Satellite has deployable VHF crossed Yagi antenna

NORsat-2 in space deploying its antenna. (Credit: Space Norway AS)

NORsat-2 in space deploying its antenna. (Credit: Space Norway AS)

Radio amateurs Sean Hum VA3SHV and Jeff Nicholls VA3NGJ worked on the design for a deployable VHF crossed Yagi antenna on the recently launched NORsat-2.

The very high frequency (VHF) antenna was designed to unfold from the CubeSat after receiving a command from the Norwegian Space Center to deploy once in orbit. “This antenna is a completely new type of deployable antenna — it unfolds to be more than three times as large as the satellite that took it into orbit,” says Hum. “This is the first time that a deployable antenna of this type has been contemplated and successfully used as a main mission antenna for a CubeSat.”

On July 20, cameras on board the CubeSat confirmed the successful deployment of the antenna.

Read the full story at http://news.engineering.utoronto.ca/u-t-engineering-designed-cubesats-novel-deployable-antenna-launched-orbit/

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ARISS contact planned for YOTA 2017 UK

Paolo Nespoli IZ0JPA

Paolo Nespoli IZ0JPA

An International Space Station ARISS contact has been planned for astronaut Paolo Nespoli IZ0JPA and the Youngsters on the Air (YOTA) event, which takes place in UK.

The ARISS contact is scheduled Tuesday, August 8, 2017 at approximately 18.38 GMT.

This will be a direct radio contact, operated by GB4YOTA.
Downlink signals will be audible in parts of Europe on 145.800 MHz FM.

Moreover, Paolo Nespoli IZ0JPA will operate the HamVideo transmitter.

The Goonhilly receiver will be activated sometime Friday, August 4, and will remain active over the weekend and continue to track the ISS until Wednesday morning, August 9. Goonhilly, will be one of several European HamTV reception ground stations contributing to the reception of the HamTV signal for the contact itself.

Two web streams will be available:

1. The normal ARISS/BATC website will be available at https://ariss.batc.tv/hamtv This shows only the HamTV video downlink as an output from the merger facility, with an indication of which registered HamTV stations are providing signal input to the merger.

2. The ARISS Operations UK Team will be web streaming from the YOTA event itself at https://ariss.batc.tv/ This web stream includes introductions and presentations from the RSGB and the YOTA participants before the actual contact itself according to the timetable of the event below.

The timetable of the event is as follows. ALL times are GMT times:

17:30 – All participants and guests to be present at the location. The event web stream (https://ariss.batc.tv/) will start at approximately this time to capture some of the build-up.

17:40 – Formal start of the RSGB/YOTA introductions and presentations.

18:20 – ARISS Operations in the UK take over the event, give the background to what is happening, how it is organised and how all the different elements of the contact are managed.

18:38 – Scheduled time for start of contact with Nespoli operating as NA1SS. The YOTA participants will be using the GB4YOTA callsign.

18:50 – Approximate end of contact with Nespoli. After closing the contact, the operator will invite RSGB/YOTA to formally close down the ARISS event.

YOTA_UK_2017YOTA Information:

The Youngsters on the Air (YOTA) event happens every summer and offers a week-long range of wireless technology activities to 80 young people under the age of 26. The youngsters are all representing their national amateur radio societies and come from 28 countries located in IARU Region 1 (Europe, northern Asia, Africa and the Middle East). This year there will also be a visiting team from Japan.

The 2017 event takes place in the UK at Gilwell Park, the home of the Scouting movement, and includes a special event station GB17YOTA, a transceiver kit building workshop, some antenna building, an Amateur Radio Direction Finding (ARDF) contest and a Summits on the Air (SOTA) activation. The youngsters will be visiting Bletchley Park, the home of the Enigma code breakers, the National Radio Centre, and the Science Museum in London.

Because the event is taking place at the home of Scouting, there will be around 1000 Scouts on site and we hope to have some of them join us for the ISS contact.

