EASAT-2 and HADES Update

EASAT-2 and HADESAMSAT-EA Mission Manager Felix EA4GQS provides an update on the status of the EASAT-2 and HADES satellites launched on January 13.

On the AMSAT Bulletin Board he writes:

We confirm the reception of both EASAT-2 and HADES, as well as the decoding of telemetry and the FM recorded voice beacon with the callsign AM5SAT of the first one. EASAT-2 appears to be working well except for the deployment of the antennas, something that apparently has not yet occurred and causes weak signals. However, the AMSAT-EA team confirms that, based on the reception of FSK, CW, the FM voice beacon and the telemetry data that has been decoded, it can be said that the satellite is working perfectly. In the event of low battery or system malfunction, the on-board computer would not transmit CW messages or the voice beacon-callsign, as it would be in a ‘safe’ state with only fast and slow telemetry transmissions.

These signals that have been able to confirm the operation of both satellites were received by Dr. Daniel Estévez EA4GPZ at 18:07 UTC on Saturday, January 15, using two antennas from the Allen Telescope Array. The TLEs used were obtained from the radio amateur community, with Doppler observations from the Delfi-PQ satellite, deployed together with EASAT-2 and Hades.

TLEs used were these ones:
https://github.com/AMSAT-EA/easat2-tle-lottery/blob/main/satnogs-2022-01-16-DELFI-PQ.tle

Daniel EA4GPZ performed a preliminary analysis using just one polarization of one of the satellite dishes. EASAT-2 has been detected with a relatively strong signal, close to the Delfi-PQ signal, obtaining said recorded voice FM beacon transmissions and FSK, FSK-CW at 50 baud.

The CW beacon clearly shows the message: VVV AM5SAT SOL Y PLAYA, which is one of several that both satellites emit, although the callsign AM5SAT confirms that it is EASAT-2.

In the recording made by Daniel EA4GPZ there is also a faint trace confirmed to be from Hades and stronger packets probably from the IRIS-A satellite.

HADES, like EASAT-2, is transmitting weak signals, weaker than the ones of EASAT-2, most likely because the on-board computer has not yet managed to deploy the antennas either, although it will continue trying regularly. The reason the signals are suspected to be weaker at Hades is that the antennas are more tightly folded than those of EASAT-2. In any case, this is great news, since the transmission pattern confirms the proper functioning of the satellite. In the observations you can see the FSK tones with a deviation of about 5 kHz interspersed with the FM carrier corresponding to the voice beacon of the satellite, which has callsign AM6SAT. The AMSAT-EA team is working to try to decode the telemetry signals and obtain more detailed information on the state of the satellite.

We kindly ask you, if you have very high gain antennas, to try to receive them, specially Hades. If we could decode telemetry it would be very helpful for us.

Until antennas are deployed it will be very difficult to use their repeaters or to receive any SSTV camera images from Hades, but we hope that this will happen sooner or later, at least because even if the computer doesn’t succeed applying heat to the resistor where the thread is attached, with time, the thread should break due to the space environment conditions.

Details of the decoded telemetry and voice, as well as more details in:
https://www.amsat-ea.org/ (Texts are in Spanish)

And in the following Twitter threads:

EASAT-2 transmissions:
https://twitter.com/ea4gpz/status/1482457631566487553

EASAT-2 decodings by Gabriel Otero:
https://twitter.com/gaoterop/status/1482758196037050382

HADES transmissions:
https://twitter.com/ea4gpz/status/1482696274797338625

Thanks a lot and 73,

Felix EA4GQS – AMSAT EA Mission manager

IARU-R1: 23cm Band and RNSS – Compromises need to be found

RNSS - Credit IARU Region 1

RNSS – Credit IARU Region 1

The Chair of IARU Region 1 Spectrum Affairs, Barry Lewis G4SJH, reports on the work being done in defending the interests of the Amateur Services in the 1240-1300 MHz band.

On the IARU Region 1 site he writes:

As we head into 2022 the ITU‑R and CEPT work considering the 23cm band and coexistence with the RNSS systems (GALILEO, COMPASS, GLONASS, GPS…) will continue so where have we got to and where is it heading?

