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April 8, 2014

Amateur Radio-Developed Software Assisting in Search for Missing Flight MH370


US Navy personnel helping to look for missing Malaysia Air Flight MH370 are using the signal-processing and analysis package Spectrum Laboratory by Wolf Buescher, DL4YHF, to analyze recently detected 37.5 kHz “pings” that may be from the missing plane’s “black box.” Some Spectrum Laboratory screen shots as seen aboard the Australian Defense Vessel Ocean Shield were shown on TV. The US Navy personnel are guests aboard the Australian ship. VLF experimenter Warren Ziegler, K2ORS, said the software is the same package Amateur Radio experimenters used recently to detect transatlantic signals on 29 kHz.

“Wolf’s package is very first-rate software, and I know that there have been other professional uses, but this was quite an interesting one!” Ziegler said.

The software began as a simple DOS-based FFT program, but it is now a specialized audio analyzer, filter, frequency converter, hum filter, data logger and more, and it is available for download from DL4YHF’s Amateur Radio Software site.

Buescher said he was skeptical about the initial “ping” detection by one of the search vessels, but now, he says, “the spectrogram taken by the US team aboard Ocean Shield is convincing.” He said a screenshot from Australian TV clearly shows the “bip-bip-bip” ultrasonic bursts or pings, “just as they should look,” rather than a “just a wobbly carrier that comes and goes.”

“In slow-CW terms, it would be an ‘outstanding signal.’” Buescher said. “Now keeping fingers crossed that the [“black box”] batteries last a bit longer than specified. The experts say the pinger’s battery usually degrades slowly, instead of going QRT abruptly.”

Source ARRL

April 4, 2014

Sentinel-1 soundtrack

Published on Apr 3, 2014
Sentinel-1A, the first satellite for Europe's environmental monitoring Copernicus programme, is being launched from Europe's Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana on 3 April 2014. It will be lofted into orbit on a Soyuz rocket.

This animation shows some of the critical stages delivering Sentinel-1 into orbit around Earth. After separating from the Fregat upper stage, the satellite takes around 10 hours to deploy its 12 m-long radar and two 10 m-long solar wings. This deployment sequence is unique, choreographed to ensure that both deploy in the safest possible way. This approach also allows power from the wings to be available as soon as possible so that the satellite is independent.

Delivering vital information for numerous operational services, from monitoring ice in the polar oceans to tracking land subsidence, Sentinel-1 will play a key role in the largest civil Earth-observation programme ever conceived.

The animation is set to a track called Sentinel by Mike Oldfield, a world-renowned musician and big space fan.

Graphics: ESA/ATG medialab; Music written by M. Oldfield/copyright EMI Virgin

European Space Agency launches radar satellite

Published on Apr 3, 2014
The biggest civil Earth-observation programme ever conceived has begun with the launch of a radar satellite from French Guiana.

The EU's Sentinel-1a spacecraft will be followed into orbit by a fleet of other satellites in the coming years.

Together, they will return an unprecedented volume of data on the state of the planet.

Why we need radar satellites ?

Published on Apr 2, 2014

The launch of the first Sentinel-1 satellite marks a new paradigm in Earth observation focusing on operational missions to support users for decades to come. This first satellite for Europe's environmental monitoring Copernicus programme carries an advanced radar to image Earth's surface no matter what the weather or if it is day or night. Olaf Trieschmann from the European Maritime Safety Agency talks about the need for radar satellites and how data from Sentinel-1 will be used to monitor oil spills and for maritime surveillance. ESA's Josef Aschbacher talks about how the wide range of services offered through Copernicus will make a step change in the way we manage the environment.

Credit: ESA/EMSA/European Parliament/DLR/ATG medialab/Funnelweb

March 9, 2014

Radio amateurs receive NASA ISEE-3 / ICE Spacecraft

Radio amateurs have received signals over a distance of 43 million km from the NASA ISEE-3 / ICE deep space probe which was retired from service in 1997.

ISEE-3 - ICE Spacecraft - Image credit NASA
ISEE-3 – ICE Spacecraft – Image credit NASA

On March 1st and 2nd, 2014 radio amateurs were able to detect the beacon signal from the retired NASA deep space probe ICE (International Cometary Explorer) at the Bochum Observatory (Germany). After some changes to the ground equipment and aligning the receive antenna to the predicted position in the sky, the beacon signal could positively be identified due to its frequency, the position in the sky and the frequency shift due to the radial velocity (Doppler shift).
For this detection the 20m radio telescope from the Bochum Observatory was used. In 2003, AMSAT-DL converted this former industrial monument into a fully functional groundstation for deep space probes. Since 2009 the facility is being used by volunteers almost full time as ground receive station for data from the STEREO mission with its two spaceprobes monitoring the sun from different viewing angles.
The International Sun-Earth Explorer 3 (ISEE-3) was launched in 1978 and became the first spacecraft to orbit the Earth-Sun L1 Lagrange point, measuring the interaction between the Earth’s magnetic field and the Sun. It was the first spacecraft to detect the stream of particles (“solar wind”) approaching Earth. In 1982, the spacecraft was renamed the “International Cometary Explorer” (ICE) and diverted to the Moon, where its gravitational pull placed ICE on a heliocentric orbit. In 1985, the comet Giacobini-Zinner was visited (the first time a comet had been encountered by a spacecraft), followed by observation of Halley’s Comet in 1986.

