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

ITU symposium addresses regulatory requirements for small satellite communication systems

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

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

Useful links for tracking, receiving and decoding the telemetry from 434 MHz balloons can be found at

Listen for 434 MHz balloon signals online using the SUWS WebSDR, further details at

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
• Data Warehouse Archive
• Whole orbit data

UK CanSat 2015 Winner Announced

St Paul's Team Impulse - UK CanSat 2015 Winners - Image Credit ESERO-UK

St Paul’s Team Impulse – UK CanSat 2015 Winners – Image Credit ESERO-UK

ESERO-UK, the UK space education office, based in York, has announced the winner of the UK round of the International CanSat competition .

A CanSat is a student built simulated satellite with all the major subsystems including radio communications on 433/434 MHz and power fitting into a 350 ml soda can.

ESERO-UK organises the annual UK CanSat Competition for teams of secondary school students.

Winner of the Beginners’s category was the CANnoneers, from Tonbridge School in Kent. Runners up include: Spiritus, Putney High School, London; #getjezsrockettospace, from Allestree Woodlands School, Derby; Benenden CANSAT Avengers, from Benenden; Kent and Colossus, from St. Paul’s School, London.

“I highly recommend this wonderful opportunity to anyone who has the chance. Jump on it as it’s a unique opportunity to gain a lot of experience in a unique learning environment and will give a good amount of experience for anyone even considering a career in engineering! I enjoyed the experience and I’m sure the rest of my team did too.” Walter Tso, Outreach Manager and Electronics Assistant, CANnoneers.

Team Impulse, from St Paul’s School in London won the Advanced category of the competition. Runners up include: OSSO , from Oundle School, Northamptonshire; Heathrow Aeronautical Engineers, from Heathrow UTC, Greater London.

Team Impulse, from St Paul’s School in London, were announced overall winners of the 2015 CanSat competition and will go on to compete at the European CanSat Competition in Portugal.

“We are thrilled to be continuing the great British tradition of innovative engineering and are delighted to be representing St Paul’s and the UK at the CanSat final in Portugal.” Team Impulse, St Paul’s School.

Tom Lyons, ESERO Teacher Fellow said: “This year’s completion was a great success with all teams launching and recording data with their CanSats. We’re now looking forward to the 2016 competition and hoping to attract even more teams to get involved.”


UK 434 MHz CanSat Competition

Team Impulse St Paul’s School on Twitter

Young ham’s first contact is via OSCAR satellite

8-year-old radio amateur Hope Lea KM4IPF made her first contact just 45 minutes after her callsign appeared in the FCC database. The contact with Arthur K4YYL, via the FO-29 satellite, took place on March 11, 2015 at 2100 UT.

Her elder sister Faith WA4BBC and brother Zechariah WX4TVJ got to work K4YYL as well. They had both gained their US Technician licenses (equiv UK Foundation) in February and upgraded to the US General (equiv UK Intermediate) a couple of weeks later.

Hope’s younger sister is studying for her licence.

Watch KM4IPF Makes her FIRST amateur radio QSO!

FO-29 information

John Heath G7HIA describes how to work FO-29 in this article

Notice of Variation to UK Amateur Radio Licence

Ofcom-logo-col-tOfcom have announced that following representations they are restoring the 75.875-76.0 GHz Amateur and Amateur-Satellite allocation to Primary status in the new amateur radio licence which comes into effect on April 7, 2015.

The Ofcom licensing updates page says:

Following the recent notification sent to licensees of our proposal to vary the Amateur Radio Licence, Ofcom now publishes a Notice of Variation to the Amateur Radio licence.

Licensees who received a notification dated 30th January are not covered by this. Their licences will be the subject of a separate Notice, which we shall publish in the course of the next couple of weeks.

The new licence document, which will have effect from 7 April 2015 has been published on our website, at

The Notice of Variation along with Annex A and B can be downloaded from

A number of changes have been made to the licence proposals originally announced December 5, 2014, these are detailed in Annex B.

It is understood that examinations will continue to be based on old licence terms until October 2015, since any exam changes are subject to a six month notice period.

Read the RSGB report at

UK 434 MHz CanSat Competition

CanSat in Flight - Credit Ryan Laird

CanSat in flight – Credit Ryan Laird

On Friday, March 13 eight school teams from across the UK competed in the National CanSat Competition held at the National STEM Centre in York.

CanSat 434 MHz Tracking Antenna - Credit Ryan Laird

CanSat 434 MHz Tracking Antenna – Credit Ryan Laird

The CREST Gold Award accredited competition, now in its second year, involves students building a miniature simulation satellite, known as a CanSat, and launching it from 300 metres above an airfield.

The students had to build their own space experiments, fitting all the major subsystems including radio communications on 433/434 MHz and power into a 350 ml soda can.

They needed to write code to measure temperature, pressure and other chosen parameters on its journey parachuting to the ground. The winners of the competition will go on to the European finals, held in Portugal, in June.

Around 50 students and their teachers took part.

The pictures were taken by the Vice Chair of UKSEDS Ryan Laird @rjmlaird who attended the AMSAT-UK International Space Colloquium in 2007.

UK CanSat

CanSat Electronics - Credit Ryan Laird

CanSat Electronics – Credit Ryan Laird

Sarah Brightman – A message from Tim Peake KG5BVI

Sarah Brightman Space Flight Training February 2015

Sarah Brightman Space Flight Training February 2015

Sarah Brightman hopes to launch to the International Space Station (ISS) for a 10 day mission in September 2015.

