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Author Topic: Ham radio's newest satellite is sending signals from orbit  (Read 430 times)
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« on: August 06, 2011, 05:28:38 PM »

Ham radio's newest satellite is sending signals from orbit

Peter Miller
Hartford Hobby Radio Examiner
August 6, 2011

After months of delay, ARISSat-1 is finally orbiting our planet, giving ham radio operators another signal to seek, and the chance to try out new communications technology.

ARISSat-1 was launched from the International Space Station on August 3rd, during a lengthy spacewalk by two Russian cosmonauts. The American Radio Relay League (ARRL), based in Newington, CT, was involved in ARISSat's development, along with AMSAT - the Radio Amateur Satellite Corporation, which promotes amateur radio and space technology.

"There is always an increased flurry of ham radio satellite activity whenever a new bird comes over the horizon," said Allen Pitts, ARRL spokesman.

"This one is no exception and might even be getting more than usual attention because the signals are so easily received," he said

The launch was nearly put on hold, when the cosmonauts questioned whether one of the antennas was attached correctly. Ground control determined the satellite was functional, and the go-ahead was given for its release.

ARISSat-1 is actually considered a mini-satellite. It's a relatively small solar-powered cube that contains VHF and UHF radios which transmit FM voice, a morse code beacon, plus slow-scan TV images and data.

ARISSat-1 during its final testing phase.
Photobucket -

There is also a VHF/UHF transponder that allows hams to talk to each other whenever ARISSat-1 is within the horizon, which is generally just a few minutes at time, a few times a day.

The easiest way to listen is to tune 145.95 MHz in FM mode. The transmission includes 24 international greetings in 15 languages, and slow scan TV (SSTV) pictures which can be decoded on a computer.

Information on the satellite's radio transmissions and SSTV images can be found at the ARRISat-1 website.

Tracking data and flight predictions are available at the AMSAT tracking website.

ARISSat-1 identifies itself with the Russian ham radio callsign RS01S.

For the Russians, the launch is especially significant. ARISSat is nicknamed "Kedr" ("Siberian pine" in Russian), the callsign used by Yuri Gargarin 50 years ago during the first manned spaceflight aboard Vostok-1.

The satellite has a lifespan of about six months, before it is expected to fall from orbit.


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― George Orwell, 1984

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