Calling Radio Amateurs: Help Find OPS-SAT!

Decoding OPS-SAT's beacon

Decoding OPS-SAT’s beacon

ESA is challenging anyone with amateur radio equipment to catch the first signals from OPS-SAT, ESA’s brand new space software laboratory.

On December 17, the 3U CubeSat OPS-SAT will be launched into low-Earth orbit on a Soyuz rocket from Kourou in South America, together with ESA’s Cheops exoplanet-tracker.

Lift-off is scheduled for 08:54:20 GMT on Tuesday, December 17. Deployment will begin 15044.6 seconds later (T+15044.6 seconds), expected to be at 13:05:04 GMT.

15 minutes after satellite deployment, when the UHF antenna and solar array deployment have been confirmed, OPS-SAT will begin transmitting 9600 bps GMSK on 437.200 MHz. The first two passes over Europe are expected on the same evening.

The OPS-SAT flight control team has developed open source software which allows anyone to receive the 437.200 MHz beacon of OPS-SAT and decode it.

Full details in the ESA article at http://www.esa.int/Enabling_Support/Operations/Calling_radio_amateurs_help_find_OPS-SAT

OPS-SAT UHF Specification https://github.com/esa/gr-opssat/blob/master/docs/os-uhf-specs.pdf

OPS-SAT GitHub https://github.com/esa/gr-opssat/

Live Amateur Radio Satellite Demo for Physics Students

Group photo at campus

Group photo at campus

Rajesh Vagadia VU2EXP reports a Special Hands on Workshop of Applied Physics was organised at well-known School of Science – RK University, Rajkot (Gujarat), India

It was 5 day event from 2nd Dec to 6th Dec 2019.

50 final year B.Sc Physics Students from various Colleges across state of Gujarat were registered for this special program.

Rajesh Vagadia VU2EXP gives an introduction to Amateur Radio

Rajesh Vagadia VU2EXP gives an introduction to Amateur Radio

On 4th December 2019, Rajesh Vagadia VU2EXP (Regional Coordinator of AMSAT-INDIA) conducted detailed presentation on Ham Radio & its Application along with Live Satellite Demo amongst 50 students & faculties.

In beginning I gave complete overview of Ham radio hobby ranging from CW to Satellites!

My presentation Included operating procedure & protocols, various ham events, different modes incl CW, SSB, FM, Digital, SSTV, APRS. Licensing procedure & ASOC exam syllabus was covered. For practical observing collection of radio stuff were displayed incl antennas, accessories, CubeSat model, SDR Dongle, VHF Base, HTs, PSU, Morse Keyer, Paddle, QSL Cards, ARISS Awards etc. And of course my homebrewed IOio Sat Antenna.

AMSAT functioning & its motto was explained in detailed. Few amateur satellites were bring into notice made or supported by various AMSAT organisations.

ARISS student outreach program highlights were also given & played original audio conversation happened between 13 year Student (Sakshi Vagadia) and female Astronaut Sunita Williams aboard ISS, particular ARISS event was carried out on 14th Nov 2012 at Science City Ahmedabad Gujarat by we few hams. Below is the link to enjoy conversation
https://tinyurl.com/sakshi-talks-sunita

Students surprised to see scientific capabilities of ham radio reaches up to ISS Astronauts & even further to moon with EME experiments!

Lots of queries were raised on different topics throughout the session, and students as well as faculties were satisfied with the given answers. I always encourage students to raise query at any point of time and get immediate reply 🙂

VHF voice demonstration

VHF voice demonstration

Thereafter Students also enjoyed practical Demos as below:

• Students find it funny to learn Sound act as a language during Morse code demo with my keyer & paddle.

• VHF Voice demo was given by making 3 groups and students introduce each other with Radio, simple HT created more excitement amongst students who used to carry expensive iphones, hi..

• For APRS Demo a prior information were shared to University administration & students to track my QTH to Venue journey on https://aprs.fi with Callsign (SSID) VU2EXP-10. To my own surprise group of Faculties stepped out to welcome me exactly on arrival of my car at Campus! Infact everybody were live tracking my journey on APRS!

