Some FITSAT-1 Telemetry Decoded

It was dry and a lovely clear sky last night and I had several opportunities to receive the latest Cubesats.

I made some sight modification to the tripod mounting of the small 70cm Yagi antenna I am using, repositioning the clamp allowed me to secure my Android smart phone behind it. Then by using the Satellite-AR app I was able to hopefully point and track more accurately.

As you can see from this close up, it is quite a useful tool. Selecting the Cubesat catagory in the application, shows the procession of the cluster one after the other. The Cubesats have now spaced sufficiently to allow reception of WE-WISH which is just dropping out of sight as FITSAT-1 is starting its pass.

One thing I hadn’t counted on last night was the very high elevation and I struggled to turn and tilt the tripod quickly enough whilst still viewing the screen on the phone, this will hopefully improve with practice!

Previously to the tripod I hand held the antennas but the drawback with that method was not being able to check and make adjustments on the computer, the tripod at least allows me to maintain reception.

I again received WE-WISH but the signal was too weak and short lived for any reasonable attempt at decoding the SSTV image. FITSAT-1 was however much better, getting relatively clear signals from the CW telemetry beacon, however I have been struggling to actually decode the messages, however after some research I tried the MRP40 Morse Code Decoder program, which appears to be excellent and as you can see from the screenshot below successfully decoded some of the telemetry messages. 

Definitely got the bit between my teeth now, will try to get a full telemetry frame this evening, weather permitting!

WE-WISH and FITSAT-1 Received

The recently released Cubesats were due to pass with high elevation late last evening, so the new antenna was mounted out in the garden on a tripod and the FUNCube Dongle connected to the trusty laptop in the shack.

The Cubesats FITSAT-1, WE-WISH and TechEdSat are now supported by the Satellite-AR application on my android phone allowing me a reasonable chance at tracking them.

According to the tracking data the WE-WISH Cubesat is ahead of FITSAT-1 on the orbit, so my first attempt was to capture some of the Infra-Red SSTV imagery it is sending back, I did managed to receive the signal as you can see on the waveform below, you will also see SDR-Radio was preforming doppler correction very well  indicated by the slanted central IQ spur and local ‘carrier’ in the middle of the transmission (was playing back a captured IQ wavefile) Sadly the WE-WISH signal wasn’t strong enough and didn’t last long enough for any meaningful decode, but I was able to confirm that instead of being at 437.505MHz it is nearer 437.514MHz as was reported on AMSAT-UK

WE-WISH Downlink Transmission, received in UK 16-OCT-2012 19:32UTC

I was very happy to have received this as the WE-WISH downlink transmitter is reported to be only 100mW! As the signal disappeared I quickly switched to the latter stages of the FITSAT-1 pass and got some nice clear bursts of the CW beacon.

FITSAT-1 Downlink Transmission, received in UK 16-OCT-2012

Tonight there are two other nice high elevation passes of the Cubesat cluster, so hopefully will get out to have another attempt.