IARU at WRC-15

IARU WRC-15 team inside CICG

IARU WRC-15 team inside CICG

With WRC-15 entering the 4th and final week the opportunity was taken to get most of the group together for a photograph.

Taken inside the main CICG meeting room, sitting from left to right is Bryan Rawlings VE3QN (Canada), IARU Region 3 Secretary Ken Yamamoto JA1CJP (JARL), Hans Blondeel Timmerman PB2T (Netherlands), Colin Thomas G3PSM (UK).

Standing from left to right is IARU Vice-President Ole Garpestad LA2RR (Norway), IARU Region 2 President Reinaldo Leandro YV5AM, Ulrich Muller DK4VW (DARC), ARRL Chief Technology Officer Brennan Price N4QX (USA) and IARU Region 3 Director Don Wallace ZL2TLL (New Zealand).

Not pictured was Flavio Archangelo PY2ZX (Brazil) who worked tirelessly with the CITEL group and Dale Hughes VK1DSH (Australia) the sub-working group Chairman who successfully steered the 5 MHz agenda item through to a successful conclusion, IARU President Tim Ellam VE6SH and IARU Region 1 Vice-President Faisal Alajmi 9K2RR (Kuwait/ASMG) .

Photo courtesy of LA2RR

In his report for Day 16 of the conference Colin Thomas G3PSM says:

Discussions took place on suggested frequency bands for possible new or an upgrade of existing allocations to the space operations service within the frequency ranges 150.05-174 MHz, 400.15-420 MHz [and 420-450 MHz] for short duration satellites.

This potential future agenda item is an attempt to overcome the problem of non-amateur nano- and pico-satellites using the amateur service bands. No decision was reached and the document has been passed to plenary for decision.

WRC-15 reports http://rsgb.org/main/blog/category/news/special-focus/wrc-15/

IARU Region 1 http://iaru-r1.org/

Successful SSTV and Digitalker transmissions from SPROUT

SPROUT SSTV received by Paulo PV8DX Nov 22, 2015

SPROUT SSTV received by Paulo PV8DX

On November 22, 2015 SSTV and Digitalker transmissions were made from the SPROUT amateur radio satellite on 437.600 MHz FM (+/- 9 kHz Doppler shift). These transmissions are planned to take place every Sunday (Japanese Standard Time).

Many FM radios can be switched been wide and narrow deviation FM filters. For best results you should select the wider filter designed for 5 kHz deviation FM.

SPROUT (Space Research On Unique Technology) was built by students from Nihon University. It is a 20 x 20 x 22 cm nano-satellite with a mass of 7.1 kg in a 654 km, 97.9 degree inclination Sun Synchronous Orbit (SSO).

Paulo PV8DX in Brazil reports receiving both the SSTV image and the Digitalker transmission a recording of which can be heard here:

Real-Time tracking of SPROUT at http://www.n2yo.com/?s=39770 (tick Draw Footprint)

SPROUT SSTV and Digitalker are active every Sunday

SPROUT Digitalker full text http://www.ne.jp/asahi/hamradio/je9pel/sprdigie.htm

SPROUT SSTV and Digitalker active every Sunday

SSTV image received from SPROUT by Mario LU4EOU on May 31, 2014 at 0408 UT

SSTV image received from SPROUT by Mario LU4EOU on May 31, 2014 at 0408 UT

Slow Scan TV (SSTV) images in Scottie 1 format will be transmitted from the SPROUT satellite every Sunday (Japanese Standard Time) on 437.600 MHz FM (+/- 9 kHz Doppler shift). The Digitalker will also be active.

SPROUT, a 20 x 20 x 22 cm amateur radio nano-satellite with a mass of 7.1 kg, launched successfully with the L-band (1236.5 MHz/1257.5 MHz/1278.5 MHz) Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) satellite ALOS-2 on May 24, 2014 at 0305 UT. SPROUT is in a 654 km, 97.9 degree inclination Sun Synchronous Orbit (SSO).

SPROUT (Space Research On Unique Technology) was built by students from Nihon University and its objectives are:

SPROUT Satellite - Credit Nihon-Univ. Miyazaki Laboratory

SPROUT Satellite – Credit Nihon-Univ. Miyazaki Laboratory

1. Operation of satellite by radio amateurs.

A FM Digitalker will enable the satellite to speak to amateurs around the world.

The Voice Message Box will record transmissions from radio amateurs and play them back.

