Article on LED Optical Morse Code Spacecraft ShindaiSat

Illustration of high-gain and low-gain LED illumination scenario at the ground station - Image credit Shinshu University

Illustration of high-gain and low-gain LED illumination scenario at the ground station – Image credit Shinshu University

An English language article about ShindaiSat is available at

ShindaiSatShindaiSat is a 20 kg spacecraft approx 300 by 300 by 350 mm which is planning to use bright LEDs for Space to Earth optical communication using Morse code. It also carries an optical lens system for receiving modulated LED light from the ground station.

There will be an AX.25 packet radio telemetry beacon and a low power CW beacon. Downlink frequencies of 437.305 and 437.485 MHz have been coordinated by the IARU Amateur Satellite Frequency Coordination Panel.

The article says “A launch of ShindaiSat as a secondary payload is manifested for mid-2014 on the primary GPM (Global Precipitation Measurement) mission of NASA and JAXA. JAXA is providing the launch on the H2A vehicle from the Tanegashima Space Center, Japan.

Orbit: Non-sun-synchronous circular orbit, altitude = 407 km, inclination = 65º.”

ShindaiSat website in Google English

ShindaiSat to carry Optical LED Morse Code Beacon

ShindaiSatShindaiSat is a 20 kg spacecraft approx 300 by 300 by 350 mm which is planning to use bright LEDs for Space to Earth optical communication using Morse code.

There will be an AX.25 packet radio telemetry beacon and a low power CW beacon. Downlink frequencies of 437.305 and 437.485 MHz have been coordinated by the IARU Amateur Satellite Frequency Coordination Panel.

It is expected to launch into a 400km 65 degree orbit from Japan in 2013.

ShindaiSat website in Google English

Satpack: Arduino satellite tracking and doppler tuning

The Satpack is an ATmega328 controlled satellite tracker with doppler tuning. To calculate the position of the satellite, they use qrpTracker, which is an Arduino friendly program based on James Miller’s Pan-13. Next, the Arduino tunes the radio to listen to the transmitted Morse code. Amazing! It’s open source, so check out the link for a lot more information on building your own Satpack.

Here’s a video of the Satpack code tracking a few satellites. Note that the tone of the cubesat drifts a bit. The keps were a bit old, but in a addition, I just got a letter from James Miller, the author of Plan 13 who recommends some constants that are more in keeping with the earth model used in today’s GPS engines.

FITSAT-1 to Write Morse Code Across The Night Sky

FITSAT-1 plans to use LED’s to signal in Morse code

The Amateur Radio CubeSat FITSAT-1 will carry an Optical Communications experiment that aims to write Morse Code across the night sky.

Kibo Robot Arm CubeSat Deployment

Kibo Robot Arm CubeSat Deployment

This innovative satellite also plans to transmit 115.2 kbps digital data in the Amateur Satellite Service 5.8 GHz band using a transmitter capable of 2 watts output.

FITSAT-1 (aka NIWAKA) is a 1U CubeSat (10*10*10cm) developed by students at the Fukuoka Institute of Technology (FIT).

In July 2012 it should be carried to the International Space Station (ISS) in the HTV-3 cargo vessel.  FITSAT-1 will then be deployed from the ISS around September by Japanese astronaut Akihiko Hoshide KE5DNI using the Kibo robot arm.

The main mission will be to demonstrate high speed data transfer from a satellite, it can transmit a VGA-size (640×480 pixel) JPEG photograph in only 5 to 6 seconds.

Takushi Tanaka JA6AVG and FITSAT

Takushi Tanaka JA6AVG and FITSAT

The second mission is to determine if a satellite can be made to appear as an “artificial star” using high-output LEDs in flash mode. The light from this flash will be received by the ground station, which has a telescope with photo-multiplier linked to a 5.8GHz parabola antenna. This is a basic experiment to investigate the possibility of optical communication with satellites.

A UHF AX25 1k2baud transceiver will be carried for telemetry and telecommand purposes and a UHF CW beacon will also be provided. It will be deployed along with the satellites RAIKO and WE-WISH, F-1 and TechEdSat into a 350x350km 51.6deg inclination orbit.

The following downlink frequencies have been coordinated by the IARU Satellite Frequency Coordination Panel: CW 437.250 MHz, FM 437.445 MHz, High speed data 5840.00 MHz.

FITSAT-1 information, pictures and deployment movie

Kibo Robot Arm

IARU Satellite Frequency Coordination Panel pages hosted by AMSAT-UK

OSSI CubeSat – Ground Station Video

Hojun Song with Hannes Gassert wearing OSSI GS Backpack

Hojun Song DS1SBO with Hannes Gassert wearing the OSSI Ground Station Backpack and holding a yagi antenna

Korean artist Hojun Song DS1SBO has made available videos showing the construction of his satellite OSSI.

