AggieSat4 deployment from ISS

UK astronaut Tim Peake KG5BVI preparing AggieSat4 for deployment

UK astronaut Tim Peake KG5BVI preparing AggieSat4 for deployment

The deployment activities scheduled for Friday, January 29, 2016 include capturing CYCLOPS with the JEM Remote Manipulator System, maneuvering CYCLOPS to the deployment location, and final deployment of AggieSat4 from CYCLOPS

An example of the deployment mechanism can be seen below.

There are four switches, embedded on the CYCLOPS EAF, that inhibit AGS4 from turning. The first event that will occur after deployment will be the release of these inhibits. Once these inhibits are removed, the Electronic Power System (EPS) starts and initiates a 10 minute timer. After the timer ends the Command and Data Handling System starts and initiates a checkout of every system on AGS4. When complete, AGS4 will begin sending a signal to Earth with its Low Data Rate (LDR) radio, indicating that it is alive and well. The team expects to start receiving signals from AGS4 on Friday evening.

This animation shows how the Cyclops Deployment System launches satellites in the 50 to 100 kg class from the International Space Station.

Watch Animation of Station’s Cyclops Satellite Deployer

Thanks to Jan van Gils PE0SAT for this item.

ISS AggieSat4 Satellite Deployment – Amateur Radio Frequencies and Links

IARU Paper: APRS Harmonization and removal of OSCAR sub-band

IARU_Region_1_logoIARU Region 1 has released the papers for the Interim Meeting to be held in Vienna April 15-17, 2016.

Among the papers for the C5 VHF/UHF/Microwave Committee is one on harmonizing APRS.

VIE16_C5_41_1.pdf – 144 /435 MHz APRS Harmonisation

The paper covers global band planning considerations and among the recommendations says:

Emphasise that spaceborne APRS must be confined to globally coordinated amateur satellite sub bands. Therefore items that are ambiguous and generate confusion in national band plans such as ‘Space communications’ and ‘New Oscar Sub band’ should be removed as soon as possible in all Regions in accordance with IARU-AC and Satellite Coordination guidance

It is believed that ‘New Oscar Sub band’ refers to the USA’s ARRL 144 MHz band plan and ‘Space communications’  to the Australian WIA 144 MHz band plan. These band plans, as well as those for some other countries, show 144.300 – 144.500 MHz as being for Amateur Satellite use.

Direct link for C5 VHF/UHF/Microwave Papers

Links for all committee papers and email addresses of Committee Chairs are at
[Although URL says 2017 the meeting is 2016]

ARRL 144 MHz Band Plan

WIA 144 MHz Band Plan

Chelmsford Talk: Amateur Radio Satellites

Steve Hedgecock M0SHQ sending Packet Radio to the ISS

Steve Hedgecock M0SHQ sending Packet Radio to the ISS

On Tuesday, February 2, Steve Hedgecock M0SHQ will give a presentation to the Chelmsford Amateur Radio Society (CARS) on amateur radio satellites, the talk is open to all.

The main part of the presentation will be on simple satellite operation using an FT-817 and hand held antennas. Steve will also cover amateur radio activity on the International Space Station (ISS) including using the ISS APRS digipeater and reception of ISS Slow Scan Television (SSTV).

The talk coincides with the mission of UK astronaut Tim Peake GB1SS on the space station. Some of you may have already heard Tim using the amateur radio station in the Columbus module to link up with school students as part of the ARISS program.

The meeting takes place at the Oaklands Museum, Moulsham Street, CM2 9AQ. The doors open at 7pm for a 7:30pm start, car parking and admittance are free, visitors are most welcome.



CARS run short amateur radio training courses, to find out about the next course speak to the training manager Peter Davies M0PSD, contact details are at

What is Amateur Radio ?

Geosynchronous ham radio payload to aid disaster communications

Millennium Space Systems AQUILA M8 Series Satellite Structure

Millennium Space Systems AQUILA M8 Series Satellite Structure interviews Hume Center Director of Research Bob McGwier N4HY about a geosynchronous satellite amateur radio payload which will aid disaster communications.

Researchers at the Ted and Karyn Hume Center for National Security and Technology are preparing to send an amateur radio transponder into a geosynchronous orbit in 2017.

“Seven days a week, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, a new ham band will be available for the Americas,” said Robert McGwier, a research professor in the Bradley Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and the Hume Center’s director of research. “It will allow rapid deployment to disaster areas and support long-haul communications for first responders.”

This would be the first amateur or “ham” radio payload in a geosynchronous orbit, and would significantly enhance communications capabilities for amateur radio operators, in particular following natural disasters or other emergency situations. The Hume Center team met with Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Craig Fugate in September to discuss the project.

Read the full story at

What is a Geosynchronous orbit ?

Video of Geosynchronous ham radio project presentation

Amateur radio in UK Spectrum Policy Forum report

AMSAT-UK_Bevelled_LogoThe UK Spectrum Policy Forum has released the UK Spectrum Usage & Demand report which covers amateur radio and other services.

