Satellite Demo with the Philippine Navy

I was invited to conduct a live satellite demo at the Philippine Navy as part of the exit presentation of DOST-Balik-Scientist CDR Leo Almazan USN (ret) at the Pascual Ledesma Naval Station in Cavite, Philippines. We’ve accessed DIWATA2 (PO-101) and had successful contact with JA6PL (Japan), DV2JHA (Pangasinan), and DU1ELT (Cotabato).

Naval Sea Systems Command
We used DIWATA2 satellite to bounce a signal from our location in Cavite, to other radio operators in Pangasinan, Cotabato, and as far away as Japan. Copyright: Naval Sea Systems Command, Philippine Navy

For this demo,  I used a home-brew portable satellite radio setup and a DIY satellite antenna.

Related links:
Satellite Demo on CNN Philippines
Satellite Demo at a local Hamfest

To view all posts on amateur radio, click here.

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

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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

Download: Satellite Antenna Plans

Satellite Antenna
DIY Satellite Antenna. To view larger, click here.

My satellite antenna is a Moxon-Yagi-Uda dual band VHF-UHF antenna with a single feed point (connects directly to the radio, no duplexer needed), based on the original design of LY3LP. 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.

4I1AWN_antenna2
The antenna’s boom may be split in the middle, for easy storage and transport.

Features

1. Very good RX and TX signals. Check out the logs on my QRZ page or hear the audio recording as received by this antenna in this video prepared by DV2JHA.
2. Easy to build. This antenna build is intended to be very easy to replicate. Very few tools and materials needed to build one. No special parts needed. Anyone can build it.
3. Elegant design. Because it only has one feed point, you only need one dual-band VHF-UHF radio to use this antenna (instead of using two different radios and feed points for each band, thereby eliminating the need for a duplexer). The coaxial cable from the radio connects directly to the antenna (no baluns). To maximize the full capability of this antenna, use it with a radio with full-duplex capability.
4. Easy to tune. You only need to adjust the gap between the Moxon (VHF) driven element, and the Yagi-Uda (UHF) driven element to achieve perfect SWR. If you wish to move the center frequency (the frequency with the lowest SWR), adjust the length of the driven elements.
5. Lightweight. You will begin to appreciate this once you compare it with other antenna designs. Heavy antennas are not particularly useful for hand-held satellite work.
6. Portable. With the split-boom feature, you can easily store and transport this antenna. If needed, you can always disassemble and collapse everything into a very small package.
7. Durable. This antenna design is built to last a lifetime of satellite work.
8. Low-cost. How much does a commercial satellite antenna cost? To build this antenna, I spent an equivalent of 5 USD.

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 build your own satellite antenna, kindly refer to the antenna plans below.

4I1AWN_2019
To view at full resolution, click here. Adapted from the original design by LY3LP. This particular version with a number of modifications is created by 4I1AWN. It uses 3 mm copper tubing elements.

To see this antenna in action (a recorded ‘live’ satellite demo), head directly to Satellite Communications. To view the portable radio setup I use with this antenna, head directly to Portable Radio Setup. 

DIWATA2 LIVE DEMO CNN
The DIY antenna described on this page was used during the live contact via Diwata 2 satellite’, reported on CNN Philippines

Download: Satellite Antenna Plans
For inquiries, please email: 4i1awn@nightskyinfocus.com

Night Sky in Focus
Astronomy and Amateur Radio
© 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.
To learn more about my progress in amateur radio, 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. To learn more about my progress in amateur radio, click here© Anthony Urbano (Manila, Philippines)

Satellite Flare Visible in the Sky this Sunday

A sudden burst of light called a satellite flare will be visible in the sky in the early morning of March 30, 2014 (Sunday) as a satellite named Iridium 37 directs sunlight towards ground through one of its large reflective antennas. Even with just the naked eye, observers should see the satellite emerge from the northern horizon at around 5:16 am, slowly climb as it reaches overhead (zenith) at 5:23 am, and continue to brighten up as it moves southward reaching its peak brightness at around 5:24 am (Philippine Standard Time), positioned approximately 50 degrees above the southern horizon then eventually fade and disappear at around 5:30 am.

Flare_March30_FacingSouth
The illustration shows how the sky will look like on March 30, 2014 during a predicted sudden brightening (or flare) of a satellite (named Iridium 37) at around 5:24 am (Philippine Standard Time), approximately 50 degrees above the southern horizon. Satellite flares are caused by sunlight bouncing off a satellite’s reflective surface like antenna or solar panels acting as giant space mirrors directing sunlight towards the ground, with peak brightness lasting for several seconds. Map of the sky generated using Stellarium.

Aside from the satellite, naked-eye objects such as the Moon, Venus, and Mercury will also be visible in the eastern horizon, as well as Saturn and Mars in the western horizon. For a detailed map of the sky (generated by Heavens-Above) that shows the path of the satellite, 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)

International Space Station (ISS) November 11, 2012

International Space Station (ISS) flyby over Antipolo, Philippines on November 11, 2012 at around 5 am, taken with a Canon 450D and an 18-55 mm kit lens set at 18 mm, 60 sec exposure, ISO 1600. Image taken as the ISS rises from the southwest.  Photo Credit: Anthony Urbano
International Space Station (ISS) flyby over Antipolo, Philippines on November 11, 2012 at around 5 am, taken with a Canon 450D and an 18-55 mm kit lens set at 18 mm, 30 sec exposure, ISO 1600. Image taken as the ISS sets in the north-northeast.  Photo Credit: Anthony Urbano

For more ISS flyby images, 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)

ISS to Zoom Past Philippines on November 11, 2015

Predictions courtesy of Heavens-Above, developed and maintained by Chris Peat.

The International Space Station (ISS) currently orbiting approximately 400 kilometers above the Earth’s surface will treat us with yet another spectacular sight on the early morning of November 11, 2012, as it zooms past, for the second time this week, above the Philippines.

The satellite will be visible to us because its solar panels will be geometrically well-placed to reflect sunlight towards the ground, acting like giant space mirrors. From the ground, it will look like a very bright flare coming from the southwestern horizon and then slowly (much like an airplane) move towards the north-northeastern horizon until it disappears from view. It will be visible for approximately 6 minutes, from 04:57:09 am to 05:05:49 am and will be visible to the naked eye. No special equipment is required to observe the satellite flyby. For previous ISS observations, click here.

Related link: ISS Flyby November 3, 2012

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)