More Cubans Active on Ham Radio Satellites

Raydel Espinet CM2ESP - 640

Raydel Espinet CM2ESP

On the AMSAT bulletin board Raydel Espinet CM2ESP reports that more Cuban radio amateurs have become active on the satellites. He writes:

As many of you should already know, now we have two new Cuban Amateur Operators on FM Satellites. Recently CO7WT and CM2XN have finally achieve their first QSO on SO-50 Satellite. This may look simple, but for a Cuban Ham this is a great success, after many weeks of antenna building, equipment adjustments and learning, this two fellow hams enjoy of the amazing opportunity of make a QSO on a FM Transponder Satellite. They know there is a lot more of operating skills to learn and they are very happy to do so.

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FM Interference to Linear Transponder Satellites

Alexandru Csete OZ9AEC has previously written about interference from FM stations on the HO-68 linear transponder. He now reports that other satellites with linear transponders (designed for SSB/CW use only) also suffer from local FM traffic by people who haven’t got a clue that they are transmitting in the satellite uplink segment of the 2 meter band (145.8-146.0 MHz).

This recording was made on Saturday, May 5, 2012 using the AMSAT-UK FUNcube Dongle and Gqrx SDR. It shows very strong FM transmissions on the FO-29 linear transponder which could be from Spain or Portugal. The topic appears to be chocolate. Alexandru says – If you know who these people are, be sure to send them a QSL card!

The use of FM on a linear transponder satellite reduces the lifetime of both the batteries and the transponder itself.

Watch FM on FO-29 amateur radio satellite

How to work the SSB amateur radio satellites

AMSAT-UK FUNcube Yahoo Group

Student Amateur Radio Satellites on Vega

Artists impression of Vega launch

Artists impression of Vega launch

Vega is planned to launch on Monday, February 13, between 1000-1300 UT from the ESA launch site at Kourou in the Caribbean. It will carry eight student built amateur radio satellites comprising seven CubeSats and a microsatellite called ALMASat-1.

ALMASat-1 – University of Bologna, Italy
437.465 MHz 1200 bps FSK and 2407.850 MHz

e-st@r – Politecnico di Torino, Italy
437.445 MHz 1200 bps AFSK

Goliat – University of Bucharest, Romania
437.485 MHz 1200 bps AFSK

MaSat-1 – Budapest University of Technology and Economics, Hungary
437.345 MHz GFSK 625/1250 bps, CW

PW-Sat1 – Warsaw University of Technology, Poland
There are 5 modes of operation on the 145.900 MHz downlink:
– Receive only – no downlink
– CW Beacon CW – On-Off Keying (OOK) CW 12 WPM
– BPSK Beacon – BPSK 1200 bps AX25 (1 frame on 20 sec)
– Control communication mode. Downlink BPSK 1200 bps AX25
– Voice Repeater mode (aka “AO-16” mode) – uplink 435.020 MHz FM and downlink 145.900 MHz DSB

Robusta – University of Montpellier 2, France
437.325 MHz? (website says now 437.350 MHz) 1200 bps FM telemetry with one data burst of 20 secs every 1 min

UNICubeSAT -University of Rome, Italy
437.305MHz 9600 bps FSK

XaTcobeo – Universidade de Vigo, Spain
437.365 MHz FFSK with AX.25

Watch the launch live at

The student teams have requested reception reports. All observers are being encouraged to join the CubeSat IRC chat channel to pass on their news and comments in realtime. You will need an IRC client such as ChatZilla for Firefox or mIRC to join the cubesat chat. Use the server. Then join the #cubesat channel. Many users set their chat nickname to “name_callsign”.

Preliminary Vega TLE’s (KEPS) for launch at 1000, 1100 and 1200 UT here

Assuming a 1000 UT launch the satellites should deploy their antennas and start transmitting at about 1140 UT. It looks like the first to get good reception will be Central America followed quickly by a pass up the East coast of North America. The first pass for the United Kingdom should be a horizon skimmer across the NW at around 1207 UT.

Vega Elliptical Orbit Video

N2YO Real Time Satellite Tracking

Satscape Satellite Tracking Software 

IZ8BLY Vox Recoder

Free Sound Recorder

For the latest information on newly launched satellites check the AMSAT Bulletin Board (AMSAT-BB)

Video of Space Station Reception on 145.800 MHz FM

Baofeng UV-3R

Baofeng UV-3R

On Monday, January 9, Edmund 2E0MDO received the International Space Station (ISS) using a Baofeng UV-3R hand-held with its supplied antenna. He has made a video to show how you can hear the ISS with simple equipment. He writes:

Continuing the theme of receiving the International Space Station in random car parks in Southern England, using various low-tech cheap equipment…

This time I was near Worthing (West Sussex) around 1020 GMT on Monday 9 January 2012. I am using my old camera again so hopefully the audio is not as overdriven as the Portsmouth video!

