GEO Quarterly magazine available for download

GEO 56 coverThe December PDF of the weather satellite magazine GEO Quarterly produced by the Group for Earth Observation is now available for free download.

The Group for Earth Observation’s aim is to enable amateur reception of weather and earth imaging satellites that are in orbit or planned for launch in the near future.

GEO recently changed from a paid subscription to an optional sign-up to the GEO-Subscribers Yahoo group.

Download December 2017 GEO Quarterly at
http://www.geo-web.org.uk/geoquarterly.php

Group for Earth Observation
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/GEO-Subscribers/
https://twitter.com/GEOWEBUK
https://www.facebook.com/groupforearthobservation

“NASA on the Air” ham radio events

Kennedy Space Center Amateur Radio Club members Dennis Veselka KI4KNC and Scott Vangen WB0QMZ

Kennedy Space Center Amateur Radio Club members Dennis Veselka KI4KNC and Scott Vangen WB0QMZ

NASA is known for communicating with astronauts on missions to space, but did you know regular citizens can radio NASA too?

From the end of this year through the next, NASA will mark several key milestones. Amateur radio clubs at agency centers across the nation plan to celebrate these occasions with several “NASA on the Air” events.

“We enjoy sharing NASA’s story as part of the fun of making contact with fellow ham radio operators across the nation and around the world,” said Kevin Zari KK4YEL, who is activities officer for the Amateur Radio Club at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. “We occasionally communicate with people who think that because we’re not flying the space shuttle anymore, NASA has almost gone out of business. We tell them about activities such as the International Space Station and the Space Launch System, and they appreciate the update.”

Amateur, or ham, radio operators use a frequency spectrum for communicating noncommercial and private messages. One of the most important uses of ham radio operations is providing emergency messaging following disasters, such as the recent Hurricane Maria that destroyed most avenues of communication in Puerto Rico.

“The amateur radio clubs at NASA centers are made up of civil servants, contractors and tenants who participate on their own time,” said Zari, who has been at Kennedy since 1990 and is chief technology officer in the Mission and Support Office of Exploration Research and Technology Programs. “We all have a common goal to show our support for NASA and highlight some of the agency’s amazing accomplishments.”

Read the full NASA story at
https://www.nasa.gov/feature/nasa-on-the-air-events-to-highlight-key-space-milestones

What is Amateur Radio? http://www.essexham.co.uk/what-is-amateur-radio

Find a UK amateur radio training course https://thersgb.org/services/coursefinder/

AO-73 / FUNcube-1 spin period and illumination

AO73 / FUNcube-1 Spin Period

AO-73 / FUNcube-1 Spin Period

The attitude of AO-73 / FUNcube-1 is passively stabilised using the traditional magnet and two hysteresis rods. Since the launch over four years ago we have been intrigued with the resultant actual spin rate/period which seems to vary over time for reasons that have not yet been properly explained.

This graphic, which has been developed from telemetry received and maintained by Colin, VK3IH, and his team, shows the variations in some detail. Explanations would be gratefully received.

Mike, DK3WN’s, illum.exe software showing predicted duration of the first period

Mike, DK3WN’s, illum.exe software showing predicted duration of the first period

As it is expected that illumination levels may be having an influence, the next few months and years will prove interesting. The spacecraft will be entering periods of continuous sunlight. Initially this will be for a six-week period but then for periods of up to nine months!

AO-73 / FUNcube-1 celebrates its 4th birthday https://amsat-uk.org/2017/11/21/funcube-1-celebrates-4th-birthday/

FUNcube Website https://amsat-uk.org/funcube/

FUNcube Yahoo Group https://amsat-uk.org/funcube/yahoo-group/

FUNcube Forum https://amsat-uk.org/funcube/funcube-forum/

Slow Scan TV from Space Dec 5-6

ISS SSTV MAI-75 image 9/12 received by Chertsey Radio Club on Baofeng handheld

ISS SSTV MAI-75 image 9/12 received by Chertsey Radio Club on Baofeng handheld

The 145.800 MHz FM Slow Scan Television (SSTV) transmissions from the International Space Station on December 5-6 should be receivable by radio amateurs around the world.

There should also be SSTV activity on December 7 and 8 at times when the ISS is in range of Moscow.

UPDATE: On Dec 5 ISS Ham @RF2Space Tweeted:
Looks like the #ISS #SSTV test activity was delayed a day. The MAI-75 part is still there but some time changes and session removed. See new schedule at https://ariss-sstv.blogspot.com/

The MAI-75 SSTV system in the Russian Service Module will be put through some extended testing from December 5 starting around 15:00 UTC and running until 09:00 UTC on December 6. Test images will be used during this period. This will provide near global coverage if all works well on 145.800 MHz FM.

