[amsat-bb] G0SFJ Telemetry equipment and project

andy thomas andythomasmail at yahoo.co.uk
Tue Sep 16 10:01:03 UTC 2014

Hi Jerry -You asked about stations receiving telemetry so I thought I'd respond. Maybe the wider community will be interested so I have decided to copy this to the -bb  - hope you don't mind.

Current Motivation

Currently in my retirement I'm a PhD student interested in the popular cultural discourse or practice of space exploration, and see qsl cards as records of this cultural discourse from an identified cohort who have access to space exploration. (You might like to see my recent abstract at www.cosmographies.co.uk) . The approach is based on Foucault/Derrida etc but I won't go on about that here.

As well as this PhD work,  I keep an archive or collection of cards and certificates about amateur satellites (broad definition) and obviously these cards are my own interactions. Mostly at the moment they are from the owners of telemetry-emitting cubesats, although my own mini-dx expeditions on the Fm birds are also recorded.  Therefore, what motivates me is to record the interaction - therefore I am biassed at the moment towards receiving and donating telemetry data that will result in some sort of record. My archive goes back to the 1990s. In the future I have at the back of my mind an idea to reflect on this archive, but haven't decided how yet.

Current equipment

My equipment is simple in that I do not have an az-el rotator. I think that is an expensive hiding to nothing as I've seen many reports about failure of this piece of kit. For my work it's not necessary. I receive data according to the method I have outlined within the BIS "Kicksat" project - see: 

http://kicksat.wordpress.com/support/kicksat-ground-station/ if it's still there.

I do have an ICOM IC-910 and I have recorded most of my transactions with it at my personal website http://www.andythomas.eu   .  This website (andythomasorg) as hosted by google is indexed in the Britsh Library catalogue under "popular science".

New direction

I have moved into using a Fun Cube Dongle Pro+ and sdr# to give a visual account of the telemetry - see for example my Polyitan-1 page on my website. I now calibrate the FCD Pro+ using an 80MHz TTL Oscillator on the desk, so the images will be precise as to time and rf frequency. I suppose that in this regard I am conscious of initiatives such as ARTSAT.


I hope that's given you some insight into the tremendous cultural potential of amateur satellites, and will encourage designers on the -bb to contnue to offer some acknowldgement certificate or card or something interactive, so that the significance of our efforts can be widely understood and appreciated.

73 de andy G0SFJ

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