Ted Cooke-Yarborough 1918-2013

Ted Cooke-Yarborough in front of the Harwell Dekatron 61 years after he designed it . Photgraph by john Robertson used with the permission of the The National Museum of Computing http://www.tnmoc.org/

Ted Cooke-Yarborough in front of the Harwell Dekatron 61 years after he designed it. Photograph by John Robertson used with the permission of The National Museum of Computing http://www.tnmoc.org/

Ted Cooke-Yarborough passed away on January 10, 2013 aged 94. He was the lead designer of one of the world’s early computers and a pioneer in radar, transistorisation and electronics.

By the age of eleven he had built his first wireless receiver and at Canford School in Dorset he was a member of the Wireless Society that developed portable short-wave transmitter-receivers for two-way communication in the school grounds – the enterprising society sold two of them to the Yeovil fire brigade.

In 1946 he joined UK Atomic Energy programme to work on nuclear instrumentation and soon after his transfer to Harwell in 1948 supervised the design, construction and commissioning of the Harwell Dekatron computer working with co-designers Dick Barnes and Gurney Thomas.

The obituary published in The Telegraph mentions the Bagful receiver. Graham Shirville G3VZV says “I admit to being biased by having been at Malvern in the 60’s but the development of a scanning radio with built in recording device 70 years before we had FUNcube Dongles, laptops and IQ signals is pretty amazing to me”.

Read the National Museum of Computing obituary

Read The Telegraph obituary

The National Museum of Computing http://www.tnmoc.org/

STRaND-1 smartphone CubeSat mounted on PSLV rocket

Panoramic view of SARAL and smaller satellites including STRaND-1 attached to the PSLV C20 - Image credit ISRO

Panoramic view of SARAL and smaller satellites including STRaND-1 attached to the PSLV C20 – Image credit ISRO

The STRaND-1 build and test phase took just 3 months

The STRaND-1 build and test phase took just 3 months

The launch rehearsal of PSLV-C20 with the primary satellite SARAL and six other satellites has been completed satisfactorily at SDSC SHAR, Sriharikota. Mission Readiness Review and meeting of Launch Authorisation Board are scheduled on Feb 22, 2013.

STRaND-1 is a joint mission between Surrey Space Centre at University of Surrey and Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL). There will be an amateur radio AX.25 packet radio 9k6 bps downlink on 437.568 MHz and the launch is expected to take place on Feb 25.

STRaND-1 information and videos http://www.amsat-uk.org/?page_id=12196

STRaND-1 telemetry format http://www.amsat-uk.org/?page_id=12875

Other satellites on the same launch http://www.amsat-uk.org/?p=12180

ISRO PSLV-C20 status http://www.isro.org/pslv-c20/c20-status.aspx

JAMSAT 2013 Symposium in Tokyo


JAMSAT announces their 2013 Symposium to be held in Tokyo on March 9  to March 10. The Symposium will be held at the National Museum of  Emerging Science and Innovation (Miraikan) – 7F Conference Room CR2. All amateur radio satellite operators are welcome to attend.

The Symposium schdule will be:

March 9 • 14:30 – 17:00 Papers and Technical Presentations • 17:30 – 19:30 Dinner Party

March 10 • 10:00 – 13:00 Papers and Technical Presentations

The list of technical topics includes: • Problem of 1.2GHz Band License • Interference with QZSS Satellite • FitSAT Report • JAMSAT Activities • Progress in Transponder and 38.4Kbps Transmitter • Noise Environment at 2.4GHz Band • Progress in Nippon University Cubesat “NEXUS” • Introduction to AMSAT-NA FOX-Project • SDR and Satellite Communication

Openings remain available for the addition of last minute presentations on topics pertaining to amateur radio in space. If you are interested in making a presentation please contact madoguchi@jamsat.or.jp or ja3gep@jamsat.or.jp

Information on the Museum meeting location can be accessed on-line: http://www.miraikan.jst.go.jp/en/

ANS, Mikio Mouri, JA3GEP of JAMSAT

Via http://www.southgatearc.org/index.htm

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

Amateur Radio on ISS switches to Ericsson after Kenwood problems

ARISS Amateur Radio on the International Space StationAfter experiencing issues with the Kenwood D700 on two consecutive school contacts, ARISS will use the Ericsson radio on the Columbus module for ARISS contacts until problems with D700 are resolved.

