[amsat-bb] Fox-1A today...

Patrick STODDARD (WD9EWK/VA7EWK) amsat-bb at wd9ewk.net
Fri Oct 9 05:53:56 UTC 2015


It was fun to see the launch this morning on NASA TV,
even though there were too many clouds around the launch
site to let me see any of the launch from outside my
house here in the Phoenix area. Then I loaded the FoxTelem
software on my Windows 10 tablets during the day at my
office (along with Java), along with using my FUNcube
Dongle Pro+ instead of my SDRplay SDR receiver, and tried
copying some telemetry on a couple of passes tonight.

The first pass, just after 0120 UTC, was a 13-degree pass
here. I copied the voice announcement about the satellite
being in safe mode, and a couple of data packets. I did
not have Upload to Server selected (who reads the manual,
when there's a new satellite to hear?!). I also ran HDSDR
during this pass, so I could make an RF recording at the
same time. I was able to play the HDSDR RF recording in
FoxTelem to get my two data packets up to the server.

The pass just after 0300 UTC was the best of the passes
tonight. Again, FoxTelem and HDSDR on the tablet, and a
57-degree pass. For this pass, the voice announcement
wasn't saying anything about safe mode, but I only copied
one data packet. This time, it was uploaded to the server
automagically. HDSDR made an RF recording. This time,
the CPU on my 1 GB RAM 8-inch tablet was pegged at a few
points in the pass. This leads me to believe I'm OK with
either FoxTelem or HDSDR, but not both. HDSDR can make
the RF recording in real time, then I can just play it
in FoxTelem without needing to deal with virtual audio
cables or (for some computers) Stereo Mix to pass the
audio from one program to the other.

I had one more shallow pass, around 0448 UTC, with a
maximum elevation of 8 degrees. After seeing that the
transponder was activated until 1000 UTC, I left the
SDR stuff inside, and took a couple of HTs outside with
me (KG-UV9D, KG-UV8D) with my Elk antenna. I heard the
voice announcements every couple of minutes, but never
heard anyone through the satellite during this pass. I
had the KG-UV9D connected to the Elk, and an audio
splitter to feed an earpiece and my Sony audio recorder.
Since I was not able to hear myself - or anyone else -
talking through the satellite, I did not connect the
KG-UV8D to the antenna. That will come soon enough,
hopefully - along with a few other radios that don't
work full-duplex with SO-50, but may work fine with
Fox-1A that way.

The two RF recordings from the earlier passes, the MP3
audio recording from the late pass, and lots of photos
and screengrabs were uploaded to my Dropbox space. Some
of the photos show the settings I used in FoxTelem and
HDSDR. Those files are located at:


Look for the folder "20151009-AO85_Fox1A" for these files.

(refresh the page or hit F5, if my Dropbox public folders
don't come up straight away)

You can run both FoxTelem and HDSDR at the same time,
provided they use the same center/LO frequency and HDSDR
has an input bandwidth of 192000 (192 kHz) from the FUNcube
Dongle Pro+. A computer with more CPU horsepower should
not have issues with these two programs running at the
same time, but the Windows 10 tablets may have occasional
challenges. Thanks to Chris Thompson for quickly answering
my e-mail question about the bandwidth FoxTelem uses when
receiving data from a FUNcube Dongle Pro+! I have previously
run the FUNcube Dashboard and HDSDR at the same time, as
long as I kept the two programs in sync with the same center
frequency and input bandwidth.

This was a great day for AMSAT, and for satellite operators
around the world. Almost 6 years to the day the AMSAT Fox
project was unveiled at the 2009 AMSAT Space Symposium in
Baltimore (that happened on 10 October 2009 during the
annual general meeting), we now have the first of a series
of Fox-1 satellites in orbit. Some have even been able to
talk through the satellite, with many more hearing the
voice announcements and copying telemetry. Congratulations
to all who have had a hand in building and launching
Fox-1A today, and thanks to everyone who has supported the
Fox project over the past 6 years!


Twitter: @WD9EWK

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