Pre-loaded images from the Message Gallery can be transmitted using Slow Scan TV (SSTV).

Pictures of the Earth can be transmitted by SSTV and radio amateurs can receive it using free software such as MMSSTV. As part of the Earth mapping project the team ask radio amateurs to contribute pictures they have received from the satellite for display on the SPROUT website.

The satellite also has a packet radio Digipeater and Text Message Box function.

SPROUT in orbit2. Demonstration of the deployment of the combined membrane structure and verification of the design method of the structure SPROUT has a triangular membrane supported by two tubes like framework. They are folded and stored in the satellite before the launch. After the launch, the nitrogen gas is injected into the tubes in space, and they extend, so that the membrane deploys (called “combined membrane structure”).

3. Demonstration of attitude determination and control of a nanosatellite using the sun sensors, gyros, geomagnetic sensor and magnetic torquers.

Callsign: JQ1ZJQ
Size: 214x210x220 mm
Weight: 7.1 kg
Mode: 1200bps AFSK, 9600bps GMSK
CW downlink 437.525 MHz
FM packet downlink 437.525 MHz
Digipeater uplink 437.600 MHz
Digitalker downlink 437.600 MHz
SSTV downlink 437.600 MHz

Many FM radios can be switched been wide and narrow deviation FM filters. For best results you should select the wider filter designed for 5 kHz deviation FM.

SPROUT Amateur Radio SSTV Satellite

SPROUT Amateur Radio SSTV Satellite

SPROUT English website http://sat.aero.cst.nihon-u.ac.jp/sprout-e/

SPROUT Japanese website http://sat.aero.cst.nihon-u.ac.jp/sprout/

Nihon-Univ. Miyazaki Laboratory on Facebook

Telemetry Software http://sat.aero.cst.nihon-u.ac.jp/sprout-e/2-Software-e.html

Telemetry format http://sat.aero.cst.nihon-u.ac.jp/sprout-e/2-Formats%20of%20telemetry-e.html

SPROUT launch data page
http://sat.aero.cst.nihon-u.ac.jp/sprout-e/2-Launch%20data-e.htmlTLE’s from the North American Aerospace Defence Command (NORAD) are also available at http://celestrak.com/NORAD/elements/tle-new.txt

Free Slow Scan TV (SSTV) software MMSSTV http://hamsoft.ca/pages/mmsstv.php

The JE9PEL website has information on other satellites on this launch

Read the Overview of the L-band SAR Onboard ALOS-2 here.

SPROUT satellite students at Nihon-Univ. Miyazaki Laboratory

SPROUT satellite students at Nihon-University Miyazaki Laboratory

Updated SSETI Express Observation Report

SSETI Express LogoNeil Melville-Kenney PA9N has made more sightings of the SSETI Express (XO-53) satellite during a further visit to ESRANGE.

He has updated the SSETI Express Phase E 400-800 THz Downlink Report with his latest observations. This report provides a clear insight into the work carried out during their recent campaign and to methods and equipment used.

It is worthy of note that ten years ago there was only one radio amateur in the launch team and that, since then, four of the other five team members have now obtained their licences.

Read the latest EXPRESS_E_ESA_2015-11-14_-_400-800_THz_Downlink_Report

As the report states, further observations will be much appreciated!

10th anniversary of SSETI Express XO-53 launch

Activation of IO-86 / LAPAN-ORARI FM Transponder



Dirgantara Rahadian YF0EEE has posted this information about the FM voice satellite IO-86 to the AMSAT-ID Facebook page:

We have Schedule Testing 1 Pass with LAPAN Command Center to Open Voice Transponder IO-86 / LAPAN-ORARI for all Country in Equatorial can Use and give me report via email yd1eee@gmail.com,
Date 14 November 2015 at 01:35 UTC – 03:40 UTC ..

Every Amateur can use the Voice Transponder
– Uplink 145.880 MHz tone 88,5
– Downlink 435.880 MHz

Note: IO-86 is in an equatorial orbit and should provide coverage between 30 degrees North and 30 degrees South of the equaror.

IO-86 Keps:

1 40931U 15052B 15316.15776324 .00001070 00000-0 60618-4 0 9994
2 40931 6.0030 69.3893 0012877 275.6206 84.2533 14.76374433 6653

AMSAT-ID on Facebook

Proposed 50-54 MHz Agenda Item for WRC-19

Logo WRC RA 2015Details have been released by Ofcom of the UK positions for WRC-15 which takes place in Geneva, November 2-27, 2015.