The IARU has provided extensive information regarding the amateur and amateur satellite service applications in the band 1240 – 1300MHz as well as operational characteristics and data indicating the density of active transmitting stations and the busiest periods when these are most likely to be operational. Using this data, one CEPT administration has provided an extensive set of propagation model predictions for a number of amateur operating scenario assumptions (including satellite working and EME operation) that predict an “interfered area” over which an amateur transmissions may be received by a RNSS receiver at levels exceeding a defined protection level. Another ITU‑R member administration contributed a smaller set of predictions using the same model. The received RNSS interference level that the RNSS can tolerate (receiver protection level) is based on ITU‑R recommended criteria and depends on whether narrowband or wideband interfering signals are being transmitted.

The propagation model predicts that an interfered area can extend out to several tens of km (depending on the scenario) but at the extremes of the area, the time probability of exceeding the protection level is very low (1%) and for only 50% of locations. The model can only assume a full power continuous transmission.

In addition much attention has been paid to documenting an interference case recorded in Italy between an Italian 23cm band repeater and GALILEO receivers at the nearby European Commission Joint Research Centre in Ispra where work is undertaken to develop and test GALILEO system applications. The impact of traffic through this very local repeater (12.5km distant) on three different GALILEO receivers has been documented. This work suggests that whilst RNSS receiver bandwidth can have a part to play in enabling coexistence, beyond that nothing has been reported that could help develop any coexistence criteria. Nothing is reported about the mode of failure in the receivers beyond degradation on C/N.

This one case is often cited as the “proof” that interference can occur.

At present the conclusions from this work are being developed (in ITU‑R and CEPT) and IARU work continues to ensure these results are put into a real world context to understand what they imply with respect to successful coexistence.

Amateur transmissions virtually anywhere in the band will be co-frequency with the RNSS receivers from one system or another. It is therefore obvious that any RNSS receiver will be open to any co-frequency amateur transmission and amateur operators have no way of knowing where or when a RNSS service user is active. Therefore IARU has expressed a view that for successful coexistence guidance to be developed, some compromises will need be necessary.

As we move through the work in 2022 we need these compromises will become apparent so that the amateur community can know how to respond appropriately in a way that can allow our diverse set of applications to continue to develop whilst minimising any potential disruption to RNSS services. It is anticipated that the international views on the ITU‑R studies will need to stabilise by the middle of this this year in order to meet the timetable for the WRC-23 preparatory work. These views will likely propose technical and operational measures to be applied to the amateur and amateur satellite services that could be formalised in the Radio Regulations.

As the study activities work towards conclusions it is vital that the national societies engage with their national amateur radio regulators to ensure they understand and hear about the importance of this band for the amateur radio community.

Source IARU-R1
https://www.iaru-r1.org/2022/23cm-band-and-rnss-compromises-need-to-be-found/

RNSS and Amateur Services

Tevel satellites on SpaceX launch

Tevel satellite under development - credit Herzliya Science Center

Tevel satellite under development – credit Herzliya Science Center

The Tevel mission consisting of 8 satellites developed by the Herzliya Science Center in Israel, each carrying an FM transponder, is expected to launch on January 13 at 15:25 GMT on the SpaceX Falcon-9 Transporter-3 mission. This mission also carries AMSAT-EA’s EASAT-2 and HADES satellites.

The AMSAT News Service reports:

Tevel-1, Tevel-2 ….Tevel-8

Beacon transmissions on 436.400 MHz, (9600bps BPSK G3RUH)
FM transponders uplink frequency: 145.970 MHz|
FM transponders downlink frequency: 436.400 MHz

All 8 satellites will have the same frequencies, so as long as the footprints are overlapping, only one FM transponder will be activated. The satellites were built by 8 schools in different parts of Israel.

Prelaunch TLEs:

Deployment number 28

TEVEL-4/TEVEL-5
1 12345U 22-T3TE 22013.69008102 0.00000000 00000-0 00000-0 0 9997
2 12345 97.3652 83.6317 0010843 246.0911 147.6817 15.12493461 06

Deployment number 30

TEVEL-1/TEVEL-2/TEVEL-3
1 12345U 22-T3TE 22013.69038194 0.00000000 00000-0 00000-0 0 9991
2 12345 97.3658 83.6317 0009074 254.1211 141.2940 15.11975594 07

Deployment number 55

TEVEL-6/TEVEL-7/TEVEL-8
1 12345U 22-T3TE 22013.69375000 0.00000000 00000-0 00000-0 0 9991
2 12345 97.3676 83.6318 0009046 252.0606 161.7026 15.11914367 05

Control station will be 4X4HSC at the Herzliya Science Center.

