OSCAR Locator App

OscarLocator-1Tom Doyle W9KE has developed a Windows satellite tracking App that reproduces the graphical display of the original cardboard OSCARLOCATOR .

Most tracking programs use an equirectangular projection which is by far the easiest to program and shows the entire Earth at once. A 3D model is often used which helps visualize orbits but does not show the entire Earth at the same time.

Tom remembers having an easier time visualizing the orbits back in the day (1970′s) when amateurs used cardboard OSCAR Locators with overlays. This Windows program lets you visualize orbits OSCAR Locator style.

Download the OSCAR Locator from http://www.tomdoyle.org/OscarLocator

Other Apps by Tom can be downloaded via http://www.tomdoyle.org/

40 Years of Tracking OSCAR-7 http://amsat-uk.org/2014/11/09/40-years-tracking-oscar-7/

SatNOGS Win Hackaday Prize

SatNOGS - Satellite Networked Open Ground Station

SatNOGS – Satellite Networked Open Ground Station

The open-source amateur satellite tracking project SatNOGS has won the Hackaday 1st prize and an amateur radio SDR won 3rd prize.

Six months ago Hackaday challenged their readers to realize the future of open, connected devices, The prize was a ticket to travel into space. The winners were announced at the Electronica trade show in Munich on November 13.

The SatNOGs project is a thrilling example of the benefits of a connected world. It opens up the use of satellite data to a much wider range of humanity by providing plans to build satellite tracking stations, and a protocol and framework to share the satellite data with those that cannot afford, or lack the skills to build their own tracking station. The hardware itself is based on readily available materials, commodity electronics, and just a bit of 3D printing.

Read the Hackaday article at
http://hackaday.com/2014/11/13/satnogs-wins-the-2014-hackaday-prize/

Ham Radio in Hackaday Prize Finals
http://amsat-uk.org/2014/11/08/ham-radio-in-hackaday-prize-finals/

SatNOGS – Satellite Networked Open Ground Station https://satnogs.org/

40 Years of Tracking OSCAR-7

Satrack showing OSCAR 7 (AO-7)

Satrack showing OSCAR 7 (AO-7)

William Leijenaar PE1RAH shows how people tracked satellites in the time before PC’s and AMSAT Argentina show how it’s done today.

ARRL OSCAR LocatorIn the 1974 radio amateurs tracked OSCAR 7 (AO-7) using an OSCARLOCATOR that comprised a polar great circle map and overheads for each satellite.

40 years later OSCAR 7 is still operational when in sunlight and thanks to William Leijenaar PE1RAH you can now download the map and overheads to make your very own OSCARLOCATOR. Read his article at
http://www.qsl.net/pe1rah/oscarlator.htm

AMSAT Argentina has recently released the online satellite tracker Satrack, use it at http://amsat.org.ar/sat.htm

The PC version can be downloaded from http://amsat.org.ar/Satrack.htm

Special Event Station for 40th Anniversary of OSCAR 7 Launch
http://amsat-uk.org/2014/10/31/special-event-station-for-40th-anniversary-of-oscar-7-launch/

OSCAR 7 in Space

OSCAR 7 in Space

 

Japanese Microsatellites Launched

Dnepr Launch November 21, 2013 - Credit ISC Kosmotras

A typical Dnepr launch – Credit ISC Kosmotras

On Thursday, November 6 at 07:35:49 UT a Dnepr rocket carrying the primary payload Asnaro-1 and four microsatellites was launched from Dombarovsky near Yasny. Kosmotras report all spacecraft have been inserted into their target orbits.

The four Japanese microsatellites are:
- ChubuSat-1 (Kinshachi-1) 437.485 MHz CW/AX.25 (Digipeater uplink 145.980 MHz)
- TSUBAME 437.250 MHz CW and 437.505 AX.25
- Hodoyoshi-1 467.674 MHz
- QSAT-EOS (Tsukushi) an AX.25 GMSK payload has been reported but the frequency is unknown.

Signals have been received from both ChubuSat-1 and TSUBAME.