Amateur Radio Facility at Bochum
Amateur Radio Facility at Bochum

While the instrumentation on board was still functional and fuel for more trajectory maneuvers was available, support for the ICE mission was terminated in 1997, though the spacecraft transmitter was left on. It was last detected by the NASA Deep Space Network in 2008. Its orbit however results in the spacecraft returning to Earth-Moon space in August of 2014. A small propulsive maneuver and lunar flyby could allow ICE to be directed into an Earth-Sun L1 halo orbit and perhaps resume a science mission, depending on instrument health. However in February 2014 a NASA study determined that the required resources to contact the spacecraft were not available anymore and due to budgetary constraints no further contact attempts were planned. In light of the recent observations and the available facilities in Bochum, additional studies about the economic feasibility to add a suitable uplink are being done.
We would like to thank Jeremy Bauman from KinetX Aerospace (Tempe AZ, USA) for providing the ICE trajectory solution which was essential in finding the spacecraft and Jon D. Giorgini from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (Pasadena CA, USA) for his support.
Dr. Achim Vollhardt DH2VA
email: ICEteam at
source Amsat-uk

February 14, 2014

The Extraordinary History of Amateur Radio Satellites !!

The Extraordinary History of Amateur Radio Satellites .
Here's a startling fact — more than 73 Amateur Radio satellites have been launched over four decades. The number is astonishing because these sophisticated and ground breaking spacecraft are little known outside the ham radio fraternity.
In fact, private groups of Amateur Radio operators around the globe have built and sent dozens and dozens of Amateur Radio communications and science satellites to orbit since the first, OSCAR-1, was launched on December 12, 1961.

AMSAT-OSCAR documentary pdf.

OSCAR-1 documentary

Documentary movie of OSCAR 10 & OSCAR 26 .

OSCAR 1 - Historic Satellite at Dayton Hamfest 2011 .

Integration and launch of AMSAT OSCAR-10

Integration and launch of AMSAT OSCAR-10
With the start of phase III 3B satellite AMSAT OSCAR-10 on the European Ariane rocket L06 was on 16 June 1983 after a 10-year development of a new era in satellite communications initiated. The satellite has been created with the assistance of radio amateurs from all over the world and the construction of the AMSAT OSCAR-10 satellite is a unique example of how amateur radio and science over all boundaries act across nations together.
A film by Werner Haas, DJ5KQ for AMSAT-DL.


Published on Dec 1, 2012
Documentary on preparation and launch of the first Italian HAM radio satellite. September 1993. Encoding and upload from original video master.
The ITAMSAT Packet Radio satellite that later became ITALY OSCAR 26 on orbit.

February 12, 2014

Echo communications satellite project.

Published on Sep 5, 2012
NASA, the American Telephone and Telegraph Co. (AT&T) and Bell Laboratories
tell the story of the Echo communications satellite project.

January 30, 2014

A Year of Weather 2013


The visualisation, comprised of imagery from the geostationary satellites of EUMETSAT, NOAA and the JMA, shows an entire year of weather across the globe during 2013, with commentary from Mark Higgins, Training Officer at EUMETSAT. The satellite data layer is superimposed over NASA's 'Blue Marble Next Generation' ground maps, which change with the seasons

January 25, 2014


The “ARTSAT: Art and Satellite Project” utilizes a satellite orbiting the earth as a “medium that connects everyday life to the universe”. In the course of the project, a variety of interactive works of media art and other artworks will be created.

The project is carried out in a collaborative effort around a core team of over 70 members from Tama Art University and The University of Tokyo. The latter’s team developed a specialized “art satellite” for artistic purposes, while the team from Tama Art University is in charge of producing works based on data from the satellite, operating a ground station, and distributing data.

“ARTSAT1: INVADER(*)”, the world’s first art satellite, has been selected for a piggyback payload on the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s (JAXA) H-IIA rocket. The ultrasmall 1U CubeSat, measuring only 10 x 10cm and weighing 1.5kg, is scheduled to be launched in February 2014, after which it will be traveling on a circular, polar sun-asynchronous orbit at an altitude of 407km, and with an inclination of 65 degrees.

December 24, 2013

Firebird Beacon decoded

 00:08  00:16 UTC
Orbit # 257
Signal was strong .
Decoded via SoundModem V0.16
Setup as in the following Image.

The signal is wide so increase the BW to around 40 kHz.
as in the following Image.