[ANS thanks David Greenberg, 4X1DG, for the above information]

IARU Satellite Frequency Coordination information
http://www.amsatuk.me.uk/iaru/finished_detail.php?serialnum=744

Launch of EASAT-2 and HADES satellites

EASAT-2 and HADESThe EASAT-2 and HADES satellites, each carrying an FM transponder and digipeater, are expected to launch on January 13 at 15:25 GMT on the SpaceX Falcon-9 Transporter-3 mission.

A translation of a post by Spain’s URE reads:

The Scottish space broker Alba Orbital has confirmed the correct integration of the EASAT-2 and Hades satellites in the Falcon-9vehicle, using the company’s AlbaPOD ejector. It is confirmed, except for exceptional circumstances, the launch for this Thursday, January 13, initially at 15.25 UTC (16.25 Spanish peninsular time). Both satellites should have been launched a year ago, but the problems of the Momentusintegrator, on whose Vigoride vehicle albaPod ejectors of Alba Orbital were to be integrated with the American administration, caused this delay. Momentus was replaced by Exolaunch for the flight.

Both satellites offer FM voice communications and data relay in FSK or AFSK up to 2400 bps,such as AX.25 or APRS frames. They also broadcast voice beacons on FM with the callsigns AM5SAT and AM6SAT,as well as CW.

The EASAT-2satellite, designed and built jointly by AMSAT-EA and students of the European University of the Degrees in Aerospace Engineering in Aircraft and in Telecommunication Systems Engineering,with contributions from ICAI in the communications part, incorporates as experimental cargo basaltic material from Lanzarote,similar to lunar basalts, provided by the research group on meteorites and planetary geosciences of the CSIC at the Institute of Geosciences, IGEO (CSIC-UCM) and that could be used as a building material on the Moon. This project was promoted and has the collaboration of the ETSICCP (UPM).

The UNESCO world geopark of Lanzarote and Chinijo archipelago has been used for various investigations as an analogue of the Moon and Mars, including also the instruction of ESA astronauts. The selected basaltic material meets the requirements to be used as a simulant of the basalt existing on the Moon. The purpose of the experiment is to determine its evolution in space based on periodic measurements of some of its properties. Although the experiment is limited and constitutes a first phase of this type of study, it is an important milestone as it is the first of its kind introduced on such a small satellite.

As for Hades,its payload consists of a miniature camera module that sends the captured images as an audio signal in SSTVmode. The SSTV formats it uses are compatible with Robot36, Robot72, MP73 and MP115.

The design is based on the one used in the successful mission of the PSAT2satellite, an amateur radio satellite of the United States Naval Academy and brno University of Technology. This chamber has been operational since June 25, 2019: (http://www.aprs.org/psat2.html).

The camera chip is the Omnivision OV2640, which provides a resolution of up to 2M pixels and compressed output in JPEG. Resolution is limited by the CPU’s internal memory (MCU) that controls the camera to 320×240 (typical) or 640×480 maximum. The MCU selected for the control is the STM32F446RET6, which has the smallest possible footprint with connection to DCMI peripheral, necessary for connection with the camera.

Images can be stored on a 2 MB serial flash memory. The complete SSTV encoder has managed to be implemented in a 4-layer PCB with dimensions of only 38x38mm.

The MCU can be fully controlled from ground stations. The firmware allows the sending of images of the camera live,of imágenes previously saved in the flash memory or of images encoded in ROM. It also provides advance programming of image acquisition and PSK telemetry with the current status (event counters, temperature, voltage, light conditions, etc.) and a brief summary.

The described module has been developed and manufactured at the Department of Radioelectronics of the Brno University of Technology in the Czech Republic. Both hardware and firmware designs with the source codes will be available on Github under the MIT license (https://github.com/alpov/SatCam).

Initially only the EASAT-2 repeater is active. Hades’ will be activated by telecommand a few days after launch.

