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Polish Radio Amateurs Receive 3D-Printed ARTSAT2: DESPATCH QSL Card


Michał Zawada, SQ5KTM, and a Polish team of radio amateurs who received signals from the ARTSAT2: DESPATCH (FO-81) spacecraft while it was more than 1.68 million miles from Earth have been rewarded with a QSL generated by a 3D printer. Zawada reported that the team heard FO-81 on December 9. One half of the “card” is a 3D depiction of the sculpture ARTSAT2 carried into deep space; the other half is a printed reception confirmation.

“The last signals received by us from ARTSAT2: DESPATCH were very weak, but clearly stood out on the waterfall diagram of the monitoring program,” he reported. “To avoid misinterpretation we asked for confirmation directly from the creators of the space probe — Tama Art University and The University of Tokyo.” Zawada said the data he and his team reported were analyzed, compared with the model and successfully authenticated, “and we have received confirmation with thanks.”

He said the team sent “gigabytes of data” to the operators of the ARTSAT2 and Shin’en-2 space probes for further analysis.

The Industrial Research Institute for Automation and Measurements (PIAP) loaned the use of its 4.5 meter parabolic mesh dish and the help of some employees to the project; the team used its own Amateur Radio equipment. “Preparations of our ground station took us almost 2 weeks, including some hours on a roof at freezing weather conditions,” Zawada reported.

ARTSAT2: DESPATCH and Shin’en 2 (FO-82) were launched on December 3 with the Hayabusa 2 asteroid sample-return mission. ARTSAT2: DESPATCH carried a 7 W CW transmitter on 437.325 MHz and included the first sculpture ever to be carried into deep space. The spacecraft transmitted for approximately 1 month before going silent.

Other radio amateur taking part in the week-long reception effort in Poland were SP5MG, SP5ULN, and SQ5RWU. Technical support was provided by SQ7GMO, SQ5DRC, and PIAP employees.





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