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China launches nine (9) new Amateur Satellites!

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio News' started by W8AB, Sep 20, 2015.

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  1. W8AB

    W8AB Ham Member QRZ Page

    KE8AKW and N3REB like this.
  2. KE8AKW

    KE8AKW Ham Member QRZ Page

    Congrats to the CAMSAT team on successful launch... There were 20 satellites on that launch, and 7 of them have amatuer radio transponders. QSO's are being reported all over the world through CAS-3F and CAS-3E, I have already made a few contacts through them already. They will stay up in orbit for a year so work them quick!
     
  3. W8AB

    W8AB Ham Member QRZ Page

    My equipment shows the birds running a few degrees behind the current (updated) published Kepler location. Expect to work the bird for a few minutes even after it should be over the horizon for this reason.
     
  4. WD9EWK

    WD9EWK Ham Member QRZ Page

    I heard the satellites very well on a shallow pass (maximum elevation 10 degrees) around 0000 UTC (8pm EDT) tonight. I received the CW and digital telemetry beacons from all 6 satellites, and heard the transponders on CAS-3E and -3F (AKA XW-2E and -2F) without problems. If I had taken one of my FT-817NDs out to the yard for this pass, I could have made some QSOs. I was using an SDRplay SDR receiver with HDSDR on a Windows 10 tablet, and the SDRplay was connected to an Elk Antennas handheld 2m/70cm log periodic.

    Ninety minutes later, a higher pass - maximum elevation of 47 degrees to the west. I was able to copy the telemetry from all 6 satellites, and made some QSOs on the two working transponders - 3 on the CAS-3F/XW-2F satellite, and one on the CAS-3E/XW-2E satellite. The CAS-3F/XW-2F transponder had more activity than the other one, but there were stations on both. None of the transponders on the CAS-3A/XW-2A through CAS-3D/XW-2D satellites have been heard, so far.

    73!
     
  5. W5LMM

    W5LMM Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    That's great news! But is nobody putting FM birds up anymore?????
     
  6. WD9EWK

    WD9EWK Ham Member QRZ Page

    One of the other Chinese satellites launched Saturday, LilacSat-1, has an FM repeater that hasn't been activated yet. No ETA for that to happen.

    AMSAT has Fox-1A ready for its long-delayed launch, now scheduled for 8 October from Vandenberg AFB in California. Fox-1C and -1D are both scheduled to be launched in the first quarter of 2016 on the same launcher. Then Fox-1B is scheduled for a late 2016 launch. All with 70cm/2m repeaters that reverse the uplink and downlink bands as used on the current SO-50 and previous AO-27 and AO-51. Fox-1C and -1D will each also carry a 1.2 GHz uplink receiver, allowing these two to switch between 70cm and 1.2 GHz as the uplink. All 4 of these Fox-1 satellites will use 2m downlinks, regardless of uplink band.

    There is also EO-80, launched by a French group, that has an FM repeater that is supposed to be turned over to amateur use when its primary mission has finished. As with LilacSat-1, no ETA for this one being opened up for us.

    73!
     
  7. W5LMM

    W5LMM Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    YAY! I don't have a problem with linear sats, just don't have a radio for them yet.
     
  8. WD9EWK

    WD9EWK Ham Member QRZ Page

    You're closer than you realize.

    If your current station is pictured on your QRZ page, I see an FT-897 in there. Take that, add something as an all-mode receiver, and all you'd need are antennas after that. You have some that should work for satellites, based on your antenna diagram. I used an FT-817ND with the SDRplay SDR receiver when I worked the new satellites last night.

    Here is a picture of my station I used:

    WD9EWK_station_for_CAS3_satellites-20150920.jpg

    My FT-817ND is on the left, with an 8-inch HP Stream 8 tablet (HDSDR is on the screen; tablet has Windows 10), and the SDRplay receiver on the right. In front of the radio setup is a Heil Traveler headset/mic, a Sony audio recorder patched into the tablet's headphone jack (with a Belkin Rockstar audio splitter, so audio goes to the recorder and headset), and a Bluetooth mouse. In HDSDR, the mouse wheel can be used like a VFO knob - a useful function. Not pictured is an MFJ-916B 2m/70cm diplexer sitting behind the tablet, and my Elk Antennas handheld 2m/70cm log periodic antenna. The diplexer is needed in this setup, since I am trying to use two radios with an antenna having a single feedpoint. This may approach the Rube Goldberg type of setup I saw on your QRZ page, but this was out in my back yard on top of a trash bin.

    Last week, the UK manufacturer of SDRplay announced that HRO is now selling the SDRplay at their stores. Many stores, including the location in Phoenix, have a setup on a computer with an SDRplay and HDSDR running, to demonstrate this receiver.

