DSLWP amateur radio satellites launched to Lunar orbit

Hu Chaoran BG2CRY tests 435/2250 MHz dish feed for DSLWP ground station - Image credit Wei Mingchuan BG2BHC

Hu Chaoran BG2CRY tests 435/2250 MHz dish feed for DSLWP ground station – Image credit Wei Mingchuan BG2BHC

DSLWP is a lunar formation flying mission led by Harbin Institute of Technology for low frequency radio astronomy, amateur radio and education. It consists of a pair of 47 kg microsatellites launched from the Xichang Space Center into a lunar transfer orbit at 21:28 GMT on Sunday, May 20, 2018 and they will enter a 300 x 9000km lunar elliptical orbit. Onboard each satellite, there are two VHF/UHF SDR transceivers to provide beacon, telemetry, telecommand, digital image downlink and a GMSK-JT4 repeater. Onboard transmitting power is about 2 watts.

Update May 21, 2018: After deployment signals from the DSLWP satellites were received by Edson Pereira PY2SDR, Nicolás Castro CD3NDC, Robert Mattaliano N6RFM and many other radio amateurs around the world.

Chen Yue with 435/2250 MHz feed for the 12m dish at the DSLWP ground station - Image credit Wei Mingchuan BG2BHC

Chen Yue with 435/2250 MHz feed for the 12m dish at the DSLWP ground station – Image credit Wei Mingchuan BG2BHC

Wei Mingchuan BG2BHC reports the first launch window will open at about 21:28 GMT Sunday, May 20. The transmitters will be activated soon after separation. Satellite A will transmit 500 baud GMSK with 1/4 turbo code on 435.425 MHz and 250 baud GMSK with 1/2 turbo code and precoder on 436.425 MHz, and satellite B will transmit 500 baud GMSK with 1/4 turbo code on 435.400 MHz and 250 baud GMSK with 1/2 turbo code and precoder on 436.400 MHz, in every 5 minutes by default. Each transmission will last about 16 seconds. Radio amateurs in South America will have the earliest chance to receive the signals from the satellites, then North America, Oceania, Asia, Europe and Africa.

Harbin Institute of Technology Amateur Radio Club expects radio amateurs to join in this mission. We will prepare different QSL cards for different flight phase for amateurs successfully made QSO or received telemetry. Awards will also be given to the first 10 amateurs in each continent who successfully decoded the signals from the satellites, received the most number of packets, or received an image. Your participation will also help the team to get a better knowledge of the status of the satellites.

An open source decoding software based on GNU Radio to work with RTL-SDR and USRP is provided. Not difficult to change the grc files to support other SDR receivers. A small proxy software will send the decoded data to a server for real-time display.

IARU frequency coordination page:

Link budgets: http://lilacsat.hit.edu.cn/wp/?page_id=676

Decoder (GNU Radio OOT module): https://github.com/bg2bhc/gr-dslwp

Decoder (Linux Live CD): https://1drv.ms/u/s!Av6J6WjI3UbMhHm8gwMr4Z_keqWH

TLE: http://lilacsat.hit.edu.cn/tle/dslwp.txt

DSLWP-A Telemetry Display: http://lilacsat.hit.edu.cn/dashboard/pages_en/telemetry-a.html

DSLWP-B Telemetry Display: http://lilacsat.hit.edu.cn/dashboard/pages_en/telemetry-b.html

Wei Mingchuan BG2BHC Bug Fix 2018-05-20-1728-GMT: (Check BG2BHC Twitter feed for any further updates)

Sorry to find a bug in the DSLWP live cd! This bug will make the upload of data fail, so it is important to fix it. Please close the proxy, open a new terminal, and type in the following commands:

sudo python -m pip uninstall tornado

sudo python -m pip install tornado==4.5.3

The password is lilac
After running these commands, the bug should be fixed.

