Author Archives: Robert Gulley

CubeSat with Amateur Radio Transponder Set to Launch on February 15

Image result for cubesat image

For those interested in listening for and/or tracking CubeSats, this was posted by ARRL:

CubeSat with Amateur Radio Transponder Set to Launch on February 15

AMSAT-UK and AMSAT-NL have announced that at the Nayif-1 1U CubeSat, which includes a full FUNcube communication package, is set for launch on an Indian PSLV launch vehicle on February 15 at 0358 UTC.

PSLV Flight C-37, will carry more than 100 satellites into orbit.

Nayif-1 carries a U/V linear Amateur Radio transponder for SSB and CW and a telemetry transmitter. The initial plan called for a late-2015 launch.

Nayif-1 was a joint project of the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) and American University of Sharjah (AUS). The United Arab Emirate’s first nanosatellite, Nayif-1 was developed by Emirati engineering students from AUS under the supervision of a team of engineers and specialists from MBRSC. The partnership between the two entities was aimed at providing hands-on satellite-manufacturing experience to engineering students.

Telemetry will be transmitted on 145.940 MHz, 1.2 KB BPSK (FUNcube standard). The SSB/CW transponder uplink passband is 435.045-435.015 MHz, and the downlink passband is 145.960-145.990 MHz.

AMSAT-UK is seeking post-launch reports from stations around the world, especially during the first few minutes and hours after launch. It is anticipated that the first signals may be heard in North America during the mid-evening hours on February 14 (local time).

A mission-specific telemetry dashboard is available. Information can be found on the web in PDF format at, https://funcubetest2.files.wordpress.com/2017/02/nayif-1_dashboard_notes_release_1-0b.pdf.

In a manner similar to that of the FUNcube-1 dashboard, this one will be capable of uploading the telemetry received to a central data warehouse. More information on the telemetry dashboard is available, as is a test file.

Initial spacecraft operation will be in a low-power “safe” mode, with just the telemetry transmitter activated.

I have had some fun tracking CubeSats in the past, and it is especially fun to watch your data appear on the dashboard history. And of course you are helping the research to boot!

Robert Gulley, AK3Q, is the author of this post and a regular contributor to the SWLing Post. Robert also blogs at All Things Radio.

Upcoming Slow-Scan TV Images from the ISS

Almost flawless image received from ISS 2016-04-15 1859Z 64 degree pass

Above is a sample SSTV image received during a pass in April 2006 from KC4ALE on ISS Fan Club

An early Christmas gift for space enthusiasts around the world is coming again this year with Slow-Scan TV images from the International Space Station. Reception varies wide;y from location to location, but there are usually at least several passes which will yield good results.

Here is the announcement with pertinent details:

SB SPACE @ ARL $ARLS011

ARLS011 Slow-Scan Television Transmissions Scheduled from ISS

ZCZC AS11

QST de W1AW

Space Bulletin 011  ARLS011

From ARRL Headquarters

Newington, CT  December 6, 2016

To all radio amateurs

SB SPACE ARL ARLS011

ARLS011 Slow-Scan Television Transmissions Scheduled from ISS

Slow-scan television (SSTV) transmissions from the International Space Station (ISS) are scheduled for December 8-9. The SSTV images will be transmitted from RS0ISS on 145.800 MHz FM as part of the Moscow Aviation Institute MAI-75 Experiment, using the Kenwood

TM-D710 transceiver in the ISS Service Module.

MAI-75 activities have been scheduled on December 8, 1235-1800 UTC, and December 9, 1240-1740 UTC. These times correspond to passes over Moscow, Russia. ISS transmissions on 145.800 MHz FM use 5-kHz deviation, and SSTV transmissions have used the PD120 and PD180 formats.

The ISS Fan Club website at http://www.issfanclub.com/ can show when the space station is within range of your station. On Windows PCs the free application MMSSTV can decode the signal. On Apple iOS devices, use the SSTV app available through iTunes.

There are a number of software program available for SSTV reception in addition to the ones mentioned above. It would be interesting to hear from folks who have used SSTV programs with their impressions. Good hunting!

Robert Gulley, AK3Q, is the author of this post and a regular contributor to the SWLing Post. Robert also blogs at All Things Radio.

LF Closure in Ireland Postponed Yet Again

rte

In yet another reversal concerning the fate of Longwave in the UK, this was reported in Radio Survivor Oct 10:

Ireland’s Longwave Station RTÉ 252 Spared from Imminent Closure

By on October 10, 2016 in International, Radio Bands

Listeners located in the U.K. who enjoy Ireland’s RTÉ 252 radio service are breathing a sign of relief. The planned 2017 closure of this longwave station has now been put on indefinite hold, according to Independent.ie.

An Irish diaspora in the U.K. is the primary audience for RTÉ 252, which broadcasts programming from the Radio 1 nationwide news and talk service. As Paul Bailey explained in a post this past June, the cost and complexity of maintaining the large LW transmitter and antenna amid budgetary pressures, along with the perceived obsolescence of the service, were the cited reasons for retiring the station.

There was public outcry in the wake of the original decision to shut down RTÉ 252, which resulted in delaying the date two years. That was followed by research from a group called Irish in Britain that argued the station helped listeners in England, Scotland and Wales keep up to date with matters at home and retain a “sense of Irishness.” A survey the group conducted showed that 92% of respondents listened to the station most or every day. Apparently, that added up to enough pressure on the Irish state broadcaster to keep RTÉ 252 going for the time being.

 You can read the full article here.

