23 cm band and WRC-2018

IARU_Region_1_logopaper to be discussed at the IARU Region 1 Conference in Varna-Albena, Bulgaria, September 21-27, 2014 highlights the threat to continued amateur radio usage of our 23 cm allocation which is now being used by the Galileo GPS system. The amateur 23 cm allocation includes a key Amateur Satellite Service uplink band at 1260-1270 MHz.

Michael Kastelic OE1MCU, Chair of the IARU R1 VHF/UHF/Microwave Committee has written the paper VA14_C5_36 which says:

After the last reports and slides received by the author, it seems that radio amateurs will lose the 23 cm band in the near future. That is the reason for this late proposal.

We can be optimistic, but more than a small piece of spectrum for near band communication will not survive. Also the enthusiastic testing with ATV on 70 cm is not a replacement for 23 cm, because this will cause disturbance to our amateur satellites and all cars will stay locked if the ISM band is used.

GNSS - Credit Microwave Journal

GNSS – Credit Microwave Journal

Proposal:
Radio amateurs need a new allocation (like 1300 -1310 MHz) for the agenda of the World Radio Conference 2018 (WRC2018) so that amateurs get back spectrum near the existing 23 cm band.

Further it is proposed to engage the EC after WRC-2015 to bring this theme to the
agenda for WRC-2018 with high priority

Read the paper at http://tinyurl.com/IARU-VA14-C5-36

Potential Interference To Galileo From 23 cm Band Operations
http://www.southgatearc.org/articles/galileo.htm

Up until now there have only been four Galileo test satellites in orbit which have been used to validate the system. The first two satellites of the operational Galileo GPS constellation were launched on August 22, 2014, they will be followed by further launches over the next 3 years. 

During the initial test phase two German ATV repeaters were shutdown due to interference to a user’s Galileo receiver, they were:
• DB0QI which was 18 km from the receiver
• DB0ITV which was 55 km from the receiver
It is thought both repeaters were running an ERP of just 15 watts, but the ERP figure has not been confirmed.

It appears that all 23 cm repeaters in Austria have been shutdown.

Alessio Sacchi IZ4EFN posted the following information regarding the situation in Italy on the AMSAT Bulletin Board:
Few weeks back I spoke with a member of the Italian CC, as our club was going to add a 1296 MHz port to a local repeater. He said Alenia Space has submitted strong warnings regarding possible interference with Galileo and he anticipated it could be hard to get a frequency assigned in that portion of the spectrum in the near future.

IARU R1 VHF/UHF/Microwaves discussion forum
http://www.thersgb.org/forums/index.php?forums/vhfmicrowave/

Other VHF/UHF/Microwave papers for the Conference can be downloaded from
http://www.iaru-r1.org/index.php?option=com_remository&Itemid=&func=fileinfo&id=522

Join AMSAT-UK

AMSAT-UK_Bevelled_Logo

AMSAT-UK Logo

Founded in 1975 AMSAT-UK is a voluntary organisation that supports the design and building of equipment for amateur radio satellites.

AMSAT-UK initially produced a short bulletin called OSCAR News to give members advice on amateur satellite communications. Since those early days OSCAR News has grown in size and the print quality has improved beyond recognition. Today, OSCAR News is produced as a high-quality quarterly colour A4 magazine consisting of up to 40 pages of news, information and comment about amateur radio space communications.

The new lower-cost E-membership provides OSCAR News as a downloadable PDF file giving members the freedom to read it on their Tablets or Smartphones anytime, anyplace, anywhere.

An additional advantage is that the PDF should be available for download up to 2 weeks before the paper copy is posted.

AMSAT-UK FUNcube Mission Patch Rev4 20100609

AMSAT-UK FUNcube Mission Patch

The Membership year lasts for 12 months starting on January 1 each year.

If you join after July 31 of any particular year, then you will receive complimentary membership for the whole of the following year, i.e. join on August 10, 2014, and you have nothing more to pay until Dec 31, 2015.

Take out an Electronic membership here http://shop.amsat.org.uk/shop/category_9/Join-Amsat-UK.html

E-members can download their copies of OSCAR News from http://www.amsatuk.me.uk/on

A sample issue of OSCAR News can be downloaded here.

D-STAR satellite repeater test 437.050 MHz

TabletSat-Aurora in Space - Credit Sputnix

TabletSat-Aurora in Space – Credit Sputnix

A test of the D-STAR Parrot Repeater on the TabletSat-Aurora satellite is expected to take place during Monday, August 11 on 437.050 MHz (+/- 10 kHz Doppler shift).

TabletSat-Aurora - Credit Sputnix

TabletSat-Aurora – Credit Sputnix

TabletSat-Aurora launched with 11 other satellites carrying amateur radio payloads from Dombarovsky near Yasny on Thursday, June 19, 2014.

