Listen for LightSail-1 – Transmissions Stopped

LightSail-1 with sail deployed - Credit Justin Foley KI6EPH

LightSail-1 with sail deployed – Credit Justin Foley KI6EPH

JoAnne Maenpaa K9JKM, AMSAT Vice-President User Services, reports that LightSail-1 has stopped transmitting on 437.435 MHz.

She says: Just read on-line at http://planet.ly/0gVop (Planetary Society) that the LightSail satellite stopped transmitting. The team is attempting a reboot.The telemetry data is sent on a downlink of 437.435 MHz, AX.25, 9600 bps FSK.

Excerpt from their page …
As of late Friday afternoon, LightSail was continuing to operate normally. The spacecraft’s ground stations at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and Georgia Tech were receiving data on each pass. Power and temperature readings were trending stably, and the spacecraft was in good health.

But inside the spacecraft’s Linux-based flight software, a problem was brewing. Every 15 seconds, LightSail transmits a telemetry beacon packet. The software controlling the main system board writes corresponding information to a file called beacon.csv. If you’re not familiar with CSV files, you can think of them as simplified spreadsheets-in fact, most can be opened with Microsoft Excel.

As more beacons are transmitted, the file grows in size. When it reaches 32 megabytes-roughly the size of ten compressed music files-it can crash the flight system. The manufacturer of the avionics board corrected this glitch in later software revisions. But alas, LightSail’s software version doesn’t include the update.

Late Friday, the LightSail team received a heads-up warning them of the vulnerability. A fix was quickly devised to prevent the spacecraft from crashing, and it was scheduled to be uploaded during the next ground station pass. But before that happened, LightSail’s automated chirps fell silent. The last data packet received from the spacecraft was May 22 at 21:31 UTC (5:31 p.m. EDT).

A LightSail map tracking application is at http://sail.planetary.org/missioncontrol/

73 de JoAnne K9JKM
AMSAT VP User Services

LightSail-1 and other CubeSats Launch with X-37B http://amsat-uk.org/2015/05/20/lightsail-1-launch/

Keps for the CubeSats but which object corresponds to which satellite ?
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1o48dswYcTHb-op9ygaKhrizrelMGV9pYcUm0SFmxfS8/pub

UK radio amateurs use PSK31 satellite transponder

PSAT PSK31 Transponder received by Peter Goodhall 2E0SQL May 26, 2015

PSAT PSK31 Transponder received by Peter Goodhall 2E0SQL May 26, 2015

After building a 28 MHz 1/4 Wave Ground Plane antenna to replace his dipole Peter Goodhall 2E0SQL was able to receive his 10 watt signal through the PSAT CubeSat PSK31 transponder for the first time on Tuesday, May 26.

Peter Martinez G3PLX posted a report to the RSGB Tech Yahoo Group reproduced here with permission:

Finally got my own signal back via PSAT just now and proved  that the uplink frequency control works. The PSAT uplink receiver is about 300 Hz low of 28120 kHz which means that when the satellite is heading straight towards me at +600 Hz Doppler, my transmitter needs to be 900 Hz low.

If I chose to place my own signal on a downlink frequency of 1000 Hz, the transmit audio tone would have to be down at 100 Hz which is too low for my SSB transmitter. So I have chosen 1500 Hz in the downlink.

I will try again on the next few passes. I am just sending “Test de G3PLX via PSAT” continuously at the moment and not listening for replies.  Still not getting a strong downlink SNR so the power control loop isn’t kicking in.

Bob Bruninga WB4APR has made a request to developers of PSK31 software to open their PSK31 frequency tracking to accommodate more than 1 Hz per second Doppler shift. Current implementations can do 1 Hz/s but completely fail at 3 Hz/s.

