The STELAR Project 2014

STELAR Logo SmallThe education and science charity STELAR has been active in promoting radiocommunications in schools and colleges for over 20 years, as part of curriculum enrichment and personal and professional development for teachers.

Through its specialist courses, it has achieved much notable success in establishing radio clubs in schools and inspiring young people to seek careers in science, electronics and industry. It has played a major role in space and satellite communications in schools.

In 2013 it provided opportunities for satellite experiment by offering SDR receivers to schools allowing them to participate in the current series of FUNCUBE satellite experiments.

Now in 2014 STELAR is offering a new challenge to educators both professional and Amateur. The phenomenal success of the Raspberry Pi computer has opened up new opportunities and stimulated demand for educational projects linking communications systems, via computers.

This year STELAR is seeking to support the very best of those ideas by making available grants to educational groups, with projects designed to stimulate experiments with radio linked computing.

Typically these might take the form of:
• Radio systems linked to but not exclusively, a Raspberry Pi, computer.
• A detailed Teachers guide to the use and benefits of FUNCUBE or similar satellite systems in schools,
• The creation of radio-science projects to aid teachers personal and professional development.

Educational groups can apply for funding to develop a project of their choice, by submitting ideas for consideration by June 30, 2014. Groups should set out their aims and giving as much detail as possible. Successful entries will be notified during the Autumn term.

Interested ? then make contact by visiting the STELAR website

KickSat launch postponed until Friday

KickSat Sprite CompetitionThe SpaceX CRS-3 Dragon launch of five CubeSats and 104 Sprite satellites has been postponed until Friday, April 18, 2014 at 1925 UT.

SpaceX were finally set to launch their Dragon spacecraft on its third Commercial Resupply Services mission to the ISS Monday, prior to a scrub being called over an hour ahead of lift-off. It is reported there was a helium leak on the first stage, the next launch opportunity is Friday.

The launch had been planned for December 2013 but has suffered a number of delays.

Read the full story at

KickSat information

Frequencies of the other CubeSats can be found at

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

Equipment for receiving the Sprite 437 MHz signals

Equipment for receiving the Sprite 437 MHz signals

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

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

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.




The OSCAR number CO-77 was issued to the ARTSAT1:INVADER CubeSat (call sign JQ1ZKK, NORAD ID 39577U) on April 2, 2014.



The ARTSAT Project Leader Akihiro Kubota said “We would like to express best thanks to AMSAT-NA and all of you”.

INVADER is an amateur radio “Art Satellite” developed by students at the Tama Art University as a part of the “ARTSAT: Art and Satellite Project” which aims at a practical use of a satellite for art and design.

The 1U CubeSat was launched from the Yoshinobu Launch Complex at the Tanegashima Space Center on Thursday, February 27 at 1837 UT. It carries a CW (A1A) beacon on 437.325 MHz (+/- 10 kHz Doppler shift), a 1200 bps FM AX.25 Packet Radio and FM Digitalker on 437.200 MHz and a low-resolution camera.

Reports of ARTSAT1:INVADER reception can be submitted online at

Watch ARTSAT1:INVADER Promotional Video




Information on obtaining an OSCAR number for your satellite can be found on the OSCAR Numbers Policy page at

ARTSAT students at the Tama Art University

ARTSAT students at the Tama Art University

Oscar 7 and 73 – The old and the new

SUWS WebSDR showing AO7 and 73 on April 3, 2014 at 1040 GMT

SUWS WebSDR showing AO7 and 73 on April 3, 2014 at 1040 GMT

A very good set of co-incident passes of both the AO-7 and FUNcube-1 AO-73 amateur radio satellites occurred over the UK on the morning of Thursday, April 3. The two satellites were launched 39 years apart, AO-7 on November 15, 1974 and FUNcube-1 AO-73 on November 21, 2013.

Simultaneous downlinks from both satellites could be clearly seen and heard on 2m, via the Southampton University Wireless Society (SUWS) online WebSDR at which is available for use world-wide.

23cm_WebSDR_Antenna_up_mastNew Helical antennas designed by Martin Ehrenfried, G8JNJ, the installation of pre-amplifiers by Noel Matthews, G8GTZ, and a new PC build by Phil Crump, M0DNY have helped to dramatically improve the overall performance, especially on the 2m and 70cm Amateur bands.

The FUNcube-1 AO-73 BPSK telemetry beacon on 145.935 MHz is now up to 20dB above the receiver noise floor, and several stations using SSB, including Martin, G8JNJ, could be clearly heard on the 2m downlink via the SDR during last weekends transponder tests.

More improvements are in the pipeline, which we hope will help to further improve the receive sensitivity and reduce the level of interfering signals that can be observed on 2m.

Anybody can operate the SUWS WebSDR to receive signals from Satellites, and we really appreciate users leaving a message in the chatbox to let us know what they have heard.

Martin – G8JNJ


Euroluna Ion Motor CubeSat Video

Romit-1 - Image Credit Euroluna

Romit-1 – Image Credit Euroluna

Palle Haastrup OZ1HIA, President of Euroluna (OZ9LUNA), provides an update on the Romit-1 CubeSat which has ion motor propulsion.

Euroluna are a Danish amateur team participating in the $30 million Google Lunar X PRIZE contest to be the first privately funded team to land and drive a rover on the Moon.

Their first amateur radio satellite Romit1 is a 2U CubeSat that will transmit on 437.505 MHz using 1200 bps AX.25 packet radio. It will be fitted with an Ion Motor and if everything goes well it should, after a year, be able to raise the orbit from 310 km to 700 km.

It is planned to launch on an Interorbital Systems Neptune 30 rocket.

The team’s latest video update shows Romit-1 going into a vacuum chamber to test outgassing.

Watch Vacuum chamber considerations




Google Lunar X PRIZE