FUNcube-1 / AO73 celebrates 3 years in space

FUNcube Team Monitor Launch

FUNcube Team Monitor Launch

Monday, November 21, 2016, marked the third birthday in space for the 985 gram spacecraft FUNcube-1 / AO73.

AO-73 (FUNcube-1) - Image credit Wouter Weggelaar PA3WEG

AO-73 (FUNcube-1) – Image credit Wouter Weggelaar PA3WEG

FUNcube-1 was launched at 07:10 UT on November 21, 2013 and its first signals were received immediately after deployment over the Indian Ocean by amateurs in South Africa. Since then it has been operating continuously in either its education mode or, with the transponder active, in amateur mode when in eclipse and at weekends.

The FUNcube team are very grateful to everyone who has been contributing their telemetry records to the Data Warehouse and also to those who are using FUNcube-1 for educational outreach to schools and colleges around the world. This important part of our mission is intended to encourage young people to develop an interest and passion in all STEM subjects for their future.

FUNcube-1 Launch Day Mug

FUNcube-1 Launch Day Mug

The spacecraft is operating nominally – the telemetry indicates that all the sub-systems are fine. The battery voltages, solar panel charge currents and on board temperatures are virtually unchanged since launch.

In addition to FUNcube-1, there are now similar FUNcube transponders operating in low earth orbit on the UKube-1 and EO79/QB50p1 CubeSats.

The team has recently contributed to the development of Nayif-1, which is presently awaiting launch, and is currently working on a number of further CubeSat and microsat projects.

Happy Birthday AO73!

Get your 73 on 73 Award, details at

AO-73 (FUNcube-1) website

FUNcube Yahoo Group

Howard Long G6LVB working AO-73 while Ciaran Morgan M0XTD captures the downlink passband data using a FUNcube Dongle Pro+ and Microsoft Surface Tablet

Howard Long G6LVB working AO-73 while Ciaran Morgan M0XTD captures the downlink passband data using a FUNcube Dongle Pro+ and Microsoft Surface Tablet

EO79 FUNcube-3 transponder commences regular operation

EO79 (QB50p1) FUNcube-3 Transponder Passband - Credit David Bowman G0MRF

EO79 (QB50p1) FUNcube-3 Transponder Passband – Credit David Bowman G0MRF

AMSAT-UK and AMSAT-NL working with ISIS BV are delighted to announce that the FUNcube 435/145 MHz SSB/CW transponder, on the 2U CubeSat QB50p1 (EO79), has now been activated with a regular schedule.

EO79 (QB50p1) CubeSat - Credit ISIS

EO79 (QB50p1) CubeSat – Credit ISIS

Due to power budget constraints the transponder cannot be operational 24/7 and an orbit specific schedule has been developed. The transponder will commence operation 27 minutes after the spacecraft enters sunlight and will stay on for a period of 25 minutes. This schedule may be modified over the forthcoming weeks as a result of experience.

The transponder nominal frequencies are:
Uplink: 435.047-435.077 MHz LSB
Downlink: 145.935-145.965 MHz USB
The output power is approximately 400mW.

David Bowman G0MRF has been attempting to characterize the actual operating frequencies of the EO79 Transponder and suggests that the operational bandwidth of the transponder might be considered to be 25 kHz rather than 30 kHz. His report is available here. On the AMSAT Bulletin Board he writes:

From observations, there seems to be no downlink below 145.946 MHz. By taking readings at Time of Closest Approach (TCA) on low elevation passes, which for me is about 20 minutes into the 25 minute schedule. The transponder appears as follows:

Lower limit is quite well defined at 145.946.
Upper limit roles off slowly above 970. But 145.971 seems a reasonable limit. Very strong signals are visible to 973 but are heavily attenuated.

Upper limit (for 145.946) = 435.0723
Lower limit (for 145.971) = 435.0473

This suggests the transponder has a nominal bandwidth of 25 kHz. My best guess at a translation frequency is 581.0183MHz

Qb50p1 (EO79) was launched in June 2014, as a collaborative effort led by the von Karman Institute and ISIS-BV, into a sun synchronous 620×600 km polar orbit as a precursor spacecraft for the QB50 mission. The primary function of the satellite was to test a number of the systems and science payloads. This phase has now been completed and we are grateful to VKI and ISIS BV for carrying this transponder into space and, again, to ISIS, for developing and uploading the new, required, flight code.

We hope you have lots of fun using EO79!

Middle School Students’ FM Transponder Satellite Launched

Middle School Students

Middle School Students

CAS-2T a technical verification satellite for CAMSAT CAS-2 series amateur radio satellite launched at 23:42 UT November 9, 2016 on a CZ-11 rocket. The 2U CubeSat, developed by students from Fengtai District, Xicheng and Haidian District secondary schools, carries a ham radio 145/435 MHz FM transponder.