PSK31 Transponder Frequencies:
PSAT: 145.825 MHz FM 1200 baud AX.25 telemetry – digipeater currently off
PSAT PSK31: 435.350 MHz FM downlink, 28.120 MHz SSB PSK31 uplink. W3ADO-5 PSK TLM beacon on 315 Hz

BRICsat: 437.975 MHz 9600 baud telemetry every 20s
BRICsat PSK31 435.350 MHz FM downlink, 28.120 MHz SSB PSK31 uplink. W3ADO-6 PSK TLM beacon on 375 Hz

Guide to using the PSK31 transponder http://amsat-uk.org/beginners/how-to-work-psk31-satellites/

ParkinsonSAT (PSAT) http://www.aprs.org/psat.html

Fldigi PSK31 software http://www.w1hkj.com/Fldigi.html

Keplerian Two Line Elements (TLEs) ‘Keps’ for satellites launched in last 30 days
http://celestrak.com/NORAD/elements/tle-new.txt

Adding new satellites to SatPC32 and Gpredict
http://amsat-uk.org/2013/11/23/adding-new-satellites-to-satpc32/

Listen to satellite signals in the 145 and 435-438 MHz bands from anywhere in the world using the online SUWS WebSDR located near London. Further details at http://amsat-uk.org/2014/08/15/suws-websdr-moves-to-new-site/

AMSAT-UK
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29 MHz – the forgotten frequency for amateur radio satellites

Jan King W3GEY/VK4GEY prepares OSCAR 7 for a vibration test - Credit AMSAT-NA

Jan King W3GEY/VK4GEY prepares OSCAR 7 for a vibration test – Credit AMSAT-NA

Hans van de Groenendaaal ZS6AKV writes in the EngineerIT magazine about the potential for 29 MHz as a satellite uplink band.

Universities and other scientific research institutions are using portions of the amateur spectrum for their CubeSat’s which has caused the 145 and 435 MHz amateur-satellite band segments to be very crowded, leading to an increasing number of satellite builders to explore alternatives.

For many, such as those requiring single-channel bandwidth greater than approximately 12.5 kHz, the best answer will be found in the microwave bands. However, for those who can use it, the International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) satellite frequency coordination process has now opened another alternative: 29 MHz uplinks.

Read the EngineerIT article at http://www.ee.co.za/article/29-mhz-forgotten-frequency-amateur-radio-satellites.html

IARU Satellite Frequency Coordination http://www.iaru.org/satellite.html

PSAT PSK31 CubeSat Update May 24

PSAT PSK31 FM Downlink received by Martin G8JNJ at 1429 UT May 22, 2015 using the online SUWS WebSDR

PSAT PSK31 FM Downlink received by Martin G8JNJ at 1429 UT May 22, 2015 using the online SUWS WebSDR

Bob Bruninga WB4APR released this update on the PSAT PSK31 CubeSat on Sunday, May 24

28 MHz PSK31 Receiver Board Flight Prototype - Brno University of Technology

28 MHz PSK31 Receiver Board Flight Prototype – Brno University of Technology

The PSAT PSK31 435.350 MHz FM downlink is full quieting with 6 bars using a decent UHF Yagi. But we have not seen any users other than those using the 28.120 PSK channel on HF normally. We welcome people to experiment with it.

Everyone within the 28.120 to 28.123 MHz ten meter passband will be uplinked and heard on the 435.350 MHz downlink.

The Naval Academy’s PSAT seems healthy with plenty of power (we are keeping the APRS digipeater off to allow max power for PSK31).

PSAT’s radio and packet system are a simple $250 APRS tracker http://www.byonics.com/mtt4b sent to space. The PSK31 transponder is a single 3.4″ square circuit board made by Brno Universtiy in the Czech Republic. The CPU for controlling bulletins and timing is a simple Parallax Basic Stamp.

PSAT is actually only about a 1U cubesat but in a 1.5U package since the flight was available and it gave us more power for our NON-SPACE solar cells. We are using standard silicon that are only half as efficient as multi-junction cells, but only cost 1% as much.

PSAT has a single 21″ VHF  and 72″ long HF whip. It has two UHF 6″ orthogonal monopoles, all of very thin Nitinol wire.

