KickSat Sprites – Radio Competition

KickSat Sprite Competition

On the KickSat updates page Zac Manchester KD2BHC has announced a competition to receive the first amateur radio signals from the KickSat CubeSat and the tiny Sprites satellites.

KickSat Sprite satellites deployed - Image by Ben Bishop VK2FBRB

KickSat Sprite satellites deployed – Image by Ben Bishop VK2FBRB

The KickSat CubeSat will carry 104 tiny Sprite satellites into a 325×315 km 51.5 degree inclination orbit. The launch carrying four other CubeSats, SporeSat, TSAT, PhoneSat-v2.5 and ALL-STAR/THEIA is planned for Friday, April 18, 2014 at 1925 UT and should be broadcast live on NASA TV and also streamed on Ustream.

Zac writes:

Our launch coming up in less than a week and, to keep things fun, I’d like to announce a little contest…

I’ll be offering prizes to the first several people who receive telemetry packets from KickSat as well as the first few who receive signals from the Sprites. The prizes will include souvenir Sprites and CRS-3 and ELaNa-V mission patches.

437 MHz Sprite

437 MHz Sprite

Now for the rules:
• In the case of KickSat telemetry, you have to send me the raw hex or ASCII packet data and I have to be able to successfully decode it.
• In the case of the Sprite signals, you have to send me a raw baseband recording and I have to be able to decode at least one Sprite signal from it.
• I’ll continue offering prizes until I run out of cool swag.
• I have the ultimate say on whether or not you win.

To get in on the fun, check out our wiki and join the KickSat mailing list. Let the games begin!

All the Sprites operate on a single frequency of 437.240 MHz and use Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA). The transmitter runs 10 mW output of Minimum Shift Keying (MSK) modulated binary data with each data bit modulated as a 511 bit Pseudo-Random Number (PRN) sequence. The ITU emission designator is 50K0G1D.

The KickSat CubeSat has downlinks on 437.505 MHz and 2401-2436.2 MHz.

In this video Ben Bishop VK2FBRB gives an alternative view of the deployment


KickSat mailing list!forum/kicksat-gs

Kicksat Updates

PRN codes for KickSat Sprites released

CRS-3 Payloads

Equipment for receiving the Sprite 437 MHz signals

Equipment for receiving the Sprite 437 MHz signals

Solar powered 434 MHz balloon reaches Syria

Track of the B-44 balloon taken on April 10, 214, two days after launch

Track of the B-44 balloon taken on April 10, 214, two days after launch

On Tuesday, April 8, 2014 radio amateur Leo Bodnar M0XER launched two foil “party” pico balloons from Silverstone with solar powered payloads transmitting on 434.500 MHz USB using the Contestia 8/1000 data mode. By Thursday, April 10 one of the balloons, B-44, was reported to be over Syria.

Typical pico balloon with tiny solar powered 434 MHz transmitter - Image credit Leo Bodnar M0XER

Typical pico balloon with tiny solar powered 434 MHz transmitter – Image credit Leo Bodnar M0XER

Depending on altitude the balloons could have a range of 300-500 km and remain aloft for several days.

Balloons: 90cm Qualatex foil party balloon
Payloads: 12 grams solar powered tracker
Telemetry: 434.500 MHz, USB, vertical polarisation, Contestia 8/1000
B-44 is 1500Hz higher than B-43 so it should be possible to see both in the same audio bandwidth.

These balloons use digital mode “Contestia 8/1000″. Unfortunately it is not possible to automatically configure this mode in dl-fldigi. Therefore please follow this procedure:
• Autoconfigure B-43 or B-44 flight as usual.  This will default to DOMX 16 mode.
• Select menu option  Op Mode -> Contestia ->  8/1000.  The bottom left corner of dl-fldigi should now read CTSTIA 8/1000
• Enable RxID button at the top right corner of dl-fldigi.

Downlink data contains two lines of telemetry every 4 minutes.Time between telemetry data is filled with beeps at 3 sec intervals.

Leo says “I appreciate help of everybody who joins in for tracking!”