In addition to radio communications (145 MHz uplink, 435 MHz downlink) OSSI is fitted with LED’s that can flash in Morse Code and is also flying Super-Capacitors.

The backpack ground station that he’s developed features a novel fold up antenna.

OSSI will take off on a Soyuz rocket from Baikonour in Kazakhstan this August.

Watch Setting up the OSSI Satellite Ground Station

 The OSSI ground station has been delivered to etoy. etoy is art and invests all resources in the production of more art, see

OSSI carries LED’s that can signal in Morse Code

Watch Building the Onboard Computer (OBC)

OSSI Art CubeSat to Launch in August

Funds have been raised by selling T-shirts

ARISSat-1/KEDR Team announces CW Contest

On August 3, 2011, the Amateur Radio satellite, ARISSat-1 began its education-based mission after deployment from the International Space Station. Students, teachers and amateur radio operators are invited to learn more about the satellite as a tool for education and its other features at

The ARISSat-1 mission is to provide a variety of information through its many broadcast modes promoting STEM based education initiatives in the classroom. One of its modes is CW transmission. CW stands for “continuous wave” and is transmitted in Morse code.

To entice student interest in receiving Morse code, a CW contest has been created and all listeners are invited to participate.

Throughout recent history, a number of amateur radio operators, also known as hams, have made significant strides in developing space communications via ham radio. These are hams such as Owen Garriot, W5LFL making the first amateur radio contact from space and Jim White, WD0E, a technical contributor to the amateur satellite program.

To celebrate their accomplishments, the call signs of over 200 of these hams have been digitally stored on board ARISSat-1 and are being transmitted in rotation using Morse code at 145.92 MHz. The call signs can be heard between the RS01S CW identification and the CW telemetry in the repeated code transmission sequence.

To be a participant in the CW contest, all you have to do is copy and submit any 6 of the 200+ call signs you hear during multiple satellite passes, then submit the following information to:

+ Your name or group’s name
+ Your ham call sign if applicable
+ Time in UTC and date of reception of each call sign
+ Your City, State, Country
+ Your email address
+ Your list of 6 call signs you have received

A major goal for this contest is to promote student interest in learning Morse code which continues to play an important role in emergency communications and is a fun way of sending messages using ham radio. In that spirit, we ask that participants copy the code by hand and refrain from using artificial means, e.g., electronic decoders, to decode the call signs. Due to the possibility of interference or excessive ambient noise that might be present during the pass, recording the code for playback and deciphering after the pass is permissible.

A copy of this information on the contest can also be found by going to and choosing the subtitle marked CW CONTEST under the Education menu.

For more detailed information on how to receive and decipher the CW transmissions, visit and choose the menu labeled FAQ and subtitle Receiving ARISSat-1.

We invite everyone to participate and be an important part of the ARISSat-1 mission experience.

Questions concerning the contest should be directed to:

A Very Important Note:
All ARISSat-1 listeners should refrain from publically disclosing any received call signs from their list. The call signs should only be posted to the CWreport email address mentioned above. Posting the contest call signs on the internet, amsat-bb, other bulletin boards or any areas for public viewing will result in the listener or group being disqualified from the contest along with the disclosed call signs.

More information on the transmission schedule and overall mission of ARISSat-1/KEDR can be found at:

ARISSat-1 Web site:
AMSAT-NA Web site:
ARISS Web site:
ARISS Facebook Page: Amateur Radio on the ISS (ARISS)
ARISS Twitter site: @ARISS_status

The Radio Amateur Satellite Corporation (AMSAT) is a non-profit, volunteer organization which designs, builds and operates experimental amateur radio satellites and promotes space education. We work in partnership with government, industry, educational institutions and fellow amateur radio societies. We encourage technical and scientific innovation, and promote the training and development of skilled satellite and ground system designers and operators.

Our vision is to deploy satellite systems with the goal of providing wide area and continuous coverage for amateur radio operators world-wide. AMSAT is also an active participant in human space missions and supports satellites developed in cooperation with the educational community and other amateur satellite groups.

Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) is a volunteer program which inspires students, worldwide, to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and math through amateur radio communications opportunities with the International Space Station on-orbit crew. Students learn about life on board the ISS and explore Earth from space through science and math activities.

ARISS provides opportunities for the school community (students, teachers, families and local residents) to become more aware of the substantial benefits of human space flight and the exploration and discovery that occur on space flight journeys along with learning about technology and amateur radio.

OSCAR News is published quarterly by AMSAT-UK and posted to members. To get your copy join AMSAT-UK online at
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