Join AMSAT-UK

AMSAT-UK_Bevelled_Logo

AMSAT-UK Logo

Founded in 1975 AMSAT-UK is a voluntary organisation that supports the design and building of equipment for amateur radio satellites.

AMSAT-UK initially produced a short bulletin called OSCAR News to give members advice on amateur satellite communications. Since those early days OSCAR News has grown in size and the print quality has improved beyond recognition. Today, OSCAR News is produced as a high-quality quarterly colour A4 magazine consisting of up to 40 pages of news, information and comment about amateur radio space communications.

The new lower-cost E-membership provides OSCAR News as a downloadable PDF file giving members the freedom to read it on their Tablets or Smartphones anytime, anyplace, anywhere.

An additional advantage is that the PDF should be available for download up to 2 weeks before the paper copy is posted.

AMSAT-UK FUNcube Mission Patch Rev4 20100609

AMSAT-UK FUNcube Mission Patch

The Membership year lasts for 12 months starting on January 1 each year.

If you join after July 31 of any particular year, then you will receive complimentary membership for the whole of the following year, i.e. join on August 10, 2014, and you have nothing more to pay until Dec 31, 2015.

Take out an Electronic membership here http://shop.amsat.org.uk/shop/category_9/Join-Amsat-UK.html

E-members can download their copies of OSCAR News from http://www.amsatuk.me.uk/on

A sample issue of OSCAR News can be downloaded here.

4M-LXS Lunar amateur radio payload

4M payload under test

4M payload under test- Credit LuxSpace

Beijing plans to launch a Lunar spacecraft on a journey lasting 196 hours that should take it around the Moon before returning and re-entering the Earth’s atmosphere. It will carry a 14 kg payload known as 4M-LXS which was developed at LuxSpace. The launch is expected to take place on October 23, 2014 at 1800 UT.

4M stands for Manfred Memorial Moon Mission in memory of Professor Manfred Fuchs, founder and chairman of OHB group, Bremen who passed away on April 27, 2014.

Full Moon 2010 - Credit Gregory H Revera

Full Moon 2010 – Credit Gregory H Revera

The 4M-LXS amateur radio payload will transmit on 145.980 MHz +/- 2.9kHz (-40°C to +125°C), Doppler max: -2200Hz, +1000Hz. The continuous transmissions will start 4670s (77.8 minutes) after launch (-0, +600s). Five successive 1 minute sequences are sent during the 5 minutes cycle. The digital mode JT65B will be used, this can be decoded by radio amateurs using the free WJST software, there will also be ‘human readable’ tone transmissions. See the transmit sequence description on page 14 of 4M Mission: a Lunar FlyBy experiment.

During the lunar flyby, the range will be 399,636 km at the most and the distance to the Moon will be between 12,000 and 24,000 km depending on the final injection vector. The transmitter produces 1.5 watts to a simple Monopole antenna which should give a Signal to Noise ratio ( S/N) comparable to amateur moon bounce (EME) signals at the Earth’s surface.

LuxSpace wish to encourage radio amateurs around the world to receive the transmissions and send in data. There will be a number of Experiments and Contests with prizes to the winners in each experiment and category. Details are given on page 19 of 4M Mission: a Lunar FlyBy experiment.

A Java client will be made available to automatically send the WSJT ALL.TXT and the decoded.txt files to a central database.

Delivery convoy - Image credit Xinhua

Delivery convoy – Image credit Xinhua

The orbiter is one of the test models for Beijing’s new lunar probe Chang’e-5, which will be tasked with landing on the moon, collecting samples and returning to Earth. The launch is aimed at testing the technologies that are vital for the success of Chang’e-5. The orbiter will be launched into Lunar Transfer Orbit (LTO) then will perform a flyby around the Moon and re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere after 196 hours (9 days).

The orbiter arrived by air in Xichang, Sichuan on Sunday, August 10 and was then transported to the Xichang Satellite Launch Center.

Read the paper 4M Mission: a Lunar FlyBy experiment

EME 2014 slides: 4M, A Moon Flyby Mission

LuxSpace Sarl on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/LuxSpaceSarl

Beijing to test recoverable moon orbiter
http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/china/2014-08/10/c_133546027.htm

IARU Satellite Frequency Coordination Pages http://amsat.org.uk/iaru

Free WSJT Software http://physics.princeton.edu/pulsar/K1JT/

OHB mourning the loss of its founder Manfred Fuchs
http://globenewswire.com/news-release/2014/04/28/630464/0/en/DGAP-News-OHB-AG-OHB-mourning-the-loss-of-its-founder-Manfred-Fuchs.html

4M Payload - credit LuxSpace

4M Payload – Credit LuxSpace

Japanese Asteroid Mission To Carry Amateur Radio

Abyss 2

Abyss 2

A Japanese news report says the asteroid mission Hayabusa 2, planned to launch in December 2014 on a  H-IIA rocket, will also carry the amateur radio satellite Abyss 2 (Shin’en 2).

