Category Archives: Space Radio

Amateur radio enthusiast bounces signals off the Moon with balcony antenna

The ARRL ( American Radio Relay League) recently sponsored the “Moon bounce” EME Contest in which contestants demonstrate “Two-way communications via the earth-moon-earth [EME] path on any authorized amateur frequency above 50 MHz”. One entrant did his Moon bouncing from his balcony: Austrian Moonbounce Enthusiast Demonstrates Success with Small-Scale Setup | ARRL

Hannes Fasching, OE5JFL, of Braunau am Inn, Austria, has demonstrated that you don’t need a huge antenna system to operate EME (moonbounce) successfully. Fasching fired up for the October 22-23 weekend of the ARRL EME Contest, using a small horn antenna on 1.2 GHz.

ememeshantenna-hannesfasching
The 1.2 GHz mesh antenna for EME – Hannes Fasching (OE5JFL)

“Because of other commitments I had only a few hours to be QRV in the first part of the ARRL EME Contest,” he said in a Moon-Net post on October 26. “As tests with my recently built 23-centimeter horn antenna were promising, I decided to give it a try to work some stations.” Fasching placed the horn on his balcony with an 80 W solid-state amplifier.

Operating WSJT, he logged contacts with Switzerland, Russia, Germany, and the Czech Republic. He also heard stations in the Netherlands, Finland, Denmark, and Italy on digital modes and in the UK, Czech Republic, Denmark, and Italy on CW.

Fasching, who also has a 7.3-meter homemade dish, has uploaded recordings of some EME signals to his website, along with the results of tests with his small system.

Find more about Fasching’s setup at EME using small antennas – Hannes Fasching (OE5JFL)

Listen to this sci-fi sounding recording by Fasching of the EME signals:

 

Update on that unusual signal from a distant star

[ Update: As many suspected, it appears the signal was of terrestrial origin: Turns out the signal astronomers saw was “strong” because it came from Earth – Ars Technica.

+ Here is a brief video from Seth Shostak:

]

That odd signal from a star 94 light years away is fun to ponder but very unlikely to have been sent by an alien civilization. Here was the first report to hit the Internet: An Interesting SETI Candidate in Hercules – Paul Clister/Centauri Dreams

A candidate signal for SETI is a welcome sign that our efforts in that direction may one day pay off. An international team of researchers has announced the detection of “a strong signal in the direction of HD164595” in a document now being circulated through contact person Alexander Panov. The detection was made with the RATAN-600 radio telescope in Zelenchukskaya, in the Karachay–Cherkess Republic of Russia, not far from the border with Georgia in the Caucasus.

The signal was received on May 15, 2015, 18:01:15.65 (sidereal time), at a wavelength of 2.7 cm. The estimated amplitude of the signal is 750 mJy.

No one is claiming that this is the work of an extraterrestrial civilization, but it is certainly worth further study. Working out the strength of the signal, the researchers say that if it came from an isotropic beacon, it would be of a power possible only for a Kardashev Type II civilization. If it were a narrow beam signal focused on our Solar System, it would be of a power available to a Kardashev Type I civilization. The possibility of noise of one form or another cannot be ruled out, and researchers in Paris led by Jean Schneider are considering the possible microlensing of a background source by HD164595. But the signal is provocative enough that the RATAN-600 researchers are calling for permanent monitoring of this target.

No one has yet seen a subsequent pulse from the star and, as mentioned above, there are various background sources that could have generated the original signal. Here are some updates on the analyses and observations from other radio telescopes:

Video: Dave Rowntree (Blur drummer) gives “A hacker’s guide to satellites”

An intro to amateur satellite radio: Ham radio satellites at EMF –  Southgate Amateur Radio News –

Dave Rowntree 2E0DRV, drummer in the rock-band Blur, gave a presentation on amateur radio satellites at the Electromagnetic Field event in Guildford

Talk description: There are about a dozen communications satellites orbiting the earth that were designed and built by teams of amateur enthusiasts. Dave talks about what they are, how they got there, and how you can build simple equipment to listen to their transmissions.

Check out the HobbySpace Satellite Building and Space Radio sections for more info and web resources on the making of and radio communications with amateur satellites. (These sections need updating but still have lots of useful material.)

There is also a new AMSAT guide on amateur satellites:

Video: TMRO Space Pod – Amateur radio on the International Space Station

Below is a TMRO.tv Space Pod short report on students communicating with crew members on the Int. Space Station via its amateur radio station: Amateur Radio on the International Space Station – Space Pod 3/2/16 – TMRO

Students all over the world are talking to the space station using amateur radio. TMRO correspondent Lisa Stojanovski discusses how schools can get involved, and how an Australian, Tony Hutchinson, is helping it all happen.

See the recent posting here on astronaut Sunita Williams’ comments about the ISS ham radio station. As mention there, you can check the ARISS Amateur Radio on the International Space Station) website for info on how to arrange for your local school to have a ham radio session with the ISS.

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VIdeo: Sunita Williams talks about ISS amateur radio contacts with students

There is a ham radio station on the Int. Space Station that the crew members (many of whom  have amateur radio licenses) use to talk with hams on the ground. In addition, quite often there is an arrangement made with a school group that allows students to talk with and ask questions of the crew via the ham radio when the ISS is flying over the school’s area.

In this video, NASA astronaut Sunita Williams talks about the big impact that the ISS ham radio contacts with such class room groups had on her. Over 1000 such class room contacts have been made so far.

Find more about the ISS amateur radio program at the ARISS (Amateur Radio on the International Space Station) website. There is info there on how you can arrange for your local school to have a ham radio session with the ISS.