Ofcom’s statement references the document containing the European Common Proposals for agenda items for the next conference, WRC-19. One proposal is EUR-A25-2 – Primary allocation of the band 50-54 MHz to the Amateur Service in Region 1. The inclusion of this proposal is very welcome since it would facilitate further worldwide harmonization.

Although the proposal only references the Amateur Service such an allocation would be of great benefit to the Amateur Satellite Service.

A 50 MHz Amateur Satellite allocation would offer:
• low Doppler shift
• good link budget requirements
• relieve pressure on the only existing VHF amateur satellite allocation on 145 MHz.

A 50 MHz signal from a satellite in an 800 km orbit would have a Doppler shift of +/-1.1 kHz during a 15 minute pass compared with +/-3.27 kHz at 145 MHz greatly easing tuning requirements.

Link Budget
The free space path loss at 50 MHz would be 9.2 dB lower than on 145 MHz. A low path loss is particularly important for small satellites with a limited power budget such as CubeSats or PocketQubes. These satellites may be just 10x10x10 cm or smaller and the limited surface area restricts the amount of solar power than can be generated. Typical transmitter output powers range between 100 mW and 400 mW. This power might be shared by a beacon and up to 5 SSB stations in the transponder passband, giving maybe 50 mw per station. Because of their size these satellites have to use simple omni-directional antennas such as a dipole or monopole

Satellite antennas for this band will need to be kept to a manageable size, this will help drive experimentation and innovation in antenna design for these frequencies. Where the band is used as a satellite uplink there is no need to utilize a full size antenna.

The low path loss of this band could facilitate the development of compact rapid deployment satellite ground stations utilizing omni-directional antennas for emergency communication scenarios.

Relieve Congestion
The existing satellite segment at 145.8-146.0 MHz is already congested with satellite downlinks. Most frequencies are already in use by four or more satellites. An additional VHF allocation would relieve the pressure.

ITU Footnote 5.282
This footnote currently covers the Amateur Satellite Service UHF and Microwave allocations between 435 MHz and 6 GHz.
It would be desirable if the footnote could be expanded to include operation in 50-51 MHz.

Read the European Common Position on Agenda Item 10

Ofcom statement http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/binaries/consultations/wrc15/statement/UK_Positions_for_WRC-15.pdf

Tenth Anniversary of XO-53 Launch

SSETI Express XO-53 streaks across the dark Swedish sky on October 27, 2015. Two images combined, and zoomed. As you can see, they caught a flare. The gap in the middle is when the mirror of the camera was moving in between shots. The two stars marked are the upper two of The Plough.

SSETI Express XO-53 streaks across the dark Swedish sky on October 27, 2015.
Two images combined, and zoomed. As you can see, they caught a flare.
The gap in the middle is when the mirror of the camera was moving in between shots.
The two stars marked are the upper two of The Plough.

The XO-53 (SSETI Express) satellite was launched October 27, 2005 at 06:52 UT on board a Kosmos 3M rocket launched from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in central Russia.

SSETI Express XO-53

SSETI Express XO-53

SSETI Express was developed by the Education Office of the European Space Agency (ESA) as part of the “Student Space Exploration and Technology Initiative”. The satellite measures 60x60x70 cm with a mass of about 50 kg. It was built by university students from a number of teams from all across Europe and assembled at the ESA ESTEC facility in the Netherlands.

AMSAT-UK provided a 3 watt S band transmitter to the project – on the basis that it could be linked to the UHF receiver for operation as a single channel FM voice transponder when all the experiments have been completed. The unit also incorporates its own switch mode power supply and a 38k4 TNC to allow the rapid downlinking of data – especially necessary for the camera experiment.

Shortly after launch SSETI deployed three CubeSats, XI-V, UWE-1 and Ncube-2, developed by university students. After deploying the CubeSats, XO-53’s batteries stopped charging and the spacecraft went silent.

ESRANGE in Arctic Sweden

ESRANGE in Arctic Sweden

On the 10th Anniversary of the SSETI Express Launch a crack squad of geeks, Neil Melville-Kenney PA9N, Graham Shirville G3VZV, Karl Kaas OZ2KK, Sascha Tietz KJ6LIL and Lars Mehnen OE3HWM, headed to the ESRANGE facility in Northern Sweden to attempt to SEE the spacecraft for the first time in a decade.

