Satellite TLE Lottery Begins

Deployment of Amateur Radio CubeSats from ISS 2014-02-28-0730

Deployment of Amateur Radio CubeSats from ISS 2014-02-28-0730

The last two days in February saw satellite deployments from the JAXA H-IIA F23 mission and the ISS which between them released 12 satellites carrying amateur radio payloads along with a number of commercial and research satellites.

JAXA H-IIA F23 Launch February 27, 2014 at 1837 UT Credit NASA/Bill Ingalls

JAXA H-IIA F23 Launch February 27, 2014 at 1837 UT Credit NASA/Bill Ingalls

After a launch the North American Aerospace Defence Command (NORAD) issue the Keplerian Two Line Element Set which can be used to determine the position and velocity of the associated satellite. CelesTrak make this information available and the file for launches in the past 30 days is available here.

After a new launch this file will list the ID’s of the objects that NORAD have detected. These objects can be parts of the rocket body as well as the satellites. The challenge in the days after launch is to work out which object ID’s correspond to which satellites.

In 2012 Mike Rupprecht DK3WN developed a simple solution to this perennial problem by using an SDR-IQ receiver and a bit of software.

In the case of Masat-1 he chose a high elevation pass (89 deg) where the Doppler shift should be significant and recorded the complete pass with his SDR-IQ without Doppler correction. With some software he simulated the entire pass with different TLE’s.

He then chose the TLE that best matched the doppler shift of the audio signal.

Read Mike’s full article with pictures on his website at

TLEsKeplerian Two Line Elements (TLEs or ‘Keps’):
• New satellites launched in past 30 days
• CubeSats
• Experimental satellites
• Engineering satellites
• Amateur radio satellites

NORAD Two-Line Element Set Format

Free satellite tracking software

Adding new satellites to SatPC32 and Gpredict

ISS CubeSats deployment

JAXA H-IIA F23 launch

JAXA H-IIA F23 Launch Frequency Chart by Mike Rupprecht DK3WN

JAXA H-IIA F23 Launch Frequency Chart by Mike Rupprecht DK3WN

AMSATDroid Free smartphone satellite tracking app

AMSATDroid Free ScreenshotThis App for Android smartphones predicts future passes for amateur radio satellites for a specified location and period of time.

Basic features:

• Calculate passes for up to the next 24 hours
• Graphical pass display
• Map view showing current satellite position and next two orbits
• Update keps directly from the web or from a file on SD card
• Set home coordinates from User Input (Lat, Long or IARU Locator), Network or GPS

AMSATDroid Free can be downloaded from
Google at
Amazon at

For those with Apple or Windows mobile devices see

Free Ham Radio Satellite Tracking App for iOS

Satellite Explorer ProTom Doyle W9KE has released a free satellite tracking App called Satellite Explorer Pro for the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch

Watch ‘Satellite Explorer Pro’ for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch

Satellite Explorer Pro can be downloaded from the iTunes store at

Ham Radio Satellite Explorer App for Windows 8 devices

SimpleSat Look Down PC satellite tracking software now available

For those with Android devices there is a different Satellite Tracking App produced by G4DPZ – AmsatDroid Free
On Google at
On Amazon at

Ham Radio Satellite Explorer App

Satellite Explorer Screenshot

Tom Doyle W9KE has made available the amateur radio Satellite Explorer app for Windows 8 devices.

Satellite Explorer is a Windows 8 app that runs on Intel based tablets, laptops and desktops as well as Windows RT tablets like the Microsoft Surface. It is available in the Windows Store – search for ‘Satellite Explorer’.

Tom says the app is of course free but if you find it of value please contribute something to your favorite AMSAT project.

This video shows how you can use Satellite Explorer:

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EQUiSat Optical Beacon CubeSat

EQUiSat – Image Credit Brown University

Students at the Ivy League Brown University are developing an amateur radio satellite EQUiSat.

It will carry a Xenon Flash Tube (XFT) subsystem to act as an Optical Beacon that should be visible to the unaided eye of observers on Earth. The Radio Beacon is planned to operate in the 435-438 MHz band.

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