The 50kg class ChubuSat-1 aims to
• Relay messages in amateur service (AX.25 packet radio Digipeater)
• Take pictures of particular site on Earth commanded from the Earth station with an optical camera and an Infra-red camera
• Try to take pictures of space debris commanded from the Earth station with above two cameras
It will have 3 axis stabilisation

Asnaro Mission PatchThe 30kg class TSUBAME aims to
• Demonstrate satellite bus technology for 30kg-class microsatellite and verification of COTS components such as micro-processors, memory and Li-ion batteries in the space environment
• Verify of Control Moment Gyros developed by the Laboratory for Space Systems
• Demonstrate of high-speed attitude manoeuvres technology using Control Moment Gyros. Some sensor data acquisition experiments will be conducted at the same time in order to demonstrate applications of CMGs
• Demonstrate of SRLL communication protocol developed by Tokyo Institute of Technology and high-speed GMSK data downlink
• Collect data through internet with the aid of radio amateurs all over the world

TSUBAME TLE http://www.dk3wn.info/p/?p=51785

Kosmotras announcement http://www.kosmotras.ru/en/news/155/

Satellite info and launch video http://russianspaceweb.com/dnepr_asnaro.html

ChubuSat-1 Slides http://www.frontier.phys.nagoya-u.ac.jp/chubusat/ChubuSat-20130311.pdf

UHF Satellite frequencies http://www.satellitenwelt.de/freqlisten/SatFreq-UHF.txt

IARU Satellite Frequency Coordination Panel Status Pages http://www.amsat.org.uk/iaru

IARU Region 1 Approve Youth Budget and Satellite Allocation

Lisa Leenders PA2LS

Lisa Leenders PA2LS

The minutes of the Final Plenary, 23rd IARU Region 1 General Conference have been released.

The Conference approved these Youth budgets:
a. Youth Projects – 25,000 Swiss Francs for the years 2015, 2016 and 2017
b. Youth Working Group – 2,000 Swiss Francs for the years 2015, 2016 and 2017
One Swiss Franc is roughly equivalent to £0.65, $1.04, €0.83.

It was agreed to set up a Youth Working Group which will be Chaired for three years by Lisa Leenders, PA2LS.

A new satellite Space-to-Earth (downlink) band from 144.000 – 144.025 MHz with a maximum signal bandwidth of 2.7 kHz was agreed. This allocation is now available in all three IARU regions.

Read the minutes at
http://rsgb.org/main/files/2013/05/VA14_IARU-R1_Conference-Plenary-minutes.pdf

Additional information is in annexes/minutes which are awaiting release, check
http://rsgb.org/main/about-us/committees/spectrum-forum/sf-iaru-matters/sf-iaru-r1-conference/

Special Event Station for 40th Anniversary of OSCAR 7 Launch

OSCAR 7 in Space

OSCAR 7 in Space

Patrick Stoddard WD9EWK/VA7EWK has secured the special call sign W7O (Whiskey Seven Oscar) for use in commemorating the 40th anniversary of the launch of OSCAR 7 on November 15, 1974.

OSCAR 7 in anechoic chamber with Perry Klein K3JTE and Jan King K8VTR/W3GEY - Credit Dick Daniels W4PUJ

OSCAR 7 in anechoic chamber with Perry Klein K3JTE and Jan King K8VTR/W3GEY – Credit Dick Daniels W4PUJ

On the AMSAT Bulletin Board he writes:

I plan on having this call on the air between November 15-24 2014, working satellites and possibly other bands.  I will work satellite passes from Arizona, including AO-7 passes, and hope to recruit a small group of operators who can work other passes that cover eastern North America along with other places I can’t work from here (Europe, North Africa, South America).  I may also try to get some operators working HF with this call.

I will handle the QSL requests for W7O during this period. I am thinking of incorporating the original QSL card design AMSAT used to confirm AO-7 reception reports from the 1970s in the W7O card.

The QSL cards will be printed after the W7O activity wraps up.  I will also upload W7O QSOs to ARRL’s Logbook of the World system.

Please contact me directly if you have any questions related to this operation, or if you are willing to operate on satellites and/or HF as W7O during this 10-day period.

Thanks in advance, and 73!