They successfully captured images of the satellite as it streaked across the dark Swedish sky.

Read the AMSAT-UK SSETI Express Handbook

Read the Story of the birth of the On Board Computer for SSETI Express by Karl Kaas

AMSAT-UK has been given exclusive access to the report on the hunt for SSETI Express. Read the SSETI Express Phase E – 400-800 THz Downlink Report

Further pictures are available on the Facebook page of Neil Melville-Kenney PA9N

Explanation of the SSETI Express XO-53 observed flare in terms of the two images captured on Oct. 27, 2015. Note, the team couldn't use mirror lock-up in combination with the specific remote. Hence the wobble.

Explanation of SSETI Express observed flare in terms of the two images captured Oct. 27, 2015
Note team couldn’t use mirror lock-up in combination with the specific remote, hence wobble

Radiocommunication Assembly opens in Geneva

Delegates at the ITU Radiocommunication Assembly October 26, 2015

Delegates at the ITU Radiocommunication Assembly October 26, 2015

The ITU Radiocommunication Assembly (RA-15) has opened in Geneva ahead of the World Radiocommunication Conference 2015 (WRC-15) which commences next week.

Logo WRC RA 2015The Radiocommunication Assembly, which is responsible for the structure, programme and approval of radiocommunication studies, runs from October 26-30 followed by WRC-15 from November 2-27.

There are a number of agenda items for WRC-15 which may impact amateur radio, among them are:

• Agenda Item 1.1 – Additional allocations for Mobile (IMT) services and applications

• Agenda Item 1.4 Amateur service, on a secondary basis, in the 5250–5450 kHz band

• Agenda Item 1.10 – Additional mobile satellite IMT allocations in the 22-26 GHz range

• Agenda Item 1.18 – Radar for automotive applications in 77.5-78.0 GHz

• Agenda Item 9.1, issue 9.1.8 – Regulatory aspects for nano and pico-satellites

Pictures of the RA-15 Opening Plenary can be seen at

RA-15 http://www.itu.int/en/ITU-R/conferences/RA/2015/Pages/default.aspx

WRC-15 http://www.itu.int/en/ITU-R/conferences/wrc/2015/Pages/default.aspx

IARU Region 3 Conference

IARU-R3 LogoThe ARRL reports on the 16th International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) Region 3 triennial conference held in Bali, Indonesia, October 12-16.

Working Group 2 (WG2) dealt with such operational and technical matters as emergency communication, digital modes, a common APRS frequency, and Region 3 band plans. Titon Dutono, YB3PET, chaired WG2, and ARRL CEO David Sumner, K1ZZ, served as its secretary. In all, working group members discussed 37 papers and submitted recommendations to the conference for adoption.

Among recommendations adopted was one to ask the IARU Administrative Council to make available information on the use of the Amateur Satellite Service for member societies, satellite groups, Amateur Satellite operators, and concerned radio amateurs. This information would include, but not be limited to, criteria for a satellite to be in the Amateur Satellite Service and the procedure for IARU satellite frequency coordination.

The conference also adopted adjustments to the Region 3 band plans. Region 3 directors will consider making the format similar to that used in Regions 1 and 2.

Read the full ARRL story at

The Chinese Radio Sports Association / Chinese Radio Amateur Club submitted a paper titled Amateur Satellite Guide which said “Amateur satellite projects may rely on a wide range of cooperation between radio amateurs and other parties, as the consequence, the nature of the mission can be complicated. Without a set of definite criterion, the service classification of a mission may not be crystal clear to both satellite operators and other radio amateurs, especially when the radio payload supplies amateur service but also covers certain kind of other tasks.”

The CRSA/CRAC proposed “that the IARU AC shall consider to make available some information on use of the amateur satellite service for member societies, satellite groups, amateur satellite operators as well as concerned radio amateurs.”

CRSA/CRAC paper on the number of radio amateurs – paper also notes Beijing has allocated 135.7-137.8 kHz to the Amateur Satellite Service

The Working Group 2 report recommended a common APRS frequency of 144.390 MHz for High Altitude Balloons and terrestrial use. The Region 3 Directors will be consulting with IARU Regions 1 & 2

Papers submitted for the conference may be seen at

IARU Region 3 Act on Band Plan Satellite Allocations