New launches

Thursday, February 27th, 2014 18:37 UTC

H2A rocket launch from Tanegashima Space Center with onboard the following satellites that will be operating in the Amateur radio frequency spectrum.

Jaxa H2A Launch

ShindaiSat active
STARS-II active
TeikyoSat-3 active
ITF-1 unknown
OPUSAT active



1 39573U 14009B   14060.87082916  .00126303  00000-0  14839-2 0   132
2 39573 065.0119 052.6783 0006119 332.8179 027.2647 15.60801074   327
1 39574U 14009C   14060.23330645  .00057725  00000-0  78972-3 0   105
2 39574 065.0209 054.8974 0013534 253.3290 106.6370 15.56980553   223
1 39572U 14009A   14060.87351051  .00064061  00000-0  82319-3 0   120
2 39572 065.0127 052.6969 0012238 283.9608 076.0167 15.58639605   328
1 39577U 14009F   14060.87113583  .00097025  00000-0  11575-2 0   144
2 39577 065.0140 052.6864 0006920 322.7443 037.3185 15.60509466   326
1 39578U 14009G   14060.35832562  .00160311  00000-0  18885-2 0   109
2 39578 065.0126 054.4408 0005228 319.3305 040.7452 15.60613112   244
1 39579U 14009H   14060.23128098  .00085996  00000-0  10782-2 0    78
2 39579 065.0098 054.8826 0009000 291.4950 068.5241 15.59229553   221

Friday, February 28th, 2014 07:30 UTC

5 cubsats launched from the International Space Stations.



Feb 28, 2014 Cubesats deployment. Top to bottom: LituanicaSAT, LitSat, SkyCube, ArduSat-2, UAPSat

LituanicaSat-1 active
LitSat-1 active
UAPSat active


1 39568U 98067EM  14067.03574193  .00155139  00000-0  23417-2 0   243
2 39568 051.6475 240.8905 0005418 265.5665 191.9527 15.53686020  1182
1 39569U 98067EN  14067.03763082  .00099761  00000-0  15624-2 0   295
2 39569 051.6475 240.9078 0005246 258.8855 198.5010 15.52907745  1189
1 39571U 98067EQ  14066.92075337  .00066934  00000-0  10800-2 0   268
2 39571 051.6489 241.5135 0005261 235.8767 277.4092 15.52259356  1143

[PE0SAT Thanks DK3WN and Satellite Ground Stations for the above information]

Upcoming Cubesats Launch from ISS

Update: The launch date has changed. Now the satellites will be launch at the 19th and 20th of November 2013.

ISS-36 HTV-4 BerthingWith al the attention going towards the Dnepr launch on November 21 we would almost forget that there are a couple of Cubesats onboard the ISS that will be launched also. The launch is planned for November 25. The following satellites will be deployed.

  • Pico Dragon, developed by the Việtnam National Satellite Center (VNSC), University of Tokyo and IHI aerospace. A CW beacon at 437.250 MHz and 1200 bps AFSK AX.25 telemetry on 437.365 MHz.
  • ArduSat-1 developed by NanoSatisfi. 437.325 MHz 9k6 MSK CCSDS downlink.
  • ArduSat-X developed by NanoSatisfi. 437.345 MHz 9k6 MSK CCSDS downlink.
  • TechEdSat-3 developed by interns at the NASA Ames Research Center. 437.465 MHz 1200 bps packet radio beacon transmitting 1 watt to 1/4 wave monopole. It plans to test an Iridium Satphone modem and has a deployment mechanism to de-orbit in 10 days.

These satellites arrived Aug 9, 2013 at the International Space Station’s and the Canadarm2 grapples the unpiloted Japanese “Kounotori” H2 Transfer Vehicle-4 (HTV-4) as it approaches the station, carrying ArduSat-1 and ArduSat-X among 3.6 tons of science experiments.

