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/

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/

FUNcube-1 / AO73 celebrates 3 years in space

FUNcube Team Monitor Launch

FUNcube Team Monitor Launch

Monday, November 21, 2016, marked the third birthday in space for the 985 gram spacecraft FUNcube-1 / AO73.

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

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

FUNcube-1 was launched at 07:10 UT on November 21, 2013 and its first signals were received immediately after deployment over the Indian Ocean by amateurs in South Africa. Since then it has been operating continuously in either its education mode or, with the transponder active, in amateur mode when in eclipse and at weekends.

The FUNcube team are very grateful to everyone who has been contributing their telemetry records to the Data Warehouse and also to those who are using FUNcube-1 for educational outreach to schools and colleges around the world. This important part of our mission is intended to encourage young people to develop an interest and passion in all STEM subjects for their future.

FUNcube-1 Launch Day Mug

FUNcube-1 Launch Day Mug

The spacecraft is operating nominally – the telemetry indicates that all the sub-systems are fine. The battery voltages, solar panel charge currents and on board temperatures are virtually unchanged since launch.

In addition to FUNcube-1, there are now similar FUNcube transponders operating in low earth orbit on the UKube-1 and EO79/QB50p1 CubeSats.

The team has recently contributed to the development of Nayif-1, which is presently awaiting launch, and is currently working on a number of further CubeSat and microsat projects.

Happy Birthday AO73!

Get your 73 on 73 Award, details at https://amsat-uk.org/funcube/73-on-73-award/

AO-73 (FUNcube-1) website https://amsat-uk.org/funcube/funcube-website/

FUNcube Yahoo Group https://amsat-uk.org/funcube/yahoo-group/

Howard Long G6LVB working AO-73 while Ciaran Morgan M0XTD captures the downlink passband data using a FUNcube Dongle Pro+ and Microsoft Surface Tablet

Howard Long G6LVB working AO-73 while Ciaran Morgan M0XTD captures the downlink passband data using a FUNcube Dongle Pro+ and Microsoft Surface Tablet

EO79 FUNcube-3 transponder commences regular operation

EO79 (QB50p1) FUNcube-3 Transponder Passband - Credit David Bowman G0MRF

EO79 (QB50p1) FUNcube-3 Transponder Passband – Credit David Bowman G0MRF

AMSAT-UK and AMSAT-NL working with ISIS BV are delighted to announce that the FUNcube 435/145 MHz SSB/CW transponder, on the 2U CubeSat QB50p1 (EO79), has now been activated with a regular schedule.

EO79 (QB50p1) CubeSat - Credit ISIS

EO79 (QB50p1) CubeSat – Credit ISIS

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 over the forthcoming weeks as a result of experience.

The transponder nominal frequencies are:
Uplink: 435.047-435.077 MHz LSB
Downlink: 145.935-145.965 MHz USB
The output power is approximately 400mW.

David Bowman G0MRF has been attempting to characterize the actual operating frequencies of the EO79 Transponder and suggests that the operational bandwidth of the transponder might be considered to be 25 kHz rather than 30 kHz. His report is available here. On the AMSAT Bulletin Board he writes:

From observations, there seems to be no downlink below 145.946 MHz. By taking readings at Time of Closest Approach (TCA) on low elevation passes, which for me is about 20 minutes into the 25 minute schedule. The transponder appears as follows:

Downlink.
Lower limit is quite well defined at 145.946.
Upper limit roles off slowly above 970. But 145.971 seems a reasonable limit. Very strong signals are visible to 973 but are heavily attenuated.

Uplink
Upper limit (for 145.946) = 435.0723
Lower limit (for 145.971) = 435.0473

This suggests the transponder has a nominal bandwidth of 25 kHz. My best guess at a translation frequency is 581.0183MHz

Qb50p1 (EO79) was launched in June 2014, as a collaborative effort led by the von Karman Institute and ISIS-BV, into a sun synchronous 620×600 km polar orbit as a precursor spacecraft for the QB50 mission. The primary function of the satellite was to test a number of the systems and science payloads. This phase has now been completed and we are grateful to VKI and ISIS BV for carrying this transponder into space and, again, to ISIS, for developing and uploading the new, required, flight code.

We hope you have lots of fun using EO79!

ESEO Project Update October 2016

Dr Chris Bridges 2E0OBC and Pete Bartram from Surrey Space Centre with the AMSAT-UK payload and some of the ESEO electronics

Chris Bridges 2E0OBC and Pete Bartram from Surrey Space Centre with the AMSAT-UK FUNcube-4 payload and some of the ESEO electronics

A team of three from AMSAT-UK and Surrey Space Centre visited Forli in Italy in mid-October where the Engineering Model of the ESEO satellite is being assembled.

ESEO, The European Student Earth Orbiter, is a 50 kg satellite from ESA Education incorporating payloads from AMSAT-UK and Universities around Europe.

The AMSAT-UK FUNcube-4 payload will provide a 1260/145 MHz FM transponder and 145 MHz 1200 bps BPSK telemetry beacon to provide a telemetry downlink that can be easily received by schools and colleges for educational outreach purposes. The data will be displayed in an attractive format and provide stimulation and encouragement for students to become interested in all STEM subjects in a unique way.

The target audience is primarily students in Secondary and Higher education, the project includes the development of a simple and cheap “ground station” operating on VHF frequencies in the Amateur Satellite Service. The ground station would comprise an omni-directional antenna feeding a FUNcube DonglePRO+ SDR receiver which will receive the signals direct from the satellite and transfer the data to specially developed graphical software running on any Windows laptop.

David Bowman G0MRF holds the ESEO bottom plate during the fit check of the L band patch antenna

David Bowman G0MRF holds the ESEO bottom plate during the fit check of the L band patch antenna

During the visit to Forli, the team began work integrating the AMSAT-UK payload into a FlatSat version of ESEO at the facilities of Sitael, who are the prime contractor for the mission. One of the main objectives was to check communication between the payload’s CAN bus, the ESEO On-Board Data handling system (OBDH) and the science payloads. Until now the communication between units, using the CAN-Open protocol had only been simulated as each part of the satellite had been assembled in a different part of Europe. After a tense few hours and a few inevitable refinements to the firmware, data started flowing as planned and another milestone had been achieved.

When on orbit, the ESEO AMSAT-UK payload will transmit telemetry on 145.930 MHz at 1200 bps for educational outreach in a similar way to the FUNcube-1 satellite (AO-73). Additionally, In the event of a failure of the main 2.2 GHz S-Band transmitter, the payload will act as a redundant communications system for transmitting science data. To achieve this the payload can increase its transmission rate to 4800bps.

The team also carried out a fit check for the circular polarised L band patch antenna and checked out the L band to VHF FM transponder.

The flight model of ESEO is due to be delivered at the end of  the 2nd quarter of 2017. An Invitation to Tender for the launch has been issued by ESA.

Watch An RF look at ESEO by David Bowman G0MRF

2016 International Space Colloquium Presentations Playlist
https://www.youtube.com/user/AMSATUK/playlists

ESEO https://amsat-uk.org/satellites/communications/eseo/