The ground station is on it’s way

Ground station development has made huge progress. We have made a list of needed components for a working VHF/UHF ground station that will be able to both transmit and receive on these amateur frequency bands. Also automatic satellite tracking will be possible. The first parts will arrive this week if everything goes according to the plan. The total price for a ground station will be around 5000€, the most expensive parts being the radio, (ICOM IC-910H, 1400€)  and the rotor (BigRAS, 1600€).

The ground station will be located  on the fourth floor of the Department of Radio Science and Engineering. The roof has housed a ground station before: On the roof we could find an old mast with rusty motors, 2m crossed Yagi, 70cm helix and a linear Yagi for some higher frequency.

The operation of the former ground station is in a shroud of mystery. The story tells that the former Laboratory of Space Technology used the antennas to receive telemetry data from a weather satellite during a laboratory course in the beginning of 90’s. The ground station was also used with P3D amateur satellite that was launched in 2000.

We have decided to join the GENSO – a network of HAM and university satellite ground stations. GENSO connects separate ground stations by relaying recorded audio files from a radio station to another. This allows every cubesat team to hear and control their satellite regardless of the satellites position on the sky. Future development include the S-band reception and research on the software defined radio.

The digital data can be demodulated by connecting the receiver standard PC soundcard’s microphone line and demodulating it with a suitable program. Fldigi is one of such software packages. Youtube video and a laptop speaker and microphone seem to offer high enough audio quality to enable correct demodulation of the simplest modulations.

You can try Fldigi out while waiting for more news:
Gpreditc: multi-platform satellite tracker
Orbitron: satellite tracker for Windows