[amsat-bb] Funcube - an observation

John Papay fl at papays.com
Thu Jan 23 10:43:03 PST 2014

Most everyone knows about Funcube and how successful it has been.
If you look at the Funcube Warehouse page you will see that many
hams around the world are uploading data from the satellite every
day.  As of this morning I counted 493 different ground stations and
they have uploaded more than 1.15 Million data packets since late
November.  About half of the stations are located in the US and
Britain.  The other half are spread out around the world showing that
this is not just something that has interested those in the UK. Thirty-
three stations have each uploaded more than 10,000 packets!

In addition I have to give accolades to Mark Spencer, WA8SME, at the
ARRL for his excellent paper describing Funcube, its experiments and
how to receive it and make sense of the data.  Most everyone on the
birds asks about what antennas work best.  Mark seeks to quantify the
performance of some common antennas like the M2 circular polarized
beam, Arrows on rotors or fixed, with or without preamps, 5/8 wave
and 1/4 wave ground planes.  He does that by comparing the number of
packets received on each antenna during a pass.  The results are quite
interesting.  You can download the paper at: 

Mark is the reason that the Teacher's Institute has been so successful.  If
you operate on the satellites you probably have heard his student teachers
making contacts on the birds.  When he was living on the west coast he went
to DN01 and DN00 and put them on the birds for those of us that chase grids.
After moving to the east coast he has continued the work with satellites at
the League and has developed hardware for satellites including the 
FT817 interface
and most recently a portable az/el rotator system.  We see articles about
satellites in QST Magazine on a regular basis and I'm sure it is because of
his representation at the League.  The younger generation is the future of
AMSAT and Mark's work is certainly making a difference in terms of introducing
them to satellites.

The Funcube team and G6LVB have certainly encouraged our young people to get
interested in ham radio and satellites.  The Funcube SDR was a great fundraiser
and facilitated students in their quest to receive data from space and learn
from the experiments on board.  Congratulations to everyone involved in the
highly successful Funcube project.

John K8YSE

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