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Early Transponder Activation Set to Mark FUNcube-1’s First Birthday


The FUNcube team has announced that it will activate the FUNcube-1 satellite’s Amateur Radio transponder a bit earlier than usual — late on Thursday, November 20 — to mark the occasion of the satellite’s first year in space. Users have been invited to post stations worked or any comments on the FUNcube Forum under the existing “FUNcube-1’d Birthday” thread under the Welcome heading. FUNcube-1 is the first spacecraft to have a primary mission of educational outreach and the smallest ever to carry a linear Amateur Radio transponder.


A Russian Dnepr rocket carried FUNcube-1 — subsequently designated as AO-73 — and 18 other satellites into orbit on November 21, 2013, at 0710 UTC, and the first signals were received by ZS1LS in South Africa at 0737 UTC, who was able to upload the resulting data to the Warehouse for all to see immediately. Since then, the AO-73 teams said, the satellite has been performing well. The battery voltage doesn’t drop below 8 V, and the batteries become fully charged within 10 minutes after the satellite re-enters sunlight from eclipse.

AO-73 carries an inverting SSB/CW transponder, with an uplink passband at 435.150 to 435.130 MHz LSB, and a downlink passband at 145.950 to 145.970 MHz USB. The AO-73 team requests that users run no more than 5 W to a 7 dBi gain antenna. When it’s in sunlight, the satellite’s beacon runs 300 mW. In eclipse it runs just 30 mW.

The 73 on 73 Award, organized by Paul Stoetzer, N8HM, is still available for working 73 different stations through AO-73.

The FUNcube team has expressed its gratitude to the Amateur Satellite community for uploading telemetry data to the online warehouse. “This telemetry data is invaluable, both as an educational resource and to enable us to see how the spacecraft systems are performing and surviving,” the team said. “So far we have collected almost 400 MB of unique data via stations from all around the world.” The telemetry downlink frequency is 145.935 MHz (BPSK).

FUNcube-1 is a 1U cubesat built and launched as a collaborative effort among AMSAT-UK, AMSAT-NL, and ISIS-BV. The satellite’s primary function is educational outreach, utilizing onboard experiments, an easy-to-copy 1200 baud BPSK beacon, an innovative SDR receiver (the FUNcube Dongle), and telemetry decoding, archiving, and display program (FUNcube Dashboard). — Thanks to AMSAT News Service via AMSAT-UK




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