New Amateur Radio FM Transponder CubeSat Now in Space


[UPDATED 2017-01-05@1324 UTC] The BY70-1 CubeSat launched on December 28 from the Taiyuan Space Launch Center in China, but in a lower orbit than intended. The satellite carries an Amateur Radio FM transponder.

BY70-1 was intended to go into a 530-kilometer (approximately 329-mile) circular Sun-synchronous orbit, but it appears the orbit is 524 × 212 kilometers, which will give the spacecraft an orbital lifetime of just a month or two.

Paul Stoetzer, N8HM, reported working Wyatt Dirks, AC0RA, through the FM transponder during the 1709 UTC pass on December 28. “Uplink requires precise frequency adjustment, and there’s a delay on the downlink, but the signal is strong,” Stoetzer said.

BY70-1 is a 2U CubeSat project for education and Amateur Radio. It features 3-axis stabilization and deployable solar panels. In addition to the FM transponder, BY70-1 has a camera, and images and telemetry are downloadable via a 9600 bps BPSK downlink. 

The uplink is 145.920 MHz, and the downlink is 436.200 MHz. AMSAT-UK has more information.

A guide on using the camera on the BY70-1 Amateur Radio satellite is available. For BY70-1, an open telecommand allows radio amateurs to send commands to take and download an image. Also see the article by Daniel Estévez, EA4GPZ/M0HXM: “Looking at BY70-1 Image Downlink.”