• Star attraction was for Live Satellite Demo amongst group of students. Tiny cubsat AO91 was preferred for demo considering elevation of 44° & AOS Time 1247 (IST). Demo was previously announced to get support of Ham community. All students, faculties and admins get assembled 15 minutes prior to AOS at terrace of the building. There were no obstacles or tall buildings in any side.

I made students familiar with important Satellite terms such as AOS, TCA, LOS, Uplink Freq, Downlink Freq, Doppler shift, Tracking with apps etc. I used IOio dual band antenna with two separate HTs. Necessary frequency & tx ctcss tone was set & tested before pass. For Tx Speaker Mic was used for convenience, and for Rx small PA was connected to HT so whole group can listen to our possible two way QSO. I was prepared aiming IOio antenna at 180° (South), on AOS time at 1247 (IST) I gave few Sat calls… De VU2EXP on AO91 Satellite… repeat… soon heard a station replying me!!! Cheers!!!

Initially his signal was fading, but finally we establish 1st Satellite QSO, it was VU3PEN from Hyderabad (MK97em) 955 Kms from us. Students can’t stop their excitement and started cheering up!!!

Soon we worked 2nd station with VU3BXS from Haryana (MM80pd) 1083 Kms away.

To our surprise 3rd contact was made with DX station A65BP from UAE (LL75qj) 1602 Kms away.

4th contact was with VU2DGR from Kerala (MJ89gg) 1576 Kms away from us.

Now we were near to LOS at NNW direction and at low elevation we heard 5th station, mostly it was R9LR (MO27qf) 3907 Kms away, I gave repeated call but two way contact was not established. Students were very excited to learn such things & just thrilled to witness live SatDemo. Many new queries were answered on SatCom and we had memorable group photo in terrace too.

My session was extended to 4 hours for presentation & various demos.

I am thankful to VU3PEN, VU3BXS, A65BP, VU2DGR & R9LR for extending valuable support for my demo activities. This was my first Live Satellite Demo (AO91) amongst group of students & faculties who all keenly enjoyed whole session.

I also thanks Prof. Harshal Desai, Dr. Savan Katba (Coordinator), Dr. Ashish Tanna (HOD Physics) & School of Science RK University Rajkot to give me wonderful platform to conduct this memorable Ham Session with Live Demos.

Best 73’s

Rajesh Vagadia VU2EXP
Rajkot – Gujarat
Regional Coordinator
West India Zone
AMSAT-INDIA
M: 9898283916
E: vu2exp@gmail.com
http://www.qrz.com/db/vu2exp

Whole group witness live satellite demonstration

Whole group witness live satellite demonstration

WRC-19 Update: Small Satellites, the 1240-1300 MHz band and Final Report

WRC19 - PB2T, VE3QN, EI3IO, DK4VW, K1ZZ, VK1DSH and RSGB Spectrum Forum Chair Murray G6JYB image credit DK4VW

WRC19 – PB2T, VE3QN, EI3IO, DK4VW, K1ZZ, VK1DSH and RSGB Spectrum Forum Chair Murray G6JYB image credit DK4VW

In the final week the meetings at WRC-19 have been running until 3am in the morning in an attempt to get the work completed.

The RSGB have released their WRC-19 report covering small satellites and also the Amateur 1240-1300 MHz band.

The report notes “A lesson from the process indicates how difficult it may be in future to achieve any upgrade to other amateur allocations.”

Read the RSGB Small Satellites and 23cm report at
https://rsgb.org/main/blog/news/gb2rs/2019/11/20/wrc-19-day-18-satellites-and-23cm/

Friday, November 22 saw WRC-19 conclude its month long biggest ever conference. Many of the 3,300 delegates had started to travel home even before the release of the ‘Provisional Final Acts’ and closing ceremony.

The ITU website has released the provisional acts as a huge 567-page PDF document—a tribute to the the hardworking editorial and translation teams at the conference. These provisional acts are due to come into force on January 1, 2021, so no early changes are currently expected in practice.