In the past images have been sent using the SSTV mode PD120, with a 2-minute off time between each image.

All you need to receive SSTV pictures direct from the space station is to connect the audio output of a scanner or amateur radio transceiver via a simple interface to the soundcard on a Windows PC or an Apple iOS device, and tune in to 145.800 MHz FM. You can even receive pictures by holding an iPhone next to the radio loudspeaker.

The ISS puts out a strong signal on 145.800 MHz FM and a 2m handheld with a 1/4 wave antenna should be enough to receive it.

Many FM rigs can be switched been wide and narrow deviation FM filters. For best results you should select the filter for wider 5 kHz deviation FM. Handhelds all seem to have a single wide filter fitted as standard.

ARISS SSTV Blog http://ariss-sstv.blogspot.co.uk/

ISS Slow Scan TV information with links to Apps and ISS tracking
https://amsat-uk.org/beginners/iss-sstv/

FUNcube-1 celebrates its 4th birthday

Final gluing of FUNcube-1 bolt by Wouter Weggelaar PA3WEG – Image credit Gerard Aalbers

Final gluing of FUNcube-1 bolt by Wouter Weggelaar PA3WEG – Image credit Gerard Aalbers

Today, November 21st 2017, marks the fourth birthday for FUNcube-1 (AO-73) in orbit.

FUNcube-1 was launched at 07:10 UTC on November 21st 2013 and its first signals were received immediately after deployment over the Indian Ocean by amateurs in South Africa. Since then it has been operating continuously in either its education mode or, with the transponder active, in amateur mode when in eclipse and at weekends.

AMSAT-UK FUNcube Mission Patch Rev4 20100609

AMSAT-UK FUNcube Mission Patch

The spacecraft has spent the four years in space orbiting the earth at between 640 and 580 km and has now traveled around the earth more than 20,000 times. That represents a distance traveled of approaching 500 million miles.

Up to now, each of the orbits has been spilt approximately 65% in sunlight and 35% in eclipse. This has resulted in the temperatures inside the small spacecraft varying by about 25° C during each orbit.

During the recent AMSAT-UK Colloquium, Wouter Weggelaar, PA3WEG, in his presentation about the FUNcube project mentioned that the power available from the solar panels has been slowly increasing since launch. This observation led the team to do some further investigations as to the cause.

Although the launch was into a nominally Sun Synchronous orbit, over time this has drifted and the spacecraft is now entering a period when it will be in the sun for longer periods during each orbit. The exact details are still being determined, but it seems likely that, starting from January 2018, there will be periods when the spacecraft will be in the sun for all, or almost all, of its orbits.

FUNcube-1 temperature rise

FUNcube-1 temperature rise

This means that the on-board temperatures will be much higher than we have previously experienced in flight, although we have some test records from pre-flight thermal air testing that were undertaken after integration.

The key will be to discover what the equilibrium temperature will be internally. For comparison, AO85 has already “enjoyed” periods of full sun and its internal temperatures have reached up to around 55° C.

So the next few months will be quite an exciting time for the team! We remain extremely grateful to everyone is using the spacecraft for both its educational and amateur missions. Of course we are also very very grateful to those who are downloading the telemetry and uploading the data to the Data Warehouse. It continues to provide a unique record of “life on board” a 1U CubeSat in space.

Watch the FUNcube presentation by Wouter Weggelaar PA3WEG

Get your 73 on 73 Award, details at https://amsat-uk.org/funcube/73-on-73-award/

AO-73 (FUNcube-1) website https://amsat-uk.org/funcube/funcube-website/

FUNcube Yahoo Group https://amsat-uk.org/funcube/yahoo-group/

ZACUBE-1, FUNcube-1 and HiNCube in the deployment pod - Image credit Wouter Weggelaar PA3WEG

ZACUBE-1, FUNcube-1 and HiNCube in the deployment pod – Image credit Wouter Weggelaar PA3WEG

RadFxSat (Fox-1B) Launched, Designated AMSAT-OSCAR 91 (AO-91)

RadFxSat (Fox-1B) signal received by Mike Rupprecht DK3WN

RadFxSat (Fox-1B) signal received by Mike Rupprecht DK3WN

The Delta II rocket carrying RadFxSat (Fox-1B) launched at 09:47:36 UTC on November 18, 2017 from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California.

