Foundation radio amateur first to receive ICUBE-1

ICUBE-1 - Image credit Institute of Space Technology in Pakistan

ICUBE-1 – Image credit Institute of Space Technology in Pakistan

UK Foundation holder Andrew Garratt M6GTG was the first person to report reception of signals from the ICUBE-1 satellite launched by a Dnepr from Dombarovsky near Yasny.

ICUBE-1 was carried within the UNISAT-5 microsatellite which launched at 07:10:11 UT on November 21. At 07:25:48 UT the Dnepr deployed UNISAT-5 into a near Sun Synchronous Orbit (SSO) with an altitude of 634 km. UNISAT-5 later deployed ICUBE-1 and the other satellites it was carrying.

Andrew was capturing telemetry from FUNcube-1 on 145.935 MHz during the 10:21 pass when he noticed a CW signal near the edge of the listed FUNCube-1 transponder downlink (145.950 MHz) although the transponder wasn’t operational on launch day.

He had captured the pass as an IQ file, and so set about trying to decode the CW and managed to get ***ISTAN. On the next pass he got the word CUBESAT several times.

The signal had the same Doppler shift as FUNCube-1 so was from the same launch constellation. Andrew checked the satellites on the launch and spotted ICUBE-1 from the Institute of Space Technology in Pakistan which was listed as using 145.947 MHz with 1200 bps data rather than CW.

Andrew sent a message to the ICUBE-1 team on their Facebook page and they confirmed that at this stage of the mission they were indeed transmitting a CW beacon and what he decoded was part of the message.

Dr. Khurram Project Manager of ICube-1 said “Thanx Andrew … your message was a great relief for us”

Read the full story by Andrew Garratt M6GTG at

The 145.947 MHz downlink will operate as a 1200 bps BPSK beacon but has the capability of being configured as a 435/145 MHz FM-DSB transponder.

ICUBE-1 on Facebook

ICUBE-1 website


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