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Ham Satellite news

GreenCube QSO 2022-11-21 at 300bd

Managed to work two QSOs today with GreenCube at 300bd. K8DP and EA1DR. I think the decode was a little bit better with 300bd then 1200bd. TX power was about 30 watts and no problem getting in on the satellite.

Categories
Ham Satellite news SDR and software

Working GreenCube digipeater guide by FG8OJ

@FG8OJ has made an excellent guide of working GreenCube digipeater with IC-9700 and supporting software. I will not write a new guide as Burts guide fully covers everything.

Categories
Ham Satellite news

Greencube operation tips from K8DP and 3B8DU

This is a re-post from ANS-324

As of Nov. 18, a total of 135 stations digipeated via the Italian GreenCube satellite. These stations represent 31 DXCC entities. Stations now report using various combinations of software to operated through the satellite. One constant is using SatPC32ISS for antenna tracking and doppler correction.

The S5Lab GreenCube team software is a bit more complicated and at the beginning that was all that was available. It used three programs, including GNURadio, GreenCubeTNC and GreenCubeDigi.

However, UZ7HO quickly created the digi app and custom soundmodem after the S5Lab release, most everyone has migrated to UZ7HO now. Note: UZ7HO has updated the program from time to time, so download it again once in a while to get the updates. It is available at: https://uz7.ho.ua/greentnc.zip (There are both FM and SSB soundmodems included in the package, but the FM one can ignored, as all are using USB-D for both uplink and downlink.) Note matching the rig bandpass filter with the Soundmodem one (900-2100 Hz) helps to have a better S/N particularly if you have local QRM.

The radio will interface with soundmodem via a soundcard or virtual audio cable. Soundmodem.exe is located in the \greentnc\usb directory, and is a separate program. This program needs to be configured to connect with your radio’s audio interface. The digipeater software is in the client directory, called GreenCubeDigi.exe. GreenCubeDigi automatically connects to soundmodem via TCP. So you should have two programs running, one the TNC and the other the digi “terminal.”

Ops may add GetKISS+ software, by Mike Rupprecht, DK3WN, in order to upload received packets to SatNOGS. This isn’t necessary, but it does help add coverage for telemetry. This software is a bit tricky to get working, but once you have one of Mike’s programs running other programs will work without any issues. Mike’s software can be found here: https://www.satblog.info/software/

Doug Papay, K8DP, recommends installing GetKISS+ v1.4.1 (he could not get v1.4.2 to work). It requires VB6 runtime, which should already be installed, and the ActiveX OCX controls need to be registered. See: https://www.pe0sat.vgnet.nl/decoding/tlm-decoding-software/dk3wn/ for instructions on how to do this. Make sure to run the command prompt as Administrator when performing the regsrv32.exe commands. Also, do not delete or move the OCX files after registering them. (The OCX files should be placed in C:\Libraries\OCX folder)

Mike also has a GreenCube Telemetry Decoder that you can download—it is a nice program that graphically displays the telemetry. He has also added a digipeater message display and list of unique callsigns heard—a nice feature.

The config.ini files will need to be updated to reflect your station details. These files are located in the folder where you keep GetKISS+ and GreenCube Telemetry Decoder.

GetKISS+ and GreenCube Telemetry Decoder connect via TCP to the soundmodem all using the same IP (localhost) and port number.

Some have been confused by the lack of an ACK message after transmitting a packet to the satellite. It is sent only if the Tx delay is used. However, it is better to use Tx delay 0 for real-time QSOs to avoid unnecessary transmission by the bird (saving on-board power). With Tx delay 0 you will receive your own message as an acknowledgement.

[ANS thanks Doup Papay, K8DP, and Jean Marc Momple, 3B8DU, for the above information]

Categories
Ham Satellite news

CAS-10 Launched to Chinese Space Station

Updated 2022-11-20:
AMSAT-China, or CAMSAT, http://www.camsat.cn, has announced December 18 as the release date for CAS-10/XW-4. Photos of this satellite may be seen at:
https://twitter.com/bd5rv/status/1592978613204586496 and
https://twitter.com/bd5rv/status/1593693879798497285

As previously reported by ANS, CAMSAT’s CAS-10/XW-4 satellite was launched on November 12, 2022, carried on the Tianzhou 5 cargo spacecraft to the Chinese Space Station. The satellite will be active immediately upon deployment into its own 400 km orbit with an inclination of 42.9 degrees. CAS-10 carries a VHF uplink and UHF downlink linear transponder with a bandwidth of 30kHz. Downlink frequencies for VHF/UHF linear transponder 435.180 MHz, for UHF CW telemetry beacon 435.575 MHz and for GMSK telemetry 435.725 MHz. Also an uplink for the transponder 145.870 MHz have been coordinated.

