FUNcube-1 (AO73) Celebrating eight years in orbit!

FUNcube-1 Telemetry as at Nov 21, 2021

FUNcube-1 Telemetry as at Nov 21, 2021

November 21, 2021, marks the eighth birthday of the FUNcube-1 CubeSat. Remarkably the tiny spacecraft, launched from Russia on November 21, 2013, continues to work well having travelled more than a billion kilometres in space.

During the past couple of months, the spacecraft’s orbits have been running just along the edge of the terminator. Initially we had effectively full sun with no eclipses but at the beginning of this month it appears that the solar panels were not receiving enough solar radiation to keep the battery fully charged.

FUNcube-1 was transmitting continuous high-power telemetry and was therefore consuming maximum power. The screenshot above is from the AMSAT-UK/BATC groundstation at Goonhilly Earth Station. The FUNcube Dashboard shows the rapid decline in the bus voltage from an already below normal 8.0V down to 7.8V. The spacecraft was switched to “safe” mode on the afternoon of November 18th. This reduced to total power consumption by almost 50% and, as can been seen, the spacecraft is again in a happy “power positive” situation.

Although safe mode provides less than 20mW of downlink RF, it is remarkable how many stations are still receiving and decoding the 1k2 BPSK telemetry. This is a good point at which to say a massive thank you to the many many stations around the world who, even after eight years, are continuing to submit their data to the FUNcube Data Warehouse. It really is valuable to the team and has really helped us to understand what is going on up there!

We will continue to monitor the telemetry over the next few weeks and plan to return FUNcube-1 to nominal autonomous operation, with the transponder on when the spacecraft is in eclipse, as soon as possible.

Interestingly, it appears that we will not be having any more “full sunlight” periods for the foreseeable future., however those that we have experienced have provided some good data on how hot a 1U CubeSat can become in such circumstances!

ISS SSTV Dec 1 145.800 MHz FM

ISS SSTV MAI-75 image 9/12 received by Chertsey Radio Club on Baofeng handheld

ISS SSTV MAI-75 image 9/12 received by Chertsey Radio Club on Baofeng handheld

Russian cosmonauts on the International Space Station (ISS) are planning to transmit Slow Scan TV images on 145.800 MHz FM using the SSTV mode PD-120.

The transmissions are part of the Moscow Aviation Institute SSTV experiment (MAI-75) and will be made from the amateur radio station RS0ISS in the Russian ISS Service module (Zvezda) using a Kenwood TM-D710 transceiver.

December 1, 2021 (Wednesday) from 12:25 GMT until 18:45 GMT*

*Dates and times subject to change.

The signal should be receivable on a handheld with a 1/4 wave whip. If your rig has selectable FM filters try the wider filter for 25 kHz channel spacing.

You can get predictions for the ISS pass times at https://www.amsat.org/track/

ARISS SSTV Blog https://ariss-sstv.blogspot.com/

Useful SSTV info and links https://amsat-uk.org/beginners/iss-sstv/

Karl Meinzer DJ4ZC made DARC honorary member

Prof. Dr. Karl Meinzer DJ4ZC circa 1984 - Credit AMSAT-DL

Prof. Dr. Karl Meinzer DJ4ZC circa 1984 – Credit AMSAT-DL

Former AMSAT-DL President Prof. Dr. Karl Meinzer, DJ4ZC, who was first licensed in 1957 aged 17, has been named a new DARC honorary member. He was awarded the AMSAT-UK G3AAJ Trophy in 2000.

A translation of the DARC post reads:

This was announced by DARC chairman Christian Entsfellner, DL3MBG, at the virtual conference of the amateur council – in replacement of the canceled general meeting – on November 13th. Meinzer developed an enthusiasm for amateur radio at a young age. At the age of 17 he obtained his amateur radio license in 1957.

He passed the Abitur [educational qualification] along with a degree in physics and graduated with a doctorate. He spent his professional life at the University of Marburg, especially in the development laboratory for electronics until his retirement in 2005. The rooms of the ZEL were also the headquarters of the AMSAT-DL. Numerous OSCAR satellites were created in the laboratories in Marburg: AO-10, AO-13, AO-21, AO-40. Phase 3E is de facto finished, but is still waiting for a suitable start. A special operating system works in all satellites built by AMSAT-DL, on which Meinzer played a key role.

Meinzer doesn’t skimp on sharing his expertise and so he is still in close contact with the board of AMSAT-DL today. It is not surprising that DJ4ZC was one of the first radio amateurs to work on QO-100.

In addition, Prof. Dr. Karl Meinzer carried out further technical radio tests. He was obsessed with testing whether radio signals could be reflected off the planet Venus. In fact, he succeeded in doing this with 5 kW at 2.4 GHz, including a water-cooled magnetron. He had a special permit from the Federal Network Agency [BNetzA] specifically for these experiments.

But even in earlier years he achieved amazing things: In 1964 he set a course record of 70 cm between his home town of Iserlohn and Switzerland. And even then he was QRV on 433 MHz EME and contacted Puerto Rico. “He is one of the few old-timers who keeps pace with modern technology,” explains Christian Entsfellner, DL3MBG.

“There are only three Keplerian laws, everything can be done in them,” said Meinzer once, according to DL3MBG. “Unfortunately, he is reluctant to present his skills, but the AMSAT board always likes to refer to his expertise,” said the DARC chairman, who later wishes him a happy 82nd birthday.