More details will eventually follow as the page will be updated over the coming weeks http://aprs.org/psat.html

* PSAT packet telemetry is OK, Digipeater will be off (secondary mission)
* PSAT PSK31 transponder is ON with 28.120 MHz uplink! (primary mission)
* WOD data fixed.  Spin data now available.  Right now it is at 3 RPM with
+Z pointing 45 deg off Sun
* Launch TLE elements (below) are still very good
* http://PCSAT.APRS.ORG web page is now capturing PSAT telelmetry that
users inject into the APRS-IS
* BRICSAT telemetry has been heard but is cycling OFF due to low power
* BRICSAT PSK31 downlink (also FM) has also been heard barely (when ON)
* USS Langley not heard

Frequencies:

PSAT: 145.825 – 1200 baud AX.25 telemetry – digi off
PSAT PSK31-5: 435.350 FM down, 28.120 SSB PK31 uplink – Brno University Transponder

BRICsat: 437.975 – 9600 baud telemetry evry 20s
BRICsat PSK31-6 – same as PSAT but PSK TLM on 375 Hz (PSAT on 315 Hz)

USS Langley – 437.475  9600 baud telemetry  <== CORRECTION

ULTRASat3  
1 99993U          15140.67013889  .00040043  00000-0  10235-2 0 00009
2 99993 055.0004 339.9238 0251027 182.3314 074.3075 15.12517086000014

Bob, WB4APR

Guide to using the PSK31 transponder http://amsat-uk.org/beginners/how-to-work-psk31-satellites/

ParkinsonSAT (PSAT) http://www.aprs.org/psat.html

Fldigi PSK31 software http://www.w1hkj.com/Fldigi.html

Listen to satellite signals in the 145 and 435-438 MHz bands from anywhere in the world using the online SUWS WebSDR located near London. Further details at http://amsat-uk.org/2014/08/15/suws-websdr-moves-to-new-site/

AMSAT-UK
Web http://amsat-uk.org/
Twitter https://twitter.com/AmsatUK
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PSK31 and APRS CubeSat Status Update

PSAT PSK31 FM Downlink received by Martin G8JNJ at 1429 UT May 22, 2015 using the online SUWS WebSDR

PSAT PSK31 FM downlink received by Martin G8JNJ at 1429 UT May 22, 2015 using the online SUWS WebSDR

Martin Ehrenfried G8JNJ reports receiving the PSAT PSK31 FM downlink on the online SUWS WebSDR located at Farnham near London.

Bob Bruninga WB4APR has posted two updates on May 21 and May 22 to the AMSAT Bulletin Board about the three USNA CubeSats PSAT, BRICSAT and USS Langley along with a guide on how to use the PSK31 transponder. These can be seen below.

Status Summary – Day 2 – May 21

We now have heard 4 of 5 transmitters from our 3 spacecraft all still in a close cluster:
* PSAT packet is OK but WOD not working (no digipeating for users yet)
* PSAT PSK31 downlink is ok [remember, it is FM!]
* BRICSAT telemetry has been heard but is cycling OFF due to low power
* BRICSAT PSK31 downlink (also FM) has also been heard barely (when ON)
* USS Langley not heard

28 MHz PSK31 Receiver Board Flight Prototype - Brno University of Technology

28 MHz PSK31 Receiver Board Flight Prototype – Brno University of Technology

PSAT CPU shows the 4 day-fail-safe backup reset circuit is not counting down, so we have lost this (1 of 3) fail safe backup RESET capabilities. Bad line of code already found.  But cannot change it.

PSAT is not properly reporting WOD data and S#… STATUS packets are being bundled until 255 byte packet length is reached and then it all comes down at once.  Noone has captured any of these long packets.  Please try with PASSALL ON so that you can receive partial packets.

Awaiting permission from Brno University of Technology to authorize HF user uplinks on PSAT PSK31. UPDATE May 22 Here is the announcement from Brno University: “We can uplink open to all users. Please, do it.”Mirek OK2AQ.

BRICSAT PSK31 transponder is on identical frequencies as PSAT’s.  You can tell them apart because one has PSK Telemetry on 315 Hz and the other is on 365 Hz.  Both on the UHF FM downlink 435.350 MHz

We’d LOVE to hear from USS Langley, and we’d love to capture one of those long WOD packets from PSAT.  Our ground station is only getting a few packets compared to some submissions from others.  Keep it up.