The D-STAR GMSK Parrot (Store and Forward) Repeater can store up to 8 seconds of voice message and runs 0.8 watts to a whip antenna.

There are two other transceivers on the satellite, they transmit GMSK telemetry data on 435.550 MHz and 436.100 MHz. Their power can be varied by command from the ground station between 0.8 and 2.0 watts. TabletSat-Aurora is also a downlink on 8192 MHz.

Dmitry Pashkov R4UAB reports the test on his website at http://r4uab.ru/?p=7160

Description of TabletSat-Aurora in Google English http://tinyurl.com/TabletSat-Aurora-Description

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/SPUTNIX.ltd/

Dnepr Launch for D-STAR Satellite http://amsat-uk.org/2014/06/18/dnepr-launch-for-d-star-satellite/

Satellite Tracking http://amsat-uk.org/beginners/satellite-tracking/

Online WebSDR for VHF Satellites

144 MHz prototype helix antenna

144 MHz prototype helix antenna

You can use the free online SUWS Web Software Defined Radio (WebSDR) from your PC or Laptop to receive the International Space Station (ISS) and the many amateur radio satellites transmitting in the 145.800 – 146.000 MHz band.

Martin Ehrenfried G8JNJ has equipped the SUWS WebSDR with omni-direction helix antennas for both 144 and 432 MHz which have proved effective for both high altitude balloon and satellite reception.

The SUWS WebSDR is located at Farnham not far from London, listen to it at http://websdr.suws.org.uk/

Martin says this about the special satellite antennas “I had been experimenting with single turn ‘twisted halo’ design, and decided to try stacking them to see if I could achieve more gain. Modelling suggested that a stretched 3 turn helix with a helix circumference of approx 1/2 wave length and an overall length of 1/2 wave at 70cm, and fed with a gamma match at the centre would offer reasonable gain, an omni-directional pattern and mixed polarisation.”

Full details of the antennas are available at
http://g8jnj.webs.com/currentprojects.htm

WebSDR for 144, 432, 1296 and 10368 MHz
http://amsat-uk.org/2013/12/28/websdr-for-434-and-1296-mhz/

Amateur Radio Village at EMF 2014

EMF 2012 badge of attendee Graham Shirville G3VZV

EMF 2012 badge of attendee Graham Shirville G3VZV

There will be an amateur radio village and special event station GB2EMF at the Electromagnetic Field EMF 2014 event taking place August 29-31 at Bletchley near Milton Keynes.

EMF 2014 is a festival for anyone interested in radio, electronics, space, homebrewing, robots, UAVs, 3D printing, DIYBio, Internet culture or pretty much anything else you can think of. It is a volunteer effort by a non-profit group, inspired by European and US hacker camps like Chaos Communication Camp, HAR, and toorcamp.

Imagine a camping festival with a power grid and high-speed internet access; a temporary village of geeks, crafters, and technology enthusiasts that’s lit up by night, and buzzing with activity during the day. Over a thousand curious people will descend on the friendly open space to learn, share, and talk about what they love.

Over a long weekend, you can expect to see a huge variety of talks across three stages, a slew of workshops, as well as music, games, and installations dotted around the site.

Attendees are invited to set up their own villages — camps within the camp — where like-minded people can camp together and put on their own activities. The hard-working EMF team of volunteers will supply you with power and internet to your tent.

The special event station GB2EMF will be run from the Amateur Radio Village, it had been hoped to have a 70cm/2m crossband FM repeater operational during the event but it looks as though Ofcom licensing issues may preclude this.

At each EMF event the organisers try and give the attendees a great camp badge. Not just a ‘Hello my name is” sticker but a nice fun piece of technology that they can take away and use after the event.

EMF 2014 takes place August 29-31 near Newton Longville, just South of Bletchley, Milton Keynes, MK17 0BU. Talks include:
• High Altitude Ballooning by Adam Greig M0RND
• Amateur Radio – Practical Sign offs by Paul
• Amateur Radio: The Original Nerd Hobby! by Ryan Sayre 2E0RYS
• An Operator’s Guide to the Enigma Cipher Machine by Simon Singh
• Back to Basics Radio – build a self-powered solderless receiver by Iain Sharp
• InfraRed Communications by Michael Turner
• Surface Mount Soldering – SMD by hand isn’t hard, build your own Persistence of Vision kit to prove it! by Edinburgh Hacklab
Other talks https://www.emfcamp.org/talks/

Announcing TiLDA MKe, the incredible EMF 2014 camp badge
http://blog.emfcamp.org/post/94157161753/announcing-tilda-mke-the-incredible-emf-2014-camp

EMF 2014 https://www.emfcamp.org/
Twitter @emfcamp
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/emfcamp

Report on the EMF 2012 event http://amsat-uk.org/2012/09/01/emf-2012-milton-keynes/

Online Amateur Radio Satellite Predictor

 

AMSAT-LU Satellite Predictions

Pedro Converso LU7ABF reports that AMSAT-LU have developed an online satellite prediction page which quickly provides on a single screen most data required for the amateur radio satellites and includes active maps and graphics.

