Amateur radio satellites are orbiting relay stations that enable long distance communications using only a two-way radio and a home-brewed antenna. Unlike other communications systems like the cellular service and the Internet, satellites do not rely on ground-based communications infrastructure. If a locality is hit with a major disaster, damage to infrastructure will render the cellular phones and the Internet unusable, but satellites in space will continue to function. In this talk, I’ve discussed how to access these amateur radio satellites, and explained how to setup a home-brewed satellite phone for reliable communication in times of disaster.
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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).
A group of amateur radio operators from the Philippine Amateur Radio Association (PARA) worked with the engineers of STAMINA4SPACE Program (formerly named as the PHL-MicroSat Program) to test the full capabilities of DIWATA2’s Amateur Radio Unit. The task 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. The testing effort lasted for two months, usually requiring operators to stay up until 1 am just to track the satellite at it passes over the Philippines, using a number of radio equipment and satellite antenna. DU1EV Eduardo Valdez, president of PARA and president of AMSAT Philippines, coordinated the frequency assignment of the satellite and its call sign DW4TA. The first successful contact made through the DIWATA2 microsatellite was on March 01, 2019, 1:27 AM, local time, between DV2JB Jharwin Barozzo (Dagupan, Pangasinan) and STAMINA4SPACE engineers 4I1DIT JP Almonte and Lorenzo Sabug operating as 4I1BBE (UP Diliman, Quezon City).
Plaques of appreciation from STAMINA4SPACE were awarded to the first 10 stations to access DIWATA 2, and certificates issued to those involved in the testing efforts. The AMSAT-PH club call sign DX1O was used as the event’s official call sign.
First 10 Stations to make a successful QSO via DIWATA2 Satellite
Leo Madrid Almazan (WA6LOS/DU3ZX, a DOST Balik-Scientist)
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 and PARA president Atty. Eduardo Victor Valdez, PHL-50 project leader Dr. Marc Caesar Talampas, and STAMINA4SPACE program leader Dr. Joel Joseph Marciano Jr.