resolution images during the descent of the lander and take stereo panoramic images of areas sampled by other instruments.

Read the e2v announcement at

e2v was not the only Chelmsford company involved in Rosetta, the Intermediate Frequency Modem System (IFMS) was developed by BAE Systems Advanced Technology Centre in Great Baddow, Chelmsford, Essex

Watch IFMS: The Interplanetary Smartphone Supporting the Rosetta Mission

A number of radio amateurs work at both companies.

Radio amateurs have been listening to Rosetta’s signal on 8421.7869 MHz since January 2014 when it was 805 million km away from Earth, see

Chelmsford Amateur Radio Skills Night Monday November 17

FUNcube-1′s Birthday

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

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

Hi Folks,

It seems amazing to us that FUNcube-1 – AO73, was launched nearly one year ago, in fact at 07:10 UTC on 21 Nov 2013. The very first signals were received by ZS1LS in South Africa at 07:37 UTC and he was even able to upload the resulting data to the Warehouse so the results could be seen immediately.

We are extremely happy to say that, since then, the satellite has been performing very satisfactorily, the battery voltage doesn’t drop below 8 volts, and becomes fully charged within about 7 – 10 minutes after re-entering sunlight from eclipse.

Howard Long G6LVB working AO-73 while Ciaran Morgan M0XTD captures the downlink passband data using a FUNcube Dongle Pro+ and Microsoft Surface Tablet

Howard Long G6LVB working AO-73 while Ciaran Morgan M0XTD captures the downlink passband data using a FUNcube Dongle Pro+ and Microsoft Surface Tablet

On Friday 21 Nov 2014, we will be celebrating the satellite’s first birthday. To mark the occasion, we will be activating the transponder earlier than normal – late on Thursday 20 Nov, so that it will be available for use during the whole of Friday. So please make as many contacts as possible through the transponder during Friday, FUNcube’s actual birthday. You are invited to make a note of any stations worked on this day, or any other comments on the FUNcube Forum. Please use the existing “FUNcube-1′s Birthday” topic, under the Welcome heading. The URL of the Forum is http://forum.funcube.org.uk/

Please also remember the ’73 on 73′ Award which is kindly being organised by Paul Stoetzer N8HM. See http://amsat-uk.org/funcube/73-on-73-award/ for more details.

Wouter Weggelaar PA3WEG talking about FUNcube-1 to students at Abbeys Primary School in Bletchley

Wouter Weggelaar PA3WEG talking about FUNcube-1 to students at Abbeys Primary School in Bletchley

We would like to take this opportunity of thanking all of our ‘users’, both those who download telemetry and forwarding it to the warehouse, and of course, all users of the transponder. This telemetry data is invaluable, both as an educational resource and to enable us to see how the spacecraft systems are performing and surviving. So far we have collected almost 400MB of unique data via stations from all around the world.

Of course we are hoping that the satellite continues to function nominally for several more years to come even though we may never reach AO7’s record!


First 73 on 73 Award issued to Wyatt Dirks AC0RA

First 73 on 73 Award issued to Wyatt Dirks AC0RA

The AMSAT-UK Flickr Group is at https://www.flickr.com/groups/amsatuk/
Please upload your pictures of amateur satellites, satellite ground stations, satellite demonstrations or any other satellite related event.

73 on 73 Award http://amsat-uk.org/funcube/73-on-73-award/

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

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

49.9 MHz Backscatter Radar 16 kW with 64 Antennas

First 18 of the 49.9 MHz radar antennas pointing skywards

First 18 of the 49.9 MHz radar antennas pointing skywards

An impressive back-scatter radar on 49.9 MHz is currently being constructed in Ethiopia.

The Bahir Dar coherent backscatter radar is being assembled by researchers from the University of Oulu, Finland and Boston College, USA.

The radar will operate at 49.9 MHz with a 16 kW solid-state transmitter and 64 antennas. The sampling is based on a number of USRP X300-series boxes (the USRP was developed by Matt Ettus N2MJI).

Backscatter radar http://blog.sgo.fi/2014/11/bahir-dar-coherent-backscatter-radar.html

Lassi Roininen on Twitter https://twitter.com/LassiRoininen

Sodankylä Geophysical Observatory

Predictions App for Deep Space Ham Radio Satellite

ARTSAT2 DESPATCH  Deep Space Sculpture

ARTSAT2 DESPATCH Deep Space Sculpture

Two amateur radio satellites ARTSAT2: DESPATCH (437.325 MHz CW) and Shin’en 2 (145/435 MHz linear transponder + 437 MHz WSJT) should be launched into deep space at the end of November.

Masahiro JI1IZR has announced that prediction software is available for ARTSAT2: DESPATCH:

One of the new deep space small satellites, “ARTSAT2: DESPATCH”, will be launched on the end of this month.

I developed a predict utilities that display the information got from the Web API data provided by the “ARTSAT” project team.

You can get the utilities and information from:

You will also have the information of the satellite “ARTSAT2: DESAPTCH” from:

I appreciate your notice for the project.

Thank you.

Masahiro Sanada JI1IZR

Art and Ham Radio in Deep Space http://amsat-uk.org/2013/11/03/art-and-ham-radio-in-deep-space/

Shin’en 2 has a linear transponder http://amsat-uk.org/2014/09/01/japanese-asteroid-mission-to-carry-amateur-radio/