First contact via ham radio satellite AO-85

getting-started-with-amateur-satellites-2016-front-coverOn Saturday, August 13, 2016, Christian Jacobs 2E0ICL made his first contact via the amateur radio FM CubeSat AO-85, it was with Peter Goodhall 2E0SQL.

On YouTube Christian writes:

First contact over AO-85 with Peter 2E0SQL using a new Elk antenna, a Comet CF-4160 diplexer, and two handheld transceivers. This video also features a portable SO-50 contact with Abdel M0NPT at Cow Drove Hill in Hampshire, UK.

Watch First contact via AO-85, and operating /P from Cow Drove Hill

AO-85 information

The book – Getting Started with Amateur Satellites – is now available from the AMSAT-UK shop at

A popular antenna for satellite working is the Elk 2m/70cms Log Periodic available in the AMSAT-UK shop at

Amateur Radio BIRDS CubeSat Constellation

BIRDS CubeSat Engineering Model integration test

BIRDS CubeSat Engineering Model integration test

The BIRDS constellation, planned to deploy from the ISS in 2017, will consist of four 1U CubeSats (BIRD-B, BIRD-J, BIRD-G and BIRD-M). They are made of the exactly same design including the radio frequencies to be used and will be deployed together.

BIRDS CubeSat Project LogoThe main mission of the constellation is to do experiments on radio communication with a CubeSat constellation via a network of UHF/VHF amateur radio ground stations all over the world.

The challenge is to distinguish each satellite from the four satellites transmitting with the same frequency, hand over operation of a satellite from one ground station to another and assemble the satellite data, such as housekeeping telemetry, music and the Earth images, obtained at different ground stations.

Amateur radio enthusiasts are asked to join the network to assist in the data downlink and reconstruction of the patchy satellite data into one meaningful data. Orbit information and operational plan of each satellite will be made available to the amateur radio community in the world. Software to decode the satellite data will be also made available.

The respective amateur ground stations that can successfully decode the telemetry data, music and the Earth images, shall receive a QSL card from the BIRDS team. The data reconstructed by the effort of the amateur ground station network will be made public to share the sense of satisfaction and achievement.

BIRDS CubeSat NationsA particularly interesting mission of BIRDS project is the SNG mission that exchanges music via a digi-singer. It is an outreach-oriented mission. First, music in MIDI format is uploaded from ground. Then the MIDI file is processed on-board using a vocal synthesizer. Finally, the processed music is sent back to Earth using UHF antenna as voice FM data.

During organized events on space utilization with schools or general public, music could be heard using a common hand-held receiver and hand-made Yagi antenna positioned to track the satellite at each given pass over the region. This has a tremendous effect on awareness of radio communication among school children and general public, especially in the countries participating in the BIRDS project, Japan, Ghana, Mongolia, Nigeria and Bangladesh.

Proposing to use CW, 1k2 AFSK FM, audio FM and 9k6 GMSK downlinks. Planning a JAXA sponsored deployment from the ISS during 2017.

BIRDS project information:

Download the Paper – IAA-CU-15-01-16 Five-nations CubeSat constellation; An inexpensive test case for learning and capacity building

The IARU Satellite Frequency Coordination pages are hosted by AMSAT-UK at

Live Streaming for International Space Colloquium

BATC Logo SmallThanks to volunteers from the British Amateur Television Club (BATC) the presentations at this weekend’s AMSAT-UK International Space Colloquium in Guildford will be streamed live to a global audience.

This year to provide an enhanced streaming experience, the webstream will be available at this new location:

The Live Stream will begin on Saturday morning, July 30 at 10:15 BST with the Official Opening by Professor Sir Martin Sweeting G3YJO.

Download the programme PDF Schedule Here

Recordings of all talks will be posted on the AMSAT-UK YouTube Channel following the event

British Amateur Television Club

UAE satellite will have Amateur Radio transponder

Nayif-1 was developed by UAE students - Image credit The Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre

Nayif-1 was developed by UAE students – Image credit The Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre

The United Arab Emirates newspaper The National reports on the Nayif-1 spacecraft developed by Emirati students from the American University of Sharjah in partnership with The Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre.

Nayif-1 carries a 435/145 MHz transponder (FUNcube-5) for amateur radio SSB/CW communications. It is expected to launch along with other amateur radio satellites such as Fox-1C and Fox-1D on a SpaceX rocket between September and November 2016.

Nayif-1 CubeSat - Credit Wouter Weggelaar PA3WEG

Nayif-1 CubeSat – Credit Wouter Weggelaar PA3WEG

The National says:

Yousuf Al Shaibani, director general of The Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre, said the satellite’s development was a testament to its commitment to develop Emirati talent.

“There is no doubt that the field of satellite design and manufacturing is a new industry to UAE universities and students,” Mr Al Shaibani said.

“The Emirati students possess the skills and capabilities to design and build a CubeSat as a result of a knowledge-transfer strategy and cooperation between academic and professional institutions that are launching real space projects, enabling students to see the product of their work as a reality in space.”

The satellite is about 10 cubic centimetres and weighs about 1 kilogram. One of its most notable features is that it is programmed to transfer messages in Arabic.

“This is a great achievement and a source of pride for all of us,” said Dr Bjorn Kjerfve, chancellor of American University of Sharjah.

Watch the insertion of Nayif-1 into the QuadPack deployer

Read the National story at

Nayif-1 CubeSat

India launches ham radio satellites

Swayam-1 CubeSat Flight Model - Credit COEP

Swayam-1 CubeSat Flight Model – Credit COEP

On June 22, 2016 the Indian Space Agency ISRO successfully launched several satellites carrying amateur radio payloads.

The CSAT Swayam satellite was one of those launched. The 1U CubeSat carries a digital store and forward messaging system for use by the amateur radio community.

Rupesh Lad VU2LRD / VU2COE from the College of Engineering Pune CSAT Team says:

“We are eagerly waiting for your reception report of CW Morse Beacon at 437.025 MHz. You can also get the decoded Beacon Data by entering beacon in Swayam Beacon Decoder available on our website.”

The post launch TLEs for tracking the satellite are at

Download the COEP Swayam Leaflet PDF

Frequencies of other satellites on the launch

Spaceflight Now story

LightSail-2 to send Morse code

LightSail-2 - Credit The Planetary Society

LightSail-2 – Credit The Planetary Society

The Planetary Society CubeSat LightSail-2 will transmit Morse code from space, and you can make the sound your ringtone

Jason Davis @jasonrdavis reports that during last year’s LightSail-1 mission (call sign KK6HIT), dozens of radio enthusiasts around the world wrote in to tell us they heard our solar sailing CubeSat chattering away in low-Earth orbit.

Every few seconds, LightSail automatically transmits a beacon packet. These packets can be picked up by ground stations and decoded into 238 lines of text telemetry that describe the spacecraft’s health and status. Everything from battery current to solar sail deployment motor state is included. We still plan to better support the worldwide radio community’s efforts to help us capture those packets; that work is temporarily on the back burner while the engineering team focuses on getting the spacecraft ready for delivery.

Many off-the-shelf CubeSat software packages also have an option to transmit Morse code beacons, and for the LightSail 2 mission, we’re activating this feature. Every 45 seconds, the spacecraft will transmit “L-S-2,” and radio operators tuned in to the spacecraft’s 437.325 megahertz frequency should be able to hear it.

Read the full The Planetary Society story at