SO-67 amateur radio operation may resume soon

Sumbandilasat SO-67

Sumbandilasat SO-67

Ingenuity and innovation by the SumbandilaSat (SO-67) ground control team has resulted in bringing the satellite back to life with a real possibility that Amateur Radio communication may resume next month while the satellite is in sunlight.

The ground stations at SANSA Space operations at Hartbeeshoek and the Electronic Systems Laboratory at Stellenbosch University are receiving telemetry when the satellite’s solar panels are illuminated by the sun.

The ground stations at SANSA Space operations at Hartbeeshoek and the Electronic Systems Laboratory at Stellenbosch University are receiving telemetry when the satellite’s solar panels are illuminated by the sun.

Johann Lochner, ZR1CBC, said that in early June 2011, for an unknown  eason (but probably related to a major radiation event on 7 June), the primary controller on the power distribution unit (PDU) powering the On-Board Computer (OBC) stopped responding to commands from the ground station.

It later appeared that the battery had failed and nothing was heard from the satellite for some time. The ground segment software to monitor the passes over South Africa and to contact the satellite to initiate the recovery procedure was automated. After a month contact was made again.

This was mid November. “We set in place a planned recovery procedure and within 3-4 days we came to the conclusion that the main battery had failed”, Johann said. With SumbandilaSat responding when it is in full sunlight Johan Lochner is confident that some operations will be restored even to the point where it may be possible to do some imaging and have the amateur radio transponder back in operation.

More on recovery efforts are on line at www.amsatsa.org.za

SumbandilaSat (SO-67) carries an amateur radio voice beacon, parrot repeater and VHF/UHF FM repeater. The frequencies are:
Uplink: 145.875 MHz FM
Downlink: 435.345 MHz FM
Activation tones: 233.6 Hz
Parrot: 218.1 Hz

January defenseWeb story ‘SumbandilaSat beyond repair’ http://www.uk.amsat.org/4076

The Sounds of SO-67 http://www.southgatearc.org/news/january2010/
sounds_of_so67.htm

Satellite Pass Predictions http://www.amsat.org/amsat-new/tools/

John Heath G7HIA’s article  ‘Getting started on amateur radio satellites’ can be downloaded from http://www.uk.amsat.org/267

AMSAT Bulletin Board (AMSAT-BB) http://www.amsat.org/amsat-new/tools/maillist/