First family-friendly amateur radio event at The Royal Mint Experience

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

A unique event is taking place at The Royal Mint Experience, The Royal Mint’s new visitor centre in Llantrisant, Wales from July 30 to August 5, 2017. Local school children and members of the public have been invited to “The Royal Mint Radio Experience” to enjoy a fun, informal and interactive workshop.

They’ll have the opportunity to send and receive radio signals with FUNcube-1, an educational satellite launched in 2013 which is used by schools and educational groups all around the world. Visitors will also exchange greeting messages with radio enthusiasts across the world and, as each country is contacted it will be logged on a large map. The target is to contact each of the 100 countries with which the Royal Mint has worked during its 1,000 year history! The national amateur radio societies in many of those countries have contacted us to say that their members are looking forward to greeting the children on air.

In addition, during the sessions each person will be able to learn how to send their name using Morse code and will receive a special certificate to confirm their achievement.

RSGB General Manager Steve Thomas, M1ACB said: “We’re delighted to be supporting this event which will give visitors to the Royal Mint a chance to experience the wonder of amateur radio and satellite communication. Amateur radio has many links with the science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) curriculum and can lead to rewarding careers.”

Members of the Radio Society of Great Britain (RSGB), Barry Amateur Radio Society (BARS) and AMSAT-UK will be running the special amateur radio station whose call sign GB4RME (GB 4 Royal Mint Experience) has been granted by Ofcom just for this event.

RSGB Regional Manager and BARS Chairman Glyn Jones, GW0ANA added: “We believe this is the very first time any amateur radio station has been allowed to operate from a Royal Mint anywhere in the world, so it really is a unique occasion!”

The FUNcube-1 Fitter message transmitted by the satellite says:
“Greetings from space to visitors, staff and team G B 4 R M E . Amateur Radio special event and demonstrations at the Royal Mint Experience South Wales. 30 Jul to 5 Aug.”
http://warehouse.funcube.org.uk/downloads/fitter.txt

The Royal Mint Experience http://www.royalmint.com/en/the-royal-mint-experience

Barry Amateur Radio Society http://www.bars.btck.co.uk/

FUNcube-1 https://amsat-uk.org/satellites/communications/funcube-1/

Bittern DXers get 10k Lottery Grant

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

The Eastern Daily Press report the Bittern DX Group in North Walsham have been awarded £10,000 by the Big Lottery Fund.

The newspaper story says:

The award will help them continue to introduce people to the world of technology, and the possibilities that radio communication can offer people.

But the news wasn’t only celebrated in North Walsham, or even Norfolk, as the announcement was transmitted from a satellite orbiting the Earth.

The satellite, FunCube1, as built by members of the Amateur Radio community and launched into orbit on 21st November 2013.

It was built with the goal of enthusing and educating young people about radio, space, physics and electronics, and is the first satellite with outreach as its primary mission and demonstrates the depth and breadth of the hobby of Amateur Radio.

The Bittern DXers hope that with their new funds they can continue to work on initiatives such as the Educational Outreach Project which entails the group taking their equipment to public events and teach people about their hobby.

Read the full newspaper story at
http://www.edp24.co.uk/news/message-from-space-celebrates-north-walsham-group-s-stellar-grant-1-5106808

The FUNcube-1 Fitter message transmitted by the satellite said:
“The Bittern DXers are delighted to announce they have received a National Lottery Awards for All grant for their Educational Outreach project bringing amateur radio to the public.”
http://warehouse.funcube.org.uk/downloads/fitter.txt

Information on the FUNcube-1 (AO-73) satellite can be found at  https://funcube.org.uk/
and https://amsat-uk.org/funcube/funcube-cubesat/

Bittern DXers https://www.bittern-dxers.org.uk/
https://twitter.com/BitternDXers

Any amateur radio club can apply for a Big Lottery Fund grant, details at https://www.biglotteryfund.org.uk/

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/

BIRDS-1 constellation of five CubeSats deployed

BIRDS-1 CubeSat Constellation Deployment

BIRDS-1 CubeSat Constellation Deployment

On Friday, July 7, 2017 five CubeSats carrying amateur radio payloads were deployed from the Japanese Kibo module on the International Space Station.

ISS astronaut Jack Fischer KG5FYH @Astro2fish tweeted:
Another great example of International Cooperation today on @Space_Station –launched 5 micro-satellites from 5 countries off the JAXA arm!

