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European Space Agency Issues Challenge to Radio Amateurs


The European Space Agency (ESA) is challenging radio amateurs (or anyone with appropriate receiving equipment) to hear the first signals from ESA’s OPS-SAT space software laboratory. The spacecraft is set to launch on December 17 into a low-Earth orbit from French Guiana. Once in orbit, the satellite will deploy solar panels and a UHF antenna and begin transmitting.

OPS-SAT will begin transmitting 15 minutes after deployment and after UHF antenna and solar array deployment has been confirmed. The OPS-SAT flight control team has developed open-source software that allows anyone to receive and decode the UHF beacon on 437.2 MHZ, 9.6 kB GMSK. A OPS-SAT UHF beacon reception form is available to report. The first three radio amateurs or listeners to receive at least five correctly decoded frames and submit them to ESA get an exclusive invite to the OPS-SAT Experimenter Day next March and a certificate. See the OPS-SAT Amateur Radio Information Bulletin page additional details. — Thanks to ESA