The predictor allows selection of your location and satellite and shows current and future satellite passes.

The online satellite predictor is at http://amsat.org.ar/sat.htm

144 MHz band to be used for Commonwealth Games

Ofcom-logo-col-tThe RSGB report that four 25 kHz bandwidth channels in the 144 MHz band between 144.00 and 144.100 MHz will be used at the Commonwealth Games from July 22 to Aug 4.

Following negotiations with the RSGB to minimise the impact on radio amateurs, Ofcom has announced that it will temporarily authorise up to four 25 kHz channels, 144.000, 144.025, 144.075 and 144.100 MHz, for the period July 22 to August 4, 2014, to support the operation of the Commonwealth Games. The frequencies to be used specifically exclude 144.0500 MHz (CW Calling Frequency).

Usage of this spectrum by Commonwealth Games users will be in the vicinity of Glasgow games venues and will be limited to handheld equipment operating on a maximum of 5W ERP. Ofcom emphasises that use of Primary Amateur spectrum is only for the specified time period and does not constitute a change of usage.

Ofcom are aware of the very short notice and will authorise this usage on a “non-interference, non-protection basis”.  Amateurs in the Glasgow area are requested to avoid these frequencies until 4th August.

Further information at http://rsgb.org/main/blog/all-regions/region-1/2014/07/22/channels-144mhz-band-used-commonwealth-games/

Goodbye HAMSAT-VO52 – Rest In Peace

HAMSAT VO-52

HAMSAT VO-52

AMSAT-India’s satellite VO-52, launched on May 5, 2005, ceased operation on July 11, 2014. For over 9 years it proved to be a valuable communications resource for the amateur radio community.

Mani VU2WMY posted the sad news:

Dear Friends,

With heavy heart, I sadly convey, that our little angel ‘HAMSAT VO-52’ would no more be able to offer her services to the ‘Amateur Radio Fraternity. HAMSAT VO-52 succumbed in Space on 11th July 2014, while she was on her 49,675th orbit, due to the failure of on-board lithium ion batteries that have met their end of life.

Although her desires were to be at work with other systems and sub-systems working normal as per the latest telemetry received, the on-board computer recurring to ‘Reset’ mode due to the failure of batteries is preventing her to do so.  Hence, it is decided not to expect any more meaningful and reliable services from HAMSAT VO-52.

Since 11th July, every best possible effort has been put in by the spacecraft controllers here in ISTRAC Bangalore to revive her back to life and to help her with work load, so she won’t be swamped when she returns, but with no luck.  Though it is hard, the HAMSAT VO-52 designers and controllers insist that the time has come to let the little angel free in space to go drifting on her own from their care and custody.

Thus, today 21st July 2014, ISRO have decommissioned ‘HAMSAT-VO52′ officially.

We all here in ISRO do definitely hope that ‘HAMSAT VO-52’ worked tirelessly and was a good friend to the ‘Amateur Radio Fraternity’ around the World. We are sure that HAMSAT was loved by all who worked through her. Though, we are deeply saddened by the loss of HAMSAT VO-52, but she will never be forgotten and far from our hearts, minds and memories.

HAMSAT VO-52 will always be remembered by all of us here in ISRO as one of the greatest satellites of ours.

Dear ‘HAMSAT’, looking at the sky, we all say ‘Good Bye’ to you. You’ll be greatly missed. Rest in Peace.

Nevertheless, at this point of time, on behalf of the World Amateur Radio Fraternity, we thank each and everyone who contributed to the great success of ‘HAMSAT’.

Particularly, our sincere thanks to the Chairman ISRO, Dr. K. Radhakrishnan, past chairmen Dr. Kasthurirangan, Dr. G. Madhavan Nair, Director-ISAC Dr. S.K.Shiva Kumar, past ISAC Directors Dr. P.S. Goel, Dr. Shankara, Dr. T.K. Alex, Director-ISTRAC Shri. B.S. Chandrasekhar, scientific secretary Dr. Koteshwar Rao, Project Director-Shri. J.P. Gupta, Deputy project Directors, Mission Director-Shri. R.Suresh, Operations Director-Shri. Parimalarangan and each and every person directly or in-directly contributed.

At this point of time, we also thank AMSAT-India and in particular, lateShri. Nagesh Upadhyaya-VU2NUD,  Shri. B.S. Gajendra Kumar-VU2BGS, Shri. Prathap Kumar-VU2POP, Air Commodore. Subramanian-VU2UV, Shri.  V.P. Sandlas-VU2VP, Dr.R. Ramesh-VU2RMS, Shri. Nitin-VU3TYG, Mr. Williams Leijenaar PE1RAH and each and every member.