The signal from the space-station I am receiving is on 145.800MHz, in narrow FM, at the top-end of the 2 meter amateur radio band. The signal going up to the space-station was coming from a school in France. Sadly I couldn’t receive that side of the conversation. The astronaut speaking is Dan Burbank, callsign KC5ZSX.

Watch International Space Station received in Worthing – 9 January 2012

The handheld is the Mark II version of the very cheap and cheerful (but excellent value for the money) Baofeng UV-3R, using just the supplied rubber duck as an antenna. The smallest step size on the radio is 5kHz, so I couldn’t do anything about the Doppler shift unfortunately! 145.800 was close enough though.

There is slight breakthrough from pagers, which cannot be helped in a radio of this size and complexity. Using a bigger and better antenna might actually have made the breakthrough worse.

If I can receive the ISS, then *anybody* can! Go for it, whatever your receiving setup is!!

For more information on hearing the ISS read ‘Listening to the International Space Station’ at

The Baofeng UV-3R MK-II is available for around £30 ($45) from many on-line suppliers. See this review of the older MK-I

Programming the Baofeng UV-3R From a PC

Setting up the Baofeng UV-3R for a Repeater

ARISS ham radio contact with Descartes High School, France

Last chance to hear ARISSat-1

Sergey Samburov RV3DR with ARISSat-1

Sergey Samburov RV3DR with ARISSat-1

The amateur radio satellite ARISSat-1 may have only a few more days to live before it re-enters Earth’s atmosphere. Ken GW1FKY reports it’s putting out a strong signal in the early evening.

On the AMSAT bulletin board Ken writes:

I again monitored and worked into ARISSat-1 during the earlier pass and the final one as it entered eclipse over here in Europe.

The early pass was a low angle from my QTH and screened by buildings so I was not able to access the satellite. However the FM downlink was quite reasonable and I did hear someone active on CW.

The final pass as it moved into eclipse was really remarkable and my downlink and the FM transmissions were booming in . The loudest that I have ever heard from the satellite, in addition I quickly monitored the CW portion and someone was booming in, I could not stay at that end of the band as I was trying to make schedule on SSB. Heard someone calling but not able to confirm whom it was as they were not easy to copy.

Ken was listening in the early evening which seems to be a good time to hear the satellite. The satellite is only operational when its solar panels are illuminated. You can get orbital predictions times by selecting ARISSat-1 on the online prediction tool at

If you hear the satellite on 145.950 MHz FM, you can get a certificate. Depending on what mode you copied, send an e-mail with the information to:

Details at arissat_1_reception_certificates.htm

There is also a CW contest if you send in 5 calls heard on the 145.920 MHz CW transmission of notable AMSAT people of the past & present email them to

ARISSat-1 CW Contest cw-contest/

Catch the Last ARISSat-1 Telemetry

Get your colour ARISSat-1 Frequency Guide


Vega to Launch Amateur Radio Satellites

Artists impression of Vega launch

Artists impression of Vega launch

The inaugural launch of the ESA Vega rocket will carry the amateur radio microsatellite ALMASat-1 and at least six CubeSats.

The satellites will be launched from the ESA spaceport at Kourou in the Caribbean into an elliptical orbit of 1450 by 354 km at an inclination of 71 degrees. They are expected to have a lifetime before re-entry of 4 years.

ESA say the six CubeSats to be launched on Vega in late January 2012 comprise:

Xatcobeo (a collaboration of the University of Vigo and INTA, Spain): a mission to demonstrate software-defined radio and solar panel deployment;
Robusta (University of Montpellier 2, France): a mission to test and evaluate radiation effects (low dose rate) on bipolar transistor electronic components;
e-st@r (Politecnico di Torino, Italy): demonstration of an active 3-axis Attitude Determination and Control system including an inertial measurement unit;
Goliat (University of Bucharest, Romania): imaging of the Earth surface using a digital camera and in-situ measurement of radiation dose and micrometeoroid flux;
PW-Sat (Warsaw University of Technology, Poland): a mission to test a deployable atmospheric drag augmentation device for de-orbiting CubeSats;
MaSat-1 (Budapest University of Technology and Economics): a mission to demonstrate various spacecraft avionics, including a power conditioning system, transceiver and on-board data handling.

ESA indicate that a 7th CubeSat may be delivered in time to be flown.

PW-Sat carries an FM to DSB amateur radio transponder with an FM input on 435.020 MHz and DSB output on 145.900 MHz.

The primary payload on the launch, LARES, will be deployed into an orbit of 1200 km × 1200 km with an inclination of 71 degrees.

Frequencies and links for the CubeSats can be found at

ESA CubeSats delivered for first Vega flight

ESA Education – CubeSats

The IARU amateur satellite frequency coordination pages hosted by AMAT-UK list the frequencies of the amateur radio satellites