Hams Listen to Mars Science Laboratory Signal
As NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory was streaking away from Earth just seven hours after its November 26 launch, amateurs using the AMSAT-DL facility in Bochum, Germany eavesdropped on its 10 GHz telemetry signals.
At 21:45 UTC the spacecraft was about 70,000 miles from Earth, heading for a Martian rendezvous in August 2012. James Miller, G3RUH, remotely reconfigured the Bochum tracking and receiving system, aiming the 20-meter parabolic dish antenna toward the Mars Science Laboratory. According to Miller, the signal had a spin-modulation of +/- 3.5 Hz at 2 revolutions per minute.
The dish at Bochum is also used by AMSAT-DL to automatically receive real-time solar data from the NASA STEREO A / B satellites. The data is transmitted to a NOAA server in the USA via the Internet.