Special callsign GB4YOTA will also be activated by ARISS for a special contact with one of the astronauts on board the International Space Station.

Participants will ask as many of the following questions as time allows:

1. Do any of you experiment with ham radio in your free time when you are not obligated to work up there?

2. Typically, how many ham-radio operators are there on the ISS?

3. For ARISS contacts, what frequency bands, and how much power is used to communicate with the ground stations?

4. What are some of the challenges with sending live HD video from space?

5. How important do you consider your interest in amateur radio to your set of technical skills?

6. What would you say to encourage YOTA attendees to continue with their interest in radio?

7. How important is the amateur radio/ham radio setup to ISS backup communications?

8. How do you maintain communications with the worldwide mission control centres?

9. How many different types of communication systems does the ISS have?

10. (ONLY IF HAMTV IS ACTIVE) Can you show us your favourite trick with a water droplet?

11. Do you experience any ionizing phenomena in space that affects the wave propagation in a POSITIVE or NEGATIVE way?

12. When using amateur radio/ham communication equipment in space, what kind of problems can cause difficulties How are these resolved?

13. We are talking via voice (and video?). Can you use other modes, such as straight CW-keys onboard the ISS?

14. What are the main differences between a contact with a ham ground station and a space agency ground station?

15. What are the differences between the HDEV (High Definition Earth Viewing) camera and HamTV?”

16. How many cargo supply ships are docked with the ISS at the moment and do they change the pattern of earth facing communications?”

17. How do you see the ham radio system developing in the next decade?

18. Does everything go according to plan or do parts break and need replacement. If so, do you have a repair facility on board?

19. In space, can you use social media and messaging with others in the same way we use it on Earth?

20. How does the oxygen and electricity production work on board of a spaceship?

21. In which direction do plants grow onboard the space station?

22. What do you do in case of a fire onboard the ISS?

Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) logoARISS is an international educational outreach program partnering the volunteer support and leadership from AMSAT and IARU societies around the world with the ISS space agencies partners: NASA, Russian Space Agency, ESA, JAXA, and CSA.

ARISS offers an opportunity for students to experience the excitement of Amateur Radio by talking directly with crewmembers on board the International Space Station. Teachers, parents and communities see, first hand, how Amateur Radio and crewmembers on ISS can energize youngsters’ interest in science, technology, and learning.

Source Gaston Bertels ON4WF ARISS Europe

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2M0SQL Satellite Report

Peter 2M0SQL says that instead of submitting reports to magazines about his satellite activity he’s decided to write blog posts instead allowing more viewers to see what can be worked.

He recently moved to Elgin in Scotland and as a result his DXCC/VUCC totals were reset to zero, so he’s trying to focus on working as many new grid squares and countries as possible.

Although with no real fixed permanent setup at his new QTH he has still made 158 contacts using 11 satellites. Among the notable contacts in July were those with Gabe Zeifman NJ7H who operated from Iceland, the Faroe Islands and then Greenland.

Read the 2M0SQL July Satellite Report at
http://www.2e0sql.co.uk/2017/08/01/july-satellite-report/

Follow Peter on Twitter at https://twitter.com/2m0sql

Peter gave a talk on Portable Satellite Operation to the 2016 AMSAT-UK International Space Colloquium, watch the video at
https://amsat-uk.org/2016/09/07/video-of-portable-satellite-operation-talk/

 

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Young radio hams to talk to ISS astronaut

Paolo Nespoli IZ0JPA

Paolo Nespoli IZ0JPA

Some of the young radio amateurs attending the YOTA 2017 event at Gilwell Park will get the chance to talk to astronaut Paulo Nespoli IZ0JPA on the International Space Station using amateur radio.

Paulo will be operating the amateur radio station NA1SS in the Columbus module of the ISS and will to talk to attendees at the Youngsters On The Air 2017 event taking place at Gilwell Park on the Essex/London border. The callsign of the Gilwell Park station will be GB4YOTA and the contact is planned to take place at 1838 GMT on Tuesday, August 8.