Shin’en 2 is  a polyhedron measuring 490×490×475 mm and weighing 17 kg. It was built by students at Kyushu Institute of Technology and carries a Mode J linear transponder for amateur radio communications along with CW and WSJT beacons.

Shin’en 2 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.

Shin’en 2 IARU coordinated frequencies:
• 437.505 MHz CW beacon
• 437.385 MHz WSJT telemetry
• Inverting SSB/CW transponder
– 145.940-145.960 MHz uplink LSB
– 435.280-435.260 MHz downlink USB

Another amateur radio satellite ARTSAT2:DESPATCH is also on the same launch.

Read the Japanese language article (try Chrome translator) at
http://www.nishinippon.co.jp/nnp/f_kitakyushu_keichiku/article/111554

Shin’en2 project website http://kit-okuyama-lab.com/en/sinen2/sinen2-outline/

Shin’en2 to carry Mode J linear transponder
http://amsat-uk.org/2014/04/23/shin-en2-to-carry-mode-j-linear-transponder/

Shin’en2 Satellite Linear Transponder Frequencies
http://amsat-uk.org/2014/05/21/shin-en2-satellite-frequencies/

ARTSAT2:DESPATCH
http://amsat-uk.org/2013/11/03/art-and-ham-radio-in-deep-space/

Hayabusa 2 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hayabusa_2

73 on 73 Award Update

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

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

Paul Stoetzer N8HM provides an update on the 73 on 73 Award for contacts made via the amateur radio satellite AO-73 (FUNcube-1).

Just a reminder that the award period for the 73 on 73 Award begins at 0000Z on September 1st, so begin keeping track of the unique callsigns that you work on AO-73. When you reach 73 unique callsigns in your log, email me at n8hm@arrl.net with a list of calls, date, and time worked (in GMT) and your mailing address. I hope to have a website up soon with an example of what the award will look like.

Some tips for working AO-73:

- Keep in mind the frequency drift on the transponder. The offset needed on your transmit frequency is usually from +10 kHz to +16 kHz. This can vary throughout the pass, requiring frequency adjustments if using computer control. Many find manually tuning the uplink to maintain a constant downlink to work better than computer control.

- I usually start a pass by trying to find myself come into the top edge of the passband (145.970 MHz). To do this, I usually start transmitting around 435.135 MHz and tuning up slowly until I can hear myself enter the passband. Then I can move around the transponder easily. Remember to tune your uplink to maintain an constant downlink frequency (the opposite of FO-29).

- Keep power output down. The transponder has a very sensitive receiver and a very active AGC circuit. Excessive uplink power will not make your signal louder – it will only reduce that available for others on the transponder. With a clear view of the horizon, 5 watts to an Arrow or Elk is plenty for horizon to horizon coverage. Very slightly more might be necessary if you are beaming through trees or other obstructions, but try to keep power to 25-40 watts ERP.

Good luck! Who will claim the 73 on 73 Award #1?

73, Paul Stoetzer, N8HM
Washington, DC, USA (FM18lv)

73 on 73 Award Announcement
http://amsat-uk.org/2014/08/18/73-on-73-award-announcement/

AO-73 http://amsat-uk.org/funcube/funcube-cubesat/

—-

Live Webcast of Electromagnetic Field EMF 2014 event

30 metre mast for EMF 2014 Internet

30 metre mast for EMF 2014 Internet

The Electromagnetic Field EMF 2014 event is taking place this weekend at Bletchley near Milton Keynes and the presentations will be streamed live to a global audience. GB2EMF will be on-the-air.

EMF 2014 is a festival for anyone interested in radio, electronics, space, homebrewing, robots, UAVs, 3D printing, DIYBio, Internet culture or pretty much anything else you can think of. It is a volunteer effort by a non-profit group, inspired by European and US hacker camps like Chaos Communication Camp, HAR, and toorcamp. There is an amateur radio village and special event station GB2EMF.

Imagine a camping festival with a power grid and high-speed internet access; a temporary village of geeks, crafters, and technology enthusiasts that’s lit up by night, and buzzing with activity during the day. Over a thousand curious people have descended on the friendly open space to learn, share, and talk about what they love.