Read the RSGB WRC-19 Final report at
https://rsgb.org/main/blog/news/gb2rs/2019/11/22/wrc-19-day-20-and-finally/

WRC-19 Provisional Final Acts – 567 page document
https://www.itu.int/en/ITU-R/conferences/wrc/2019/Documents/PFA-WRC19-E.pdf

Happy Birthday FUNcube-1 (AO73)

Telemetry received from FUNcube-1 at National Radio Centre Bletchley Park, Nov 21, 2013

Telemetry received from FUNcube-1 at National Radio Centre Bletchley Park, Nov 21, 2013

November 21st 2019, marked the sixth birthday of our very first CubeSat mission, FUNcube-1.

A very short time after the launch from Yasny in Russia and within a few minutes from deployment, the very first frame of data from the low power transmitter on board, was detected and decoded by ZS1LS in South Africa. He was able to relay the data over the internet from his Dashboard to the Data Warehouse and the numbers, appeared, as if by magic, at the launch party being held at the RSGB National Radio Centre at Bletchley Park.

FUNcube ISL03 Mission Patch

ISL03 Mission Patch

After a very brief check out, the FUNcube team were able to switch the transmitter to full power, again at the very first attempt, and were quite amazed at the strength of the signal from the 300mW transmitter on 145.935 MHz. The transponder was then switched on and successfully tested.

The team finished the day with a request to AMSAT-NA for an Oscar number and were delighted to receive the AO73 Oscar 73 designation!

Since then, FUNcube-1, with a launch mass of less than 1kg, has operated continuously with only a very few interruptions. In excess of 32000 orbits, 750 million miles travelled, and with more than 7 million data packets downloaded and stored in the Data Warehouse.

The spacecraft is presently in continuous sunlight and to convert as much of the sun’s thermal energy into RF (to help keep it cool), it remains in continuous high power telemetry mode. We anticipate this situation will continue until early May next after which the team expect to have 3 months with some eclipse periods.

Of course, EO88 – Nayif 1 continues to operate autonomously with the transponder active when in eclipse and JO99 – JY1Sat, which includes image downloads, and which was launched just under a year ago, also remain active on a 24/7 basis.

The FUNcube team still receive many requests for Fitter message uploads for school events…please contact us by email to operations@funcube.org.uk giving us at least two weeks notice.

The FUNcube team continue to be very grateful to all the many stations around the world that continue to upload the telemetry that they receive to our Data Warehouse. They really need this data to provide a continuous resource for educational outreach.

With that in mind, here is a link to a previous update which shows the correct current Data Warehouse address and the Dashboard software that can be used for each spacecraft
https://funcube.org.uk/2019/01/21/funcube-dashboard-summary-update/

FUNcube email group https://groups.io/g/FUNcube

FUNcube Forum http://forum.funcube.org.uk/

FUNcube Website http://www.funcube.org.uk/

Final gluing of FUNcube-1 bolt by Wouter Weggelaar PA3WEG – Image credit Gerard Aalbers

Final gluing of FUNcube-1 bolt by Wouter Weggelaar PA3WEG – Image credit Gerard Aalbers

IARU: WRC-19 Grinds On – Week 3

ITU WRC-19 LogoThe IARU has issued its report on Week 3 of the 2019 World Radiocommunication Conference being held in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt from October 28 to November 22, 2019.

With just 3-1/2 days left for substantive work – the final session of the Plenary to approve texts to be included in the Final Acts is scheduled to end at noon Thursday, November 21 – delegates at WRC-19 face a daunting workload as the conferees try to reach consensus on several remaining issues including the agenda for the next WRC.

Future agenda items: As of now, no choices have been made as to which of more than three dozen proposed topics will be placed on the WRC-23 agenda. Each of the proposed agenda items would require studies to be conducted in the 2020-2023 timeframe, but ITU resources will not accommodate more than about half. Some face strong opposition and others remain ill-defined even at this late stage of the conference. The responsible committee is scheduled to complete its work in just one more day. It will be a long day.

Short Duration Satellites: There is still no agreement on how to protect existing services and uses of the uplink frequency band proposed for telemetry, tracking and command of these “simple” satellites.

5725-5850 MHz: This part of the amateur secondary allocation, which includes an amateur-satellite downlink at 5830-5850 MHz, is the subject of an unresolved conflict over parameters for wireless access systems including radio local area networks.