The BIRDS-1 constellation consists of five 1U CubeSats (BIRD-B, BIRD-J, BIRD-G, BIRD-M and BIRD-N). They launched to the ISS on a SpaceX Falcon 9 CRS-11 on June 3, 2017. The satellites are made of the exactly same design and use the same amateur radio frequency.

The 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.

BIRDS CubeSat NationsThe challenge is to distinguish each satellite from the others sharing the same transmit 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 Project LogoA 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.

The satellites transmit CW on 437.372 MHz and 9k6 FSK, 1k2 AFSK FM, audio FM and 9k6 GMSK downlinks on 437.375 MHz.

A QSL is issued for a reception report. Please check the BIRDS web site.
http://birds.ele.kyutech.ac.jp/amateur.html

BBC News has a story about one of the satellites GhanaSat-1 (BIRDS-G, ANUSAT-1)
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-40538471

BIRDS-1 CubeSat Constellation
https://amsat-uk.org/2017/07/01/birds-1-cubesat-constellation-deployment/
https://amsat-uk.org/2016/08/11/ham-radio-birds-constellation/

BIRDS-1 CubeSat Constellation Deployment

BIRDS CubeSat Engineering Model integration test

Masahiro Arai JN1GKZ reports the BIRDS Project Newsletter Issue No. 17 shows the deployment of five amateur radio BIRDS-1 CubeSats from ISS is planned for July 7, 2017.

The IARU reports the satellites will be using CW, 1k2 AFSK FM, audio FM and 9k6 GMSK downlinks on a coordinated downlink frequency of 437.375 MHz.

On the AMSAT Bulletin Board Masa JN1GKZ writes:

The schedule is:
Time        Satellites                       Location
#1 0900z BIRD-J, BIRD-G, BIRD-M over Fance
#2 0930z BIRD-N, BIRD-B              over the south Indian ocean

BIRD-B (BRAC Onnesha) :Bangladesh
BIRD-G (GhanaSat-1, ANUSAT-1):Ghana
BIRD-J (Toki) :Japan
BIRD-M (Mazaalai, NUMSAT-1) :Mongolia
BIRD-N (EduSat-1) :Nigeria

A QSL is issued for a reception report. Please check the BIRDS web site.
http://birds.ele.kyutech.ac.jp/amateur.html

Live broadcast of the deployment is planned by JAXA.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sP5YZi5usHc

BIRDS Project Newsletter Issue No.17
http://birds.ele.kyutech.ac.jp/files/BIRDS_Newsletter_Issue_No_17.pdf

73 Masa JN1GKZ Tokyo Japan

Amateur Radio BIRDS-1 CubeSat Constellation
https://amsat-uk.org/2016/08/11/ham-radio-birds-constellation/

FUNcube Satellite Status June 2017

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

AMSAT-UK has released the FUNcube satellite status update report for June 2017.

AO-73 FUNcube-1

The transponder is normally operational only when the satellite is in eclipse, ie the solar panels are NOT being illuminated. During weekends (from PM Fridays UTC to PM Sundays UTC) the transponder is operational 24/7.

When the transponder is switched off, the telemetry beacon is on full power, when the transponder is on the beacon it is on low power. During holidays, e.g. Christmas, New Year, Easter, etc, the transponder maybe activated for extended periods. Watch AMSAT-BB for announcements which are usually made on Friday evenings (UTC)

The nominal transponder frequencies are:

Uplink: 435.150 – 435.130 MHz LSB (Inverting)
Downlink: 145.950 – 145.970 MHz USB
Telemetry Tx: 145.935 MHz BPSK

(The passband may be up to 15 kHz higher depending on on-board temps. Lower temperatures give higher freqs!)

FUNcube-2 (aka FUNcube on UKube)

The FUNcube-2 sub-system continues to operate autonomously and, almost continuously, in amateur mode. The transponder is operational and the telemetry downlink is functioning with about 70mW output. The FUNcube-1 Dashboard does not correctly display the telemetry but it does correctly decode the data and uploads it to the FUNcube Data Warehouse from where it can be examined. Most of the real time data channels are operational and these include battery voltages, temperatures and ADCS data coming via the main On Board Computer (OBC).