DSLWP Lunar Satellite

DSLWP Lunar Satellite

CAMSAT amateur radio transponder satellites to launch this year

CAMSAT has released details of three new amateur radio satellites, CAS-5A, CAS-5B and CAS-6, that are hoped to launch in September 2018. Two of the satellites CAS-5A and CAS-6 will carry transponders.

CAS-5A a 6U CubeSat which will include the following capabilities:
• HF/HF – H/T Mode Linear Transponder
• HF/UHF – H/U Mode Linear Transponder
• HF – CW Telemetry Beacon
• VHF/UHF – V/U Mode Linear Transponder
• VHF/UHF – V/U Mode FM Transponder
• UHF – CW Telemetry Beacon
• UHF – AX.25 4.8k/9.6k Baud GMSK Telemetry.

The transponders will have 30 kHz bandwidths except the H/U one which will be 15 kHz. Planning a launch in September 2018 from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center into a 539×533 km 97.5 degree orbit.

CAS-5B a femto-satellite architecture 90Lx80Wx50H mm with a mass of 0.5kg Proposing a UHF CW beacon and to be deployed from CAS-5A when in space.

CAS-6 a 50 kg micro satellite approx 490 x 499 x 430 mm. It will include:
• VHF CW Telemetry Beacon
• U/V Mode 20 kHz Linear Transponder
• AX.25 4.8k baud GMSK telemetry downlink
• Deployable Antennas
• Solar Panels, Lithium ion battery and power controller
• Integrated Housekeeping Unit
• Three-axis stabilization system
• Atmospheric Wind detector
• S-band TT&C system (non-amateur radio band)
• X-band Data link system (non-amateur radio band)

Planning a Sea Launch Pad from the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology in September 2018 into a 579 x 579 km 45 degree orbit.

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

Amateur satellite operation from Isle of Islay

Camb-Hams 2018 Isle of IslayThe AMSAT News Service reports members of Camb-Hams operating GS3PYE/P will be active on the amateur radio satellites from the Isle of Islay between May 13-18.

The Camb-Hams have been activating the Scottish Isles each year since 2008. As in the past, ten or more operators will be active on all bands and many modes from 4m to 80m, 2m & 70cm for Satellites and 2m & 23cm for EME.

GS3PYE/P Satellite Station Isle of Islay 2018

GS3PYE/P Satellite Station Isle of Islay 2018

The HF bands will be covered by four simultaneous stations while the 6m & 4m stations will have a great take-off towards the UK and Europe. All stations will be able to run at the full UK power limit. EME operations will use 150W to 55 elements on 23cm and 400W to 17 elements on 2m, primarily on JT65, but also available for CW skeds – if your station is big enough. Satellite operations on 2m & 70cm will use X-Quad antennas and a fully automatic Az/El tracking system.

Activity is planned on AO-7 (mode B), FO-29, SO-50 & AO-73.

Most importantly, this is a group of good friends doing what they enjoy, so please give them a call and enjoy the trip with them. They will be active on the major social networks before, during and after the trip, you can check on their progress and interact with the operators via their blog or through Twitter, Facebook and YouTube [see links below]. Please check their Web page for details on how to arrange skeds on the more challenging bands, modes, VHF and EME.

QSL via OQRS (info on QRZ.com) or M0VFC direct or via bureau.


Linear transponder CubeSat to deploy from ISS

Masa JN1GKZ reports JAXA has announced three CubeSats, Irazu (Costa Rica), 1KUNS-PF (Kenya) and UBAKUSAT (Turkey)  will deploy from the International Space Station on Friday, May 11 between 1030-1040 GMT.

All the CubeSats carry amateur radio payloads, Irazu and 1KUNS-PF have telemetry beacons while UBAKUSAT carries a linear transponder for amateur radio SSB and CW communications in additional to CW and telemetry beacons.

Update May 12, 2018: Signals from all three satellites were successfully received during May 11.

The deployment will be broadcast live on YouTube, watch from 1000 GMT Friday, May 11.