The frequencies coordinated with IARU for both satellites are as follows:

EASAT-2
  • 145.875 MHz uplink, Modes: VOICE FM (without undertone) and FSK 50 bps, AFSK, AX.25, APRS 1200 / 2400 bps
  • 436.666 MHz downlink, Modes: FM voice, CW, FSK 50 bps, FM voice beacon with AM5SAT callsign

HADES

  • 145.925 MHz uplink, Modes: VOICE FM (without undertone) and FSK 50 bps, AFSK, AX.25, APRS 1200 / 2400 bps
  • 436.888 MHz downlink, Modes: FM voice, CW FSK 50 bps, SSTV Robot 36, FM voice beacon with AM6SAT callsign

The description of the transmissions can be found in the following document:

EspañolEnglish:

AMSAT-EA appreciates the reception of telemetry, voice beacons and SSTV images. A paper QSL is sent to those who send their transmissions. It can be done through the following link: http://data.amsat-ea.org

First ever Svalbard QO-100 DXpedition JW100QO

Map of Svalbard showing the QO-100 station location

Map of Svalbard showing the QO-100 station location

A DXpedition to Svalbard (78° North) is planned for April 19-26 with the callsign JW0X. In addition to the five HF stations (FT8/FT4/RTTY/SSB/CW) the team will activate the first QO-100 satellite DX Station callsign JW100QO April 22-24.

Making the first ever QO-100 calls from Svalbard is the biggest challenge of this DXpedition. ON4CKM Cedric, ON4DCU Patrick and ON5UR Max will make a rugged snowmobile ride of almost 100 km in temperatures of -20° – 25° Celsius to reach their goal. Kapp Linné is the only place in the area that allows a view of the QO-100 satellite at only 3° above the horizon. Svalbard also lies on the edge of the satellite area (footprint), which makes the challenge even greater. We want to give as many radio amateurs as possible the opportunity to work this first QO-100 DXpedition. For this unique challenge we also have a special callsign JW100QO.

Further info at:

Svalbard QO-100 JW100QO April 22-24
https://www.dx-adventure.com/en/qo-100-our-goal/

Svalbard JW0X April 19-26
https://www.dx-adventure.com/en/svalbard-dx-pedition/

QO-100 geostationary amateur satellite transponder provides coverage from Brazil to Thailand, see
https://amsat-uk.org/satellites/geo/eshail-2/

FUNcube – Welcome to 2022

FUNcube-1 - Battery Voltage - Whole Orbit Data

FUNcube-1 – Battery Voltage – Whole Orbit Data

There are presently three FUNcube based missions in orbit – currently all of them have active, linear U/V transponders. The current status of each of these can always be checked on the useful AMSAT-NA status page https://www.amsat.org/status/ and an update on each of them is provided below. Please have FUN using them!

AO73 – FUNcube1. As previously reported AO73 appears to be experiencing some power issues after 8+years in orbit.

The battery is not charging to the same voltage as it did up to early November last year. The spacecraft has experienced many months of continuous sunlight over the past couple of years and this has resulted in high (around +30C) onboard temperatures. This environment may have “cooked” the cells although presently we do not see any direct evidence of this.

We can see that the stable bus voltage indicated at the end of charge is now much lower and depends on the current being taken by the on-board systems. The solar panel currents appear to be similar to those recorded soon after launch. The current best theory is that we are seeing the effect of some increased resistance in the supply circuit between the eps charging circuit and the battery. Although we do not have access to a fully detailed circuit diagram of the EPS we believe that there is an “ideal diode” in this line to prevent discharge of the battery back through the EPS circuitry. We understand that this is actually a MOSFET device and the suspicion is that this may now be showing signs of radiation damage.

So an operational mode has been selected that can be hopefully sustained for some time. From today AO73 is in continuous transponder mode and is available for use 24/7. Low power telemetry is also being transmitted and reports of the data are very welcome via the FUNcube Data Warehouse. Please remember that the uplink frequency varies with on board temperatures. A lower temperature means a higher frequency!

EO88 – Nayif-1. EO88 continues to perform nominally and is switching between high power telemetry for educational outreach when in sunlight and to its U/V transponder mode when in eclipse. It will soon celebrate its 5th birthday in space after launch on 15th February 2017.

JO97 – JY1Sat. JO97 suddenly stopped transmitting telemetry data on May 1st last year. The cause of this anomaly is unknown but fortunately the U/V transponder continues to operate continuously.

Battery voltage and incoming solar current over time - daily average

Battery voltage and incoming solar current over time – daily average