Amateur radio satellites in TX Factor Show episode 21

In episode 21 of the TX Factor show Bob McCreadie G0FGX and Mike Marsh G1IAR discuss the linear (SSB/CW) amateur radio satellites and give a demonstration with the CAMSAT XW-2F satellite.

They also review the new Icom IC-7610 transceiver, and look at programming your SDR handie and running a SharkRF openSPOT digital radio IP gateway.

As always, in their free-to-enter draw, there’s a chance to win two great amateur radio-related items – a Prism dust cover for your rig, and a copy of the book “Amsats and HamSats”.

Bob and Mike discuss satellites near the start of the show and towards the end at 48:08 they give a live demonstration of the CAMSAT XW-2F SSB transponder satellite.

Watch TX Factor – Episode 21 (TXF021)

CAMSAT XW-2 Satellites


Bulgarian CubeSat EnduroSat on ISS awaiting deployment

EnduroSat One

EnduroSat One

Bulgaria’s first CubeSat, EnduroSat One, was launched to the International Space Station on the cargo resupply OA-9 mission on May 21, 2018 from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport in Virginia, USA. On May 24 the Cygnus capsule docked to the Station and the satellite was taken onboard the ISS.

The satellite will be deployed from the ISS in the coming weeks.

The mission aims to popularize the Radio Amateur activities in Bulgaria and it will include cooperation with Bulgarian Federation of Radio Amateurs (BFRA), including workshops and additional educational activities.

The spacecraft has been completely built in Bulgaria. This first educational mission aims to inspire young Bulgarians and give them the chance to participate in a real space program!

The Space Challenges and EnduroSat teams have invested considerable resources, time and effort in preparing the Bulgarian CubeSat. In order to support the Radio Amateur community, the satellite emits in frequencies which are readily available for receiving by anyone with basic communication skills and radio equipment.

It is hoped the mission will help more young Bulgarians learn the basics of satellite communications through practical exercises empowered by the orbiting satellite.

Radio amateurs from around the Globe will be able to listen to the satellite beacon and to receive telemetry data from the satellite on a regular basis. They will be able to connect to the satellite, receive detailed telemetry information and receive a confirmation from the satellite for every established connection which will serve as QSL card.

Beacon: 437.050 MHz CW and 9600 bps GMSK AX.25

See the EnduroSat site for further information

Bulgarian Federation of Radio Amateurs (BFRA)
Google English site translation

IARU R1 highlights threat to higher ham radio bands

In issue 77 of the free IARU Region 1 VHF newsletter the Chair of VHF-UHF-uW committee Jacques Verleijen ON4AVJ highlights the threats to vital amateur radio spectrum at VHF, UHF and Microwaves.

In less than a year we will have our interim meeting about the use of the spectrum above 30 MHz. We have to face some challenges. I want to invite all Member Societies to think about how to promote, defend and use our frequencies.

They are wanted by others, both government and commercial, users. So this is a wake-up call to be aware that if we not are using those bands we will lose them. Such a setback will not be the responsibility of IARU(R1), if we lose them, but from the amateur community who often have more commitment to HF, than VHF&up.

I know that this statement will shock some of you, but it is true. Our survey on the use of VHF&up made this clear. So I want to invite all Member Societies to think creatively (out of the box, as we say now) to think how to improve activity on our dear bands.

Like some have said: “use them or lose them” and “HF is not the only bands for ham radio, but they are the easiest to use”.

Download the May 2018 newsletter from

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:

Decoder (GNU Radio OOT module):

Decoder (Linux Live CD):!Av6J6WjI3UbMhHm8gwMr4Z_keqWH


DSLWP-A Telemetry Display:

DSLWP-B Telemetry Display:

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

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 or M0VFC direct or via bureau.