Irazu is a 1U CubeSat developed by students at the Costa Rica Institute of Technology
Telemetry Beacon 9600 bps 436.500 MHz

1KUNS-PF is a 3U CubeSat developed by students at the University of Nairobi
Telemetry Beacon 1200 bps or 9600 bps 437.300 MHz

UBAKUSAT is a 3U CubeSat developed by students at the Istanbul Technical University
CW Beacon 437.225 MHz
Telemetry Beacon 437.325 MHz
Linear Transponder
• 435.200-435.250 MHz downlink
• 145.940-145.990 MHz uplink

Source Masa JN1GKZ Tokyo Japan

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

Additional Spectrum in EI – Clarification from IRTS

Frequency Table

Frequency Table

The very welcome announcement of the massive allocation by ComReg of low-band VHF spectrum to the Amateur Service raised some questions about the wording in the document.

Seán Nolan EI7CD, IRTS/ComReg Liaison, has kindly provided this clarification:

The use of AMSAT in ComReg Document 09/45 R4 is regrettable and is a legacy issue carried forward from earlier versions of the Amateur Station Licence Guidelines. Most of ComReg’s documents are commercially sensitive and no draft documents (other than consultations) are published. Although documents relating to amateur radio are not commercially sensitive we do fall under the non-publishing of draft documents embargo.

The use of AMSAT somewhat randomly confuses the actual situation regarding satellite operation. The frequencies in Annex 1 of the Guidelines are available to all CEPT Class 1 and Class 2 licensees. So far as satellite operation is concerned amateurs here can use the satellite segments mentioned (435-438 MHz; 1260-1270 MHz: 5650-5670 MHz –uplink and 5830-5850 MHz –downlink). The “All modes” in the Modes column in Annex 1 covers the relevant operating mode for the satellite concerned. Similarly 10450-10500 MHz can be used for satellite communications.

In the Modes column of Annex 1, all modes are indicated. In many cases “including digimodes” is stated but of course ‘all modes’ includes digimodes. In the definitions in Annex 1 digimodes are defined as “Any digital mode such as —–“. So DSTAR, DMR etc would be included.

We will of course work with ComReg to secure additional spectrum and facilities. The present initiative by ComReg is as a result of such work by IRTS. In this context we would hope in the future to get 2400-2450 MHz among the bands on general release.

Finally some people are wondering why we didn’t get 52-54 MHz. We have of course been seeking this. However, as you know the question of granting 52-54 MHz to Region 1 of the ITU to align with ITU Regions 2 and 3 is the subject of Agenda Item 1.1 of WRC-19. ComReg will be involved in in seeking to establish a CEPT Common Position and so will not move on it before WRC-19. If the IARU WRC-19 initiative is not successful we will seek a national allocation at 50-54 MHz under Article 4.4 of the ITU Radio Regulations.

I realise that the somewhat random use of “AMSAT” and the use of “All Modes” in some places and “All modes including digimodes” in others can lead to confusion. I hope my attempt to ‘clarify’ helps.

Best regards,

Seán Nolan EI7CD
IRTS/ComReg Liaison

The new ComReg amateur radio document can be downloaded from

Amateur radio regulatory changes in Eire

Ada Lace book features amateur radio and space communications

Emily Calandrelli KD8PKR with her new Ada Lace book

Emily Calandrelli KD8PKR with her new Ada Lace book

Ada Lace, Take Me to Your Leader is a new book written for young people by Emily Calandrelli KD8PKR that features amateur radio and space communications.

Ada is an 8-year-old with a knack for science, mathematics, and solving mysteries with technology. Her latest project is to fix up a ham radio, something that she could use to contact people on this planet and beyond.

The book is available on Amazon at http://amzn.to/2DbKt9L

Emily Calandrelli KD8PKR

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

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

Free online amateur radio Foundation course https://www.essexham.co.uk/train/foundation-online/