[ANS thanks Michael Chen, BD5RV/4, for the above information]

Repost from ANS-317:

CAMSAT’s CAS-10 (XW-4) satellite was launched on November 12, 2022, carried on the Tianzhou 5 cargo spacecraft to the Chinese Space Station. Deployment from the Chinese Space Station is expected on or about December 15th. The satellite will be active immediately upon deployment into its own 400 km orbit with an inclination of 42.9 degrees.

CAS 10 is an 8U CubeSat approx 228x455x100mm with 12kg Mass. A follow on mission from CAS-9 and also known as Hope-4 (XW-4) Carrying a V/U Mode Linear Transponder, a UHF – CW Telemetry Beacon, a UHF – AX.25 4.8k/9.6kbps GMSK Telemetry downlink and a space camera.

CAS-10 carries a VHF uplink and UHF downlink linear transponder with a bandwidth of 30kHz. This transponder will work all day during the life cycle of the satellite, and amateur radio enthusiasts around the globe can use it for two-way radio relay communications.
CAS-10 carries a camera, and the pictures it takes are stored in the flash memory on the satellite, we have designed a simple remote control system based on DTMF, and amateur radio enthusiasts around the globe can send DTMF commands to download the camera photos.
CW beacon uses Morse code to send satellite telemetry data, which is also a feature that is widely welcomed by amateur radio enthusiasts.

Downlink frequencies for VHF/UHF linear transponder 435.180 MHz, for UHF CW telemetry beacon 435.575 MHz and for telemetry 435.725 MHz. Also an uplink for the transponder 145.870 MHz have been coordinated.

[ANS thanks Alan Kung, BA1DU, CAMSAT, for the above information]

Categories
Ham Satellite news

MESAT-1 with Linear Transponder

Reposted from ANS-303:

MESAT-1 to Carry AMSAT Linear Transponder Module

An AMSAT-constructed linear transponder module is included in the MESAT 3U satellite to be deployed as part of NASA’s upcoming ELaNa 43 mission.

MESAT-1 is a stack of three tech-stuffed 4-inch cubes assembled at the University of Maine and destined for space in 2022. The first satellite of its kind ever built in Maine, MESAT-1 carries three imaging experiments proposed by Maine schools and a 2-way radio for use by ground control and amateur radio enthusiasts.

MESAT-1 was originally projected to launch from Vandenberg Space Force Base, California, in June 2022, but has been delayed. The satellite will be carried by a Firefly Aerospace “Alpha” rocket and released into a Sun-synchronous orbit about 555 kilometers (350 miles) above Earth. It will fly nearly over the poles traveling at about 7.8 kilometers per second (17,000 mph), making a full orbit in roughly 100 minutes. Any given location on Earth will experience 4 to 6 passes per day, with each pass lasting less than 15 minutes. MESAT-1 is expected to remain in space for well over a decade.

A statewide competition in 2019 drew payload proposals from schools across Maine. Three projects were selected for the MESAT-1 mission: ALBEDO, IMAGER, and HAB.

ALBEDO: Saco Middle School will study reflected light (albedo) and local temperature in urban and rural areas, with the idea that urban heat islands could be mitigated through architectural designs that reflect more light.

IMAGER: Fryeburg Academy will photograph shallow coastal waters as part of an effort to distinguish turbidity and phytoplankton concentration from space. The academy is collaborating with the Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve.

HAB: Falmouth High School will work on early detection of harmful algal blooms by measuring atmospheric temperature and water vapor levels around bloom areas. They will watch blooms develop, move, and disperse.

The main radio aboard MESAT-1 is a linear transponder module (LTM-1) built by the nonprofit Radio Amateur Satellite Corporation (AMSAT), a partner in the project. The ground station operator will command the satellite through LTM-1 and the module will transmit telemetry back to Earth. LTM-1 will also be made available to amateur radio operators for 2-way communication.

