Ham Satellite news

SOAR – Satellite Optimized Amateur Radio

SOAR Satellite Optimized Amateur Radio by Mark Smith @smittyhalibut @HalibutElec is a radio project optimized for operating FM satellites in full duplex.

See intro video at YouTube for more info:


AO-73 telemetry 2022-02-01

Used the following:

  • RX at aprox 145.933 MHz USB BW 3.2 kHz
  • 2 * 6 el Yagi circular polarization (Vårgårda)
  • AlfaSpid RAS az/el rotor
  • LNA Mini-2 from SHF Elektronik
  • LMR-400 coax
  • SDR Airspy Mini
  • SDR-Console v3 with doppler correction of downlink and satellite tracking, rotor control
  • PstRotator for rotor control interface between SDR-Console and RAS controller
  • VB-Cable: virtual audio cable for piping audio from SDR Console to FUNcube-1 Dashboard. Set to 96 kHz and 16 bit.
  • Telemetry software: FUNcube-1 Dashboard.


Bugsat-1 telemetry 2022-01-31

Strong and nice 9k6 signal uploaded to #satnogs Software and hardware used:

  • RX at aprox 437.442 MHz Wide FM BW 10 kHz
  • 2 x 13 el LFA X-Yagi (InnovAntenna) mostly vertical polarisation
  • AlfaSpid RAS az/el rotor
  • LNA Mini-70 from SHF Elektronik
  • LMR-400 coax
  • Airspy Mini SDR
  • SDR-Console v3 with doppler correction of downlink and satellite tracking, rotor control
  • PstRotator for rotor control interface between SDR-Console and RAS controller
  • VB-Cable: virtual audio cable for piping audio from SDR Console to Soundmodem. Set to 96 kHz and 16 bit.
  • HS-Soundmodem v0.27 at mode FSK G3RUH 9600bd.
  • GetKISS+ v 1.3.12 from DK3WN
Ham Satellite news


An update of GOLF-TEE project from AMSAT-NA ANS-030:

AMSAT’s GOLF-TEE CubeSat de-manifested from launch on ELaNa-46 NASA has de-manifested GOLF-TEE from the ELaNa-46 mission at the request of AMSAT. ELaNa-46 was expected to launch no earlier than 2022. COVID-related restrictions and supply chain disruptions, affecting both AMSAT’s vendors and team, have put AMSAT’s ability to meet the mission integration timeline at high risk.

AMSAT Vice-President Engineering Jerry Buxton, N0JY, described some of the reasons for this decision:
• AMSAT finds itself in a similar situation to what other payloads and space-industry providers are experiencing. The worldwide pandemic and supply chain shortages are threatening everyone’s ability to properly and successfully deliver for launches.
• Out of respect for NASA, the launch provider, and other payloads, it is important to withdraw now, rather than later or, even worst, missing a launch integration deadline, which has possible financial penalty implications.
• GOLF-TEE and GOLF-1 have both been selected to participate in NASA’s CubeSat Launch Initiative program, and NASA will continue to look for another launch for GOLF-TEE.

AMSAT’s GOLF program plays an important role in AMSAT’s return to highly elliptical orbits. In addition to proving the maneuverability capabilities required by current and proposed orbital debris regulations, the GOLF program will work through a series of increasingly capable spacecraft to develop skills and learn systems for which we do not yet have the necessary low-risk experience. Among these are active attitude control, deployable/steerable solar panels, radiation tolerance for Commercial off the Shelf (COTS) components in higher orbits, and propulsion.

The TEE designation in GOLF-TEE stands for “Technology Exploration Environment” and reflects GOLF-TEE’s mission goal to test two critical systems needed for higher orbits. The first is an Attitude Determination and Control System (ADCS) that will allow active pointing of high gain satellite antennas, provide accurate attitude adjustments in future missions with maneuverability systems, and allow pointing the fixed solar panel array for best solar power in any given orbit type. The second is the Radiation-Tolerant Integrated Housekeeping Unit (RTIHU), which will allow AMSAT to gain initial orbit and space radiation exposure for radiation event-induced fault tolerant systems designed using COTS components. GOLF-TEE’s RTIHU includes a command transceiver, and its design is based on the Hercules line of ARM architecture-based microcontrollers.