Typical solar powered 434 MHz transmitter - Image credit Leo Bodnar M0XER

Typical solar powered 434 MHz transmitter – Image credit Leo Bodnar M0XER

Leo Bodnar M0XER balloons

You can see online real time tracks and frequencies of balloons at

Download the dl-fldigi software from

Listen to balloons online (when in range of south-east UK) from anywhere in the world with the SUWS 434 MHz WebSDR (select USB)

Beginners Guide to Tracking using dl-fldigi

Check the #highaltitude IRC channel for chat about launches. A web client is available at

To get up-to-date information on balloon flights subscribe to the UKHAS Mailing List by sending a blank email to this address:

Track of B-44 and B-45 balloons on April 19, 2014

Track of B-44 and B-45 balloons on April 19, 2014

FUNcube-1 transponder to be active at weekends

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

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

Following the 48 hour test on April 5-6, the FUNcube-1 (AO-73) CubeSat team have concluded that the battery temperature does reduce slightly during full time transponder mode, but only by a degree C or so; it remains within specification. Hence it has been decided in future to switch the satellite into ‘forced eclipse mode’, i.e. full time transponder and low power beacon at weekends. The aim is to significantly increase the availability of the transponder to radio amateurs. This will continue until further notice.

The team plan to switch to full time transponder mode during the first suitable pass over the UK on Friday evenings, normally between 1930 and 2230 UT. If for some reason this is not possible, then the switch will be done on the first suitable pass on Saturday, normally between 0930 and 1200 UT. It is planned to switch the full time transponder mode off during a suitable pass on Sunday evenings, which normally occur between 1930 and 2230 UT. Again, if this is not possible the switch off will be made on Monday mornings, approx. 0930 to 1200 UT.

Do please note that this schedule is totally reliant on the availability of command stations, who will do their very best to ensure it is maintained. We will not normally announce successful full time transponder mode on/off commands, but if it proves not possible to make one of them, then we will make a note here and on the AMSAT Bulletin Board (AMSAT-BB).

So please do enjoy the transponder, and use it any time you hear it on. We are always pleased to hear of your activity, so either leave a comment below, or email g3wgm -at-

Watch a recent FUNcube-1 contact made by Paulo PV8DX

Thanks for the report, Paulo!

There has been a small change to the data that’s presented on the FUNcube-1 Telemetry Upload Ranking page:

The count column is now coloured to show the period in which the last data was received from the user:
Green – within the past 7 days
Yellow – within the past 14 days
Light-grey – longer than 14 days

If you would like it more granular, please start a discussion on the ‘forum’ at

Thai Amateur Radio Delegation Visit DARC

Thai Amateur Radio and Citizens Band Sub-Committee visit DARC

Thai Amateur Radio and Citizens Band Sub-Committee visit DARC

Thai radio amateurs are hoping to get a number of license improvements this year, including access to the Amateur Satellite Service band at 435-438 MHz as well as 146.0-146.5 MHz.

100 Watt Magazine Thida Denpruektham HS1ASC

100 Watt Magazine Thida Denpruektham HS1ASC

On Sunday, March 30, 2014 a delegation of the Thai National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) Amateur Radio and Citizen Band Development Sub-Committee (ARCB) visited the Deutscher Amateur Radio Club (DARC) amateur radio center in Baunatal.

Martin Köhler DL1DCT, Thilo Kootz DL9KCE, the DARC service team and Thomas Wrede DF2OO received the visitors and provided information on amateur radio topics in Germany and Europe, especially with regard to emergency radio activities and youth work.

The visit was organized by Thida Denpruektham HS1ASC. She is editor of the Thai “100 Watts Magazine” as well as a member of the ARCB.

The DARC expressed their thanks to Benji Klingler DJ5BK/HS6SSE. She acted as interpreter and ensured there were no problems communicating even in the more complex topics. At the end of the nearly three-hour visit, the guests visited the club station DF0AFZ.

In May 2012 Thailand had 246,959 radio amateurs holding the basic entry level VHF license and 717 Intermediate and Reciprocal HF license holders.

Benjamas Klingler DJ5BK / HS6SSE

Benjamas Klingler DJ5BK / HS6SSE

The reason for the low number of HF license holders seems to be because it’s impossible to sit an exam to upgrade. There appears to have only been one Intermediate exam for just 151 candidates held in almost 10 years, see

It is hoped that the granting of 28.0 – 29.7 MHz to the basic entry license holders later this year should significantly increase HF activity from the country.

Thailand is also planning to introduce an Advanced license class equivalent to the USA Extra and UK Advanced.

100 Watts Magazine

100 Watts on Facebook

Radio Amateur Society of Thailand (RAST)

DARC in Google English

ISS HamTV moves to 2369 MHz


Front panel of the HamTV transmitter

Front panel of the HamTV transmitter

The Digital Amateur TV (DATV) system in the Columbus module of the International Space Station (ISS) has changed frequency to 2369 MHz.