According to Frank Bauer, KA3HDO, AMSAT’s Vice President for Human Spaceflight Programs, “…for some reason, our signals from the Service Module Kenwood D700 radio are much diminished.  Our contact with Israel last Sunday [February 3]  had low audio levels, with good signals only near TCA.  Our contact [February 8] with the Hospital for Sick Children was even worse.  Only one student was able to talk to Chris Hadfield [VA3OOG] before we lost the signal.”

Continue reading

STRaND-1 Smartphone CubeSat to launch end of February

STRaND-1 and team - image credit SSTL

STRaND-1 and team – Image credit SSTL

The BBC report that the world’s first “smartphone-sat” STRaND-1 is ready to launch at the end of February. The satellite was built in Guildford by volunteers from the Surrey Space Centre (SSC) and Surrey Satellite Technology Limited (SSTL) in their spare time. It is planned to be launched on February 25 into a 785 km orbit by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) on the PSLV-CA (PSLV-C20) rocket.

Dr Chris Bridges working on STRaND

Dr Chris Bridges working on STRaND-1

The innovative STRaND-1 CubeSat will carry a Google Nexus One Android smartphone into space to demonstrate the feasibility of using cheap smartphone electronics to control a spacecraft.

Smartphones contain highly advanced technologies and incorporate several key features that are integral to a satellite – such as cameras, radio links, accelerometers and high performance computer processors – almost everything a spacecraft needs except the solar panels and propulsion.

There will be an amateur radio AX.25 packet radio downlink on 437.568 MHz using a data rates of 9k6 bps.

STRaND-1 flight ready February 2013 with Shaun Kenyon, Dr Peter Shaw, Dr Chris Bridges

STRaND-1 flight ready February 2013 with Shaun Kenyon, Dr Peter Shaw, Dr Chris Bridges

Further information on STRaND-1 at

Watch the videos in the STRaND-1 video archive

Read the BBC News story at

The world’s first smartphone in Space ‘STRaND-1’ ready for launch

Dr Chris Bridges talked about STRaND-1 on the BBC Radio 4 show Material World broadcast on Thursday, February 7. A recording can be heard until February 14 at http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01qfj3l The STRaND-1 segment starts 08:55 into the recording.

STRaND-1 on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/nanosats

You can follow STRaND at https://twitter.com/SurreyNanosats

UK STRaND-1 CubeSat Video

Dr Chris Bridges and STRaND

Dr Chris Bridges and STRaND hardware

In this video Surrey Space Centre’s Dr. Peter Shaw talks us through the anatomy of the highly advanced UK CubeSat STRaND-1.

The innovative amateur radio STRaND-1 CubeSat aims to carry a NEXUS Android Smartphone into space to demonstrate the feasibility of using cheap Smartphone electronics to control a spacecraft.

A software-based speech synthesiser will be included to pay homage to the UOSAT family of satellites (OSCAR-9 and OSCAR-11) that were launched in the 1980′s.

STRaND-1 will carry an amateur radio payload with an AX.25 packet radio downlink on 437 MHz using data rates of 9k6 or 19k2 bps.

Continue reading

More Optical Beacon Tests From FITSAT-1

(C) Tsuyoshi Watanabe Ebina City, Kanagawa Japan 1:24:23-1:24:25JST, 12 Dec 2012
Takahashi e160, Diameter short focus telescope 16cm (F=530mm, F3.3)
Nikon D800E, ISO12800, 2 seconds exposure

Further transmissions from the optical LED beacon on the amateur radio CubeSat FITSAT-1 are planned for January 10-15. Weather permitting the satellite beacon should be visible using binoculars.