The RSGB are hosting YOTA 2017 the prestigious IARU international summer camp at Gilwell Park, the UK Scouting HQ, on August 5-12, 2017.

There will be 80 young people under the age of 26 from 30 countries – from all over IARU Region 1 (Europe/Africa) as well as Japan — representing their national amateur radio societies at this event.

By taking part in a mix of amateur radio and intercultural activities, the young people will be able to build relationships with like-minded people from other countries and develop international friendships through amateur radio—and have a lot of fun!

YOTA 2017 http://rsgb.org/main/about-us/yota-2017/

Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS)
http://www.ariss.org/contact-the-iss.html

AMSAT-UK: https://amsat-uk.org/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/AmsatUK
Facebook: https://facebook.com/AmsatUK
YouTube: https://youtube.com/AmsatUK

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Press reports ISS success of Chertsey Radio Club

International Space Station – Image Credit NASA

The Surrey press report radio amateurs at the Chertsey Radio Club received test transmissions by two satellites inside the International Space Station (ISS). The club also received ISS Slow Scan Television images.

On July 5, the Space Station sent greeting messages in Russian, English, Spanish and Chinese, which were picked up by club members. The messages were sent during test transmissions from two small educational Russian amateur radio satellites, known as Tanusha-1 and Tanusha-2. They will be deployed from the ISS during a spacewalk in August.

As part of the celebrations for the 20th Anniversary of Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS), the ISS sent a set of 12 images using slow scan television (SSTV). The transmissions took place over four days from July 20.

Chertsey Radio Club member James Preece M0JFP was able to receive the signal and convert them into images using a Raspberry Pi 3.

Read the article at
http://www.getsurrey.co.uk/news/surrey-news/surrey-radio-enthusiasts-make-contact-13396651

Chertsey Radio Club ISS SSTV on Raspberry Pi
http://chertseyradioclub.blogspot.co.uk/2017/07/iss-sstv-decoded-on-raspberry-pi3.html
http://chertseyradioclub.blogspot.co.uk/2017/07/iss-sstv-0058-uk-celebrating-20-years.html

Follow Chertsey Radio Club https://twitter.com/chertseyRC

Summer is a great time to get publicity for amateur radio
http://www.southgatearc.org/news/2017/june/summer-is-a-great-time-to-get-publicity-for-ham-radio.htm

What is Amateur Radio? http://www.essexham.co.uk/what-is-amateur-radio

Find a short Amateur Radio Foundation training course at https://thersgb.org/services/coursefinder/

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437 MHz Sprite satellites deployed

437 MHz Sprite Satellite

Scientific American magazine interviews radio amateur Zac Manchester KD2BHC in the article Breakthrough Sends Smallest-Ever Satellites into Orbit.

On June 23, 2017 six tiny satellites were sent into low-Earth orbit as secondary payloads on the Venta and Max Valier satelites that were launched on the Indian PSLV-C38 rocket. These six satellites are comparatively dainty, but punch far above their weight. Called “Sprites,” each is a 4-gram flake of circuit-board just 3.5 centimeters on a side, packing solar panels, computers, sensors and communications equipment into an area equal to a U.S. postage stamp.

One Sprite apiece is attached to the outside of each mothership — the Latvian Venta satellite and the Italian Max Valier satellite, the latter of which also holds four additional Sprites awaiting deployment into space as wholly independent spacecraft. Radio telemetry from minuscule magnetometers and gyroscopes on the deployed Sprites would then be used to track the spacecraft as they shift, spin and tumble, to better understand their orbital dynamics.

Signals from at least one of the exterior-mounted Sprites have been received in California and New York.

