As you probably already know the UNITEC-1 launch got scrubbed today (17th May). Fortunately, there is a launch window every day for the next few weeks.
During the last few days I learned that tracking UNITEC-1 will be very difficult because the available trajectory data can be very uncertain. Therefore, we decided to use a smaller antenna with wider beam width in the first few days after launch. One option was to mount the IKEA dish to piggyback the 7m dish, another option was to use a 90cm dish which is currently equipped with a 2.4 GHz feed. We decided to go for the second option.
TX antenna is microstrip patch, linear, assuming 5 dBi gain.
Our beam width is 0.5° and I assumed a pointing error no greater than 0.1° (very optimistic) giving a 0.4 dB pointing loss.
TBDs and TBCs
Measure the receiver noise floor, i.e. local interference contribution to sky temperature (important)
Re-assess sky noise taking expected solar noise, etc. into account
An optimistic estimate suggests that we should be able to receive UNITEC-1 up to 10-15 million km distance.
There is plenty of margin in the beginning and we can use a low gain antenna for initial acquisition. The IKEA dish has ~25 dBi gain and it could be used up to 1 million km where after the trajectory is hopefully well known.
With only a few days left until the launch of UNITEC-1 (May 17) to Venus, we are getting ready to track it and I am trying to catch up on the documentation part – this time a brief description of the receiver hardware.
Recall the system architecture where the 5.84 GHz RF signal is converted to 640 MHz using the KU LNC 5659 C PRO low noise down converter, and…
This article gives a high level walkthrough of the receiver used to convert the 640 MHz IF to digital baseband, i.e. the blue box called USRP in the above diagram.
On this page you will find a few software defined radio (SDR) examples implemented in the GNU Radio Companion aka GRC. They are very simple yet functional examples I created while I was learning GNU Radio and SDR. I hope other who are learning GNU Radio and SDR might also find them useful.
I was fooling around with the USRP / WBX on the 2 meter band tonight when I suddenly stumbled upon some very strong SSTV transmission. It turned out to be the OZ9STV robot located only a few kilometers from me. That explained why I had more than 40 dB SNR even though I was only using a bad whip antenna indoors.
Tuesday, April 13, 2010 we finally got a chance to test the 5.8 GHz receiver for the UNITEC-1 ground station on the air. The weather was nice and the weak wind allowed us to be on the roof and listen for the OZ7IGY beacon 40 km away.
Today I felt like doing an experiment that is not quite on my TODO list – a binaural CW receiver. A binaural CW receiver is a receiver that gives a spatial feeling while you are tuning. As I understand it, you have to use stereo where the signals move from one side to the other as you tune and are in the middle when you are tuned to the frequency.