SUMMARY:

145.825 1.5U  CubeSat – PSAT 1200 baud AX.25
435.350 same CubeSat – PSAT PSK31 FM – Brno University transponder

437.975 1.5U  CubeSat – BRICsat 9600 baud
435.350 same CubeSat – BRICsat PSK31 FM – Brno University transponder

437.475 3.0U  CubeSat – USS Langley 9600 bd

ULTRASat3 
1 99993U          15140.67013889  .00040043  00000-0  10235-2 0 00009
2 99993 055.0004 339.9238 0251027 182.3314 074.3075 15.12517086000014

Bob, WB4APR

Status Summary – Day 3 – May 22

* PSAT packet telemetry is OK, Digipeater will be off (secondary mission)
* PSAT PSK31 transponder is ON with 28.120 MHz uplink! (primary mission)
* WOD data fixed.  Spin data now available.  Right now it is at 3 RPM with
+Z pointing at Sun
* Launch TLE elements (below) are 6 minutes ahead of satellite
* PCSAT.APRS.ORG web page is now also capturing PSAT telelmetry downlinks
* BRICSAT telemetry has been heard but is cycling OFF due to low power
* BRICSAT PSK31 downlink (also FM) has also been heard barely (when ON)
* USS Langley not heard

Only fault so far is the loss of the 4 day-fail-safe backup reset circuit
(1 of 3) fail safe backup RESET capabilities.  The lack of WOD data was
because we had a LOW-POWER bits set that was holding it off.

BRICSAT PSK31 transponder is on identical frequencies as PSAT’s.  You can
tell them apart because one has PSK Telemetry on 315 Hz and the other is
on 365 Hz.  Both on the UHF FM downlink 435.350 MHz

Bob, WB4APR

Receiving the PSAT PSK31 FM downlink

BRICsat 435.350 MHz FM PSK31 signal received by Tetsurou Satou JA0CAW at 2057 UT on May 22, 2015

BRICsat 435.350 MHz FM PSK31 signal received by Tetsurou Satou JA0CAW at 2057 UT on May 22, 2015

Receiving the PSAT (and BRICsat) 435.350 MHz FM downlink is as simple as placing  your PSK31 laptop microphone next to the speaker on your FM satellite UHF receiver and just watching the waterfall.

What you see is exactly what everyone else sees (it’s FM).  There is no Doppler added to the tones due to your station’s position relative to the satellite.  But you DO have to retune your FM radio at least 3 times during the pass (+5 kHz, 0, -5 kHz) to stay in the FM passband. [Note: UK users should remember to selected the wide FM (5 kHz deviation) filter setting on their rigs]

User uplinks, however, will shift in the waterfall according to each user’s position relative to the satellite.  The shift can be as low as 1 Hz per second to as high as 6 Hz per second.  This is because the uplink is on 10 meters where the Doppler rate is only 1/15th of what it would be on UHF.

The TELEMETRY channel at 315 Hz (PSAT) or 375 Hz (BRICsat) is FIXED with no Doppler since it is generated onboard into the FM downlink

WHAT TO DO:

1) We will need PSK31 authors to open the PSK31 frequency tracking to accommodate more than 1 Hz per second Doppler tracking.  Current implementations can do 1 Hz/s but completely fail at 3 Hz/s.  2 Hz/s might work a little…

2) Until then, ANY uplink user that is in line with a direct overhead pass will have minimum Doppler at the start and end of his pass (1 Hz/sec) when the satellite is going right at him and directly away from him.  (Though it will be MAX (6 Hz/sec) when it passes over her/his station).

3) Just turn on MULTI CHANNEL window and let the PSK31 decode everyone.The ones with the least Doppler at any instant may be decoded for a while!

USERS can transmit later when BRNO University says it has completed its tests.  Brno provided the transponders for use in the PSAT and BRICsat satellites.

So start preparing your station to TX PSK31 on 10 meters SSB and to receive the audio from an FM UHF rig on 435.350 +/- 5 kHz steps of Doppler.

DOWNLINK Limitations:  The UHF downlink signal is only 300 mW and so a UHF beam is needed on the downlink.

UPLINK RESTRICTIONS:  *NOTHING MORE THAN* a Vertical 1/4 wave or Dipole is authorized on the 10m uplink  and no more than 25 Watts (for now).

Remember a 1/4 wave vertical is the ideal antenna because it maximizes the signal at lower angles and tapers the signal as the satellite gets closer. This keeps  user uplinks about the same during a pass.  Strong stations just drive down the AGC and ruin it for everyone.