The transponder is interrupted for a few seconds every 2 minutes when the other transmitter sends its CW beacon and, occasionally, for a few seconds when the main OBC reboots (approx seven times each orbit).

The nominal transponder frequencies are:
Uplink: 435.080 – 435.060 MHz LSB (Inverting)
Downlink: 145.930 – 145.950 MHz USB
Telemetry Tx: 145.915 MHz BPSK

(The passband may be up to 10kHz higher depending on on-board temps. Low
temperatures give higher freqs!)

EO79 FUNcube-3

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 in future months as a result of experience.

The nominal transponder frequencies are:
Uplink: 435.0723-435.0473 MHz LSB (Inverting)
Downlink: 145.946-145.971 MHz USB

Further detailed info on EO79 transponder frequencies is at:
https://amsat-uk.org/2016/11/10/eo79-funcube-3-transponder-commences-regular-operation/

EO88/Nayif-1/FUNcube-5

EO88 is presently operating in autonomous mode. The transponder is operational when the satellite is in eclipse, i.e. the solar panels are NOT being illuminated.

When the transponder is switched off, the telemetry beacon is on full power, when the transponder is on the beacon it is on low power.

The transponder frequencies are:

Uplink: 435.045 – 435.015 MHz LSB (inverting)
Downlink: 145.960-145.990 MHz USB
Telemetry Tx: 145.940MHz

All FUNcube transponders are sponsored by AMSAT-UK and AMSAT-NL. We are very grateful for the assistance given by Innovative Solution In Space Bv, The Netherlands.

AMSAT-BB http://www.amsat.org/mailman/listinfo/amsat-bb

FUNcube
Yahoo Group https://amsat-uk.org/funcube/yahoo-group/
Web http://www.funcube.org.uk/
Forum http://forum.funcube.org.uk/

Amateur radio to the rescue of satellite

I-Inspire-2 is a 20 x 10 x 10cm CubeSat built by the University of Sydney in collaboration with the Australian National University and the University of New South Wales (Sydney)

WIA News reports:

On board the tiny spacecraft is an experiment, part of the QB50 project, designed to “explore the lower thermosphere, for re-entry research and in-orbit demonstration of technologies and miniaturised sensors”, as reported in earlier editions of the WIA broadcast.

Its operational frequency was coordinated by IARU to be in the satellite segment of the 70cm amateur band.

It was placed in orbit from the International Space Station in late May. The deployment was successful; however there were no signs of life when the ground stations started looking for it. The engineering group quickly tested various scenarios on the engineering model only to come to the conclusion that, due to the extended delay in the deployment, the satellite’s battery was likely to be depleted and the satellite was trapped in an endless loop, trying to deploy its antenna.

The engineering group suggested that the satellite is still listening albeit with its antennas in the stowed position. This meant that the satellite command receiver might have difficulty receiving any signals from ground control stations. A set of commands were devised which, if received, would instruct the satellite to wait until the battery is charged before attempting to deploy its antenna. Both UNSW and ANU ground stations transmitted the recovery command to the satellite; however after a week or so of no success it was decided that more transmitter power was required to overcome the lack of receiver sensitivity caused by the still stowed antenna. A request for assistance was passed to EME operators around the world and many responses were received.

The greatest hope for a successful recovery was thought to be PI 9 CAM using high power and a 25 m dish, normally used for radio astronomy but also EME. They were scheduled to transmit on the weekend of June 10-11.

On Sunday June 11, during the morning pass, Rob VK1KW reported a strong signal every 30 seconds on I-Inspire-2’s frequency. Dimitris VK1SV who is part of the ANU team, verified reception from home around midnight. The following morning Dimitris drove to the ANU ground station and was able to send commands to the satellite for the first time since it was deployed. Many other radio amateurs around the world also reported reception of the beacon. The satellite had come back to life!

This is a wonderful example of successful collaboration between radio amateurs and the academic community. If a frequency outside the radio amateur band had been used, it is doubtful that the satellite would have been brought back to life.

The crew of I-Inspire-2 wishes to thank all radio amateurs involved and is looking forward to a successful collection of data for the scientific experiment!

I-Inspire-2 official web site: http://sydney.edu.au/inspire-cubesat/project/index.shtml

( Dimitris Tsifakis VK1SV/VK2COW )

Source WIA News http://www.wia.org.au/members/broadcast/wianews/