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)

Advertisements

Possible Antenna Project

I am planning to put up an antenna for my home station in Cavite. The antenna will be placed on a rooftop (3F), with a good vantage point of North, East, South, and West (with the help of a short mast). I’ve also found some old TV antennas that are no longer used, which I plan to re-purpose to build a VHF and UHF antenna.

To learn more about my progress in amateur radio, 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)

Receiving SSTV Transmissions from the ISS

Here’s a short demo on how I used a two-way radio and a smart phone to receive Slow Scan Tele-Vision (SSTV) images from the International Space Station (SSTV) as it orbits the Earth at a height of about 400 km. The transmission was received on February 9, at around 8 am local time, from Bacoor City, Cavite.

Equipment: Yaesu FT60
Decoder app: Robot 36
ISS locator app: ISS Detector
Frequency: 145.8 MHz

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

Related link: Receiving Transmissions from Space

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

SSTV Image from the ISS (October 29, 2018)

SSTV October 29, 2018, 241 am 4G1AWN
SSTV image received and decoded from the International Space Station (ISS) as it passes over the Philippines on October 29, 2018, around 2:41 local time

The International Space Station (ISS) has been transmitting images since October 28 and will continue to do so in the next few days. It transmits in SSTV format—the same format used to send images to Earth during the Apollo missions. The transmissions can be received with any radio tuned at 145.8 MHz, and a decoder app such as Robot 36 (try installing that app and decode this recording).

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

Sending and Receiving SSTV Images

In the previous post, I have mentioned that I am currently engaged in amateur radio activities, particularly, satellite communications. At the moment, I am only receiving transmissions from the International Space Station (ISS). Shown below is the gear I use to send and receive SSTV images.

Equipment for Sending and Receiving SSTV Images

  • Transmitter (Motorola CP1660) + DIY connector (smart phone’s line out to transmitter’s microphone in) + encoder (smart phone with SSTV Encoder app)
  • Receiver (Motorola CP1660) + DIY connector (transmitter’s line out to smart phone’s microphone in) + decoder (smart phone with Robot 36 app)
SSTV RX TX
Equipment for sending and receiving SSTV images

For more info about amateur radio in the field of astronomy, click here.

© Anthony Urbano (Manila, Philippines)