WB4SON Reports QSO Success with AO-73

After three failed pass attempts, Bob, WB4SON, was successful in making his first CW contact through AO-73 this evening.  While the Downlink signal levels were high, Bob was unable to hear his own signal in the Downlink.  The mystery was solved, when a much larger than normal Uplink Correction of +8500 Hz was added on top of the DL/UL Doppler corrections.  So while the normal published DL/UL would have been 145.955/435.145, in reality the actual DL/UL was closer to 145.955/435.155.

That Uplink Correction takes into account any frequency inaccuracies in both the earth station as well as the satellite itself (which is subject to wildly fluctuating temperatures in space).

Bob also notes that the Uplink Correction was varying during the pass, from about +8500 Hz to +10500 Hz.  This is an indication that the orbital elements (TLE) have not been refined well enough this early in the satellite’s life, to be an very accurate predictor of its location in orbit — therefore the Doppler corrections, applied automatically, are not as accurate as they could be.

AO-73 (Funcube-1) Reaches Orbit Today!

Funcube-1, a product of AMSAT-UK and AMSAT-NL, has reached orbit this morning along with 31 other satellites.  The satellite appears to be functioning as expected.  One of the exciting things about this satellite is that it includes a U/V linear transponder that will be available during the night hours for ham radio use.  In addition an extensive educational program is provided, along with some impressive windows based software for decoding telemetry.  Current telemetry values can be viewed in the “Data Warehouse”, as this information is constantly updated.

Signals were heard loud and clear in Rhode Island during a pass that lasted from 16:58 UTC until 17:05 UTC.  The downlink beacon is pretty distinct with a beep that happens every 5 seconds followed by digital data (sounds like noise).  Signals were peaking at least 4 S units above the noise floor using a turnstile antenna.  The Beacon Frequency ranged from 145.937.5 to 145.933.0, putting the midpoint at about 145.935 — spot on according to the pre-launch values.

Funcube-1 is based on a small “cube” satellite factor (about 4x4x4 inches). The idea is by basing the designs on a standardized form-factor, inexpensive launch opportunities can be provided.  As another example of this, yesterday, a US-based launch put 28 cubesats into orbit.

WB4SON has a small post on his first telemetry decodes/uploads that happened on the first day of launch.

NCRC’s John King, WA1ABI, Places 1st in National FMT

Congratulations to John King for having the best frequency measurements during the November 2013 Frequency Measurement Test (FMT).  This ARRL sponsored event pits FMTers, across the nation against each other in an attempt to accurately measure the frequency of several transmitters located in various parts of the country.  John was able to measure frequency to 7 parts in a billion.  That’s an average error of 0.05 Hertz on the 40 meter band.

Mother nature plays a very important roll in the perceived frequency as various propagation effects cause the signal to appear on a different frequency.  Adjusting for those effects separates the true experts from the pretenders.

Third Place Finish for NCRC Field Day 2013

Newport County Radio Club/Sakonnet 49ers Placed 3rd Nationwide in Field Day 2013. Results of the top ten are posted below. Congratulations to all the operators and helpers!

This is the best finish and the highest score, along with the largest number of participants (back as far as the online records go). Prior to this the best finish was 7th place. Plus this marks the third time that we have finished in the top 10 nationwide.

# Call Score Category QSOs Power Mult GOTA Call Section Participants Club
1 K5UZ 20,696 2A 6,085 2 KD5J AR 10 Batesville ARC
2 W1NVT 13,876 2A 4,547 2 W1PU VT 30 Radio Amateurs of No VT
3 W1LY 11,130 2A 3,354 2 W1SYE RI 64 Newport Co RC / Sakonnet 49ers
4 N5KW 10,754 2A 2,685 2 NN5Q OK 16 Muskogee ARC
5 W5ZR 10,538 2A 3,171 2 W5RZY LA 30 LA Cane Field CC
6 WK5T 9,554 2A 2,631 2 NM 7
7 W8AL 9,424 2A 2,240 2 KD8XD OH 39 Canton ARC
8 W7R 9,306 2A 2,791 2 W7Y WWA 21 Pacific Co ARC
9 N3IC 9,278 2A 2,696 2 K3MZ MDC 17 Randallstown ARC
10 W6KB 9,254 2A 2,832 2 W6SG SF 42 REDXA & Marin ARS

The initial results reported by the ARRL indicated the club was in 4th place, but they have corrected their mistake.

Annual Dinner Party, 6 PM December 9 at Mainstay Suites

The annual Christmas Party will be held at the Mainstay Suites beginning with a cash bar at 6 PM.  There will be a buffet dinner, featuring Steamship Round.  Following dinner, there will be a Yankee Gift Swap.  The cost is $30 per person, and please bring a gift for the Yankee Swap.  The food is excellent and the gift swap is sure to instill loathing for years to come!

Contact Ed Gosling, W1NQH to reserve your spot.