Amateur Radio FUNcube Project – Your advice requested

FUNcube-1 flight model - Image credit Wouter Weggelaar PA3WEG

FUNcube-1 flight model – Image credit Wouter Weggelaar PA3WEG

As part of the FUNcube project we now need to urgently decide which is going to be the best type of antenna to propose for use at schools and colleges to receive the 145MHz downlink signals from both FUNcube-1 and FUNcube-2 on UKube after launch.

Both spacecraft will be transmitting approx 300mW of BPSK 1k2 telemetry with FEC – FC-1 will be using a dipole antenna and will have passive magnetic attitude control. FC-2 on UKube will use a single monopole antenna and the spacecraft is intended to have active attitude control. This is primarily to ensure that the deployed solar panels are illuminated and that the face with the S band patch is usually earth pointing.

We believe that the resultant signal should be easily usable using an omnidirectional antenna but the questions is which would be the best type to use. Obviously ease of construction, cost, robustness and safety in a school environment will also be important factors as well as  suitable “gain” and circularity from horizon to horizon. We envisage that some operations may be from fixed installations with the antennas mounted permanently but some will be temporary – perhaps hand held or bolted to a step ladder or similar.

We know there are many AMSAT members around the globe with great experience in this field and, we suspect, with some strongly held views. So please let us have some constructive input about which type is likely to be best for this purpose – your comments, ideas and lessons learnt will be very valuable for us.

Thanks in advance for your support

73 Graham G3VZV – for the FUNcube Project team
Email: g3vzv at amsat.org