FUNcube-1 (AO73) Satellite Telemetry Download and Decode

9 years ago, on November 21st 2013, FUNcube-1 (AO-73) was launched from the Yasny launch base located in the Orenburg Region, Russia on a Dnepr Launch Vehicle into a 600 km, 97.8º inclination sun-synchronous orbit.
AO-73 carries a UHF to VHF linear transponder that has 300 mW PEP output and which can be used by Radio Amateurs worldwide for SSB and CW communications, and a VHF telemetry beacon.
Measuring just 10 x 10 x 10 cm, and with a mass of less than 1 kg, it is the smallest ever satellite to carry a linear transponder.

You can find a fabulous and interesting article here.

Communication subsystem:
• 145.935 MHz BPSK Telemetry 30/300 mW
• Inverting SSB/CW transponder 300 mW
– 435.150 – 435.130 MHz Uplink
– 145.950 – 145.970 MHz Downlink

The pass-band may be up to 15 kHz higher depending on on-board temperatures. Low temperatures give higher frequencies. The transponder is usually only active during night passes and at weekends. During holidays such as Christmas, New Year, Easter, the transponder maybe activated for extended periods.

What do you need to receive the 145.935 MHz Telemetry? Not much.
1. A USB SDR (Receiver), like this one.

2. A VHF antenna, preferably for satellites, like a QHA, or a 3 element Yagi.
3. The decoding software, from here.

If you are already familiar with SDR software and satellite tracking software, like Orbitron, we’ll move on to receiving this particular signal.
This is my experience:
– Set the modulation to USB;
– Bandwidth 2200Hz;
– I disabled the automatic Doppler tracking, and adjusted the frequency manually, eyeballing. Looks like the frequency was not spot on.

If you want to upload the data to AMSAT, you need to register here.
This will put your name on the hall of fame, at AMSAT-UK warehouse.

Watch the video to get practical.

One comment

  1. Este un articol minunat si interesant despre lansarea satelitului Funcube-1 (AO-73)! Pare sa fie destul de complicat sa decodifici semnalul, dar video-ul oferit face totul destul de simplu. Imi place ca te duce chiar inainte sa iti inscrii numele in lista de apreciere a AMSAT-UK. Cu siguranta merita sa indraznesti si sa incerci!

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