Use minimum power!!  Remember, this is crossband FULL DUPLEX so  you can see yourself in the downlink just like everyone else can see you.  Act accordingly.  And of course DO NOT TRANSMIT if you cannot see the waterfall  … Duh!

Enjoy!
Bob, WB4APR

ParkinsonSAT (PSAT) http://www.aprs.org/psat.html

Fldigi PSK31 software http://www.w1hkj.com/Fldigi.html

Listen to satellite signals in the 145 and 435-438 MHz bands from anywhere in the world using the online SUWS WebSDR located near London. Further details at http://amsat-uk.org/2014/08/15/suws-websdr-moves-to-new-site/

AMSAT-UK
Web http://amsat-uk.org/
Twitter https://twitter.com/AmsatUK
Facebook https://facebook.com/AmsatUK
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Yahoo Group http://groups.yahoo.com/group/FUNcube

Beijing may launch amateur satellites in July

CAMSAT CAS-2 at Friedrichshafen Ham Radio 2012 Event

CAMSAT CAS-2 at Friedrichshafen Ham Radio 2012 Event

UPDATE May 24, 2015: CAS-2A1 and CAS-2A2 will not be launching in July but nine CAS-3 series satellites will be. See the latest information at http://amsat-uk.org/2015/05/24/nine-cas-3-ham-radio-satellites/

Mineo Wakita JE9PEL reports on his website that Beijing may launch satellites carrying amateur radio payloads in July 2015. It is understood the launch would be on a CZ-6 rocket from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center.

XW-2 (CAS-2) and LilacSat-2 will be carrying amateur radio payloads but at the time of writing it is not clear if Tiantuo-3 and ZDPS-2 may also have amateur radio payloads.

Additionally it is reported elsewhere there may be up to 20 satellites on the launch.

Fan Shaomin BA1EO with CAS-2 A1

Fan Shaomin BA1EO with CAS-2 A1

CAS-2A1 satellite: 270x270x250mm
2m CW telemetry beacon 100 mW
2m AX.25 digital telemetry beacon 500 mW
2m FM voice beacon 500 mW
U/V mode Linear transponder 50 kHz 500 mW
L/S mode Linear transponder 200 kHz 320 mW
U/V mode APRS repeater

CAS-2A2 satellite:
70cm CW telemetry beacon 100 mW
70cm AX.25 digital telemetry beacon 500 mW
13cm CW telemetry beacon 200 mW
3cm CW telemetry beacon 200 mW
V/U mode Linear transponder 500 mW

LilacSat-2 – Harbin Institute of Technology
Approx. 11 kg 20x20x20 cm
Uplink: 145.825, 145.875 MHz
Downlink: 437.200 MHz beacon 437.225 MHz FM/APRS

Tiantuo-3 (TT-3) – Small satellite from China’s National University of Defense Technology

ZDPS-2 – Nano-satellite mission of the Microsat Research Center Zhejiang University

Source Mineo Wakita JE9PEL http://www.ne.jp/asahi/hamradio/je9pel/lilacsat.htm

AMSAT-UK
Web http://amsat-uk.org/
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Yahoo Group http://groups.yahoo.com/group/FUNcube

LightSail-1 and other CubeSats Launch with X-37B

LightSail-1 with sail deployed - Credit Justin Foley KI6EPH

LightSail-1 with sail deployed – Credit Justin Foley KI6EPH

At 1504 UT on Wednesday, May 20 the first of The Planetary Society’s two LightSail spacecraft blasted off into space aboard an Atlas V rocket with the X-37B space shuttle. Deployment of LightSail took place at 17:05:40.620 UT. The mission is a shakedown cruise designed to test out the CubeSat’s critical systems.

UltraSat Deployer Configuration - Credit United Launch Alliance

UltraSat Deployer Configuration – Credit United Launch Alliance

There were ten CubeSats including LightSail-1 in the UltraSat Deployer onboard the Atlas V. Information on these satellites is at http://www.spaceflight101.com/afspc-05-secondary-payloads.html

The Psat and BRICSat-P CubeSats carry amateur radio PSK31 transponders for multi-user PSK31 text messaging. Psat A/B also has APRS.

