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/

Chocobo_Instagram.png

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

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, DV2JB (Phillippines), formerly DV2JHA
  2. Anthony Guiller Urbano, DU1AU (Philippines), formerly 4I1AWN
  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!

For more posts about QSL cards I’ve received from fellow hams, click here.
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.

Satellite Go-Bag (3).jpg
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

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)