Follow our Pet Rooster on Instagram

In April 2018, we’ve rescued a chick that was abandoned by his parents. We raised him as our pet, and now he’s one year old! We’ve created an Instagram account for our pet rooster Chocobo. Follow him on his adventures at:

https://www.instagram.com/chocobo_roo/

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Related Link: Meet our Rooster Pet Chocobo

Night Sky in Focus
Astronomy and Amateur Radio (and Roosters, too!)
© Anthony Urbano (Manila, Philippines)

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Philippines (4I1AWN) – South Korea (DS2BWU) Satellite Contact

I’ve just made my first contact to South Korea, with DS2BWU via DIWATA 2 satellite. Below is a recording of last night’s pass. Thanks for the contact DS2BWU!

To learn how to access the DIWATA2 satellite, head directly to Satellite Communications.

Night Sky in Focus
Astronomy and Amateur Radio
© Anthony Urbano (Manila, Philippines)

STAMINA 4 SPACE awards DIWATA 2 Testers

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Prior to the service announcement, a small group of volunteer amateur radio operators worked with the engineers from STAMINA4SPACE Program (formerly named as the PHL-MicroSat Program) to test the full capabilities of DIWATA2’s Amateur Radio Unit. The scope involves testing the receiving (RX) and transmitting (TX) capabilities of the satellite both for voice mode and data mode. It also includes determining the kinds of antennas, the clarity of voice communication, and how much power is actually needed to access the satellite.

Plaques of appreciation were awarded to the first 10 stations to ever access DIWATA 2, and certificates for those involved in the testing efforts.

First 10 Stations to make a successful QSO via DIWATA2 Satellite

  1. Jharwin Barozzo, DV2JHA (Phillippines)
  2. Anthony Guiller Urbano, 4I1AWN (Philippines)
  3. Joseph Petruff, 7J1ADJ/JR6 (Japan)
  4. Afer Shi, BG5UTE (China)
  5. JS6DRQ (Japan)
  6. Iji Yoshitomo, JA6PL (Japan)
  7. Brian Santos, DU1MS (Philippines)
  8. JR6DI (Japan)
  9. Hong Liu, BH4ESB (China)
  10. Stanley Sumping Anak Albert Bejie, 9W8DNX (Malaysia)

For assisting with the testing efforts and achieving one of the firsts QSOs via DIWATA2, special awards were given to

  • Percival Padilla, DV1XWK (Philippines)
  • Lee Castor Canono, D8BVK (Philippines)
  • Veronica Catherine Anak Nohan (9W8VWW, Malaysia)

The awards were given on April 26, 2019, at the Electrical and Electronics Engineering Institute Bldg., University of the Philippines, Diliman, Quezon City, through AMSAT Philippines president Atty. Eduardo Victor Valdez, PHL-50 project leader Dr. Marc Caesar Talampas, and  STAMINA4SPACE program leader Dr. Joel Joseph Marciano Jr.

The testing team will continue to assist the STAMINA4SPACE program in monitoring the status of DIWATA2’s Amateur Radio Unit.

To learn how to access the DIWATA2 satellite, head directly to Satellite Communications.

Night Sky in Focus
Astronomy and Amateur Radio
© Anthony Urbano (Manila, Philippines)

 

Accessing Satellites at Low Elevation

In a recent test I’ve conducted with my portable satellite radio setup, I’ve successfully accessed the following satellites even at elevations of only 1 to 2° (very near the horizon!): AO-91, AO-92, IO-86, SO-50, and PO-101 (DIWATA2).

Satellite’s Elevation

A satellite on the horizon is described to have an elevation of 0° (degree) and a satellite directly overhead has an elevation of 90°. A pass may have an elevation anywhere from 0 to 90°.

Low Elevation Pass Satellites
Using a DIY antenna and a portable radio setup to access satellites that are very near the horizon

Establishing Contact

While there are many factors leading to a successful low-elevation contact, the following appears to have the greatest impact:

1. Use of a well-tuned and very directional hi-gain antenna
2. Proper pointing of antennas to satellites (use a smartphone)
3. Correct polarization of antenna elements (twist until you get the best signal)
4. Use hi-power when necessary (10W)

Have you done this test lately? How low an elevation can you access the satellites? If you want to make contact with distant stations via satellite, the only way to do that would be to access satellites when they are very low in the horizon.

To learn how to access satellite repeaters, head directly to Satellite Communications.

Night Sky in Focus
Astronomy and Amateur Radio
© Anthony Urbano (Manila, Philippines)

 

Satellite Demo on CNN Philippines

The live DIWATA 2 satellite demo on May 17, 2019 was covered by several major news outlet including CNN Philippines. Below is a screenshot from a CNN report aired on national TV.

DIWATA2 LIVE DEMO CNN
4I1AWN performing a live contact via Diwata 2 satellite’s amateur radio unit, reported on CNN Philippines (May 17, 2019)

To watch CNN’s report, click here.