UMaine applied to the International Amateur Radio Union to coordinate its planned frequency use for MESAT-1. The IARU approved this plan on 22 November 2021:
Telemetry beacon downlink: 435.800 MHz 1200 baud BPSK
Transponder uplink: 145.910-145.940 MHz
Transponder downlink: 435.810-435.840 MHz

MESAT-1 carries a second radio, an EyeStar transmitter, originally intended to interface with the satellite’s built-in GPS and the GlobalStar network to provide the ground team with accurate, hourly position information. This aspect of the mission was altered during MESAT-1 construction. The EyeStar unit will serve only a minimal function on MESAT-1.
Background on Maine’s First CubeSat

MESAT-1 exists thanks to NASA’s CubeSat Launch Initiative (CSLI) and the Maine Space Grant Consortium. Through CSLI, NASA has selected more than 200 CubeSat missions for the Educational Launch of Nanosatellites program. More than 130 ELaNA satellites have been launched at NASA’s expense since 2011.

In 2018, Maine Space Grant kicked off a pilot Maine CubeSat Launch Initiative to involve students and teachers from across the state in designing CubeSat missions. Through a competitive process, the consortium selected three experiments to propose for NASA’s 2019 ELaNa opportunity.

The MESAT-1 proposal was accepted by NASA early in 2020. The satellite was paired with launch provider Firefly Aerospace for ELaNa mission 43.

Dr. Ali Abedi, director of the WiSe-Net Lab at UMaine Orono, assigned three UMaine graduate students the task of producing the satellite. With the support of the Maine Space Grant Consortium, they completed MESAT-1 in time for a 2022 launch.

[ANS thanks mainesat.org for the above information]

Categories
Ham Satellite news

AMSAT-NA Symposium summary 2022

This is a summery from ANS-296 and the AMSAT-NA Symposium 2022

AMSAT Symposium Takes Place in Minnesota

The 40th Anniversary AMSAT Space Symposium & Annual General Meeting was held in Bloomington, Minnesota, Oct 21-23. Digital copies of the Proceedings of this Symposium can be purchased through the AMSAT Store online at www.amsat.org

The first session was held Friday afternoon, and began with a brief welcome from AMSAT President Robert Bankston, KE4AL.

The first presentation was “Building a Portable Sta;on for QO-100, the Geosta;onary Satellite Es’hail-2 Carrying Amateur Radio” by Stefan Wagener, VE4SW. While QO-100 is not accessible from North America, Stefan discussed his approach to a portable station that he has taken on European vacations.

Randy Berger, WA0D, ARISS Director of Engineering followed with “What’s New, ARISS on ISS and Mission to the Moon with Lunar Gateway?” His presentation focused on the Student on Orbit Sensor System (SoOSS) which will send telemetry from various sensors on the ISS in a format that can be easily received and decoded in schoolrooms on Earth.
Randy also reported on prospects for amateur radio aboard the Lunar Gateway, a space station in a complex orbit around the moon. Opportunities exist and conversations with NASA are ongoing a the Gateway design emerges.

“OTA Software Update for LEO Satellites,” a presentation by Heimir Thor Sverrisson, W1ANT, discussed advantages and challenges of being able to reprogram satellites after launch with over the air updates.

Nick Pugh, K5QXJ, presented with details on the CAPE IV 3U satellite currently in development with input from several universities. The primary mission will focus on educational projects aimed at high school and middle school classrooms.

The afternoon session concluded with “Export Control and Economic Sanctions Policy” by Robert Bankston, KE4AL, AMSAT President. The presentation centered on the newly adopted ITAR/EAR policy formally adopted by the AMSAT Board at their meeting earlier in the day. The goal is to return to international cooperation in the building and launching of satellites while complying with Federal law.

On Saturday morning, Nick Pugh, K5QXJ, updated the Symposium on “University of Louisiana at Lafaye[e Education Initiative” which encourages primary and middle school students to get involved in satellite technology through hands-on projects.

Paul Graveline, K1YUB, provided and update on the AMSAT CubeSat Simulator project. The presentation included a pre-recorded video by AMSAT VP, Educational Relations Alan Johnston, KU2Y, reviewing educational events that have taken place in the previous months.

A GOLF TEE update was presented by Kipton Moravec, AE5IB, who is an engineering volunteer coordinating the Electonic Power Subsystem (EPS) for the first satellite in the Greater Orbit, Larger Footprint (GOLF) series, known as the Technology Exploration Environment (TEE).

“The AMSAT Linear Transponder Module” was presented by Burns Fisher, WB1FJ. The LTM is a multi-use transponder board set designed for universities and other partners launching cubesats who have need for a communications component. Similar to the radio systems in Fox and GOLF, the partnership provides easy downlinks for universities and a transponder for amateurs.