November 19, 2013 ISS Launch
Satellite Uplink Downlink Beacon Mode
ArduSat-1 437.325 9k6 MSK
ArduSat-X 437.345 9k6 MSK
PicoDragon 437.365 437.250 1k2 AFSK, AX.25, CW
November 20, 2013 ISS Launch
Satellite Uplink Downlink Beacon Mode
TechEdSat-3 437.465 437.465 1k2 AFSK, AX.25

ISS SSTV reception

It is been a while for me, but today I had some pretty good SSTV reception from ISS on 145.800, the SSTV mode was martin1. For decoding SSTV data I use MMSSTV.


ISS SSTV 04-09-2013 11:25UTC

ISS SSTV 04-09-2013 11:28UTC

The transmissions started late in the pass and I think it has to do with the fact that our Italian astronaut is taking in consideration his radio friends in Italy. I was a little premature with this comment and IK1SLD gave the right information. He wrote to me via the AMSAT-BB mailing list the following.

Luca Parmitano doesn’t use the Kenwood TM-D710, this radio is used by Russian crew. The MAI-75 Experiment is a Russian experiment and the crew activates it when Moscow has AOS, so we lost 50% of the pass. Luca only use the Ericsson radio in the Columbus module.

Thank you Claudio (IK1SLD) for this update.


ISS-SSTV 05-09-2013 10:40UTC

During the second day of the MAI-75 Experiment I could only receive and decode one image. It seems there where some problems with the radio because there was a carrier but no data being transmitted.

ARISS Contact re-scheduled

ISS After Undocking STS134ARISS contact with school in France re-scheduled March 9, 2013

The International Space Station school contact with participants at Lycee Polyvalent Anatole France, Lillers, France, first planned for March 4, has been re-scheduled to Saturday March 9, 2013. The event is to begin at approximately 11:42 UTC, which is 12:42 CEST. The contact will be a direct radio contact operated by F4KIS. Interested parties in Europe are invited to listen to dowlink signals on 145.800 MHz FM. The contact will be conducted in English.

ARISS - Amateur Radio on the International Space StationARISS is an international educational outreach program partnering the participating space agencies, NASA, Russian Space Agency, ESA, CNES, JAXA, and CSA, with the AMSAT and IARU organizations from participating countries.

ON4WFARISS offers an opportunity for students to experience the excitement of Amateur Radio by talking directly with crewmembers onboard 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. Gaston Bertels, ON4WF ARISS Chairman

[PE0SAT Thanks ON4WF and Southgate for the above information]

ISS Shadow Space plasma experiment

Space plasma experiment “Shadow” onboard International Space Station (ISS) with participation of radio amateurs.

Motivation and background

Many space professionals are looking forward to further space exploration using electric thrusters (ET). Unlike ordinary chemical propulsion systems, ET demonstrate much more higher exhaust velocity, since the propellant is accelerated for propulsion by electric power being supplied from an onboard source. The thrust produced by ET is very small – not more then a few grams so that ET cannot burst a rocket from the Earth surface. ET can tick only on board any orbiting satellite or spaceship.

The high exhaust velocity distinguished by ET offers noticeable propellant saving for given maneuver in space as compared to chemical propulsion so that mass reduction of a communication satellite for instance may be up to a few hundreds kilos. As a result this more lightweight satellite could be lifted in orbit by less heavy launch vehicle saving millions of dollars.

Money is not the only benefit

However money saving is not the only profit. A less heavy rocket is less hazardous for environment. ET themselves are ecologically pure using as non-detrimental propellants as noble gases, hydrogen, ammonia.

The benefit of electric propulsion will be more fully realized when significant cargo traffic arises in space providing deployment of large space structures, colonization of the Moon and planet exploration. That is why ET are included in such ambitious projects currently under development as Electric Orbit Transfer Vehicle, Lunar Ferry and some unmanned mission to planet. Over these projects the flight use of ET would save hundreds millions of dollars with better ecology.

