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)

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STAMINA 4 SPACE awards DIWATA 2 Testers

ARU Ready (1)
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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, DV2JHA (Phillippines)
  2. Anthony Guiller Urbano, 4I1AWN (Philippines)
  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)

My Satellite Antenna

My satellite antenna is a Moxon-Yagi dual band VHF-UHF antenna with a single feed line. 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.

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The Moxon part of this antenna is supposed to be rectangular in shape, but I soon found out that I could bend the rectangle to achieve a perfect SWR!

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 learn how to access satellite repeaters, head directly to Satellite Communications.

antenna
The antenna’s boom may be split in the middle, for easy storage and transport. Note that this is an earlier photo, no bends have been made yet in the elements of the Moxon part of the antenna.

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)