In the afternoon on Saturday, Jonathan Brandenburg, KF5IDY, AMSAT Assistant VP, Engineering presented “Building a Helmholtz Cage for Dynamic Magnetic Field Generation and CubeSat Aitude Control Testing.” Magnetorquers built to stabilize cubesats require test beds. A Helmholtz Cage provides the testing environment simulating the Earth’s magnetic field, but is not trivial to build.

AMSAT Board member Zach Metzinger, N0ZGO, provided a report on the reaction wheel project that will be used for 3-axis orientation of the GOLF satellites. The entire reaction wheel assembly is being constructed specifically for the project by AMSAT volunteers.

As the final presentation, Jerry Buxton, AMSAT VP of Engineering, gave an AMSAT Engineering Update touching on Fox, Fox+, GOLF, and other projects.

[ANS thanks Mark Johns, K0JM, for the above information]

AMSAT Board Elects Officers

During their meeting prior to the AMSAT Symposium, on Thursday, Oct. 20, the AMSAT Board of Directors elected officers for the coming year. Those elected are:

Robert Bankston, KE4AL, President
Paul Stoetzer, N8HM, Executive Vice President
Jerry Buxton, N0JY, Vice President – Engineering
Drew Glasbrenner, KO4MA, Vice President – Operations
Alan Johnston, KU2Y, Vice President – Educational Relations
Vacant Position, Vice President – Member Services
Frank Karnauskas, N1UW, Vice President – Development
Steve Belter, N9IP, Treasurer
Jeff Davis, KE9V, Secretary

In other business, reports on current status of various functions were received from the officers. President Robert Bankston reported that AMSAT’s financial status is strong. Reduced overhead from the closing of the Washington, DC office has resulted in more funds to build & launch satellites. Also, AMSAT membership remains steady at more than 4000 members representing 75 countries.

Acting Secretary Paul Stoetzer, N8HM, reported that the online election of Board members ran smoothly and resulted in considerable cost savings from the mailed paper ballot system previously used.

Steve Belter, N9IP, AMSAT Treasurer, reported that funds on hand are sufficient to meet the needs of day-to-day operations and satellite design and building projects currently underway. He also reported that Form 990 has been filed with IRS and will be posted publicly. Outside review of the books was conducted and found complete & correct. The Board voted unanimously to accept the review from McDaniel & Associates.

Mark Hammond, N8MH, reported on behalf of the Operations team. He gave a rundown on the current status of various satellites now in orbit. Of particular note, FalconSat-3 is predicted to re-enter the atmosphere in the next few months, but may be made available on a limited basis until that time. Also, AO-16 is in a period of continuous sunlight, but has not yet responded to commands to switch on. The operations team will continue to try to reactivate the satellite. The operations team wishes to thank AMSAT-DL for providing telemetry from AO-109 via their 20-meter diameter dish antenna.

Vice President – Development, Frank Karnauskas, N1UW, reported that membership in the President’s Club remains steady. Grant requests have been made and are pending. Kidzsat and BuzzSat programs are starting up. For these programs, it is important to focus on being an educational and scientific organization. “Amateur radio isn’t our purpose, it’s our reward,” he noted.

Mark Johns, K0JM, Senior Editor of the AMSAT News Service bulletins, reported that there is an ongoing need for volunteer editors to assist with creating and distributing the weekly bulletins. A long-term goal is to transition from plain text to html format for the email editions, but the Board expressed concerns that the bulletins remain accessible across various radio platforms, as well as via the internet. Concerns were raised about reporting of information embargoed by launch providers. AMSAT is bound by launch agreements to honor these restrictions.

The AMSAT Journal has been successful in digital format, however content is needed. AMSAT members are encouraged to work with the Journal editors to develop ideas and projects into articles.

The IT team has worked diligently on maintaining various email lists and systems. The Discord channel has several hundred members currently. AMSAT is seeking a webmaster to revamp the website for easier navigation.

Contests & Awards Manager, Bruce Paige, KK5DO, reported that the Gridmaster Award has been the most sought after in the past year, but other awards are holding steady. Store receipts are similar to last year.

At the close of the morning session, the Board adjourned for lunch.

