Radio Amateurs aim to fly new FPGA in space

Radio amateurs James Cutler KF6RFX, Andrew Mitchell KD8RCO and K. Scott Tripp KD8IPK are involved in developing the Michigan Multipurpose Minisatellite (MCubed-2) at the University of Michigan.

The mission objectives for the MCubed-2 are to capture mid-resolution images of the Earth from Low Earth Orbit, perform a technology demonstration for a novel new Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA), and train the next generation of Aerospace Engineers.

Testing the FPGA on a CubeSat platform will provide valuable information as to how it survives Low Earth Orbit and how well it operates when processing real image data.

M-Cubed implements a 3 mega-pixel CMOS camera that will transfer the image to the FPGA upon request. MCubed-2 is also an educational project for Engineering students at the University of Michigan. M-Cubed provides hands-on experience for students who would not otherwise have the opportunity to build flight hardware for a space mission.

The training these students gain by working on this project will better prepare them for work in the Aerospace industry. MCubed-2 is a 1U CubeSat and the group is proposing to use a 1 watt output simplex transceiver on UHF with 9k6 telemetry.

It is planned to launch from Vandenberg into a 770 km by 460 km 123 degree orbit with these spacecraft: Medgar Evers – CUNYSat-1 Cal Poly – IPEX: MSU – Firebird: UH – H-2: Kentucky Space – KySat-2: SLU – Argus: LLNL – Udjat: SMDC – TacSat-6, SNaP-1/2/3, SMDC ONE 2.3/2.4 Aerospace Corp. – AeroCube-5a/5b/6 AFIT – ALICE: GSFC/Siena College – Firefly: USC – MaVEx: USU – STACEM:

More information is available at

The MCubed-2 IARU frequency application is

FUNcube Dongle Pro+ LF/MF/HF/VHF/UHF Software Defined Radio Video

FUNcube Dongle Pro+ Software Defined Radio

FUNcube Dongle Pro+ Software Defined Radio

The FUNcube Dongle Pro+ SDR is a complete redesign of the original FUNcube Dongle with many performance improvements and additional features.

It covers LF, MF, HF, VHF, UHF and L Band (coverage is 150kHz-240MHz and 420MHz to 1.9GHz), and has an increased frequency span of 192kHz.

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HamRadioNow interview with Erin King AK4JG

Erin King AK4JG being interviewed by Gary Pearce KN4AQ of HamRadioNow

Erin King AK4JG, a 17-year-old from Columbus, Georgia, was named Amateur Radio Newsline’s Young Ham of the Year for 2012. She re-founded her high school’s radio club and then built a ham radio-carrying balloon that got to 91,000 feet (27.7 km), recovered the flight data and used it to produce a truly striking video of the flight.

She’s just starting her Freshman year at MIT. Yes, she’s exceptional, but she exhibits the qualities we like to see in every young ham.

In this video she is interviewed by Gary Pearce KN4AQ at the Huntsville Hamfest.

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SPROUT amateur radio SSTV satellite to launch in 2014

SPROUT Amateur Radio SSTV Satellite

SPROUT, a 20 x 20 x 22 cm amateur radio nano-satellite with a mass of 7.1 kg, plans to launch with the L-band (1236.5 MHz/1257.5 MHz/1278.5 MHz) Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) satellite ALOS-2 on May 24, 2014. [Updated May 19, 2014]

SPROUT (Space Research On Unique Technology) was built by students from Nihon University and its objectives are:

1. Operation of satellite by radio amateurs. SPROUT downlinks the digi-talker sound recorded preliminary in the satellite, the digi-peater voice and packet uploaded by radio amateurs, Slow Scan TV (SSTV) and FM packet of the picture of the Earth taken by the satellite camera, which can be received by radio amateurs. SPROUT has two downlink frequencies and two uplink frequencies, and one uplink frequency and one downlink frequency will be open for radio amateurs. They can use the digipeater and packet and use one camera mounted on SPROUT and take the pictures by themselves, and downlink the pictures by SSTV.

2. Demonstration of the deployment of the combined membrane structure and verification of the design method of the structure SPROUT has a triangular membrane supported by two tubes like framework. They are folded and stored in the satellite before the launch. After the launch, the nitrogen gas is injected into the tubes in space, and they extend, so that the membrane deploys (called “combined membrane structure”).

3. Demonstration of attitude determination and control of a nanosatellite Will conduct the attitude determination experiment on orbit by using the sun sensors, gyros, and geomagnetic sensor, and conduct the attitude control experiment by using the magnetic torquers.

It carries two UHF/VHF radio systems – one for Telemetry, Tracking & Control (TTC) using CW, 1200 bps AFSK and 9600 bps GMSK AX.25 packet and one for amateur operations using 1200 bps AFSK AX.25 packet.

SPROUT plans to launch from the Tanegashima Space Center into a 628 km Sun Synchronous Orbit (SSO) on May 24, 2014.

Callsign: JQ1ZJQ
Size:     214x210x220 mm
Weight:   7.1 kg
Mode: 1200bps AFSK, 9600bps GMSK
CW downlink          437.525 MHz
FM packet downlink   437.525 MHz
Digi-peater uplink   437.600 MHz
Digi-talker downlink 437.600 MHz
SSTV downlink        437.600 MHz

Sprout Satellite English website

Sprout Satellite Japanese website

Nihon-Univ. Miyazaki Laboratory on Facebook

JE9PEL website

Read the Overview of the L-band SAR Onboard ALOS-2 here.