GOLF-TEE will also evaluate a low-cost, deployable, fixed attitude, solar panel array design as part of AMSAT Engineering’s exploration of fixed panel arrays that allow for outfitting a variable number of “wings” in order to best match the power requirements of various CubeSat missions. Additionally, GOLF-TEE will carry a modified Ettus E310 commercial software-defined radio (SDR), as an experimental package, to test the high speed data downlink in the 10 GHz band and a parrot V/x mode linear transponder to provide users with an opportunity to experiment with the 10 GHz microwave downlink. GOLF-TEE will also carry a legacy V/u linear transponder.

GOLF-1 will build on technology and lessons learned from the GOLF-TEE mission; however, it will be a return to STEM-based educational missions, including hosted student radiation and imaging experiments in collaboration with AMSAT’s educational partners. GOLF-1 will require a more comprehensive de-orbiting plan and hardware that are in compliance with NASA’s NPR 8715.6 NASA Procedural Requirements for Limiting Orbital Debris in order to be manifested on an ELaNa launch to the high altitude AMSAT is seeking.

A significant amount of funding is necessary to complete the development and construction of the GOLF series of CubeSats. Please consider a donation today. Donations designated for the AMSAT GOLF program may be made at

[ANS thanks Robert Bankston, KE4AL, President AMSAT for the above information]

Hardware and "How to..."

Working satellites with IC-9700

This is a guide how to work satellites with the Icom IC-9700. When trying to understand the IC-9700 I needed to write down how to use it – so this is how this post was born. Several different user scenarios are explained below.

The IC-9700 satellite memory examples and file can be found here.
Please contact us if you see anything that will not work in the following user cases.

Setting up PstRotator and OmniRig

The PstRotator manual is very good so please read it, very important is the section how to use IC-9700 with PstRotator satellite functions.

The file for OmniRig is delivered with PstRotator and is named IC-9700PST.ini. Do not forget to copy this file to the OmniRig folder.

My settings for OmniRig is like this:

And a typical layout for PstRotator Satellites Tracking is like this:

Case 1: Using IC-9700 stand alone without computer control

Read the IC-9700 Basic Manual section 7 “Satellite communication”. It has all the information you need.
I have tested linear satellites with manual tuning and it is a challenge but the VFO tracking/untracking function of the IC-9700 is very good.

Case 2: Using IC-9700 with PstRotator

Once again – first read the excellent manual of PstRotator and the section about satellites and IC-9700. Then – read it one more time!

Some operating hints:

  • Select the satellite from PstRotator Favorites. Correct frequency, mode and subtone (if needed, for FM) are now set to IC-9700, and the radio goes into Satellite Mode. The filter selection, for example if you have chosen FIL2 for USB, should not be changed from PstRotator.
  • The first time on a satellite you may need to correct the offset with the +/- and then click Save.
  • Press the “UP+DN” on PstRotator. Doppler is now adjusted on both RX and TX. You can use the VFO knob on the IC-9700 to tune around on the passband with full doppler control, very nice! Just transmit and you should hear yourself.
  • If a station you would like to receive is off frequency it can be good to use the RIT on the radio to adjust RX frequency in a smooth way, without changing the PstRotator settings. Also the PBT (Pass Band Tuning) kan be good to use during RX.

Case 3: Using IC-9700 as TX with SDR-Console v3 as RX

In this case the IC-9700 is working as the transmitter with full doppler control and SDR-Console with a SDR (or panadapter for IC-9700) as receiver, also with doppler control. Be sure to set the correct band for TX to the MAIN VFO in IC-9700 and do not use the Satellite Mode. Then use the same setup as described in this post.