I have been watching this issue for some time and am encouraged to see people fighting for LF radio, indeed any continuation of broadcast radio. The key element in my mind being the many people who do not live within a regional broadcast area should not be discarded, or forced into services which which cost them significantly more money.

Here in the states people are still struggling to deal with reduced service areas due to the digital switch over of OTA television. With our “digital revolution” we are trying to force people into a “one size fits all” box, and there is no one box which can fit everyone.

The future is quite uncertain, as these reversals have shown, but I wish the Irish listeners well in their ongoing battle – they have accomplished more than most!!

Robert Gulley, AK3Q, is the author of this post and a regular contributor to the SWLing Post. Robert also blogs at All Things Radio.

Ofcom Calls U.K. Small-Scale DAB Trials Successful

dab-radioRadio World  reported on 9/30/16 that the British government’s Office of Communication sees value in small scale DAB technology and will likely allow permanent licensing for smaller stations:

Ofcom recently completed a trial of its “small-scale DAB” technology for 70 local and community radio stations. The official report that Ofcom created for the Department of Culture, Media and Sport deemed the trials “a success.”

Small-scale DAB is designed to allow smaller radio stations that were not able to afford the United Kingdom’s DAB radio platform go on the airwaves with available software and equipment for a lower cost, explains Ofcom.

The regulator concluded with its trials that small-scale DAB works and stations were able to coordinate with multiplex licensees. It also said the trials suggest there is a demand from smaller radio stations for this technology.

The U.K. government will look over the findings before determining the next stages, but Ofcom claims that it is ready to work on any necessary steps to enable small-scale DAB stations to be licensed permanently.

Ofcom added that it has been contacted by other regulators in Europe who have expressed interest in using the same approach.

Ofcom notes:

The new technique, known as ‘small-scale DAB’, allows local and community stations to hit the airwaves using freely-available software and equipment costing from £9,000.

Previously, these stations have broadcast on analogue AM and FM, but have been held back by the higher cost of broadcasting on the UK’s Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB) radio platform.

We have also identified space in the airwaves that could support a UK-wide roll out of the technology, using spectrum bands previously occupied by business radio. Re-using these bands could pave the way for hundreds more stations to join the digital radio revolution.

This certainly seems like it could open up room for a good deal of alternative programming targeted toward smaller communities. It will be interesting to see the developments and the impact on the local radio community.

Robert Gulley, AK3Q, is the author of this post and a regular contributor to the SWLing Post. Robert also blogs at All Things Radio.


A Good Friend Who’s Always There

cas-pro-relaxThis summer has been a tough one for me in many ways, not the least of which is the minimal amount of time I have been able to spend playing radio. I have several commitments involving radio each week/month, but I do not consider that “playing” radio. To me, playing radio is where we get to sit down in front of a radio of any kind and do something with it just for the pure joy of it. The good thing about this hobby is it is always there whenever you are ready. It is like a good friend who is always there. Radio is, in fact, a bit like my dog.

For those who enjoy dogs like I do, one of the most rewarding things is to come home and find your dog waiting for you, tail wagging, and excited to see you. It does not matter how long you have been gone — a short trip elicits the same excitement upon your return as you would get being gone all day. Good dogs require very little maintenance to be happy, and they are ready for love and attention whenever you are available to give these to them.

My radios do not wag their antennas when I walk into the room, but they are there ready to go when I am, and they provide a world of enjoyment when called upon. As I sit here looking at the radios in front of me (only a small portion of the radios I have around the house overall), each one means something special and calls to mind enjoyable times. My 220 rig gets very little use overall, but it always reminds me of an amateur radio friend who was an Elmer to me in the hobby.

As I am typing this my 2-meter APRS channel has come alive with signals from the digipeater in the International Space Station (ARISS) and I am hoping for a contact or two. This past week I made a contact with AF4B in Texas, which was his first ISS contact! What an honor that is for me — whenever I have the privilege of being someone’s first contact in any manner of radio I am thrilled!! It always brings to mind my “firsts” and how exciting were those moments!

As I look at my Uniden Bearcat BC898T I remember going to my first Dayton Hamvention and buying this beautiful analog scanner. One of the fellows there tried to talk me out of it because it was only analog, and some of the local departments had moved to digital. Fortunately there are still many analog signals to catch in my area, and I am interested in more than just Public Service transmissions. I like Marine, Aviation, Railroads, Coast Guard, and a dozen other things which can be picked up by analog scanners. The 898T was my entrance back into the scanning hobby after many, many years away from it. There was a great deal to learn, but this was my re-introduction to scanning.

I have previously talked about my Yaesu-Musen FRG-7, in some ways the ultimate in shortwave radios for nostalgia, quality workmanship, and manual control of a radio. 40+ years old and still a gem!! Oh yes, and then there is my Swan 350, another marvel of a radio from the past. Never known as a top-of-the-line rig by any means, I treasure its heft, its vacuum tube warmth, and its mechanical tuning which turns like tire compared to the optical tuning wheels on modern rigs. In fact, its a lot like me — slow to get going and needs some time to warm up, but gets the job done eventually. (Why does it seem getting up out of bed and getting started each day gets harder and harder . . . I can’t be that old, can I??)

Fall and winter are coming, definitely great times of the year to play radio, and I hope to do just that. A little work on my antennas should get me back up to  speed in terms of capabilities, and my hope is life will slow down enough to let me have some fun. I know whenever I have the time my old friends will be there ready and waiting! I hope the coming months are filled with radio fun for each of you! 73, Robert

Robert Gulley, AK3Q, is the author of this post and a regular contributor to the SWLing Post. Robert also blogs at All Things Radio.