If the launch takes place as planned she would become the UK’s second astronaut, the first was Helen Sharman GB1MIR on May 18, 1991. Tim Peake KG5BVI is expected to launch in November 2015.

Sarah announced her planned flight on October 10, 2012 and commenced training in Russia’s Star City in January 2015.

She will fly to the ISS aboard Soyuz 44 (TMA-18M) and return on Soyuz 42 having spent 10 days on the ISS. With her on the flight will be Danish astronaut Andreas Mogensen KG5GCZ and Russian cosmonaut Sergei Volkov RU3DIS.

To celebrate her journey into space and recognise the combination of arts, science, technology, engineering and maths Sarah has teamed up with the Challenger Center to launch a programme for students all around the world. She says “Through my partnership with Challenger Center, I hope to inspire in children the same wonder and excitement for space exploration that I feel myself. As I prepare for my own space journey, I am proud to work with them to impart the sense of magic that has had me dreaming and looking up at the stars since I was a child.”

Prospective UK astronaut Tim Peake KG5BVI has sent this video message to Sarah

A flight to the ISS is understood to cost around $52 million, considerably more than the $20 million that Iranian-American engineer Anousheh Ansari paid for her mission to the ISS in 2006, highlighting the dramatic escalation in launch charges in recent years.

Sarah Brightman

Sarah started her singing career in the 1970’s and had hits such as “I Lost My Heart to a Starship Trooper” and “Love in a UFO”. She is now a classical crossover artist.

In 2012 in conjunction with Virgin Galactic, The Brightman STEM Scholarship program (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) was launched to help young women in the US pursue STEM education across their four year college careers.

Her album, “Dreamchaser” was released on January 22, 2013. She said “I don’t think of myself as a dreamer. Rather, I am a dream chaser, I hope that I can encourage others to take inspiration from my journey both to chase down their own dreams and to help fulfill the important UNESCO mandate to promote peace and sustainable development on Earth and from space. I am determined that this journey can reach out to be a force for good, a catalyst for some of the dreams and aims of others that resonate with me.” She intends to become the first professional musician to sing from space.

Sarah Brightman Mission PatchThe ISS has two amateur radio stations, one in the Russian Service module the other in the ESA Columbus module. It is not yet known if Sarah will make any amateur radio contacts during her mission.

In 1991 the first UK astronaut Helen Sharman was issued with a special callsign GB1MIR by the Radiocommunications Division of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). She was then able to contact radio amateurs on Earth during her stay on the MIR space station.

The RSGB has reported that the UK communications regulator Ofcom will make the callsign GB1SS available for issue to UK astronauts who wish to operate from the ISS.

Sarah Brightman
• Web
• Twitter
• Facebook
• Instagram
• Wiki

Space Adventures

Listen to FUNcube-1 during Solar Eclipse

Solar Eclipse - March 20, 2015

Solar Eclipse – March 20, 2015

There will be a total solar eclipse on March 20, 2015 which tracks across the North Atlantic and eventually covers a lot of the Arctic.

Path of Solar Eclipse  March 20 2015

Path of Solar Eclipse March 20, 2015

It would seem that this will affect most spacecraft that are in a polar orbit to some extent as, at that sort of time, they would expect to be in sunlight at the time and location.

On FUNcube-1 (AO-73) we have a good power budget which means that we should be able to maintain our normal autonomous operation schedule for the day but, of course, if the spacecraft does go fully into darkness it should switch autonomously to transponder and low power telemetry.

It will be interesting to see what actually happens and we hope that as many listeners as possible will upload the data they receive between 0740 and 1150 UT on that morning. Our Whole Orbit Data will show the solar currents, battery voltage and external temps clearly during this period so we should get a clear understanding of the effects on board.

If anyone has some software that can model the satellite’s track and the expected impact of the solar eclipse it would be great to hear about it!

FUNcube-1 (AO-73) Telemetry:
• Dashboard App
• Data Warehouse Archive
• Whole orbit data will show the effect

This website has a good animation of the eclipse

Information on the Solar Eclipse from Chelmsford Amateur Radio Society member Peter Meadows M0ZBU

Essex Partial Solar Eclipse Friday, March 20, 2015

Radio hams will be at BBC Solar Eclipse event

Sarah Brightman’s fellow astronaut gets ham license

Danish Astronuat Andreas Mogensen KG5GCZ and Murray Niman G6JYB

Danish astronaut Andreas Mogensen KG5GCZ with Murray Niman G6JYB

Danish astronaut Andreas Mogensen completed his amateur radio license class on February 23 and passed his exam on February 25. He has been assigned the callsign KG5GCZ.

Andreas was selected as an ESA astronaut in May 2009 and completed the astronaut basic training programme at the European Astronaut Centre in Cologne, Germany in November 2010. Since completing the astronaut basic training programme, Andreas has been trained and certified as a private pilot by the Lufthansa flight school and is trained and qualified for spacewalks using both the American EMU suit and the Russian Orlan suit.

In July  2009 he attended the AMSAT-UK International Space Colloquium in Guildford where he described to delegates the astronaut selection process. This year it was announced he would be on the same 10-day mission to the International Space Station (ISS) as the UK’s Sarah Brightman.

He will be the first astronaut of Danish nationality to go to space and will launch with Sarah on a Soyuz TMA-18M spacecraft in September 2015.

UK’s Sarah Brightman starts space flight training

Sarah Brightman ISS Mission Patch

Sarah Brightman ISS Mission Patch