Patrick WD9EWK/VA7EWK http://www.wd9ewk.net/

OSCAR 7 with Dick Daniels W4PUJ, Jan King K8VTR-W3GEY, Marie Marr and Perry Klein K3JTE

OSCAR 7 with Dick Daniels W4PUJ, Jan King K8VTR-W3GEY, Marie Marr and Perry Klein K3JTE

The amateur radio satellite AMSAT-OSCAR 7 was launched by a Delta rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base on November 15, 1974 and provided many years of service until it went silent from battery failure in mid 1981.

For 21 years nothing more was heard until June 21, 2002 when Pat Gowen G3IOR came across a beacon sending slow 8 -10 wpm CW on 145.973.8 MHz. It sounded like old OSCAR satellite telemetry, it had the familiar HI HI followed by a string of numbers in groups of three. After monitoring by many radio amateurs it turned out to be OSCAR-7, and it seemed to have come back from the dead.

Pat’s email to the AMSAT Bulletin Board announcing his discovery can be seen at

http://www.amsat.org/amsat/archive/amsat-bb/200206/msg00525.html

OSCAR 7 amateur radio satelliteIt is believed that in 1981 the batteries failed short-circuit, however, in 2002 they became open-circuit enabling the satellite to run again from the solar panels. Since that day OSCAR 7 has been operational when in sunlight and provided radio amateurs with many long distance (DX) SSB/CW contacts.

Remember when working OSCAR 7 use the least uplink power possible to minimize your downlink power usage, and maximize the number of simultaneous contacts supported in the passband.

A BBC News report Radio ham finds lost satellite about the reception of OSCAR 7 by Dave Rowan G4CUO can be seen at http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/2149381.stm

A collection of photos by Dick Daniels W4PUJ taken during the construction, test and launch of the AMSAT-OSCAR 7 spacecraft in 1973 and 1974 can be viewed at http://n4hy.smugmug.com/AMSAT/AMSAT-Oscar-7

Oscar 7 Information http://ww2.amsat.org/?page_id=1031

Video of 2E0HTS Working the OSCAR-7 Satellite http://amsat-uk.org/2012/01/26/2e0hts-working-the-oscar-7-satellite/

2010 video of the then AO-7 distance record http://www.southgatearc.org/news/january2010/new_ao7_record.htm

‘Getting started on amateur radio satellites’ by G7HIA published in the March 2007 RadCom. Download the article at http://ukamsat.files.wordpress.com/2011/05/satellites_radcom_mar07.pdf
Copyright 2007 Radio Society of Great Britain. For personal use only – no copying, reprinting or distribution without written permission from the RSGB.

Join the AMSAT Bulletin Board AMSAT-BB http://amsat.org/mailman/listinfo

 

Bandplan released for 146 MHz

New Ways of Amateur CommunicationsFriday, October 31 is the formal start of the 146-147 MHz ‘experiment’ for Full licence holders with NoV’s and the RSGB has released a bandplan.

The bandplan has an allocation for digital modes with up to 500 kHz bandwidth and 12.5 kHz channels for narrowband digital modes including digital voice.

Users of wideband modes may need to use bandwidth tailoring to ensure no RF extends into the weak signal satellite segment at 145.8-146.0 MHz (the Lunar 4M JT65B beacon uses 145.980 MHz) or goes above 147.0 (or 146.93750 where applicable).

146 MHz Spectral CompatibilityDownload the bandplan from http://rsgb.org/main/files/2014/10/146-147-Initial-Bandplan.pdf

Some amateurs will be active in the early hours of Friday with the digital voice mode FreeDV which uses Codec2, download FreeDV from http://freedv.org/tiki-index.php

Apply now for your NoV at http://rsgb.org/main/operating/licensing-novs-visitors/online-nov-application/146mhz-147mhz-nov/

146-147 MHz Usage and Band Planning FAQ
http://amsat-uk.org/2014/10/28/146-147-mhz-usage-and-band-planning-faqs/

RSGB 146 MHz Information
http://rsgb.org/main/operating/band-plans/vhf-uhf/vhf-spectrum-release/

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.

146-147 MHz Usage and Band Planning FAQ

New Ways of Amateur CommunicationsThe new 146-147 MHz allocation is available to UK Full licence holders from October 31, 2014. The RSGB have issued a FAQ document which answers some of the common questions about the new allocation.