2013, Flashing LED Schedule (times GMT):
10th Jan. 23:57:30 – 23:59:30  New Delhi India        (10Hz Green 2min)
11th Jan. 13:52:30 – 13:54:30  San Francisco USA  (10Hz Green 2min)
12th Jan. 22:00:30 – 22:02:30  Bangalore India        (10Hz Green 2min)
13th Jan. 14:41:30 – 14:43:30  Melbourne Australia (10Hz Red     2min)
14th Jan. 11:03:30 – 11:05:30  Oklahoma USA         (10Hz Green 2min)
15th Jan. 22:27:30 – 22:29:30  Wulumuqi China       (10Hz Green 2min)

The FITSAT-1 CubeSat was developed by students at the Fukuoka Institute of Technology (FIT) in Japan. As well as the optical LED experiment the satellite carries several amateur radio payloads: a CW beacon on 437.250 MHz, a telemetry beacon on 437.445 MHz and a high-speed data downlink on 5840.0 MHz.

Information on how to see the optical beacon signal can be found on the Visual SAT-Flare Tracker 3D site at

FITSAT-1 website http://www.fit.ac.jp/~tanaka/fitsat.shtml

FITSAT-1 Optical Beacon video

Further information and pictures of FITSAT-1 and the other CubeSats deployed from the ISS on October 4, 2012 is at http://www.uk.amsat.org/?page_id=10967

Appointment of Frank Bauer, KA3HDO as AMSAT VP-Human Spaceflight Programs

AMSAT-NA President Barry Baines is pleased to announce that effective August 1, 2012, Frank Bauer, KA3HDO, will be returning as AMSAT’s Vice President for Human Spaceflight Programs. This role will include AMSAT’s leadership on the Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) Program and amateur radio operations pursuits on other Human Spaceflight vehicles proposed by NASA, International Space Agencies and domestic and international commercial spaceflight organizations.

Bauer made the following comment regarding his reappointment: “I look forward to working again with AMSAT as we bring the excitement of human space exploration pursuits and amateur radio communications into the communities of the world, inspiring youth to pursue Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) careers”. Continue reading

KySat-2 Kentucky Space-Blog

Twyman Clements, Space Systems Engineer at Kentucky Space, has agreed to provide regular updates to blog readers on the progress of the next satellite now that the X-ray hunter, “CXBN,” has flown. His first installment can be read below. Enjoy.

Here at Kentucky Space we are furiously at work on the consortium’s next satellite. While our engineering work is moving along on KySat-2 (drawing below) we wanted to start “K2 Tuesday’s” to update readers on the progress of the spacecraft, as well as introduce them to basic satellite systems and some of the people who will be working on it. I wanted to start with a little history of Kentucky Space’s orbital satellite program.

Kentucky Space began as a consortium of universities within the Commonwealth of Kentucky in 2006. From the beginning students worked on KySat-1, the state’s first orbital satellite. Through the next few years the students and university faculty learned the in’s and out’s of spacecraft design, testing and communication. KySat-1 (pictured on clean room bench, Above) was eventually selected as one of three primary satellites on NASA’s first ELaNa mission which was eventually launched in March of 2010, along with the NASA GLORY spacecraft. KySat-1 was a one-unit (1U) CubeSat that rode to orbit as a secondary payload. Sadly, due to a launch anomaly with the rocket, none of the payloads made orbit. But Kentucky Space and its partner institutions have continued to work, and Morehead State University’s “CXBN” satellite was launched just weeks ago.

KySat-2, or “K2,” will fulfill the original mission of KySat-1, but will incorporate even better components and the added knowledge acquired the past few years by Kentucky Space. K2 will include an attitude determination system, which will also serve as a camera that will take pictures of both the earth and star fields. Additionally the spacecraft will transmit telemetry in the amateur radio spectrum allowing HAM radio operators to capture it and check the health of the spacecraft as it makes its way around the globe every 90 or so minutes.

Currently KySat-2 is serving as a backup secondary payload on two NASA missions slated for launch in Q3 of 2013. This means delivery dates to the launch site in April or May of 2013. The satellites subsystem are currently being designed with prototypes being ordered this week. Within the next six weeks we will be putting together a FlatSat version of KySat-2 to test communication between its subsystems and refining the spacecraft software. We will keep you up to date through the entire process.


I’ll be back next Tuesday with another update. Until then,

Twyman Clements, Space Systems Engineer, Kentucky Space