    I heard CAS-3A/XW-2A through CAS-3F/XW-2F last night, and used the transponders on CAS-3E/XW-2E and CAS-3F/XW-2F. With HDSDR, I recorded the telemetry downlinks (CW and digital) from all 6 satellites, and the two transponders that were operational. I set the SDRplay to work with a 600 kHz bandwidth, centered between the frequencies used by CAS-3C/XW-2C and CAS-3D/XW-2D, so I could see/hear all 6 of these satellites at one time. The piece of paper in front of my tablet was my crib sheet, with the uplink/downlink frequencies for the two satellites with working transponders. I could have used software like DK1TB's SatPC32 to control both the 817 and HDSDR, but I normally work satellites by hand. The computer can run the SDR software, but I'm making frequency adjustments by hand. The tablets running WIndows 8.1 or Windows 10 have enough memory and CPU power to handle software like HDSDR. With the receiver, an inexpensive 7- to 10-inch Windows tablet, and free HDSDR software, this is a decent way to get an all-mode receiver that is very portable.

    73!
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2015
    AD5KO likes this.
  9. W6KKO

    W6KKO Ham Member QRZ Page

    Thank you for sharing the equipment/software details Patrick. Also, I see I am not the only one who considers the bin a dual purpose item. They're at a nice height when standing and portable too. Hopefully, I will catch you on LilacSat-1.
     
    WD9EWK likes this.
  10. WD9EWK

    WD9EWK Ham Member QRZ Page

    Glad to share.

    I've been posting about my experiences using the SDRplay receiver for working satellites in another thread in QRZ's satellite forum, so I didn't go into as much detail here as I have been in the other thread. You can follow the link to see more of what I have been doing - and not just with the new group of Chinese satellites.

    I am not able to permanently mount antennas on my house, but there's nothing against operating from the back yard. I could put an antenna array with rotator on a mast and tripod, but with the Elk log periodic I just hold the antenna when working satellites. With antenna size and power levels needed for working satellites (don't need the big EME-type antennas, and not a lot of power), I'm usually able to hold my own with other stations - with one exception. Most are able to operate from inside the house, and sometimes the Arizona summer heat makes that almost unbearable. Then again, with 10- to 20-minute satellite passes, I'm not outside for too long.

    This portable station travels very well, with most of my stuff other than the antenna going in an old laptop bag. I have two FT-817NDs that I have used over the past few years to work satellites, but lately the second FT-817ND has been on standby as I play around with the SDRplay and also the FUNcube Dongle Pro+.

    According to tweets I saw earlier this morning, the FM repeater on LilacSat-1 may be turned on in a day or so. :)

    73!
     
  11. N8SAN

    N8SAN Ham Member QRZ Page

    So I looked here... http://www.amsat.org/amsat-new/tools/predict/index.php per the link on ARRL and I can't find the LilacSat anywhere, I looked under CAS-3H as well... any help would be appreciated. I'm sure I'm just looking it up wrong.

    Ryan
     
  12. WD9EWK

    WD9EWK Ham Member QRZ Page

    The individual satellites have not yet been identified, to allow for separate Keplerian elements. For now, you can use the "XW-2" in the AMSAT web site to show predictions for all of these satellites launched on Saturday. It usually takes some time - maybe days, sometimes weeks - in order for each satellite to be identified in orbit, when it will be assigned its own number and get its own Keplerian elements. We're working from elements generated by CAMSAT based on the launch date and orbit these satellites were supposed to go into, so these might be off by a little bit. They were close enough for me to hear them on two passes last night, and work the two transponders on the later of the two passes.

    73!
     
  13. N8SAN

    N8SAN Ham Member QRZ Page

    GOT IT!!! Thanks very much! :D
     
    WD9EWK likes this.
  14. N8SAN

    N8SAN Ham Member QRZ Page

    So what's the best bet to know when it's turned on? Just listed for the CW beacon (can I do that with just my -8DR and arrow?) during a projected pass?
     
  15. WD9EWK

    WD9EWK Ham Member QRZ Page

    You *might* be able to detect the CW beacon, but your HT is not the best thing to hear non-FM signals. The AMSAT-BB mailing list will certainly have updates once LilacSat's FM repeater is activated. Or just give a listen to the LilacSat's FM repeater downlink frequency 437.225 MHz (+/- for Doppler) during the upcoming passes, and even try transmitting through it. Be ready to tune around a bit, in case something happened to the satellite where it is transmitting away from that published frequency.

    LilacSat's FM repeater uses the same uplink and downlink bands as SO-50, so similar programming of memory channels would work - or go with two radios, for full-duplex operation. You might hear activity before it is publicized on e-mail lists, Twitter, and forums like this one. That's how hams found the working transponders on the other satellites Saturday night/Sunday morning - they tried to work through them, and two transponders were operational straight away. Just be mindful that you could hear other activity on the 144.350 MHz uplink frequency, as that is outside the 2m amateur satellite subband at 145.800-146.000 MHz.



    73!
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2015

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