Read the Scientific American article at
https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/reaching-for-the-stars-breakthrough-sends-smallest-ever-satellites-into-orbit/

Zac Manchester KD2BHC had 104 Sprite satellites launched into orbit on board KickSat-1 on April 18, 2014 but the Sprites failed to deploy
https://amsat-uk.org/2014/04/18/successful-launch-of-kicksat-carrying-104-sprite-satellites/

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Packet Module status on board ISS

Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) logoARISS has received several reports stating that the packet radio system on ISS is down. Here is what we know and our current forward plan.

The packet system in the Columbus module started to act up late last week, sending only a beacon. The ARISS team requested a power recycle by the crew, and with that power recycle, the packet system appears to have stop functioning completely. Note that this unit has been on-orbit for 17 years. It was launched on the STS-106 Space Shuttle Atlantis mission in September 2000 and was built, tested and certified for flight about 20 years ago.

The ARISS team has had some extensive discussions on the way forward. We would first like to do some additional troubleshooting with the existing packet module. It will take some time (weeks) to develop troubleshooting procedures, get the procedures approved by NASA and then conduct the tests with the crew. This includes an additional power cycle. The turnaround time is much longer than usual because a new crew will soon be arriving on ISS. The current crew is focused on the new crew arrival and there will be about a one- to two-week transition after the new crew arrives. On the positive side, one aspect of our troubleshooting-a second power cycle-will occur automatically because ARISS is shut down during crew docking and turned on afterwards. However, there will be more to our troubleshooting than just the power cycle.

We have some additional plans with alternative solutions, but those are currently being discussed and prioritized within the ARISS team. All solutions will require international ARISS team coordination, additional procedures and crew interaction. People who have carefully followed ISS operations know that crew time continues to evolve with the more extensive research that is occurring on-board. Suffice it to say, it will take longer than what it has taken in the past to work through this issue.

The above information is to make sure that ARISS properly sets expectations on how long it will take to resolve this. At this point, expect a few months with no ARISS packet.

As you all can see, deploying the Interoperable Radio system that is currently under development by ARISS has become even more critically important. The ARISS team is laser focused on getting that system developed and deployed. We are conducting a final design review with NASA on this system next week. But we cannot get to the finish line without your help. If you can, please consider a donation to the ARISS radio fund by clicking on the ARISS donate button on the ARISS web page. All donations, large and small are appreciated http://www.ariss.org/donate.html

On behalf of ARISS, we thank you for your sustained interest and support of our program.

Sincerely,

Frank H. Bauer, KA3HDO
ARISS International Chair

About ARISS

Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) is a cooperative venture of international amateur radio societies and the space agencies that support the International Space Station (ISS). In the United States, sponsors are the Radio Amateur Satellite Corporation (AMSAT), the American Radio Relay League (ARRL), the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). The primary goal of ARISS is to promote exploration of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) topics by organizing scheduled contacts via amateur radio between crew members aboard the ISS and students in classrooms or informal education venues. With the help of experienced amateur radio volunteers, ISS crews speak directly with large audiences in a variety of public forums. Before and during these radio contacts, students, teachers, parents, and communities learn about space, space technologies and amateur radio.

Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS)
http://www.ariss.org/
https://twitter.com/ARISS_status
https://www.facebook.com/Amateur-Radio-on-the-International-Space-Station-ARISS-153679794647788/

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QIKCOM-1 team expect Eclipse day ISS deployment

International Space Station – Image Credit NASA

The US Naval Academy team say their amateur radio QIKCOM-1 APRS Digipeater payload may be deployed from the International Space Station on August 21.

The QIKCOM-1 page says:

The Ham Radio QIKCOM-1 module attached to the NovaWurks NanoRacks SIMPL spacecraft is now finally scheduled for release from the ISS on 21 August 2017!

This is being released on the same day as the solar Eclipse when the ISS will also be passing over the USA during the eclipse 2 hour window around 1800z. We are not clear on any correlation with the Eclipse and our release, but there will be lots of hams in the field and it is a good day to tune in!

Read about QIKCOM-1 at http://aprs.org/qikcom-1.html

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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/

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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 transnitted 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/

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