Frequencies above 275 GHz: This upper frequency range is not allocated but several bands are identified for passive (receive-only) use and administrations are encouraged to protect them from harmful interference. With that in mind, WRC-19 has identified other bands above 275 GHz for the implementation of land mobile and fixed service applications. The use of these bands for applications in other services, including amateur experimentation, is not precluded.

50 MHz in Region 1: The compromise agreement reported last week (see the IARU news release dated 10 November) survived review at the Working Group and Committee levels and awaits approval in Plenary.

With the 50 MHz issue essentially settled the IARU team is devoting most of its energy to explaining why the proposed agenda item for 1240-1300 MHz described in last week’s release is unnecessary and undesirable.

While IARU President Tim Ellam, VE6SH/G4HUA, left the conference at the end of the second week he is still a visible presence as a six-minute video interview is replayed on monitors scattered around the halls of the conference center. See it for yourself at

Source: IARU Press Release available on the new ARRL-IARU email group. You can join at https://groups.arrl.org/g/ARRL-IARU/

IARU update regarding Amateur Satellite allocations

IARU Team at WRC-19

IARU Team at WRC-19

The second week of the World Radiocommunication Conference reports on the status of two issues affecting the amateur satellite service.

In a report written by Dave Sumner, K1ZZ, first is an agenda item currently under review during this WRC-19 session; second is planning for future pressure on frequencies for the amateur satellite service.

Current WRC-19

While it does not directly affect us – work at WRC-15 saw to that – we are following an agenda item that seeks spectrum for telemetry, tracking and command in the space operation service for non-GSO satellites with short duration missions (CubeSats, among others).

We would like a solution to be found to cut down on the misuse of the very limited amateur-satellite spectrum for commercial applications. Discussions are focusing on spectrum near 137 MHz (down) / 149 MHz (up) but reaching agreement is proving to be very difficult.

Future – WRC-23

With the spectrum from 8.3 kHz to 275 GHz fully allocated and some bands above 275 GHz already identified for particular uses, any proposal for new allocations involves sharing with one or more incumbent services.
The pressures for spectrum access to accommodate new uses for commercial purposes are intense; for an established service such as ours, any WRC that does not reduce our own useful spectrum access is a success.

The idea of including the amateur two meter band in a study of non-safety aeronautical mobile service applications has not resurfaced. However, the IARU is concerned with a proposed item for WRC-23 entitled: “Review of the amateur service and the amateur-satellite service allocations to ensure the protection of the radionavigation-satellite service (space-to-Earth) in the frequency band 1240-1300 MHz.”

Our regulatory status is already clear. The amateur service is secondary in this band and the amateur-satellite service is permitted to operate in the Earth-to-space direction on a non-interference basis in the band 1260-1270 MHz. In the international Radio Regulations this is all the protection a primary service such as radionavigation-satellite requires; implementation is up to individual administrations.

The one well-documented case of interference to a Galileo receiver that prompted this proposed agenda item occurred more than five years ago and was quickly resolved by the administration concerned. There have been no known interference cases to user terminals.

An amateur service allocation of 1215-1300 MHz was made on a primary, exclusive basis in 1947, later downgraded to secondary to accommodate radiolocation (radar) and narrowed to 1240-1300 MHz. The radionavigation-satellite service was added in 2000. As a secondary service amateur radio has operated successfully in the band for many years.Given the relatively modest density and numbers of amateur transmissions in the band, we view the Galileo-oriented proposal for an agenda item as disproportionate.

The IARU recognizes the concern and does not want the amateur service to affect the operation of the Galileo system in any way. It has already updated its operational recommendations for amateur stations in Region 1. If necessary, further recommendations may be developed and rolled out globally.

In CEPT, two preliminary measurement studies of Galileo receiver performance/vulnerability (from 2015 and 2019) are currently being evaluated. Discussions can be more timely and focused within CEPT.

The IARU believes that this process already offers the potential for a satisfactory solution and thus the issue does not warrant WRC action and the commitment of ITU resources.

Source: http://www.iaru.org/news–events

Read the RSGB WRC-19 updates at https://rsgb.org/main/blog/category/news/special-focus/wrc-19/