Currently we are present at the beginning of the “gold century” of electric propulsion. To make it reality the electric propulsion community in many countries is going on with research and development of ET of different types either for secondary on-orbit application or for primary propulsion of multikilowatt level.

However what is a place of radio amateurs in the matter?

However what is a place of radio amateurs in the matter – an impatient reader could ask. Do not be in a hurry, dear reader, do not put reading this article off and you in a few minutes realize that the VHF-community could play its role in ET implementation if wants.

Integration of ET with onboard equipment poses a certain set of problems to be solved such as electromagnetic compatibility of ET. Particularly the matter is that highly ionized exhaust plumes of ET may scatter RF-signals producing large “dead” zone for communications.

This plasma screening effect should be thoroughly studied before electric thrusters become standard onboard equipment. The investigation will help designers of future electrically propelled spacecrafts to minimize the hazard of communication disruption by ET plasma plumes.

A little piece of history

In 1987 specialists of Central Research Institute of Machine Building (TSNIIMASH) conducted a series of space plasma experiments in order to evaluate the shape of mentioned above “dead” zone using KOSMOS satellites with onboard arcjet plasma source.

The well known method of radio sounding was used for plasma monitoring. The telemetric and command signals emitted by onboard antennas played a role of sounding signals. Passed through plasma these signals were simultaneously received by a number of on-ground measuring sites. The shadow effect was clearly observed however the precise data on the shadow boundary shape and its dynamics could not be obtained in the experiments of 1987 since the receiving network was too rarefied. Deployment of properly dense special receiving network is extremely expensive and consequently unrealistic.

We need receiving mosaics!

Possible solution is to use available worldwide spread network of amateur VHF receivers. This idea was put in the base of an proposal to perform a new plasma space experiment on the International Space Station (ISS) almost in the same layout as in 1987.

Methodologically SpEx “Shadow” is oriented to using of amateur packet radio and Internet technology and resources.

SpEx “Shadow” objectives and lay out

The objectives of the work is observation and evaluation of refraction/scattering effects in artificial plasmas using method of RF sounding in space experiments under different geophysical conditions.

ISS Plasma Shadow Area

SpEx “Shadow” lay out is shown in Fig.1. In the chosen region the onboard arcjet source injects a plasma plume in space and the onboard radio beacon transmits VHF sounding signals in the form of the Universal Time marks. Passed through the plasma these signals are being instantly received by an on-ground measuring VHF network. Due to refraction/scattering of the sounding signals in the exhaust plume, the shadow region would arise adjacent to the satellite. When the shadow boundary running after the satellite along the Earth surface reaches any on-ground receiving site the signal cut-off is to be registered. The task of every individual participant is to register moments of signal cut-off and following signal restore using the Universal Time marks and to address this information along with data on its geographical position to the Information Storing Center. Every operation sequence would take 6-8 min. while the satellite is passing between two opposite points of the local radio horizon. It is interesting to perform the experiment in different geophysical conditions.

Packet radio and Internet

The amateur packet radio technology in the SpEx “Shadow” as proposed by astronaut Alexander Kalery, offers the possibility to use Internet transport resources either for net-work notification or for data collection. Principally the available receiving network may be provided with Universal Time Marks if the onboard radio beacon merely transmits packets of minimal duration in format of AX25 Protocol.

This promises to perform large-scale monitoring of an artificial plasma nonhomogeneity using the mosaics of on-ground receiving sites.

The same technology can be also applied in space experiment on sounding of not artificially injected plasma, but of the natural ionospheric plasma in HF frequency band (14 MHz). It is expected, that due to dispersion of sounding radiation in ionospheric plasma, an “irradiated” spot should appear on the Earth surface, and determination of boundaries of this “irradiated” spot is the purpose of space experiment (legend “Spot”), which can be carried out not necessarily on the ISS.