The UK Spectrum Policy Forum was launched in September 2013 at the behest of Ed Vaizey, Minister for Culture and the Digital Economy to act as the industry sounding board on long-term UK spectrum issues to Government and Ofcom. This report provides a snapshot of the current spectrum usage and expected long-term future needs of the major users of spectrum in the UK. It identifies the business and societal activities which depend on this spectrum and the associated drivers of value.

Regarding Amateur Radio the report notes:

“The RSGB believes current AR primary allocations are insufficient and there are no primary allocations between 400 MHz and 24 GHz, threatening confidence, investment and growth in AR. The problem is greatest for satellite transponders, EME and narrowband terrestrial systems.”

“Additional spectrum is needed to relieve digital voice congestion, enable new technology experimentation, introduce and extend digital TV, introduce new data modes and higher speed data technologies and to continue to enable the UK’s lead in small satellites

Regarding the contribution of Amateur Radio to social and economic value the report says:

The AR community contributes to the UK’s technology skills base, providing knowledge and education (at no cost). AR activities lead to the development of radio technologies such as narrow split duplexing filters and in-depth understanding of propagation effects.

Radio amateurs also operate voluntary communications services which can bring relief in emergency and disaster situations: examples include the North Sea flood in 1953 and the Lockerbie air disaster in 1988. The ITU Handbook on Emergency Communications states: “In situations where a professional and helpful attitude is maintained, served agencies point with pride to Amateur Radio volunteer efforts and accomplishments. Although the name says “Amateurs,” its real reference is to the fact that they are not paid for their efforts”

Download the report UK Spectrum Usage & Demand – Main V3 and the Annex document from
Note: This page asks for name and an email address. The fields will accept anything, you do not need to be able to receive an email at the address you give in order to download the report.

The Wireless Waffle site was highlighted in the Annex

OSCAR News Issue 212

OSCAR News front page 212 Dec 2015Issue 212 of the AMSAT-UK amateur radio satellite publication OSCAR News was released on December 9, 2015. E-members can download it here.

The paper edition is usually posted 2-3 weeks after publication of the electronic issue.

In this issue:
• Second Birthday of FUNcube-1
• More FUNcube Fitter Message activity
• Fun with the FUNcube
• Students to have direct contact with Tim Peake during the Principia mission
• Supporting the Principia Mission
• The HamTV antennas on the Columbus module on the ISS
• Spectrum Forum Meeting – Saturday 7th November 2015
• Low Cost TVSat LNB Disciplined to a 10 MHz Reference
• Fox-1A Update
• A Homemade Portable Antenna Rotator
• Letter from America
• Shorts
• Is your licence at risk?

AMSAT-UK FUNcube Mission Patch

AMSAT-UK FUNcube Mission Patch

Membership of AMSAT-UK is open to anyone who has an interest in amateur radio satellites or space activities, including the International Space Station (ISS).

E-members of AMSAT-UK are able to download OSCAR News as a convenient PDF that can be read on laptops, tablets or smartphones anytime, anyplace, anywhere. Join as an E-member at Electronic (PDF) E-membership

There are two rates for the paper edition to cover the extra postage costs:
Rest of the World (Overseas)

PDF sample copy of “Oscar News” here.

Join AMSAT-UK using PayPal, Debit or Credit card at

E-members can download their copies of OSCAR News here.

WRC-15: Amateur Bands Unsuitable for Non-Amateur Satellites

Logo WRC RA 2015The World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC) held in Geneva during November 2015 has recommended an agenda for the next WRC, to be held in 2019, to the Council of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). One of the agenda items is of particular interest to the small-satellite community.

Agenda item 1.7 for WRC-19 reads: “to study the spectrum needs for telemetry, tracking and command in the space operation service for non-GSO satellites with short duration missions, to assess the suitability of existing allocations to the space operation service and, if necessary, to consider new allocations, in accordance with Resolution COM6/19 (WRC-15).”

Resolution COM6/19, which eventually will be given a new number, specifies the frequency ranges that may be considered for possible new allocations. They are 150.05-174 MHz and 400.15-420 MHz.

One of the factors that the conference considered in deciding on these particular frequency ranges was “that some non-amateur satellites have used frequencies for telemetry, tracking and command in the frequency bands 144-146 MHz and 435-438 MHz which are allocated to the amateur-satellite service, and that such use is not in accordance with Nos. 1.56 and 1.57.” Those two provisions of the ITU Radio Regulations define the amateur and amateur-satellite services respectively.

The International Amateur Radio Union welcomed the exclusion from consideration of all existing frequency allocations to the amateur and amateur-satellite services. IARU President Tim Ellam, VE6SH, observed: “This is an excellent result for the amateur services and clearly shows that non-amateur satellite constructors need to consider spectrum other than the very limited and congested segments that are available for amateur satellites at 144 MHz and 435 MHz.”

Dave Sumner K1ZZ
International Amateur Radio Union

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

IARU Region 1

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 (tick Draw Footprint)

SPROUT SSTV and Digitalker are active every Sunday

SPROUT Digitalker full text

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

SPROUT Japanese website

Nihon-Univ. Miyazaki Laboratory on Facebook

Telemetry Software

Telemetry format

SPROUT launch data page’s from the North American Aerospace Defence Command (NORAD) are also available at

Free Slow Scan TV (SSTV) software MMSSTV

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