LightSail-1 has a 9600 bps FSK AX.25 Packet Radio downlink on 437.435 MHz. The Planetary Society’s Jason Davis asks radio amateurs to help by emailing him any data you collect from LightSail, including screenshots of the radio signal if you have them. He’ll pass the information on to the engineering team, and your contribution will be recognized on the blog. The contact address is at http://www.planetary.org/about/staff/jason-davis.html

Jason provides a timeline of the launch events at http://www.planetary.org/blogs/jason-davis/2015/20150518-lightsail-first-day-space.html For the latest updates follow him on Twitter @jasonrdavis

In 2016, the second LightSail spacecraft will piggyback into orbit aboard the first operational flight of SpaceX’s new Falcon Heavy rocket for a full-fledged solar sailing demonstration.

This video about the project features Bill Nye (the Science Guy on PBS TV) as well as Justin Foley KI6EPH, Alex Diaz KJ6KSF and Stephanie Wong.

Watch LightSail – Flight by Light (full version)

CubeSats in UltraSat Deployer - Image Credit NRO

CubeSats in UltraSat Deployer – Credit NRO

Gunter’s Space Page reports these spacecraft were onboard the Atlas V:
• X-37B OTV-4 (USA 261)
• GEARRSAT 2 (GEARRS 2)
• LightSail A
• OptiCube 1 (O/C 1)
• OptiCube 2 (O/C 2)
• OptiCube 3 (O/C 3)
• USS Langley
• AeroCube 8A (IMPACT A)
• AeroCube 8B (IMPACT B)
• BRICSat-P
• PSat A (ParkinsonSat A)
http://space.skyrocket.de/doc_chr/lau2015.htm

Frequencies courtesy JE9PEL
Satellite     Uplink          Downlink
LightSail-A      .            437.435 9600bps FSK                      KK6HIT-1
PSat-A/B       28.120 PSK31   435.350 FM PSK31  145.825 1200bps AFSK   PSAT-1 
USS Langley   145.825         437.475 9600bps FSK 
BRICsat        28.120 PSK31   435.350 FM PSK31  437.975 9600bps FSK

Further information on the CubeSats can be seen at http://www.spaceflight101.com/afspc-05-secondary-payloads.html

BRICsat and PSAT http://www.urel.feec.vutbr.cz/esl/

PSK31 and APRS CubeSats
http://www.arrl.org/news/view/us-naval-academy-cubesat-launch-to-include-next-aprs-satellite

The Register http://www.theregister.co.uk/2015/05/19/us_air_force_x37b_space_plane/

LightSail – First Day in Space http://www.planetary.org/blogs/jason-davis/2015/20150518-lightsail-first-day-space.html

LightSail Mission Control Center http://sail.planetary.org/missioncontrol

LightSail – Flight by Light http://sail.planetary.org/

Links for satellite tracking software and Keps http://amsat-uk.org/beginners/satellite-tracking/

Keps for the CubeSats but which object corresponds to which satellite ?
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1o48dswYcTHb-op9ygaKhrizrelMGV9pYcUm0SFmxfS8/pub

Radio Amateurs invited to test APRS on Duchifat-1

Duchifat-1 Mission PatchDuchifat-1, the Israeli high school students 1U CubeSat launched June 19, 2014, is ready for its first public tests. People with the ability to send Compressed APRS location packets are invited to join the tests.

The satellite will collect these packets worldwide along its flight at 620 km high orbit, and will downlink them from time to time over our ground station in Herzliya/Israel.

Participants are kindly requested to register in advance in order to get their packet identified on the map.

The packets successfully received will be displayed on a map in our Internet site and  QSL cards will be sent via Bureau to the stations registered and recognized. (unfortunately, there is no way we can recognize packets from unregistered stations because the packet is limited to 14 characters at the satellite, so we assign two unique characters to every registered station to enable us to identify them).

Registration can be done at http://www.h-space-lab.org/php/duchifat1-en.php

Also available in that site are operational information about the satellite, and the following documents:

*Configuring TT4 Explanation.doc* – how to use the Byonics TinyTrak4 for generating Compressed APRS packets

*Terms Of Use.doc* – terms and techniques for making the best use of the satellite

There is also Ground station software available for download, written by our students around ISIS space Demodulator software.

We hope many people will find it interesting and enjoyable,

Good luck!