[ANS thanks Mark Johns, K0JM, for the above information]

Financial Policy is Focus of AMSAT Board

Policy decisions surrounding finances were the focus of the afternoon session of the AMSAT Board of Directors meeting in Bloomington, Minnesota on Thursday, Oct. 20. A A Policy Proposal for the handling of financial reserves was discussed, and a revised Financial Procedures Manual was discussed at length. Final copy will be approved at an upcoming meeting.

Technical discussion was focused on development of a flight platform that could speed up testing of critical components. The platform would allow rapid testing of individual systems that can keep volunteer engineers engaged and speed deployment of new satellites. The test platform could be launched into short duration, low orbit flights that would be sufficient to verify system operation for insertion into longer duration projects, such as GOLF. Basic components could be sourced at low cost from Consumer Off-The-Shelf (COTS) components, and the AMSAT-built experimental segments can be added as needed.

[ANS thanks Mark Johns, K0JM, for the above information]

AMSAT Board Adopts ITAR/EAR Policy

At an AMSAT Board of Directors held on Friday morning, Oct. 21, a detailed policy statement on compliance with U.S. technology export regulations. The purpose of the policy is to enable and encourage resumption of international cooperation in the building and launching of satellites while remaining within the bounds of Federal law.

International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) is “a United States regulatory regime to restrict and control the export of defense and military related technologies to safeguard U.S. national security and further U.S. foreign policy objectives,” according to the U.S. State Department.

The Export Administration Regulations (EAR) are a set of regulations administered by the U..S Commerce Department. The EAR regulates whether a person or organization may export something from the U.S. to another in a foreign country. The EAR apply to physical objects, as well as intellectual property such as technology and software.

“It’s beem more than a decade since AMSAT has collaborated with a non-U.S. organization to build and launch a satellite,” said AMSAT President Robert Bankston, KE4AL. “We need to learn how to get back to that while operating in this new legal environment.”

The new policy will give AMSAT engineering volunteers guidance on how to do their work in collaboration with international partner while remaining within the law. By clarifying the steps necessary for compliance, volunteers can be more confident about their activities.

[ANS thanks AMSAT for the above information]

Volunteer For AMSAT

AMSAT needs qualified volunteers for a number of positions!

If you want to be a part of the solution in making AMSAT operational and work toward designing, building and finding a launch, WE NEED YOU! No pay for 5+ hours per week, but a great deal of satisfaction in knowing you are helping make something happen. We need people with wide range of technical and non-technical skills.

Immediate Openings

  • RF Engineer
  • Mechanical Engineers

Satellite Development Technical Experience

  • Thermal design
  • Power systems design
  • RF systems design
  • Internal Housekeeping Unit (IHU) systems, command, and control hardware
  • IHU software design and development
  • Especially SDR and DSP
  • PC board layout and construction
  • Systems Engineering
  • Test planning and system testing
  • Mechanical design and construction
  • Ground station software development

If you have hardware or software technical skills, and proven experience directly applicable to satellite design, please contact the AMSAT Vice President of Engineering (N0JY).

Due to the American International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) you must be either a US Citizen or a permanent resident (ITAR Qualifications). This is not our reflection on foreign citizens, but is required by existing US law. Recent changes suggest that this restriction may soon be lifted or at least modified. If and when this happens, we will be delighted to be able to again work freely with our foreign colleagues.

AMSAT News and Communications

Communications through ANS and the AMSAT Journal are essential in keeping both with our members and the wider public informed. If your have good communications skills and are interested, please contact AMSAT Communications Volunteer Coordinator.

  • Join the AMSAT News Service (ANS) team as a weekly editor on a rotating schedule reporting on amateur radio in space and related activities.
  • Assistant Editor for the AMSAT Journal magazine working with authors, columnists and members developing and publishing print articles on amateur radio in space and related activities.

General AMSAT support

  • Web design and maintenance
  • Web site information maintenance
  • Video recording, digital conversion and editing
  • Write technical or instructional material
  • Educational activities

Promoting AMSAT as an Ambassador

Any other area you think you think you can make a difference.

AMSAT is an organization of self starters. While we sometimes have tasks which we can assign, our most important contributions come from someone who sees a need, has the skills to solve the problem, and then goes ahead and does so. So pick an area that you think needs improvement and explain what you will do to make it better.

AMSAT has developed a survey which gives us a good general idea of someone’s interests and experience. You can download it at https://bit.ly/3shvGV6 and fill in the information on screen. Please follow the instructions, and send it, along with any additional information you feel relevant, to volunteer@amsat.org.

[ANS thanks AMSAT for the above information]