Pasted below is the message from Mr. R. Suresh, Mission Director:

HAMSAT, the first small satellite by ISRO has been Decommissioned after nearly a decade of service to the World Ham community.

A true masterpiece among small satellites, designed for one year mission life, but exceeded all expectations by serving for almost 10 years. A truly autonomous satellite, with “Zero maintenance“ in terms of Mission operations, it provided a springboard to test many new concepts such as BMU. LI-ion based power system, automatic Spin rate control and Auto SAOC for maintaining the Satellite attitude without any ground commanding.

HAMSAT known as “OSCAR-52” among the Amateur HAM operators has been very popular because of its high sensitivity receiver and strong transmitter. Indian Radio Amateurs on many occasions conveyed to us that they have been greatly honored to share the adulations showered on ISRO and INDIA by the International Radio Amateur for gifting this wonderful satellite “HAMSAT”.

I take this opportunity to applaud the HAMSAT teams at ISAC, ISTRAC and other centre for their efforts and  support, which has made ISRO proud among the HAM users across the globe.

R,SURESH
MISSION DIRECTOR
HAMSAT

—-
Mani [VU2WMY/KJ6LRS]
Secretary & Station-In-Charge
Upagrah Amateur Radio Club VU2URC
ISRO Satellite Centre

Book Now for International Space Colloquium and CubeSat Workshop

AMSAT-UK Logo

AMSAT-UK Logo

The AMSAT-UK International Space Colloquium will be held this weekend of July 26-27, 2014 at the Holiday Inn, Guildford, GU2 7XZ, UK. The event is open to all, admittance is £10 per day, this can be paid on the door or you can register in advance.

There will be a beginners satellite session run by Carlos Eavis G0AKI on Friday afternoon at 3:30pm.

Details at http://amsat-uk.org/colloquium/colloquium-2014/

If you plan to be a day visitor but wish to attend the Gala Meal on the Saturday evening you can book it at http://shop.amsat.org.uk/shop/category_10/Colloquium-2014-Fri-25-July-to-Sun-27-July.html (Please note that we need to give the hotel 48 hours notice for the dinner, so booking will close on Wed)

The BYOB ‪CubeSat‬ Workshop takes place at the Surrey Space Centre, University of Surrey, Guildford (1 km from the Holiday Inn) on Friday, July 25. The day will include ad-hoc tours to SSC’s cleanroom, ground–station, and new CubeSat experimentation facilities.

You must register in advance to attend the BYOB CubeSat Workshop. Information on Free registration is at http://amsat-uk.org/2014/07/15/byob-cubesat-day-july-25-free-registration/

Dnepr Launch for D-STAR Satellite

TabletSat-Aurora - Image Credit Sputnix

TabletSat-Aurora – Image Credit Sputnix

The D-STAR satellite TabletSat-Aurora is expected to launch with 11 other satellites carrying amateur radio payloads from Dombarovsky near Yasny on Thursday, June 19, 2014 at 19:11:11 UT.

TabletSat-Aurora - Image Credit Sputnix

TabletSat-Aurora – Image Credit Sputnix

It carries a D-STAR Parrot (Store and Forward) Repeater running 0.8 watts of GMSK  on 437.050 MHz (+/- 10 kHz) to a whip antenna. It can store up to 8 seconds of voice message.

There are two other transceivers on the satellite that operate on 435.550 MHz and 436.100 MHz. Their power can be varied by command from the ground station between 0.8 and 2.0 watts and it is understood they will be used for command and control and transmit GMSK telemetry data. There is also a downlink on 8192 MHz.

Dmitry Pashkov R4UAB reports the D-STAR repeater could become operational in early July. It is understood that when the D-STAR repeater is active the telemetry transmitters will be inactive.

Description of TabletSat-Aurora in Google English
http://tinyurl.com/TabletSat-Aurora-Description

A description of the satellites amateur radio capability is at
https://www.facebook.com/SPUTNIX.ltd/photos/a.336584396454237.77484.293701294075881/569763353136339/

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/SPUTNIX.ltd/

There are 37 satellites and a 2U Mass Dummy on the launch and it is thought a dozen of them are carrying amateur radio payloads. A list of frequencies is at http://r4uab.ru/?p=6393

For a short description of each of the satellites see http://www.zarya.info/Calendar.php#Dnepr

Article about the launch and payloads
http://www.spaceflight101.com/dnepr-launch-updates—2014-cluster-launch.html

Check for updates on the satellites on the #cubesat IRC channel throughout the evening (GMT) of Thursday, June 19. A web client is available at http://webchat.freenode.net/?channels=#cubesat