Expected results

The scientific results the SpEx “Shadow” will help designers of future electrically propelled spacecrafts to minimize the hazard of communication disruption by ET plasma plumes.

Except the scientific issues, realization of the space experiment “Shadow” will give an unique experience in involving of intellectual and technical potential of International radio amateur community as well as Internet technology and resources for monitoring of the near-Earth space and to evaluate capability to use this potential in perspective scientific projects.

Actually the space experiment “Shadow” is an interesting attempt to use Internet for principally new goal – not only for information spreading but also as an effective measuring tool in spatially large-scale scientific researches.

The space experiment “Shadow” may also bring an important social result attracting public attention to advanced technology, astronautics, amateur packet radio and Internet.

With really mass, voluntary and gratuitous participation of VHF-amateurs this project would become a humanitarian world wide action uniting many peoples of different countries with interesting and useful work for future enhancing the spirit of cooperation, mutual understanding and friendship.

How it will be if will be

As it was mentioned above the space experiment “Shadow” may be successfully performed under the condition that the number of participants will be great enough . The greater this number the more precise scientific result would be issued.

As claims for participation in the SpEx “Shadow” appear at the Information Storing Center in response to this initial invitation, we are going to select perspective “measuring fields” where the receiving network is dense enough and where the bulk of activity will be further concentrated.

The SpEx “Shadow” will be performed in two stages:

  • of “cold” (with no plasma injection) planned over February – June 2011 as a SpEx “Shadow-beacon” (beacon for shadow) and
  • of full scale “hot” (with plasma injection) experiments.

After successful fulfillment of the “cold” phase it will be possible to accept the justified solution on realization of a series of full scale “hot” experiments later.

What to do if You decide to participate

If you do not mind to take part in the experiment, do as follows:

  1. Visit, page SpEx “Shadow-beacon”, make registration and subscription for news;
  2. e-mail your decision to the Information Storing Center or with short personnel data: name, call sign, QTH, available radio equipment, your wish on experiment run conditions (day or night time, week-end and so on);
  3. Look through the available results of observation;
  4. Permanently look through current news;
  5. Take part in experiment runs and e-mail your report (log-file) to the Information Storing Center;

Every participant of the space experiment “Shadow-beacon” will be awarded with special certificate.

[PE0SAT Thanks Oleg Alifanov for the Above information (Website)]

ISS Plasma Thrust Shadow-Beacon Experiment

It is understood that the ISS amateur radio SpEx Shadow-Beacon experiment is planned to take place February 1-3 and 8-10. The timetable is here.

ISS and Shuttle

The Central Research Institute of Machine Building (TSNIIMASH) in Russia is conducting a series of space plasma experiments in order to evaluate the shape of previously observed “dead” zone, or shadowing due to the firing of an onboard arcjet plasma source.

Radio Amateurs are invited to participate in the Space plasma experiment “Shadow” onboard the International Space Station (ISS).

Integration of Electric Thrust (ET) onboard a spacecraft poses a certain set of problems including electromagnetic compatibility of ET. One matter of interest is that highly ionized exhaust plumes of ET may scatter RF-signals producing large “dead” zone for communications.

This plasma screening effect should be thoroughly studied before electric thrusters become standard onboard equipment. The investigation will help designers of future electrically propelled spacecraft to minimize the hazard of communication disruption by ET plasma plumes.

The experiment will use the ISS Amateur Radio 145.825 MHz FM AX.25 1200 bps packet radio downlink.

The amateur packet radio technology in the SpEx “Shadow” as proposed by astronaut and radio amateur Alexander Kaleri, U8MIR, uses the AX25 packets transmitted by “Master Stations” and reported by receiving amateur radio ground stations to track the effect of the plasma shadow.

SpEx Shadow sample report The main web page for the SpEx project can be found at

An example of the SpEx packets received by Mike Rupprecht, DK3WN is at

[PE0SAT Thanks Amsat-UK and M5AKA for the above information]