AO-91 Open for Amateur Use

AMSAT announced early Thanksgiving morning that AO-91 (RadFxSat/Fox-1B), a 1-unit CubeSat has been officially commissioned and turned over for amateur use.

The first QSOs have already happened, and this is proving to be an amazing bird, much better than Fox-1/AO-85).  Folks have already made QSOs with a HT & 1/4 wave whip.

To receive AO-91, simply tune your HT to 145.960 MHz.  When you are ready to step up to transmitting you will need to set up several memory channels to adjust your 70 cm transmit signal to compensate for Doppler.   The transmitter must also be configured with a 67.0 Hz subaudible tone.

AO-91 Doppler Shift Correction
Memory Your Transmit Frequency(With 67 Hz Tone) Your Receive Frequency
Acquisition of Signal (AOS) 435.240 MHz 145.960 MHz
Approaching 435.245 MHz 145.960 MHz
Time of Closest Approach (TCA) 435.250 MHz 145.960 MHz
Departing 435.255 MHz 145.960 MHz
Loss of Signal (LOS) 435.260 MHz 145.960 MHz

Since AO-91 will take about 12 minutes to pass overhead, you will switch to a new TX frequency every 3 minutes or so.

Of course you will need to locate the satellite based on your position. You can use the AMSAT tool (Select AO-91 from the drop down list of satellites, enter your grid square, FN41 for RI, and press “Calculate Position”, then press “Predict” — Note ttimes are in UTC, so subtract 5 hours since we are not currently in DST). N2YO’s Graphical tool is great too, just don’t forget to set your location in the bottom right of the screen.

Tracking subgroup holds second meeting on March 18

A group of NCRC members interested in solving various antenna tracking issues met with Paul K1YBE for four hours this past Saturday.  The objective was to hack into a surplus SeaTrac TVRO dish system usually used to track geostationary satellites on moving vehicles (ships, cars, etc.).

The gang was successful in getting the dish into the “search” mode where it started searching the sky for one of the DBS Satellites.  At this point the communication between the dish platform and controller was captured so that the messages could be analyzed.

It was fascinating to move the dish platform around and see the Inertial Measuring Unit automatically adjust for that motion, keeping the dish pointed to the same part of the sky.

Tracking crew observe controller signals

The Dish Platform includes a full Inertial Measuring Unit

New FM Satellite, BY70-1 is Operational

A new FM Transponder Satellite, BY70-1, is now operational.  This is MUCH easier to work than AO-85, and a bit stronger than SO-50.

Details are:

Uplink: 145.920 MHz  With 67.0 Hz Tone

Downlink: 436.200 MHz

Better work this one quick — its orbit will decay in just a couple of months!


Antenna Take-down Day at All Saints

Paul, N1PSX, Jim, KA1ZOU, Jeff, KA1NGP, Bob, WB4SON, and Mike, K1NPT went to All Saints Academy Saturday to remove the antenna array used for the May 6 ARISS event.  Arriving at 9 AM, it took less than an hour to disassemble the antenna on the roof. The Middletown Fire Department arrived at 10 AM and used their Tower Ladder to lift the antenna parts down to the ground.  By 10:25 AM, the job was done, and the ARISS event is just a fond memory!

FD Tower Ladder 2

ARISS Event A Complete Success!

The ARISS event, despite a few funny gotyas up front, went off as planned.  A preprogram of comments and background began at 11:45, and at 12:43 the first call went out to NA1SS, the International Space Station.  With Hollywood-like suspense, Paula, an ASA student-ham, called SEVEN times before the sound of Jeff Williams’s voice filled the auditorium to thunderous applause (ed: my personal take on the “suspense” was I hoped someone would perform CPR to restart my heart waiting 1min50sec before hearing our astronaut).

Jeff Williams was a real pro, both very personable talking to the kids, and moving things along at a quick pace.  As a consequence, all 24 questions were asked and answered. As Paula sent her 73’s, Jeff faded into the noise.

All three local stations ABC6, NBC10, and CBS12 had news coverage during their early 5-6PM shows.  They probably will have additional coverage at 11 PM.  In addition the live streaming is still up and will be for a few days.  I’ve been told that you need to move to the 3 hours 28 minutes 40 second mark before the actual event begins (the earlier hours were streaming a stationary antenna and some background noise – good thing internet isn’t billed by the minute).  The questions begin at 4h 13m 50s

Many thanks to all the NCRC members that helped:  Chuck, N1CKT, Paul, N1PSX, Willy, W1LY, Paul K1YBE, Jim, KA1ZOU, Mike, KA1IOO, Brian, KC1EQB, Charles, K1ECU, Rob, KB1ZZU, Jeff, KA1NGP, Bob, WB4SON, and of course Mike Cullen, K1NPT, who put the entire event together.

NDN_20160507 copy

Be sure to pick up a copy of The Newport Daily News which has a story on the front page!

Link to the online story: