DIWATA2 contact on April 26, 2019

The Philippine MicroSat just recently announced a scheduled contact with the Diwata2 satellite on April 26, 2019. This event will showcase the capability of its amateur radio unit (ARU).

Diwata2 Teaser for April 26, 2019
For more information about DIWATA2’s amateur radio capabilities, click here.
To learn more about my progress in amateur radio, click here.

© Anthony Urbano (Manila, Philippines)

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Super Moon March 2019

Supermoon with Chocobo
Observing the super moon with our pet rooster

We’ve observed last night’s super moon using a 4-inch f/9 telescope. While it is true that the moon will be closer to Earth during a super moon, the difference in size and brightness compared to a non-super moon is so small and so subtle that it will be very difficult to detect such an almost negligible difference, even for amateur astronomers who regularly observe the moon, and use astronomical equipment such as a telescope.

For previous observations, click here.

For featured photos, click here.
For tutorials on how to get started with astrophotography, click here.
For DIY astronomy projects useful for astrophotography, click here.
To subscribe to this site, click here.

© Anthony Urbano (Manila, Philippines)

 

Apollo 11 Command Module

We’ve visited the Philippine Air Force Aerospace Museum at the Villamor Air Base in Pasay City. The museum features a comprehensive history of the various aircraft and aircraft-related artifacts of the Philippine Air Force, as well as an outdoor exhibit of actual decommissioned aircraft. We were surprised to see a full-size model of the Apollo 11 Command Module in the museum.

Philippine Air Force Aerospace Museum (1)
A scale model of the Apollo 11 Command Module (CM)

To view more photos of this visit, head directly to my other blog.

© Anthony Urbano (Manila, Philippines)

Satellite Communication

Using a home-built antenna and a portable radio, I was able to contact fellow amateur radio enthusiasts in Japan and Malaysia, by bouncing a signal off a satellite in orbit. I will be sharing more posts about satellite communications soon!

Antenna-portable
The antenna fits nicely at the car’s rear compartment!

To learn more about my progress in amateur radio, click here.
© Anthony Urbano (Manila, Philippines)

Exclusive Stargazing Event

A stargazing event could easily become the highlight of your exclusive event (such a birthday party, a wedding, a company event, or any other personal event).

supermoon_november_14_2016-1
Looking at the moon through a telescope

The stargazing package may include the following depending on the sky conditions:

1. Moon Astrophotography using the Telescope (1 hour)
2. Basic Stargazing and Finding Constellations (1 hour)
3. Planet Viewing using the Telescope—-Jupiter, Saturn, Mars, and Venus (1 hour)

The details of each part is explained below:

1. Moon Astrophotography

Using the telescope, we will view the moon and take up-close pictures of it (any mobile phone camera can very well do this). Through a telescope, you can clearly see the craters of the moon. Everyone will surely be amazed. You can ask your guests to upload photos of the moon in social media to boost interest. The views and photos your guests will be getting will rival those taken by professional photographers. Moon viewing and photography alone can make your event a unique and truly wonderful experience.


2. Basic Stargazing and Finding Constellations

Your guests will gather around and I will teach them the constellations. We will use a flashlight with red cellophane cover to read maps of the heaven. I will prepare star maps for the specific date you are requesting. These maps will be used by your guests to navigate the night sky. I will then use a powerful laser to point at the stars and constellations as the participants identify them using their maps (this is called star-hopping). I will show them the planets that can be seen with the naked eye. And lastly, I will teach them how to find north without using a compass, but by using the star, Polaris.

3. Planet Viewing using a Powerful Telescope

Several planets are usually visible each night. If visible (it depends on the time of the night and the month of the year), we will use a telescope to look at Jupiter and 4 of its brightest moons, Saturn with its rings, Venus, and Mars.

Important:

As with all stargazing events, if it rains, then we will not see the moon, the stars, and the planets (clouds prevent us from seeing them). This is a very real possibility, thus, must be anticipated. If this happens, I have prepared 2 lectures for your guests, which we can conduct on any covered space (will need a projector and a microphone). The lecture part is just a backup and will not be conducted if the sky is clear.

Let me know if you have any questions. This could be one of the most memorable stargazing events you and your guest could get to experience (and if you receive good feedback, I’d be happy to work with you on a future stargazing events).

To request an exclusive stargazing event, email: aeurbano@up.edu.ph or call 09954997030.

To view our previous observations, click here.

© Anthony Urbano (Manila, Philippines)

 

Call Sign Plate

Each licensed amateur radio operator is awarded with a unique call sign for identification. The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) requires radio operators to display their call sign in the vicinity of their stations. This call sign plate from the Philippine Amateur Radio Association (PARA) should look nicely when placed beside my amateur radio equipment :)

I have also received a call sign sticker set (for a car’s windshield and radio units) which I will feature in future posts.

No, you can’t use this as vanity car plate (this is a call sign plate, not a vanity car plate)

To learn more about my progress in amateur radio, click here.
© Anthony Urbano (Manila, Philippines)

New RF Connectors for FT60

Following the successful signal reception and decoding of the International Space Station’s (ISS) Slow Scan Television (SSTV) images, I am now eager to build a dedicated hi-gain directional antenna for satellite hunting! The first step is getting the signal to and from the radio using proper connectors.

Yaesu FT60 connectors
RG58 coaxial cable >>> PL-259 (plug) >>> SO-239 (socket) to BNC (male) converter >>> BNC (female) to SMA (male) converter >>> SMA (female) connector of Yaesu FT60. For an expanded view, click here.

With these new set of connectors, I can now connect the FT60 to a DIY antenna which I will be building soon!

Note: The configuration can be further simplified using a SO-239 (socket) to SMA (male) converter, but not applicable for my setup as I needed the BNC interface for my other antennas :)

To learn more about my progress in amateur radio, click here.

Related link: Receiving Transmissions from Space
© Anthony Urbano (Manila, Philippines)

SSTV Images Received February 15-17, 2019

Here are the Slow Scan Television (SSTV) images I’ve received from the International Space Station (ISS) from February 15-17, 2019, using a Yaesu FT60 hand-held tranceiver and a smartphone with Robot 36 app as decoder. The audio output of the radio is tapped directly to the microphone input of the smartphone for improved signal decoding.

To lean how to receive SSTV images from the ISS, head directly to Receiving Transmissions from the International Space Station.

Related link: Amateur Radio

To subscribe to this site, click here.
© Anthony Urbano (Manila, Philippines)

Adjusting the Antenna’s Orientation

As a satellite such as the International Space Station (ISS) orbits the Earth, the orientation of its transmitting antenna changes with respect to the Earth. It could have an orientation anywhere from horizontal to vertical. To get a good signal, the Earth-based receiving antenna must match the orientation of the ISS’s transmitting antenna, especially when using only a hand-held tranceiver with stock antenna. An antenna with a pair of elements placed at right angles with each other (such as a cross Yagi or a cross dipole) is best suited for satellite work, because elements at right angles can receive signals from both horizontally and vertically-oriented antennas. In this video, I have demonstrated this effect and shown how changes in antenna orientation affects the strength of the signal received.

To learn more about receiving SSTV images from the ISS, click here.

Related link: Receiving SSTV Transmissions from the International Space Station

To subscribe to this site, click here.
© Anthony Urbano (Manila, Philippines)

 

Scheduled SSTV Transmissions (February 2019)

The International Space Station (ISS) is scheduled to transmit Slow Scan Television (SSTV) images this weekend, as reported in the ARISS-SSTV webpage.

Start: February 15, 8:45 UTC (February 15, 4:45 pm, Philippine Standard Time)
End: February 17, 17:25 UTC (February 18, 1:25 am, Philippine Standard Time)

All ISS passes within this period present opportunities to receive the SSTV transmissions. You can use an app called ISS Detector (for smart phones) or visit the website Heavens-Above to view upcoming passes (do not forget to set the apps to show all passes, and not just the visible ones).

To receive and decode the transmissions, you need a radio receiver capable of tuning to 145.800 MHz and a decoder app such as Robot 36.

ISS pass details (Philippine Standard Time) generated using Heavens Above

Related link: Receiving SSTV Transmissions from the International Space Station

To learn more about receiving SSTV images from the ISS, click here.
To subscribe to this site, click here.
© Anthony Urbano (Manila, Philippines)