Thursday, May 27, 2010

5 Years of HAMSAT - an interaction with ISRO.

On the occasssion of HAMSAT (VO-52) completing five years in orbit ISRO-ISTRAC had invited some members of AMSAT India and general Users of HAMSAT to attend the HAMSAT MMB (Mission Management Board) and user meet at ISTRAC , Bengaluru.

Senior officials from ISAC and ISTRAC addressed the gathering. Data was shared on the five years of operations of the HAMSAT and the data shows that the satellite is in good health and will provide many years of service to the Amateur radio community. We were also introduced to the people behind HAMSAT - and it was an eyeopener!!!! So many departments and divisions who have helped make HAMSAT and keeping tabs on its health.

The officials are very happy with the performance and usage of HAMSAT and are happy with the fond title HAMS have given HAMSAT - "THE DARLING OF AMATEUR RADIO OPERATORS"

I had the opportunity to make a presentation on OSCAR's and HAMSAT usage. The presentation had information on what as OSCAR means to a HAM, what interested them to take up communiation through satellites, the equipment and station setup requirements, the limitations, shack and equipment phots, etc which was well received.

SWL Ganeshan from AMSAT India who is the designer of the HAMSAT II Xponder presented his design to the ISRO audience and also shared inititial information on his cubesat transponder which is under development.

VU2WMY, Mani of VU2URC presented future plans for payloads with Amateur Radio capability and the possible elevation slots and its effective coverage - which was interesting

We had a guided tour of the Tracking and command facilities at ISTRAC and understood how the Tracking,Telemetry and command is done for the satellites including HAMSAT. This was really impressive and the infrastructure truly world class.

We were well taken care of - fantastic lunch, snacks and hospitality.

I would like to thank ISRO- ISTRAC for this oppurtunity,hospitality and Upagraha Radio club (VU2URC) for their help.

Hams who attended the meet were - VU2UV, VU2POP, VU2RMS, VU2PCP, VU3STJ, VU2SWG, VU2GUR, VU2ABS, VU3TYG, VU3BJZ, VU2GZ, VU2DPE, VU2RVJ, VU2WMY, VU3PSZ and other HAMS working with ISRO.

Saturday, May 22, 2010


Popularly called the “SAT-Guru” – OM Guru has been active on the Satellites for a decade now – starting under the tutelage of OM Bindu – VU2IR (SK) during 2000.

He has at present worked through 8 Satellites with more than 2000 QSO’s and has recorded and reported reception of the Digitalker aboard FO-29. The Impressive list of satellites and the number of stations contacted are :

UO-14 – 35 VU + 5 DX = 1137 QSOs
SO-35 – 13  VU + 7 DX = 90+ QSOs
SO-50 – 4 VU + 1 DX = 15 QSOs
AO-51 – 25 VU + 20 DX = 235 QSOs
VO–52 – 44 VU + 8 DX = 525 QSOs
SO-67 – 3 VU + 2 DX = 7 QSOs
HO-68 – 7 VU + 4 DX = 11 QSOs.

He has contacted the following DX countries:
Thailand, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia and ND9M both from the International Waters and from Diego Garcia.  

He uses a FT-2600 M VHF Base and a FT – 530 UHF handy for both terrestrial and satellite use.

He has a set of four Antennae – 2 for VHF and 2 for UHF

1  VHF - Slim Jim for Vertical polarisation                   1 VHF - Dipole for Horizontal polarization                       

2 UHF - Slim- jim and Dipole on the same mast - seperate cables.

He has been instrumental in coaxing a lot of us into taking to the BIRD HUNTING – working the OSCARs.

Thanks Guru – “SAT-GURU” for showing us that we too can work the OSCARs with simple setup – a lot of dedication – and a Zeal to learn.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

AO-51 Schedule for the Month of May

May 17 - May 30

FM Repeater, V/U
Uplink: 145.920 MHz FM
Downlink: 435.300 MHz FM
67 Hz PL Tone Required

3, Drew KO4MA

AMSAT-NA VP Operations

Source :

Friday, May 7, 2010


I recently had an idea of running a series of posts giving details of the station setups of the HAMS frequently or regularly working through the OSCARs.

The main intention is to spread the awareness of the basic requirements required to work the OSCARs.  It is also to dissolve any misconcept Hams may have as regards the expertise required to establish contacts through the OSCARs.

I therefore requested a few of the HAMs to send in their station details so that we can create a comparative catalogue of different working setups and their success stories.

First is this series is from OM Jayant - VU2TQC.

Rigs used are:-

a) Yeasu FT 60R ( Dual Band VHF/UHF Handy; max. power output 5w).
b) ICOM 2200 (VHF Rig, max power output 65 watt)

The antennas which he uses are:-

VHF:- 5/8 (from VU2GT), di-pole (home brewed using stainless steel radio whip)
UHF :- Slim Jim (home brewed using 5 mm brass rod), dipole (home brewed using 6mm aluminum rods)

The dipole on top - the slim jim suspended from the cross boom

He has been having QSOs through satellites using di-poles in case of overhead or near overhead (65 degrees and above). For other lower angle passes, he uses the slimjim for UHF and 5/8 for VHF.  He has worked on VO-52, AO-51, SO-50 quite regularly and has had successful QSOs with DX stations - EX8MLT KYRGYSTAN and UK8GDW UZBEKISTAN.  One big advantage being in the cetral part of the Indian sub-continent.

And this is the operator operating from his rooftop - with a beam.