“The DARC has unanimously decided to award you honorary membership for your services. I am happy to welcome you as a new honorary member, ” concluded DL3MBG.

DJ4ZC expressed his thanks. “My life has always been shaped by amateur radio. Some of the services were only made possible by other people, ”explains Meinzer. “I hope to continue to contribute something for amateur radio and DARC in the future.

Unfortunately, communication behavior in society has changed. So it’s a challenge for the DARC. However, I have the hope that technology will gain more importance again. Ultimately, amateur radio has to prove that it is useful for society,” said Prof. Dr. Meinzer in conclusion.

Source DARC https://darc.de/

ITU-R: 23cm ham radio band and Sat-Nav Coexistence

Galileo LogoDuring the period October 20-29, 2021, the IARU continued to engage in the preparatory work for WRC-23 agenda item 9.1b in ITU‑R Working Party 4C (WP4C).

The IARU Region 1 reports says:

The working party is considering simulations provided by two administrations to estimate the interfered area that might exist around a 23cm band amateur service transmitter. A number of amateur station configurations are under consideration identified as “Home Station 1”, “Home Station 2” and “Permanent Station” (e.g. Repeater station) based on characteristics developed and contributed by the IARU. Both narrowband and wideband emissions are considered. Two further scenarios are included in which “Home Station 1” operates with antenna uptilt as an amateur satellite uplink station and in which “Home Station 2” operates with antenna uptilt as an E‑M-E station.

The IARU representatives contributed to an off-line email discussion to ensure the amateur station parameters used are more representative than those that had been proposed in the original contribution papers. The studies were revised based on these negotiations during the meeting and are reflected in the draft working document. The interim results show interference distances of up to several km depending on the antenna and power level assumed. Work on these studies will continue into the next meeting.

Other measurements campaigns are investigating the effect of offsetting the transmission frequency of various amateur signals with respect to the centre frequency of the RNSS signal and the impact of the RNSS receiver bandwidth.

The IARU is working to ensure the amateur services are realistically represented in the studies as they move forward and remain consistent with the information developed in WP5A. It remains vital that national amateur communities present their views on the importance of this band to their national regulators in a consolidated and consistent manner.

The work on this topic will continue throughout the year both in ITU‑R and in the regional telecommunications organisations and the IARU is committed to ensure every group hears the amateur position on this important microwave band.

The summary report from the WP4C meeting can be found here

Click to access Report-from-WP4C_Oct-2021.pdf

The parallel work in CEPT SE40 is tracking the activity in the ITU‑R and is at a similar stage of development. This is also within the purview of the R1 SRLC.

Source IARU Region 1 https://iaru-r1.org/

Video of AMSAT-UK Space Colloquium talks

A video of the talks given at the 36th annual AMSAT-UK Space Colloquium on October 24, 2021, is now available on YouTube.

Timestamps
00:00:00 Stream starts
00:08:00 Official opening by Martin Sweeting, G3YJO
00:19:38 IARU Amateur Satellite co-ordination. Hans Blondeel Timmerman, PB2T
00:51:12 AMSAT-DL. Peter Guelzow, DB2OS
02:19:53 AMSAT North America. Robert Bankston, KE4AL President
02:49:37 STAR-XL: AMSAT-UK Payload – An updated OBDH for Nanosats. Phil Bladen, Sam Lane, Chris Bridges
03:26:53 STAR-XL: X-Band Upconverter & Dual Band L/X Patch Antenna for Space. Patrick Hope, Marcel Friesch, Chris Bridges
04:04:40 QO-100 using a SkyQ Dish. Iain Young, G7III
04:15:47 B2Space. David Johnson, G4DPZ
04:45:25 Satellite Operating from 57° North. Peter Goodhall, 2M0SQL
05:11:26 Announcement of G3AAJ Trophy by Martin Sweeting, G3YJO

Watch 2021 AMSAT-UK Space Colloquium

Video of Mary Hare School students contacting Space Station

International Space Station - Image Credit NASA

International Space Station – Image Credit NASA

The ARISS Operations UK Team have released a 57 minute video of the ARISS event at Mary Hare School for the deaf in Newbury, on Tuesday, October 12, 2021.

Radio amateurs in the UK and across Europe were able to receive the signal from the ISS on 145.800 MHz FM.

The Amateur Radio contact between students at the school, call sign GB4MHN, and astronaut Mark Vande Hei KG5GNP using the call sign NA1SS from onboard the International Space Station, takes place at about 46 mins into the video.

Watch ARISS School Contact between Mary Hare School for the deaf and Mark Vande Hei NA1SS

The contact featured in the BBC TV programme South Today on Tuesday evening. UK viewers can watch the programme online, fast forward to 20:40 in this recording
https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0010lxt

BBC News https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/uk-england-berkshire-58912458

Newbury Today story
https://www.newburytoday.co.uk/news/mary-hare-pupils-reach-for-the-stars-in-contact-with-interna-9220499/

Mary Hare School ARISS contact information
https://amsat-uk.org/2021/10/08/ariss-contact-scheduled-for-students-in-newbury-uk/

What is Amateur Radio? http://www.essexham.co.uk/what-is-amateur-radio

Free UK amateur radio Online Training course https://essexham.co.uk/train/foundation-online/