Ham radio CubeSat launch success

CNUSail-1 Credit KARI-Blog

CNUSail-1 Credit KARI-Blog

CubeSats carrying amateur radio payloads were among the 31 satellites successfully launched on January 12 at 0359 UT on the ISRO PSLV-C40 mission from Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, India.

Two of the CubeSats, Fox-1D and PicSat, carry amateur radio FM transponders, but neither is yet available for general amateur use. The PicSat FM transponder is unusual in that instead of a CTCSS tone it requires a 1750 Hz tone burst to activate. The 1750 Hz tone burst used to be popular on IARU Region 1 FM repeaters in the 1980s and 90s before the widespread use of CTCSS.

CNUSail-1, built by students at the Chungnam National University in Korea, carries a deployable sail. The students have requested the help of radio amateurs in receiving the 437.100 MHz 9600 bps BPSK beacon, further information is available at https://sites.google.com/view/cnuusg

JE9PEL lists these frequencies for the satellites carrying amateur radio payloads:

Fox-1D (AO-92) 145.880 down 435.350/1267.350 up FM CTCSS 67.0Hz/200bps DUV
PicSat         435.525 1200bps BPSK
CNUSail-1      437.100 9600bps BPSK
SIGMA          435.780 MHz BPSK 9600 bps
Canyval-X 1/2  437.200 9600bps MSK
KAUSAT-5       437.465/2413.000 9600bps FSK,115k2 MSK
STEP-1         437.485 9600bps FSK CW

Shankar A65CR/VU2SWG reported coping the Fox-1D satellite voice beacon on the morning pass at 30 deg elevation in Dubai using a TH-F7 with standard rubber duck. YL voice with satellite identifier. Very short burst with fluctuating carrier.

Madhu A65DE also copied Fox-1D from Fujairah, North of Dubai.

Picture taken by Fox-1D AO-92 on January 13, 2018

Picture taken by Fox-1D AO-92 on January 13, 2018

AMSAT North America has issued a statement formally designating Fox-1D as AO-92:

Fox-1D, a 1U CubeSat, is the third of AMSAT’s five Fox-1 CubeSats to reach orbit, being preceded by AO-85 (Fox-1A) and AO-91 (RadFxSat / Fox-1B). Fox-1D carries the Fox-1 U/v FM transponder, with an uplink of 435.350 MHz (67.0 Hz CTCSS) and a downlink of 145.880 MHz. In addition, Fox-1D carries several university experiments, including a MEMS gyro from Pennsylvania State University – Erie, a camera from Virginia Tech, and the University of Iowa’s HERCI (High Energy Radiation CubeSat Instrument) radiation mapping experiment. Fox-1D also carries the AMSAT L-Band Downshifter experiment which enables the FM transponder to be switched to utilize an uplink of 1267.350 MHz (67.0 Hz CTCSS).

Fox-1D was sent aloft as a secondary payload on the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO)’s PSLV-XL rocket as part of the PSLV-C40 mission. Fox-1D was one of thirty-one satellites successfully deployed on this launch.

Since Fox-1D has met all of the qualifications necessary to receive an OSCAR number, I, by the authority vested in me by the AMSAT President, do hereby confer on this satellite the designation AMSAT-OSCAR 92 or AO-92. I join amateur radio operators in the U.S. and around the world in wishing AO-92 a long and successful life in both its amateur and scientific missions.

I, along with the rest of the amateur community, congratulate all of the volunteers who worked so diligently to construct, test and prepare for launch the newest amateur radio satellite.

William A. (Bill) Tynan, W3XO
AMSAT-NA OSCAR Number Administrator

Further information on the Fox-1D launch, deployment and designation at

Pictures taken by Fox-1D (AO-92) http://www.amsat.org/tlm/fox1d/images/

Information on PicSat is available via

Report on the five Korean satellites that were launched

N2YO online real-time satellite tracking http://www.n2yo.com/

AMSAT-NA online orbital predictions http://www.amsat.org/track/

Keplerian Two Line Elements (TLEs) ‘Keps’ for new satellites launched in past 30 days

PicSat to launch Friday

Artist's impression of PicSat in space

Artist’s impression of PicSat in space

The PicSat 3U CubeSat carrying an amateur radio 145/435 MHz FM transponder is planned to launch into Earth orbit on January 12, 2018. The launch will be streamed on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HNEcE7-odCo

The primary mission is to study the star Beta Pictoris, its exoplanet and its famous debris disk, thanks to a small telescope 5 cm in diameter. The nanosatellite has been designed and built over three years by scientists and engineers at the Paris Observatory and the CNRS, with support from the Université PSL, the French space agency CNES, the European Research Council and the MERAC Foundation.

The nominal PicSat mission will last for one year. When the start of a planetary or other transit is observed, the 3.6-meter telescope from the European Southern Observatory in La Sille, Chile, will also be immediately put into action to observe Beta Pictoris using the powerful HARPS instrument. These data combined will allow an even better understanding of the phenomenon.

On Friday, January 12 2018 at 0358 UT, the Indian PSLV launcher will lift off and place PicSat in a polar orbit at an altitude of 505 km, together with about thirty other satellites. PicSat will be operated from Lesia in Meudon. However, the satellite will be visible from Meudon for only about 30 minutes every day, when it passes over Paris. Therefore, PicSat uses radio amateur bands for its communication, for which authorisation has been obtained thanks to the help of the French Réseau des Émetteurs Français (REF, or the Network of French Emitters).

Anybody who owns a minimum radio receiving equipment can listen to and receive PicSat’s transmissions on 435.525 MHz. The PicSat team invites radio amateurs from all over the world to collaborate in following the satellite, receiving its data and relaying them to the PicSat data base via the Internet. Those interested can register on the PicSat website to follow the updates and, if they so wish, become part of the radio network, see http://PicSat.obspm.fr/

Watch the launch at http://webcast.gov.in/live/

Social Media

Download the PicSat Press Release PDF

IARU Satellite Frequency Coordination