RadFxSat (Fox-1B) CubeSat

RadFxSat (Fox-1B) CubeSat

Following a picture-perfect launch, RadFxSat was deployed at 11:09 UTC. Then the wait began. At 12:12 UTC, the AMSAT Engineering team, watching ZR6AIC’s WebSDR waterfall, saw the characteristic “Fox Tail” of the Fox-1 series FM transmitter, confirming that the satellite was alive and transmitting over South Africa. Shortly after 12:34 UTC, the first telemetry was received and uploaded to AMSAT servers by Maurizio Balducci, IV3RYQ, in Cervignano del Friuli, Italy. Initial telemetry confirmed that the satellite was healthy.

After confirmation of signal reception, OSCAR Number Administrator Bill Tynan, W3XO, sent an email to the AMSAT Board of Directors designating the satellite AMSAT-OSCAR 91 (AO-91). Bill’s email stated:

“RadFxSat (Fox-1B) was launched successfully at 09:47 UTC today November 18, 2017 from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California and has been received by several amateur stations.

RadFxSat (Fox-1B), a 1U CubeSat, is a joint mission of AMSAT and the Institute for Space and Defense Electronics at Vanderbilt University. The Vanderbilt package is intended to measure the effects of radiation on electronic components, including demonstration of an on-orbit platform for space qualification of components as well as to validate and improve computer models for predicting radiation tolerance of semiconductors.

RadFxSat (Fox-1B) signal received at 12:12 GMT, Nov 18 by the ZR1AIC WebSDR in South Africa

RadFxSat (Fox-1B) signal received at 12:12 GMT, Nov 18 by the ZR1AIC WebSDR in South Africa

AMSAT constructed the remainder of the satellite including the spaceframe, on-board computer and power system. The amateur radio package is similar to that currently on orbit on AO-85 with a FM uplink on 435.250 MHz (67.0 Hz CTCSS) and a FM downlink on 145.960 MHz. Experiment telemetry will be downlinked via the DUV subaudible telemetry stream, which can be decoded using the FoxTelem software.

RadFxSat (Fox-1B) was sent aloft as a secondary payload on the United Launch Alliance (ULA) Delta II rocket that will transport the Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS)-1 mission. RadFxSat (Fox-1B) is one of four CubeSats making up this NASA Educational Launch of Nanosatellites (ELaNa) XIV mission, riding as secondary payloads aboard the JPSS-1 mission.

Since RadFxSat (Fox-1B) has met all of the qualifications necessary to receive an OSCAR number, I, by the authority vested in me by the AMSAT President, do hereby confer on this satellite the designation AMSAT-OSCAR 91 or AO-91. I join amateur radio operators in the U.S. and around the world in wishing AO-91 a long and successful life in both its amateur and scientific missions.

RadFxSat (Fox-1B) LogoI, along with the rest of the amateur community, congratulate all of the volunteers who worked so diligently to construct, test and prepare for launch the newest amateur radio satellite.

William A. (Bill) Tynan, W3XO
AMSAT-NA OSCAR Number Administrator”

The FM voice transponder was made available for amateur use on November 23, 2017.

Source AMSAT News Service http://www.amsat.org/mailman/listinfo/ans

FoxTelem software https://www.amsat.org/foxtelem-software-for-windows-mac-linux/

Radio Programming Chart

RadFxSat (Fox-1B) Doppler Shift Correction

Memory 1 (AOS) – Transmit 435.240 MHz (67.0 Hz Tone), Receive 145.960 MHz
Memory 2 (Approaching) – Transmit 435.245 MHz (67.0 Hz Tone), Receive 145.960 MHz
Memory 3 (TCA) – Transmit 435.250 MHz (67.0 Hz Tone), Receive 145.960 MHz
Memory 4 (Departing) – Transmit 435.255 MHz (67.0 Hz Tone), Receive 145.960 MHz
Memory 5 (LOS) – Transmit 435.260 MHz (67.0 Hz Tone), Receive 145.960 MHz

Frequencies are subject to change post-launch.

Online real-time satellite tracking http://www.n2yo.com/

Keplerian Two Line Elements (TLEs) ‘Keps’:
• New satellites launched in past 30 days http://celestrak.com/NORAD/elements/tle-new.txt
• CubeSats http://celestrak.com/NORAD/elements/cubesat.txt
• Experimental satellites http://celestrak.com/NORAD/elements/x-comm.txt
• Engineering satellites http://celestrak.com/NORAD/elements/engineering.txt
• Amateur radio satellites http://www.amsat.org/amsat/ftp/keps/current/nasa.all

AMSAT Bulletin Board (AMSAT-BB) http://www.amsat.org/mailman/listinfo/amsat-bb