Today I have spent some time trying the Funcube Dongle with Quisk SDR. The setup procedure was quite painless and the results very satisfactory: Using an Arrow II hand-held yagi connected directly to the FCD I could receive the HO-68 CW beacon with very good SNR.
Charles AA1VS has done some cool tweaking to the search functionality in the Gpredict satellite selector. Check out the video below to see how it works.
It looks like AMSAT is going to launch a new satellite! ARISSat-1 – the successor of SuitSat-1 – is ready to be launched on Progress-41P heading to the International Space Station on Friday, January 28, 2011. It will be deployed into its own orbit during EVA 27 currently scheduled for February 16. Once in orbit, it will slowly decay and eventually burn up in the Earth’ atmosphere. SuitSat-1 decayed after 7 months in orbit and that’s also a likely life time for ARISSat-1.
So, why is ARISSat-1 cool and why should we care?
Before getting my hands all dirty with adding UHD driver to Quisk, I decided to take it for a test drive using some pre-recorded samples. I have used a 250 ksps recording of the HO-68 / XW-1 linear transponder downlink that I have recorded on November 9, 2010 using the USRP and the RFX400 daughterboard.
Wednesday, November 10, Pete MI3EPN reported that he heard what sounded like FM transmissions on the lower end of the HO-68 / XW-1 linear transponder and it didn’t sound like ham radio operators making contact over a satellite. It was an interesting coincidence because I could remember that I have seen some FM-like signals while I was recording HO-68 on Tuesday evening but I thought it was some local interference.
Video recording of the HO-68 / XW-1 Chinese amateur radio satellite in linear transponder mode on November 9, 2010. Recorded using the Universal Software Radio Peripheral (USRP) with RFX400 daughterboard and GNU Radio software receiver.
The gqrx software receiver implemented with GNU Radio and Qt GUI is now taking shape and becoming useful. Yesterday evening I went to OZ7SAT and had the USRP+WBX connected to a real antenna tracking amateur radio satellites. The video below shows reception of the evening pass of HO-68, aka. XW-1.
The Sky at a glance time line view in Gpredict 1.3 is updating itself as time passes. This video demo shows this feature in highly throttled simulated real time mode as well as in manual time control mode.
A few APT images received from NOAA 18 and NOAA 19 yesterday. THe setup I used was the very same that I have described earlier. Click on images to see full resolution and image details.
After one year of development, bug fixing and testing we have decided that it was time to make a new release of Gpredict. This release features several new features such as the rewritten layout engine as well as lots of bug fixes.