It is possible to use the VFO knob on IC-9700 to tune the TX frequency.

Case 4: FT4 with IC-9700 and PstRotator

Be sure to use DATA mode settings in PstRotator. Then the IC-9700 is using the filter you have selected for DATA.
Then use it just like Case 2 above.

Case 5: FT4 with IC-9700 as TX and SDR-Console v3 as RX

Use the IC-9700 as transmitter and SDR-Console with SDR (or panadapter for IC-9700) as receiver. Be sure to set the correct band for TX to the MAIN VFO in IC-9700 and do not use the Satellite Mode Use the same setup as described in this post.

This is the setup I’m using when running FT4 because I think it gives better control over the QSO than using PstRotator.

Ham Satellite news

EASAT-2 and HADES Updates

Info from ANS:

Felix Paez, EA4GQS, AMSAT-EA Mission Manager provided the last information on their satellites as of January 18, 2022.

“We confirm the reception of both EASAT-2 and HADES, as well as the decoding of telemetry and the FM recorded voice beacon with the callsign AM5SAT of the first one. EASAT-2 appears to be working well except for the deployment of the antennas, something that apparently has not yet occurred and causes weak signals. However, the AMSAT-EA team confirms that, based on the reception of FSK, CW, the FM voice beacon and the telemetry data that has been decoded, it can be said that the satellite is working perfectly. In the event of low battery or system malfunction, the on-board computer would not transmit CW messages or the voice beacon-callsign, as it would be in a ‘safe’ state with only fast and slow telemetry transmissions.

“These signals that have been able to confirm the operation of both satellites were received by Dr. Daniel Estévez EA4GPZ at 18:07 UTC on Saturday, January 15, using two antennas from the Allen Telescope Array. The TLEs used were obtained from the radio amateur community, with Doppler observations from the Delfi-PQ satellite, deployed together with EASAT-2 and Hades.

“TLEs used were these ones:

Daniel, EA4GPZ, performed a preliminary analysis using just one polarization of one of the satellite dishes. EASAT-2 has been detected with a relatively strong signal, close to the Delfi-PQ signal, obtaining said recorded voice FM beacon transmissions and FSK, FSK-CW at 50 baud.

“The CW beacon clearly shows the message: VVV AM5SAT SOL Y PLAYA, which is one of several that both satellites emit, although the callsign AM5SAT confirms that it is EASAT-2.

“In the recording made by Daniel EA4GPZ there is also a faint trace confirmed to be from Hades and stronger packets probably from the IRIS-A satellite.

“HADES, like EASAT-2, is transmitting weak signals, weaker than the ones of EASAT-2, most likely because the on-board computer has not yet managed to deploy the antennas either, although it will continue trying regularly. The reason the signals are suspected to be weaker at Hades is that the antennas are more tightly folded than those of EASAT-2. In any case, this is great news, since the transmission pattern confirms the proper functioning of the satellite. In the observations you can see the FSK tones with a deviation of about 5 kHz interspersed with the FM carrier corresponding to the voice beacon of the satellite, which has callsign AM6SAT. The AMSAT-EA team is working to try to decode the telemetry signals and obtain more detailed information on the state of the satellite.

“We kindly ask you, if you have very high gain antennas, to try to receive them, specially Hades. If we could decode telemetry it would be very helpful for us.

“Until antennas are deployed it will be very difficult to use their repeaters or to receive any SSTV camera images from Hades, but we hope that this will happen sooner or later, at least because even if the computer doesn’t succeed applying heat to the resistor where the thread is attached, with time, the thread should break due to the space environment conditions.

Details of the decoded telemetry and voice, as well as more details in: (Texts are In Spanish)

And in the following Twitter threads:

EASAT-2 transmissions:
EASAT-2 decodings by Gabriel Otero:
HADES transmissions:”

[ANS thanks Felix Paez, EA4GQS, AMSAT-EA Mission Manager for the above information.]