JAXA to launch FM voice transponder satellite Diwata-2

Diwata-2 satellite

Diwata-2 satellite

The Philippine Diwata-2 satellite carrying an amateur radio FM transponder and APRS digipeater is expected to launch in October.

The Business Mirror reports:

The 50-kilogram satellite shall soon be sent into orbit by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) through its partner, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (Jaxa).

It should be recalled that the DOST had the Philippines’s first microsatellite—the maiden Diwata-1 that was designed, developed and assembled in Japan by nine pioneering Filipino engineers and scientists along with their “sensei” (instructors) from the Tohoku University (TU) and Hokkaido University (HU).

Diwata-1 was launched into the International Space Station onboard the Orbital ATK’s Cygnus spacecraft on March 23, 2016. It was deployed from the ISS into her orbit on April 27 by the Japanese Experimental Module (JEM)—”Kibo” or Hope—around 400 km above Earth’s surface.

Now, two years and four months later, the government is about to unveil the second iteration of Diwata-1—named Diwata-2 targeted for launching onboard Jaxa’s H-IIA rocket from Tanegashima Island in Japan.

Ariston Gonzalez, a researcher/lead research and development engineer for PHL-Microsat at DOST-Asti, is quoted in the article as saying:

“All one has to do is tune in [a ham radio] to the frequency of Diwata-2 to send voice messages while the other party stands by to receive the voice message.”

“target use for ham radio [of Diwata-2] is for emergency situations wherein all commercial communications are down.”

“What Diwata-2 does is to serve as a relay or connecting point for two persons communicating with each other,” he pointed out.”

“One can also store messages on Diwata-2 that can be broadcasted repeatedly across and over the Philippines, such as prerecorded emergency messages in times of disasters, calamities and other kinds of emergency.”

The IARU has coordinated these frequencies for Diwata-2:
– 145.900 MHz downlink
– 437.500 MHz uplink

Read the full Business Mirror story at

Diwata-2 information

BIRDS-2 CubeSats to deploy from ISS August 10

BIRDS CubeSat Project LogoMasa JN1GKZ reports JAXA has announced three BIRDS-2 CubeSats with APRS digipeaters will deploy from the International Space Station at about 0945 GMT on August 10, 2018.

BHUTAN-1, MAYA-1 and UiTMSat-1 will transmit 30 minutes after deployment. Initial mode looks CW on 70cm.

They use same frequency 437.375 MHz and transmit in the order of BHUTAN-1, MAYA-1 and UiTMSat-1. Each CubeSat also has an APRS digipeater on 145.825 MHz.

Watch BIRDS-2 deployment live broadcast at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pwS5uE5RStw

Satellite      Country      ID             Call Sign
BHUTAN-1  Bhutan       BIRD-BT   JG6YKL
MAYA-1      Philippines  BIRD-PH  JG6YKM
UiTMSat-1  Malaysia     BIRD-MY  JG6YKN

The live broadcast will open on 0915-1010z August 10. Deployment will be done around 0945z.

Initial operation plan is announced as following.
T=0  deployment form ISS
T+30  V/U antenna deployment
T+32  437.375MHz CW beacon start transmitting

So, CW beacon will start 1017z. The location is over Central Asia. Satellites go towards the east and pass through China, Japan, Pacific Ocean, South America, Africa and Europe. Check the orbit with ISS keps.

BIRDS Project http://birds2.birds-project.com/operation/

Packet Module status on board ISS

Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) logoARISS has received several reports stating that the packet radio system on ISS is down. Here is what we know and our current forward plan.

The packet system in the Columbus module started to act up late last week, sending only a beacon. The ARISS team requested a power recycle by the crew, and with that power recycle, the packet system appears to have stop functioning completely. Note that this unit has been on-orbit for 17 years. It was launched on the STS-106 Space Shuttle Atlantis mission in September 2000 and was built, tested and certified for flight about 20 years ago.

The ARISS team has had some extensive discussions on the way forward. We would first like to do some additional troubleshooting with the existing packet module. It will take some time (weeks) to develop troubleshooting procedures, get the procedures approved by NASA and then conduct the tests with the crew. This includes an additional power cycle. The turnaround time is much longer than usual because a new crew will soon be arriving on ISS. The current crew is focused on the new crew arrival and there will be about a one- to two-week transition after the new crew arrives. On the positive side, one aspect of our troubleshooting-a second power cycle-will occur automatically because ARISS is shut down during crew docking and turned on afterwards. However, there will be more to our troubleshooting than just the power cycle.

We have some additional plans with alternative solutions, but those are currently being discussed and prioritized within the ARISS team. All solutions will require international ARISS team coordination, additional procedures and crew interaction. People who have carefully followed ISS operations know that crew time continues to evolve with the more extensive research that is occurring on-board. Suffice it to say, it will take longer than what it has taken in the past to work through this issue.

The above information is to make sure that ARISS properly sets expectations on how long it will take to resolve this. At this point, expect a few months with no ARISS packet.

As you all can see, deploying the Interoperable Radio system that is currently under development by ARISS has become even more critically important. The ARISS team is laser focused on getting that system developed and deployed. We are conducting a final design review with NASA on this system next week. But we cannot get to the finish line without your help. If you can, please consider a donation to the ARISS radio fund by clicking on the ARISS donate button on the ARISS web page. All donations, large and small are appreciated http://www.ariss.org/donate.html

On behalf of ARISS, we thank you for your sustained interest and support of our program.