Over a long weekend, you can expect to see a huge variety of talks across three stages, a slew of workshops, as well as music, games, and installations dotted around the site.

EMF 2014 takes place August 29-31 near Newton Longville, just South of Bletchley, Milton Keynes, MK17 0BU. Talks include:
• High Altitude Ballooning by Adam Greig M0RND
• Amateur Radio – Practical Sign offs by Paul
• Amateur Radio: The Original Nerd Hobby! by Ryan Sayre 2E0RYS
• An Operator’s Guide to the Enigma Cipher Machine by Simon Singh
• Back to Basics Radio – build a self-powered solderless receiver by Iain Sharp
• InfraRed Communications by Michael Turner
• Surface Mount Soldering – SMD by hand isn’t hard, build your own Persistence of Vision kit to prove it! by Edinburgh Hacklab
Schedule https://frab.emfcamp.org/en/EMF2014/public/schedule/0

Watch the live streaming at http://webcast.emfcamp.org/

EMF 2014 https://www.emfcamp.org/
Twitter @emfcamp
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/emfcamp

Announcing TiLDA MKe, the incredible EMF 2014 camp badge
http://blog.emfcamp.org/post/94157161753/announcing-tilda-mke-the-incredible-emf-2014-camp

NEXUS CubeSat Will Have Mode-J Transponder

JAMSAT stand at the Tokyo Ham Radio Fair August 2014

JAMSAT stand at the Tokyo Ham Radio Fair August 2014

The Japan AMSAT Association (JAMSAT) and students at the Nippon University are jointly developing a CubeSat called NEXUS which will have a 145 to 435 MHz (Mode-J) transponder and a 38 kbps data downlink.

JAMSAT CubeSat Board

JAMSAT CubeSat Board

Nippon University students have previously developed the SEEDS and SPROUT satellites. NEXUS is an achronym of “Next Education X (cross) Unique Satellite”, it will be 1U CubeSat with a mass of between 1 and 1.5 kg.

The NEXUS team hope to:
● Provide amateur radio communications via the 145/435 MHz transponder and SSTV
● Download pictures from the 640×480 pixel camera
● Operate the data downlink at 38400 bps QPSK
● Compare the performance of the data downlink when using AFSK, GMSK and QPSK modes

A launch opportunity has not yet been identified.

NEXUS website in Google English http://tinyurl.com/NEXUS-Satellite

NEXUS Blog http://tinyurl.com/NEXUS-Sat-Blog

JAMSAT in Google English http://tinyurl.com/JAMSAT

ISS Slow Scan TV on August 27

RS0ISS SSTV 20131029-1121Z received by Dmitry Pashkov UB4UAD

RS0ISS SSTV 20131029-1121Z received by Dmitry Pashkov then UB4UAD

A test of the Slow Scan Television (SSTV) experiment MAI-75, callsign RS0ISS, took place on the International Space Station (ISS) on Wednesday, August 27 between 1100-1300 GMT on 145.800 MHz FM. Although a strong carrier was heard there were no reports of SSTV tones being received.

The ARISS SSTV Blog Aug 27 says: The SSTV transmissions occurred on schedule and even occurred well after the planned termination time of 13:00 UTC (after 17:00 UTC). The new cable appears to have solved the constant carrier issue but now the audio from the program is not being transmitted. The end result for the day was no images but several well timed carriers that lasted for 180 seconds.

The ARISS SSTV Blog Aug 25 says: After a long hiatus due to hardware issues, the Russian team will try sending SSTV images on Aug 27 from 11:00-13:00 UTC using the Kenwood D710 and a new cable. The transmissions will be on 145.80 MHz and the intended mode is PD180. The interval between transmissions should be about 3 minutes. The images are being planned to be sent for one full orbit during this time period. Regions along the ground track include Europe, Central and Southeast Asia, Eastern Australia and New Zealand, Central South America and then Europe again.

Paul G4IJE, co-developer of the SSTV PD modes, says: If the ISS really does use PD180 mode as reported, don’t forget to either enable “Always show RX viewer” or use the “Picture viewer” (magnifying glass icon) to show the picture at it’s real resolution of 640 x 496. If you just view as normal you will only see 320 x 248 resolution, which kind of defeats the object of using a high resolution mode. Hopefully the image capture on the ISS is at high resolution.

Yuri Gagarin

Yuri Gagarin

A Google English translation of the ISS work plan says: “On Gagarin from Space”. Open gear with ISS RS by amateur radio link to ground receiving stations amateurs around the world images of photographs devoted to the life and work of the first cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin.

