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Radio Amateur Hears Cassini Spacecraft


[UPDATED 2017-06-13@1445 UTC] Paul Marsh, M0EYT, has confirmed reception of the Cassini spacecraft, now in orbit around Saturn.

“I copied Cassini on 8,429.247035 MHz during its last radio occultation experiment, where the TX is carrier-only mode on S, X, and Ka bands,” Marsh told ARRL. “I was using my 2.4-meter antenna at the time.” Marsh said is homebrew downconverter is locked to a 10-MHz station reference, and SDR processing is done with the RF Space kit.

Launched in 1997, Cassini will crash into Saturn in early September. The research spacecraft, which carried the European Space Agency’s Huygens probe now on the surface of Saturn’s moon Titan, currently is executing about 2 dozen dives through Saturn’s rings. The Huygens probe separated from the orbiter in 2004 and transmitted data to Earth using the orbiter as a relay. This was the first successful landing in the outer solar system.

Marsh is heavily involved with satellite tracking and monitoring activities and is a contributor to the Amateur Deep Space Network (Amateur-DSN) Yahoo! Group. Marsh has described his Amateur Radio activities as having “been reduced to the odd VHF/microwave QSO.”