You will be able to follow his Satellite activity on on his blog (Click Here to go to his Blog)

Thanks Jayant for sharing your details.  I am sure this will be of motivation to others who want to come on the OSCARs

Birthday Luck??????????

Call it Birthday Luck???????

on 5th May, 2010 - the 5th Birthday of our beloved satellite - HAMSAT - VO52, we were lucky to have an overhead pass @ 2113 IST - 85 deg peak elevation. 

My VHF Moxon has become a inverted vee MOXON :( Birds sitting on the horizontal elements have bent the elements downwards when the fly off.  I have not been able to bring down the antenna and rectify it.  In this situation, the only hope of working the satellite was with rubberducky from the roof.  Luckily, it was a clear - non rainy - evening . 

Up on the terrace, (I am lucky to have a near - clear visibility allround) I gave it a shout - and I had a 59+ report QSO with VU2GUR and later on I got reports that I was going through 59 to VU2DPE and VU3STJ.

Thank you HAMSAT - for giving me a real memorable experience on your BIRTHDAY - goes to show no sophesticated setup is really required to work the BIRDS.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010


HAMSAT- VO-52 Celebrates 5th Successful year in Space - AND GOING STRONG

Heres Wishing one of the Most Popular and Successful of the OSCARs - HAMSAT - VO-52 - The PRIDE of INDIAN HAMS - A VERY HAPPY BIRTHDAY - In Space.

During the last one year, since I started working the OSCARs - I have had many successful QSO through the HAMSAT and found that the signals are more stable and accessible compared to other Sats at the same angle of elevation.

I am sure that this Bird will have many more years of successful and active passes.


I thank all those who were part of the planning, testing, integration, launch and operation of the HAMSAT. Special thanks to AMSAT-INDIA and ISRO for taking up this cause that has put INDIA on the OSCAR Map.

Eagerly awaitng the HAMSAT - II

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Student satellite set to soar

The Bangalore Edition of the Times of India, dtd 28th April, 2010 had this report on the STUDSAT

Copied from the e-paper site of the Times of India. Unfortunately the Launch of the statellite has been postponed from the scheduled date of 9th May, 2010 due to some technical fault detected in the launch vehicle.  News on the rescheduled date is awaited.

Student satellite set to soar

Srinivas Laxman | TNN

Mumbai: On Wednesday morning, a unique Indian satellite that will rocket Indian education into a higher orbit will leave the Isro Satellite Centre in Bangalore and move to Sriharikota for integration with the four-stage Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) for launch on May 9.
    What makes this spacecraft called StudSat unique is that it is India’s smallest satellite weighing just around 850 grams designed and developed by about 40 undergraduate students of seven engineering colleges in Bangalore and Hyderabad. Of the seven, four are in Bangalore and three in Hyderabad. StudSat’s departure from Bangalore to Sriharikota coincides with a conference on small satellites to be held on April 28 at the satellite centre.
    StudSat, a portmanteau for student satellite, has been classified as a picosatellite which weighs between 0.1 and 1 kg. StudSat will be launched along with the indigenous Cartosat-2b satellite, Alsat, a satellite from Algeria, and two tiny satellites from the University of Toronto.
    StudSat will be the second Indian student satellite to be launched by Isro in the past one year. On April 20, 2009, the 40-kg Anusat designed and developed by the Chennai-based Anna University was placed in orbit. The dif
ference between Anusat and StudSat is that while the former is a microsatellite which weighs between 10 kg and 100 kg, the latter is the country’s first picosatellite. In plain terms, it means that it is the smallest satellite to be launched by India.
    Chetan Dikshit, a student of the Bangalore-based Nitte Meenakshi Institute of Technology, one of the key participating institutions in the space
programme, told TOI the size of the satellite is 10cm x 10cm x 13.5cm. “Once launched, it will be placed in a 700-km sun-synchronous orbit and will have a mission life ranging between six months and two years. The project cost was Rs 55 lakh,’’ he said.
    With the increasing demand for miniaturization in space systems, there is a great need to develop a low-cost mission which can accomplish the
goals of bigger satellites. Space experts said it is in this context a project like StudSat assumes significance.
    Dikshit, who is in charge of the project and finance management of the programme, said the main role of the tiny satellite will be remote sensing and imaging the Earth with a 90-metre resolution. Its only payload is a camera. Last week, the satellite was subjected to rigorous prelaunch tests at Isro’s Satellite Centre and it came out with flying colours, he said.
    Project director for StudSat, Jharna Mazumdar, said a ground-tracking station has been set up at the Nitte Meenakshi Institute of Technology, which is already tracking 250 satellites.
    Jharna, a former DRDO scientist who teaches Computer Science at the Nitte Meenakshi Institute of Technology, and its R&D dean, said the cost of setting up an R&D centre, a clean room and the ground station at the college premises was Rs 45 lakh. All the three units are connected to the StudSat project.
    What made them rembark on the space mission? Dikshit said: “We thought it would be a unique space venture. Space is, after all, still an untouched subject in India. We hope this mission will inspire students to opt for a career in space since it has provided them a hands-on experience in space technology,’’ he added.

SPACE ODYSSEY: A student of Bangalore’s Nitte Meenakshi Institute of Technology explains to space sage Prof U R Rao the features of StudSat, which will be launched from Sriharikota on May 9. Seven colleges — four from Bangalore and three from Hyderabad — have built the satellite at a cost of Rs 55 lakh