Satellite receptions with the Funcube Dongle

This page collects various amateur radio satellite and cubesat receptions carried out using the Funcube Dongle. The Funcube Dongle is a small USB-flashdisk sized software defined radio receiver for 67 MHz – 1.7 GHz intended to be the ground receiver for the FUNcube satellite by AMSAT UK. It is well suited as a ground receiver for low cost space communications.

The purpose with this page is to demonstrate on the air performance of the Funcube Dongle under similar conditions that are expected for the reception of the FUNcube satellite. This page will be update regularly until complete.

The receptions below were carried out using an Arrow II hand-held satellite antenna in RF quiet areas (outside big cities).

Satellite Transmitter Recordings
CUTE-1.7 + APD II 437.275 MHz, 100 mW CW Video
SEEDS-II 437.485 MHz, 90 mW CW Video
SWISSCUBE 437.505 MHz, 100 mW CW / 1W FSK Video
ITUPSAT-1 437.325 MHz, 100 mW FM CW Video
BEESAT 436.000 MHz, 100 mW CW / 500 mW GMSK Nothing heard so far.
KKS-1 437.385 MHz, ??? mW CW Video
PRISM 437.250 MHz, 80 mW CW Video
FO-29 435.795 MHz, 100 mW CW Video
VO-52 145.860 MHz, 1W SSB/CW
HO-68 435.790 MHz, 200mW CW Video
AO-51 435.150 and 435.300 MHz, FM

Other receptions carried out using standard VHF/UHF stationary beam antennas.

To be added…

First Impressions of the Arrow II Antenna

I heard about the Arrow II Satellite antenna quite some time ago and even seen a lots of videos about it on YouTube. Unfortunately, whenever I look for an opportunity to get one, I couldn’t find it anywhere in Europe. Until recently, when I learned by a coincidence that Antenna Warehouse is also shipping them to Europe! Didn’t have to think long before I decided that I can’t live without one and so I ordered one on July 21st, 2009.

The price I had to pay was a bit of an issue. Although the antenna costs $139, which I find very acceptable, the shipping and import costs from US to Denmark are usually a very traumatic experience. This time I only had to pay $39 for the shipping, which is fine, but then came the EU import duty and Danish VAT, which was an additional $70.

So was it worth the price? Well, let me see:

  • It took two and a half weeks for the antenna to arrive but this included one week delivery to Antenna Warehouse — they did not have it on stock just when I ordered. I find this delivery time acceptable given the circumstances.
  • Once I had the antenna in my hand, it took me less than 5 minutes to assemble it without looking at the instructions.
  • Shortly after the antenna was assembled for the first time I had a good VO-52 pass where I heard many EU stations up to S8 on my FT-817.
  • Before the pass was over FO-29 came within range in a very low pass (maximum elevation below 5 deg). Nonetheless I heard K3SZH working EU stations. Wow!
  • Later that day I had a good AO-27 pass with strong signals. I heard many voice contacts in the beginning of the pass until some packet came on and killed them all (don’t know if it was telemetry (see the video below).
  • The overall construction of the antenna looks very good. I would certainly place it in the high quality end of the scale. I was also happy about the packaging; The boom, the 2m elements and the 70cm elements were in three separate plastic bags.
  • Each element has a red end cap on each end that makes the antenna look good 🙂

So, yes, all in all I am very impressed with the Arrow antenna so far. Next step is to set up my FT-817 to transmit and try to have some contacts. More on that later!

Watch in full resolution.