73 from the Herzliya Science Center students and teachers

Fox-1 launch September 2015 and Geosynchronous Sat on 5 and 10 GHz 2017

Millennium Space Systems AQUILA M8 Series Satellite Structure

Millennium Space Systems AQUILA M8 Series Satellite Structure

ARRL Publications Manager and QST Editor Steve Ford, WB8IMY, reports on Amateur Satellite news from the Dayton Hamvention.

AMSAT FOXThe ARRL website reports the launch of the Fox-1 CubeSat has been delayed until late September 2015. Fox-1 will carry a 435/145 MHz FM Voice Transponder, see http://www.amsat.org/?page_id=1113

The ARRL story continues: AMSAT Vice President-Engineering Jerry Buxton, N0JY, said that a geosynchronous satellite, planned to launch in 2017, will offer uplinks on 5 GHz and downlinks on 10 GHz.

Buxton explained that the geosynchronous footprint will not be absolutely fixed; some variation may require some up/down movement of the user’s dish at certain times — although not continuously. He said AMSAT is working on this issue in terms of what to recommend for ground stations, but that even in the worst case, a user with a fixed antenna would still be able to enjoy several hours of access each day.

The transponder for the new satellite will be software defined and capable of supporting many different modes, including analog SSB.

AMSAT announced in late April that, if all goes according to plan, an Amateur Radio payload will go into space on a geosynchronous satellite that’s planned for launch in 2017. The satellite’s potential footprint could extend over the US from the Mid-Pacific to Africa. AMSAT has accepted the opportunity to be a “hosted payload” on a spacecraft that Millennium Space Systems (MSS) of El Segundo, California, is under contract to design, launch, and operate for the US government. The Amateur Radio payload must be delivered for testing and integration by next spring.

Source http://www.arrl.org/news/dayton-hamvention-2015-day-1-big-crowd-some-rain-satellite-news

A graphic showing an example of a typical Geosynchronous orbit can be seen at
http://www3.sympatico.ca/n.rieck/docs/sirius.html

 The 2.325 GHz signals from the Sirius satellites in Geosynchronous orbit over North America have been received in the UK.

Iowa CubeSat students get ham radio licenses

AMSAT FOXThe University of Iowa reports its students will conduct a Van Allen radiation belt experiment with the AMSAT Fox CubeSat

Thanks to a proposal by the UI Department of Physics and Astronomy, a group of senior electrical and computer engineering students will reenact James Van Allen’s original experiment — this time with updated technology. Group members Kevin Klosterman KD9CPF, Bryan Senchuk KD9CPD, Tyler Dunkel KE0CHR, and Patrick Maloney KD9CPD took on the task as a part of their senior design project for the College of Engineering.

The group is trying to figure out how much energy is emanating from the Van Allen belts at a specific altitude. To measure that, they’ve built a radiation sensor attached to a circuit board that will launch into space on a small satellite. There, the radiation sensor will detect energetic particles  from the Van Allen belts. The satellite will sit in a low-Earth orbit and circle the globe every 90 minutes, some data will be transmitted in real time, but all of it is stored for later transmission.

“I feel like we’ve learned something new every day,” Klosterman says.

Not only did the students have to come up with a design concept, write the code to run the device, and build the circuit board by hand, they also had to learn and become licensed ham radio operators as well.

The satellite that the students are using to launch into space is part of the CubeSat program — an initiative supported by NASA to help give students more hands-on experience with space research — and is being constructed by AMSAT, the Radio Amateur Satellite Corporation, whose mission is to foster amateur radio participation in space technology. The data from a full day of operating the experiment will be transmitted from the satellite as it makes a single pass over the CubeSat tracking station on top of Van Allen Hall.

The final result will be a full mapping of the radiation levels at a low Earth orbit.

It is hoped the Fox CubeSat with an FM voice transponder will be launched later this year.

Read the full story at
http://now.uiowa.edu/2015/05/seniors-reenact-van-allen-radiation-belt-experiments

Each year 100’s of students are introduced to amateur radio through University CubeSat satellite programs with many going on to get their amateur license.

AMSAT Fox http://www.amsat.org/?page_id=1113

AMSAT-UK
Web http://amsat-uk.org/
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Yahoo Group http://groups.yahoo.com/group/FUNcube