Related link: Watch DIWATA 2 Live Satellite Demo

Night Sky in Focus
Astronomy and Amateur Radio
© Anthony Urbano (Manila, Philippines)

DIWATA2 Live Satellite Demo

We have successfully conducted a live demonstration of DIWATA2’s Amateur Radio Unit, showcasing the satellite’s capability to relay signals not only to and from any point in the country, but to other nearby countries as well. In this demonstration held earlier today in UP Diliman, Quezon City, an inexpensive home-brewed antenna connected to a low-cost radio transmitter was used to access the DIWATA2 satellite. Contact was established via satellite among the amateur radio operators in various location: Anthony Guiller Urbano (4I1AWN, Quezon City), Jharwin Barozzo (DV2JHA, Pangasinan), JP Almonte (4I1DIT, Quezon City), and other stations from Japan such as Iji Yoshitomo (JA6PL, Japan) and JR6DI (Japan).

To listen to a complete uncut recording featuring the Japan-Philippines contact via Diwata 2 satellite (recorded by DV2JHA), click here.

To learn how to access satellite repeaters, head directly to Satellite Communications.

Related links:
DOST ASTI’s Video
Manila Bulletin’s Report

Night Sky in Focus
Astronomy and Amateur Radio
© Anthony Urbano (Manila, Philippines)

Satellite QSL Card from JA3FWT (Japan)

There is something special about receiving a paper-QSL card (a postcard-sized document confirming a radio contact). I have received these cards from JA3FWT (Japan), for our AO-91 satellite contact on April 16, 2019. Thanks for these great-looking QSL-cards Kiyo!

Thanks JA3FWT!

Interested in a paper QSL-card exchange? Catch me on one of the satellites, then send me an email:

4i1awn@nightskyinfocus.com

To learn how to access satellite repeaters, head directly to Satellite Communications.

Night Sky in Focus
Astronomy and Amateur Radio
© Anthony Urbano (Manila, Philippines)

Portable Satellite Radio Setup

The ability to operate off-the-grid is a huge advantage when hunting satellites. Coupled with a portable antenna, this battery-operated radio setup can be easily carried to any remote DX location while requiring only very minimal prep time (5 minutes). Simply connect a satellite antenna, turn the radio on,  select the pre-programmed uplink and downlink frequencies, and you are ready to make contact!

The portable satellite radio setup consists of the following:

1. Kenwood TMV71A full-duplex VHF-UHF radio with microphone
2. 12V 8AH lead-acid battery pack with volt meter
3. Sony recorder
4. Headset
5. Other accessories (not shown) such as SWR meter, patch cable, compass, flashlight, notebook, pencil, etc.

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Everything fits in a small waterproof camera bag, with room to spare for some accessories.

This setup has been used recently in a satellite demo at a local hamfest. Since only 5 watts of power is needed to access the FM satellites, this setup lasts for one week of use (about 50 satellite contacts) in a single charge, perfect for DX-peditions!

Check out more photos of the go-bag below:

In my next post, I will feature the DIY split-boom antenna I use with this setup. To learn how to access satellite repeaters, head directly to Satellite Communications.

Related link: Satellite Go-Box

Night Sky in Focus
Astronomy and Amateur Radio
© Anthony Urbano (Manila, Philippines)

Satellite Demo at a local Hamfest

CQ satellite! I’ve conducted a live demo of a satellite QSO at District 1 Pakulo 2019, a local hamfest held in Tagaytay, Philippines on May 11, 2019. The demo showcased a satellite repeater’s capability to relay signals and enable two-way communications to any point in the Philippines, as well as nearby countries, using inexpensive ham radio equipment.

To the following stations I’ve worked with during the AO-91 pass: JS6DRQ, DU6DKL, DU2XXA, DU4PGS, 7J1ADJ/JR6, and JA6PL—you are all 5-9, thanks for the contact, 73!

To learn how to access satellite repeaters, click here.

Related links:
About Night Sky in Focus
My Satellites Antenna

To view all posts on amateur radio, click here.

Night Sky in Focus
Astronomy and Amateur Radio
© Anthony Urbano (Manila, Philippines)

My Satellite Antenna

My satellite antenna is a Moxon-Yagi dual band VHF-UHF antenna with a single feed line. This allows using a full duplex radio to simultaneously transmit in one band and receive in the other. Properly tuned, this antenna has an SWR (Standing Wave Ratio) of 1.0:1 in VHF and 1.1:1 in UHF.

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The Moxon part of this antenna is supposed to be rectangular in shape, but I soon found out that I could bend the rectangle to achieve a perfect SWR!

This antenna has been fully tested to work with satellites such as AO-91, AO-92, SO-50, IO-86, and PO-101 (Diwata 2). To learn how to access satellite repeaters, head directly to Satellite Communications.

antenna
The antenna’s boom may be split in the middle, for easy storage and transport. Note that this is an earlier photo, no bends have been made yet in the elements of the Moxon part of the antenna.

Night Sky in Focus
Astronomy and Amateur Radio
© Anthony Urbano (Manila, Philippines)