The Kenwood TM-D710 was delivered to the ISS in the summer of 2012. ARISS minutes for March 2013 note that: Sergey and the team did some tests including swapping antennas between the D-700 and the D-710, and with both configurations, there was a weak signal with the D-700. The power amplifier appears to be the problem. It seems only the exciter is working. Also, the D-710 has no mike since it was to be used with non-voice modes, and the mike for the D-700 has been modified and can’t be used with the D-710. We will work with our Russian colleagues to solve these issues.

The very strong carrier that was transmitted during the test on Wednesday, August 27 confirmed that the D-710 was radiating power successfully. Overheating issues (convection cooling doesn’t work in zero gravity) meant that the old D-700 transceiver was always run on the lowest power setting – 5 watts. It is presumed that a similar power level was used for the SSTV test.

All you need to do to receive SSTV pictures from the space station is to connected the audio output of a scanner or amateur rig via a simple interface to the soundcard on a Windows PC or an Apple iOS device, and tune in to 145.800 MHz FM. You can even receive pictures by holding an iPhone next to the radio’s loudspeaker.

The ISS puts out a strong signal on 145.800 MHz FM and a 2m handheld with a 1/4 wave antenna will be enough to receive it. The FM transmission uses 5 kHz deviation which is standard in much of the world.

Many FM rigs in the UK can be switched been wide and narrow deviation FM filters so select the wider deviation. Handhelds all seem to have a single wide filter fitted as standard.

Orbit for ISS SSTV on August 27, 2014 1100-1300 GMT

Orbit for ISS SSTV on August 27, 2014 1100-1300 GMT

On Windows PC’s the free application MMSSTV can be used to decode the signal, on Apple iOS devices you can use the SSTV app. The ISS Fan Club website will show you when the space station is in range.

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

For more on Slow Scan Television SSTV, see this article SSTV – The Basics
http://www.essexham.co.uk/sstv-the-basics

How to be successful with the ISS Slow Scan Television (SSTV) imaging system
http://www.marexmg.org/fileshtml/howtoisssstv.html

Information on the MAI-75 SSTV experiment
http://www.energia.ru/eng/iss/researches/education-26.html

Free MMSSTV software http://hamsoft.ca/pages/mmsstv.php

iOS SSTV App https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/sstv/id387910013

IZ8BLY Vox Recoder, enables you to record the signals from the ISS on 145.800 MHz while you’re away at work http://antoninoporcino.xoom.it/VoxRecorder/

ARISS Slow Scan TV (SSTV) Blog and Gallery http://ariss-sstv.blogspot.co.uk/

For real-time tracking and the latest status of amateur radio activity on the space station see the ISS Fan Club http://www.issfanclub.com/

Dmitry Pashkov R4UAB http://r4uab.ru/?p=7237

ISS Work Plan http://www.mcc.rsa.ru/plan.htm

Lambda-Sat CubeSat – ISS Deployment

Some of the Lambda-Sat Team (right to left) Dr. Periklis Papadopoulos, Kostas Alexandrou, Eriana Panopoulou, Vaggelis Christodoulou, Maria Dimitrakopoulou, Charalabos Koulouris and Simos Kanis

Some of the Lambda-Sat Team (right to left) Dr. Periklis Papadopoulos, Kostas Alexandrou, Eriana Panopoulou, Vaggelis Christodoulou, Maria Dimitrakopoulou, Charalabos Koulouris and Simos Kanis

Lambda-Sat was launched to the International Space Station (ISS) from the Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia on July 13, 2014, in an Orbital Sciences’ Antares rocket CRS-2/ORB-2. It is unclear when deployment will take place but it may be after September 15.

Lambda-Sat

Lambda-Sat

The Lambda team encourages amateur radio operators around the world to listen for and report the Lambda-Sat signal.

Frequency: 437.462 MHz
Downlink: AX.25 Unnumbered Information (UI) packets at 1200 bps AFSK
Transmission Power : 1W
Call Sign KK6DFZ

The Secretary of the Cyprus Amateur Radio Society (CARS) Nestor  has written an article on Lambda-Sat, he says:

The naming of the Λ-sat satellite came from the Greek letter L (Λ – lambda) a reminder of Hellas, Helios, the Greek word Thalassa for sea, the Greek word Lithos which directly translates to stone (meaning “Land of Light”).

The Λ-sat was constructed entirely of Greek volunteers who worked feverishly, selflessly and without any personal gain. Members of Λ-sat contributed to the construction of the satellite system each with their knowledge in robotics, electronics, software development and telecommunications. The group consists of young people from Greece who traveled to Silicon Valley in California to participate in this project.