BATC Webstream of ISS HamTV by Stefan VE4NSA March 8, 2014

BATC Webstream of ISS HamTV by Stefan VE4NSA March 8, 2014

Presently, Ham Video is transmitting permanently a “blank” image and no audio in configuration 5:
* ARISS antenna 43
* Frequency 2369 MHz
* Symbol rate 1.3 Ms/s

Reports on reception of blank transmissions are very welcome. Reports can be filed via this webpage:

Participants using the Tutioune receiving software can record as well as stream detailed parameters of the received signal. Please see:

Reports are available at

Thank you for your participation to the Ham Video testing campaign.

Gaston Bertels, ON4WF
ARISS Europe chair

Read the HamTV overview by Gaston Bertels ON4WF

Join the ISS HamTV Yahoo Group

Webstream of the TV transmissions

ARISS-EU HamTV Bulletins

HamTV on Facebook

UKSA 2013 CubeSat Workshop Recommendations Available

UKSA - UK Space Agency LogoOrganised by the UK Space Agency (UKSA) and held at the Open University, the 2013 workshop sessions included topics from over 100 contributors attending.

Key areas included:
• Fostering a stronger and wider UK CubeSat Community
• Overcoming Obstacles
• Developing Education/Outreach Benefits for the UK with the UKube X Program
• Accelerating Disruptive Technologies

The Recommendations & Notes from that workshop are now available at

Make sure you attend the free 2014 UK CubeSat Workshop at Harwell on May 13, see

Register for this premier event on the Satellite Applications Catapult page

FCC proposes giving more 5 GHz Spectrum to unlicensed devices

FCC 5 GHz Proposal ET Docket No. 13-49

FCC 5 GHz Proposal ET Docket No. 13-49

In a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking ET Docket 13-49 the FCC proposes making 195 MHz of spectrum at 5 GHz available for Part 15 unlicensed National Information Infrastructure (U-NII) devices to provide high data rate mobile and fixed communications for individuals, businesses, and institutions.

The Amateur Satellite Service has an uplink allocation at 5650-5670 MHz and a downlink allocation at 5830-5850 MHz.

Read the FCC Notice of Proposed Rulemaking ET Docket No. 13-49

Read the ARRL story

Transponder Test: Jim Heck G3WGM talks to TX Factor

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

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

The FUNcube-1 (AO-73) satellite team plan to activate the transponder once again during the daytime over the weekend of April 5-6.

Project Manager Jim Heck G3WGM has given an exclusive audio interview to the TX Factor‘s Bob McCreadie G0FGX which explains what the tests are all about and the potential problems.

Will these tests lead to more time being made available to amateurs wanting to communicate via the satellite?

TX Factor htttp://

Spring Issue of OSCAR News

AMSAT-UK OSCAR News March 2014E-members of AMSAT-UK can now download the PDF of the Spring edition of the OSCAR News magazine here (as well as previous issues).

The paper edition should be posted to members in 2-3 weeks.

In this issue
• FUNcube-1 Status
Other FUNcubes
• Academy’s radio club enters the space race
• The Pragmatic Guide for Using the FUNcube Materials Science Experiment in the Classroom
KiwiSAT report
• ZAcube/TshepisoSat pictures South Africa on a clear day
• OFCOM announces new VHF Consultation
• Active Satellite Status
KickSat Ground Station
• HamTV on the ISS – Progress Report
Es’Hail-2 Geostationary transponder payload
• Amateur radio satellite operation from Isle of Lewis
• Colloquium 2014
• OSCAR-11 Report
• Shorts

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:
Rest of the World (Overseas)

PDF sample copy of “Oscar News” here.

Join AMSAT-UK using PayPal, Debit or Credit card at

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

MO-76 $50sat is Rev-Ed project of the month

Yaesu handheld and $50SAT 1.5U PocketQube

Yaesu handheld and $50SAT 1.5U PocketQube

The MO-76 $50sat amateur radio satellite team is pleased to announce that the PICAXE based $50sat was chosen as Project of the Month by Bath based Revolution Education who supply PICAXE microcontroller development systems.

$50SAT is one of the smallest amateur radio satellites ever launched at 5x5x7.5 cm and weighs only 210 grams. Transmitter power is just 100 mW on 437.505 MHz (+/-9 kHz Doppler shift) FM CW/RTTY. It uses the low cost Hope RFM22B single chip radio and PICAXE 40X2 processor.

$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.

PICAXE $50sat

Bath based Revolution Education

$50SAT PocketQube Amateur Radio Challenge

Further information in the $50SAT Dropbox

$50SAT – Eagle2 – Communications – Release Version V1_1.pdf

Hope RFM22B single chip radio

There is a discussion group for $50SAT