Soundmodem and AGW OnlineKiss - decoded the datd


19:00 19:09 UTC
Orbit# 522
Frequency 437.000 MHz, +/-.
Beacon heard 3 times during a pass of 9 minutes.
Signal was strong , funny cw / fm modulated !.
Here a short clip


December 16, 2013

KySat-2 decoder via virtual ports

Great 2 virtual ports e.g. COM2 and COM6 using -VSPE or other Virtual com generator software.

Open agw_onlinekiss.ini file

At agw_onlinekiss.ini setup the Mirror port to one of the
 virtual port com eg COM6.
save and exit the ini file.

Open SoundModum V0.10b G3RUH

Open AGW onlinekiss program.
Clik on connect AGW button.
Connection will established between Soundmodeum
and AGW onlinekiss

Click Option select  mirror incoming data to com port.
If the two LED shine GREEN at AGW = Connection was established
and no error for data to flow in and out.
Otherwise if one or the two LED are RED check the COMS and the other parameters .

KySat-2 Decoder
Add COM2 to custom port at the new KySat-2 decoder.
Version 2.1 (Latest).
write it down on the small text window
click refresh button.
the added com will appeared at the drop-down coms list.
select it and select the other com parameters eg = 9600,N,8,1.
Click connect

Re- play the IQ file and re-tune to middle of the 9k6 Buad signal.
Mode NFM.
Squelch off.
Audio via Windows XP Mixer.

Data will shows up on:
SoundModem --- AGW ONLINE --- KySat-2 Decoder
with readable engineering values.

EPS Telemetry engineering values.

KySat-2 Beacon Information :
Frequency: 437.405 MHz
Modulation Scheme: FSK
Data Rates: 9600 Baud
Protocol: AX.25
Output Transmit Power: ~1W
Beacon Period: 15-45 seconds
Callsign: KK4AJJ
Kysat-2 website
 See previous post        kysat-2-via-RTL-SDR

December 9, 2013

QSOs near the beacon !!!

QSOs near the beacon drives the auto tune crazy !!!
this was noticed when the transponder driven heavily over Europe.
The beacon signal  over Africa is quite and strong .
Graphically restricted auto tune range help beacon tuning.

December 7, 2013

MCubed-2 Received

1st pass over Africa Replayed today via SDR #
signal was strong - 9k6 baud.
Received via RTL-SDR ,Soundmodem & AGW-Online .

IPEX heard over Africa

2013-12-06 20:41:08.650 UTC:

December 6, 2013

IPEX and FIRBIRD received over Japan

Tetsurou Satou san - JA0CAW
Received  both IPEX and Firebird cube satellites.
13:48 UTC over japan - with good signal.


1 99991U 00000    13340.43204282 0.00000000  00000-0  00000-0 0  0006
2 99991 120.5031 227.3464 0297856 339.9554  93.2232 14.64196995000009
(c) Tetsurou Satou Facebook page

PicoDragon CW telemetry !!

A weak PicoDragon cw telemetry (seen) last night
The signal was weak to be heard or decoded, just a fine trace on the waterfall !!!?

ELaNa-5 cubesats

Twelve CubeSats are set to launch aboard an Atlas V rocket with the NROL-39 primary payload from Vandenberg AFB in California on December 5, 2013. The CubeSat payloads have been provided through NASA's Educational Launch of Nanosatellites (ELaNa) program and the NRO's Mission Integration Directorate (MID). Atlas V GEMSat Launch 2013

IPEX (Intelligent Payload Experiment)
Cal Poly
Mission  to demonstrate operation of autonomous instrument processing, downlink operations, and ground station operations, utilizing the SpaceCube Mini payload processing unit to validate a reduction in data product downlink.

Call sign: KJ6KSL
Frequency: 437.270 MHz
Modulation: AX.25 FSK (NRZI with G3RUH scrambling)
Data Rate: 9600 Buad
Beacon Info:
IPEX transmits three types of beacons:
-Health Beacon: Contains the latest snapshot of IPEX telemetry
-File Beacon: A portion of a much larger telemetry file, need to collect several file beacons
  to reconstruct the file (HEX data)
-Morse Code: 15 wpm, should spell “IPEX,” will be disabled after initial tracking to conserve power

The Michigan Exploration Laboratory
Mission to obtain a mid resolution image to date of Earth with at least 60% land mass and a maximum of 20% cloud coverage from a single cubesat platform.

Frequency: 437.485 MHzRate: 9600 Baud
Modulation: GMSK
Transmit Interval: 10 seconds
RF Power Output:
Antenna Polarization: Linear
Beacon Info:
437.485 MHz, 9600 baud, 10 sec period
Beacon Software decoder

Montana State University
Mission to resolve the spatial scale size and energy dependence of
electron microbursts in the Van Allen radiation belts.

Beacon Info:
Flight Unit 1: 437.405 MHz
Flight Unit 2: 437.230 MHz
GMSK AX.25 9600bps, 1W, 60 sec period

The City University of New York
Mission to  investigation of ionospheric disturbances using GPS signals.

Beacon Info:
437.505 MHz, 9k6 FSK, CW
(c) & Gunter's Space

December 5, 2013