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)

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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)

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)

International Space Station Flyby (November 3, 2012)

International Space Station (ISS) captured as it zooms 412 kilometers above the Philippines during its brief flyby from 6:11 pm to 6:18 pm on November 3, 2012. Image taken with a 4-in f/9 refractor with a 2x Barlow and a Canon 450D DSLR, 1/160 sec exposure, ISO 1600, Camarines Norte, Philippines. Photo Credit: Anthony Urbano. For previous ISS 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)

Iridium 40 Satellite Flare March 11, 2012

Iridium 40 Satellite Flare on March 11, 2012 as observed in Manila, Philippines. Maximum brightness occurred at 7:34:26 pm. Image taken with a Canon 450D DSLR, 50 mm set at f/5, ISO 100, 30 sec exposure. Photo credit: Anthony Urbano

Satellite flares are caused by the reflective surfaces on satellites like antennas and solar panels acting as a giant mirrors in space, reflecting sunlight directly towards the Earth,  seen from the ground as a bright “flare” that could last for a few seconds. More Iridium flare images here.