Frank H. Bauer, KA3HDO
ARISS International Chair


Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) is a cooperative venture of international amateur radio societies and the space agencies that support the International Space Station (ISS). In the United States, sponsors are the Radio Amateur Satellite Corporation (AMSAT), the American Radio Relay League (ARRL), the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). The primary goal of ARISS is to promote exploration of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) topics by organizing scheduled contacts via amateur radio between crew members aboard the ISS and students in classrooms or informal education venues. With the help of experienced amateur radio volunteers, ISS crews speak directly with large audiences in a variety of public forums. Before and during these radio contacts, students, teachers, parents, and communities learn about space, space technologies and amateur radio.

Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS)

QIKCOM-1 team expect Eclipse day ISS deployment

International Space Station – Image Credit NASA

The US Naval Academy team say their amateur radio QIKCOM-1 APRS Digipeater payload may be deployed from the International Space Station on August 21.

The QIKCOM-1 page says:

The Ham Radio QIKCOM-1 module attached to the NovaWurks NanoRacks SIMPL spacecraft is now finally scheduled for release from the ISS on 21 August 2017!

This is being released on the same day as the solar Eclipse when the ISS will also be passing over the USA during the eclipse 2 hour window around 1800z. We are not clear on any correlation with the Eclipse and our release, but there will be lots of hams in the field and it is a good day to tune in!

Read about QIKCOM-1 at http://aprs.org/qikcom-1.html

Making contacts through the ISS APRS UHF Digipeater

International Space Station - Image Credit NASA

International Space Station – Image Credit NASA

John Brier KG4AKV has released a video showing his contact through the International Space Station packet radio digipeater on 437.550 MHz FM (+/-10 kHz Doppler shift).

This was my second contact through the ISS digipeater. I actually contacted the same station I contacted in this video, W8LR, three days before, but I wasn’t recording any video.

For this video I recorded the audio from my Kenwood TH-D72a and later played it back to Soundmodem+UISS. Soundmodem decodes many more packets than my radio does. I made a screen capture of UISS and its map so you can see the complete details of every received packet.

Another thing this video shows is how hard it can be to track a near overhead pass (close to 90 degrees elevation). When I was beginning in satellites I only tried to work overhead passes because I knew the signal would be strongest when the satellite was closest to me. While that is true, the closer the satellite is to you the faster its relative speed is. When it passes overhead it switches from coming towards you to going away from you very fast, and drops 10s of degrees in seconds. That makes the satellite very easy to lose track of.

In this video I got distracted while changing settings on my radio and lost the ISS after it went overhead. It didn’t help that I was using a tripod for the first time. I prefer to hold the antenna in my hand precisely because I find it’s easier to track, as I can make quick adjustments and listen for the signal going up and down. To control the radio for packet, it helps to have two hands.

Watch I made CONTACT! UHF ISS Digipeater

You can subscribe to John’s Space Comms YouTube Channel at

UBSEDS21 Balloon To Test 145.825 MHz APRS

UBSEDS18 Solar Powered Balloon

UBSEDS18 Solar Powered Balloon

On Sunday, December 11 Bristol SEDS students launched UBSEDS21 a 434 MHz Contestia and 144/145 MHz APRS solar powered balloon that may travel around the world.

Update Dec 23: UBSEDS21 over Spain having completed its first circumnavigation of the globe see track.

Update Dec 20: APRS creator Bob Bruninga WB4APR reports receiving @bristolseds UBSEDS21 balloon AD6AM-13 145.825 MHz Dec 20 1420 EST – Bob was Mobile in Annapolis MD.

Update Dec 18: UBSEDS21 has crossed the Pacific and reached Canada.

The UBSEDS21 balloon was built from 50 micron thick PA-EVOH-PE multilayer film and is about 1.9 meters in diameter, the payload weight was 34.2 grams.

After launch on December 11, 2016 the balloon achieved a stable altitude of 15.2 km flying in an easterly direction on its potential circumnavigation of the globe.

The initial plan was to use UBSEDS21 to contact the International Space Station (ISS) via APRS on 145.825 MHz. However, the VHF radio on the ISS is out of order, so this flight is used to test the amplifier and hopefully talk to any APRS enabled satellites.

The winter launch means the payload needs to deal with the sun staying low above the horizon during the day. For this reason, sideways facing solar panels were used.

Original post Dec 9:

Another pico launch from Bristol this Sunday, December 11 between 0500 and 0530 GMT. This launch is using a 1.9m envelope and longer payload train, and so we have a NOTAM in place. The flight is predicted to head south-east towards France.

The payload will be transmitting Contestia 16/1000 on 434.610 MHz USB. Each transmission of Contestia 16/1000 will be preceded by 10 seconds of pips and RSID.

The Contestia transmission rate will be once every 30 seconds during launch and when power is available during the day. Otherwise the transmission rate will be once every 2 minutes. Hopefully the tracker will operate from dawn to dusk, and maybe also during the night.

The tracker will transmit APRS outside countries where the amateur license is not permitted airborne (like the UK). Additionally it will test APRS on 145.825 MHz, with an output power of +26 dBm (400 mW).

More details will appear on the website http://www.bristol-seds.co.uk/flights.html

Many Thanks,

Richard Meadows M0SBU
Bristol SEDS http://www.bristol-seds.co.uk/

High Altitude Balloon tracking and information links https://amsat-uk.org/beginners/balloons/

Richard M0SBU took the amateur radio training courses run by the Chelmsford Amateur Radio Society (CARS) at Danbury in Essex. Further information on the courses is available from the CARS Training Coordinator, Christopher G0IPU
Tel: 07908-107951
Email: training2017 at g0mwt.org.uk
Web: http://g0mwt.org.uk/training

What is Amateur Radio? http://www.essexham.co.uk/what-is-amateur-radio
Find an amateur radio training course near you https://thersgb.org/services/coursefinder/