“I want to motivate the youth in Greece to continue to dream,” says the original initiator of the project, Periklis Papadopoulos, Professor of Aerospace Engineering of the Federal University of California San Jose, which has been awarded from NASA for his contribution with the prize Turning Goals Into Reality (TGIR). As the professor states, “My goal is to demonstrate the capabilities of young people in Greece.” The professor believes that our country could be active in this area and this is not an economic issue, but a question of will alone (!).

Submit reception reports of Lambda-Sat at http://lambdasat.com/?page_id=181

Lambda-Sat http://lambdasat.com/

Article on Lambda-Sat by
http://www.cyhams.org/index.php/en/news-and-events/359-the-first-greek-microsatellite-is-a-fact

Schedule for RSGB Convention Released

Ofcom's Ash Gohil and Paul Jarvis G8RMM at 2013 RSGB Convention

Ofcom’s Ash Gohil and Paul Jarvis G8RMM at 2013 RSGB Convention

Ofcom staff will be among those giving presentations at the RSGB Convention which takes place October 10-12.

The Ofcom public consultation on Amateur Radio has been eagerly awaited for many months now and will hopefully have been released before the Convention.

The Society say there will be lots of space and a five lecture stream programme in the new Convention venue at the Kents Hill Conference Centre, Milton Keynes, MK7 6BZ.

Among the presentations are
- UKHASNET, technology and methodology by James Coxon M6JCX
- SDR Techniques by Simon Brown G4ELI
- Digital modes start up by Mike Richards G4WNC
- FUNcube CubeSat by AMSAT-UK
- Amateur radio software developers forum by Michael Wells G7VJR
- 146-147MHz: A New Frontier of Amateur Innovation? by John Regnault G4SWX
- World War 1 Communications by Dr Elizabeth Bruton

RSGB Convention http://rsgb.org/main/about-us/rsgb-convention/

Schedule http://rsgb.org/main/about-us/rsgb-convention/rsgb-convention-2014-provisional-timetable/

434 MHz balloon B-64 returning to UK again

B-64 transmitter payload weighs just 11 grams - Credit Leo Bodnar M0XER

B-64 transmitter payload weighs just 11 grams – Credit Leo Bodnar M0XER

Radio amateur Leo Bodnar M0XER launched his solar powered balloon B-64, carrying an 11 gram transmitter payload, from Silverstone in the UK at 06:51 UT on July 12, 2014 and it’s still flying.

It completed its first circumnavigation of the Northern Hemisphere at 16:30 UT on Friday, July 31 and is expected to complete the second circumnavigation in the next couple of days.

On the afternoon of Thursday, August 21 the balloon was just west of Reykjavik in Iceland heading south at an altitude of 12,500 metres.  Radio amateurs in the British Isles are invited to listen out for the balloon which may come in range late Friday or on Saturday.

B-64 transmits 10 mW on 434.500 MHz using the amateur radio data modes Contestia 64/1000 and APRS (M0XER-4).

The path of the balloon over the past 6 weeks can be seen on the UKHAS tracker at http://spacenear.us/tracker/flyb.php

An APRS map showing the past 24 hours is at http://aprs.fi/#!mt=roadmap&z=11&call=a%2FM0XER-4&timerange=86400&tail=86400

B-64 plastic foil envelope - Image credit Leo Bodnar M0XER

B-64 plastic foil envelope – Credit Leo Bodnar M0XER

Leo has utilised some clever techniques storing positions when the balloon is out of radio contact then later transmitting a log file of previous locations in the comments field of the APRS packet. This enables a fairly complete path to be built up. B-64 only stores 5 days worth of data, where you get a straight line on the track it has been out of radio contact.

Leo Bodnar M0XER balloons http://www.leobodnar.com/balloons/

Listen for B-64 online using the SUWS WebSDR, further details at http://amsat-uk.org/2014/08/15/suws-websdr-moves-to-new-site/

Online real-time tracking of balloons http://spacenear.us/tracker/

Mobile Tracker http://habitat.habhub.org/mobile-tracker/

Beginners Guide to Tracking using dl-fldigi software http://ukhas.org.uk/guides:tracking_guide

Slow Scan Digital Video (SSDV) Guide http://ukhas.org.uk/guides:ssdv (note no SSDV on B-64)

See received SSDV images on the web at http://ssdv.habhub.org/

To get up-to-date information on balloon flights subscribe to the UKHAS Mailing List by sending a blank email to this address: ukhas+subscribe@googlegroups.com

Follow balloon chat on the #highaltitude IRC channel at http://webchat.freenode.net/?channels=highaltitude

What is Amateur Radio ? http://www.essexham.co.uk/what-is-amateur-radio

 

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

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