They say in terms of enabling innovation and experimentation it might have been preferable if Ofcom was prepared to grant 146 MHz NoVs to holders of all classes of UK amateur licence. However, the Ofcom view was that because Full licensees have demonstrated a greater comprehension of the interference aspects, NoVs will only be available for holders of full amateur licences.

Map illustrating where 146 MHz cannot be used

Map illustrating where 146 MHz cannot be used

It is expected the allocation will be used for wideband digital transmissions. Bandwidth tailoring will be imperative to ensure no RF extends into the weak signal satellite segment at 145.8-146.0 MHz (the Lunar 4M JT65B beacon uses 145.980 MHz). Narrow band users in 147 MHz must also be protected from any increase in the noise floor.

The FAQ says:

The 146‐147 MHz band is ideal for testing new forms of medium bandwidth data transmission that can surpass traditional methods such as amateur AX25 packet data. Some higher speed data modes used by amateurs on microwave frequencies produce a very wide transmitted spectrum and are clearly not suitable for the 146‐147 MHz band. Even the 128kbps medium data rate D‐Star ‘DD Mode’ used on the 1296 MHz band fills up over 500 kHz of bandwidth at 60dB down on the peak transmitted power. However we do expect that amateurs will be able to develop solutions compatible with the spectral constraints of the 146‐147 MHz band.

146 MHz Spectral CompatibilityIn the initial 146‐147 MHz band plan there is a recommendation that wider bandwidth data modes should be centred at 146.500 MHz to make sure that all of the sidebands are contained within the 146‐147 MHz band. For initial experiments the recommendation is to use data rates of no more than 350 kbps and measure the total bandwidth at the transmitter output in order to ensure maximum protection of other users at the 147 MHz band edges and amateur satellite users below 146 MHz. As amateur radio access to the 146‐147 MHz band has been granted on a non‐interference basis, it is important that all amateurs adhere to these guidelines in order to ensure that there is no interference with users of adjacent bands. In the longer term it might be possible with bandwidth tailoring and pre‐distortion techniques to produce cleaner transmitters to permit greater data rates with sharper spectral slopes.

Apply now for your NoV at http://rsgb.org/main/operating/licensing-novs-visitors/online-nov-application/146mhz-147mhz-nov/

The application asks you for your Licence Number which appears on page 1 of your licence. If you don’t have it simply login to the Ofcom licencing page and download a new licence PDF at https://services.ofcom.org.uk/

RSGB 146 MHz http://rsgb.org/main/operating/band-plans/vhf-uhf/vhf-spectrum-release/

FAQ PDF http://rsgb.org/main/files/2014/03/146-147MHz_FAQ.pdf

146 MHz talk slides http://rsgb.org/main/files/2014/03/RSGB_146-147MHz.pdf

UK radio hams start 146 MHz development
http://www.southgatearc.org/news/2014/october/uk_radio_hams_start_146_mhz_development.htm

New UK Amateur Radio 146 MHz allocation
http://amsat-uk.org/2014/10/13/new-uk-amateur-radio-146-mhz-allocation/

First FUNcube 73 on 73 Award Issued

First 73 on 73 Award issued to Wyatt Dirks AC0RA

First 73 on 73 Award issued to Wyatt Dirks AC0RA

Paul Stoetzer N8HM reports the first AO-73 (FUNcube-1) 73 on 73 Award has been issued to Wyatt Dirks AC0RA.

AO-73 (FUNcube-1) - Image credit Wouter Weggelaar PA3WEG

AO-73 (FUNcube-1) – Image credit Wouter Weggelaar PA3WEG

The award aims to promote activity on AO-73 satellite. The requirements are straight-forward:

1. Work 73 unique stations on AO-73.
2. Contacts must be made on or after September 1, 2014.
3. There are no geographic restrictions on your operating location.

Congratulations to Wyatt Dirks, AC0RA, for claiming 73 on 73 Award #1. He has submitted a list with a total of 74 unique calls worked on AO-73 since September 1.

It’s been great to hear all the activity on the satellite over the last few weeks. I look forward to hearing and working many more stations, especially after the end of Daylight Saving Time makes the evening passes a bit earlier!

73, Paul Stoetzer, N8HM

Full details of the award at http://amsat-uk.org/2014/08/18/73-on-73-award-announcement/