CAS-2T 145/435 MHz FM Transponder CubeSat

CAS-2T 145/435 MHz FM Transponder CubeSat

CAS-2T and another satellite with an amateur radio payload, KS-1Q (436.500 MHz), are attached to the final stage of the CZ-11 rocket. The final stage was originally expected to be in orbit for up to 30 days before re-entering the Earth’s atmosphere but reports indicate the orbit is 504 x 1030 km which could give an orbital lifetime of years.

On the AMSAT Bulletin Board Alan Kung BA1DU writes:

CAS-2T Amateur radio payloads:
CW Telemetry Beacon: 435.710 MHz
FM Transponder Uplink: 145.925 MHz
FM Transponder Downlink: 435.615 MHz

Alan Kung, BA1DU

Associated links:
Online real time tracking of CAS-2T and KS-1Q
News report
Mike Rupprecht DK3WN – CAS-2T seems to be Object 2016-66E
‘Keps’ for new satellites launched in past 30 days

The CAS-2T FM transponder does not appear to be fully functioning, see the report of Daniel Estévez EA4GPZ / M0HXM at

KS-1Q like CAS-2T is also attached to the final stage of the CZ-11. It is reported to be a 1U CubeSat with a technology and launch vehicle monitoring payload. Downlink frequency 436.500 MHz ±Doppler with 20 kbps GMSK, CC712 with RS(255,223) every 8-10 seconds

JAXA to launch satellites with ham radio payloads to ISS

H-II Transfer Vehicle KOUNOTORI

H-II Transfer Vehicle KOUNOTORI

Mineo Wakita JE9PEL reports on the AMSAT Bulletin Board that six satellites with amateur radio payloads are to be launched to the International Space Station in December.

JAXA announced to the public November 7 that seven nano satellites are to be installed in H-IIB Transfer Vehicle “KOUNOTORI” (HTV) to be launched in December. Satellites are only about 1U~3U in size and will conduct experiments aimed at realizing the space elevator which is expected to facilitate the movement of Earth and Universe in the future. It’s the first time to launch in JAXA with seven satellites at a time.

HTV6 Launch: 1326 UT, Dec. 9, 2016 at the Tanegashima Space Center, Japan.

                   Downlink   Beacon     Mode
AOBA-VeloxIII       437.375  437.375  1k2 AFSK,CW
ITF-2               437.525  437.525  1k2 FM,CW
STARS-C (Mother)    437.405  437.245  1k2 FM,CW
STARS-C (Daughter)  437.425  437.255  1k2 FM,CW
WASEDA-Sat3         437.290  437.290  1k2 PCM-FSK,CW
TuPod               437.425  437.425  1k2 GMSK,CW

H-II Transfer Vehicle “KOUNOTORI” (HTV), JAXA

AOBA-VeloxIII Kyusyu Institute of Technology

EGG University of Tokyo / Nihon University

FREEDOM Tohoku University / Nakashimada Engineering Works, Ltd

ITF-2 University of Tsukuba

TuPOD Gauss Srl

STARS-C Shizuoka University

WASEDA-SAT3 Waseda University

Radio ham’s Femtosats project wins ISS Design Competition

Femtosats deploying from 3D printed spacecraftRadio amateur Andy Filo KJ6ZGI has been announced as winner of the ISS Design Competition organised by component distributor Mouser.

Tech Crunch reports nearly 250 ideas were submitted, everything from tools to toys to scientific instruments. The proposals were vetted and submitted for judgment by tech-savvy astronaut and former ISS resident Col. Chris Hadfield VA3OOG, and Grant Imahara, of Mythbusters fame.

Andy’s winning entry was for a 3D printed “mothership” to launch Femosats into space. Femtosats are 30mm square and 4mm thick self contained satellites that extend the Internet of Things to Space.

Watch 2016 ISS Design Challenge Winners! – Empowering Innovation Together™ with Grant Imahara

Read the Tech Crunch story at

Mouser ISS Design Competition winners

Andy KJ6ZGI has previous worked with Zac Manchester KD2BHC on the KickSat project

HFsat will have 21 to 29 MHz transponder

HFsat concept of operations

HFsat concept of operations

US Naval Academy students are planning an amateur radio CubeSat HFsat carrying an HF transponder as well as 2m APRS.

They are working with Bill N6GHZ on the HF transponder card which will provide a bandwidth of 30 kHz, the frequencies are currently 21.4 MHz uplink and 29.42 MHz downlink. Doppler shift will be reduced to less than 2 Hz per second by using an inverting transponder.

The satellite will be gravity gradient stabilized by its long full size 10 meter band halfwave HF dipole antenna with tip masses

Read more about HFsat at

IARU satellite frequency coordination page