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Friday, November 23, 2018

The Max Valier Satellite Flies Over, Sending CW

I understand the launch of Farhan's CubeSat has been delayed a few days.  That's the way it works in the rocket launch biz --patience is required.  In the meantime, I've been practicing with my receive system.  Today at 1000 local the Max Valier satellite flew to my west.  It rose 78 degrees above my horizon to the W NW.  I left my three element quad pointed in that direction and waited for the satellite (which had been launched from India) to fly through its pattern.  

The CW beacon was quite strong, very visible and audible through my RTL-SDR dongle and HD-SDR software.  You can see it and hear it in the video above.  There is something quite charming about this very personal Morse message coming down from orbit and then passing through all that digital technology.   

More info on the satellite: 

"Max Valier Sat" is an amateur satellite built in cooperation by:
  • "Max Valier" High School in Bolzano/Bozen (Italy)
  • OHB System AG from Bremen (Germany)
  • Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics from Garching (Germany)
Its main payload is an X-Ray telescope devised and made by MPE. Data generated by this detector will be transmitted, together with housekeeping data, over an amateur radio link with frequency 145.860 MHz.
A second payload is an amateur radio beacon transmitting a message in Continuous Wave. The beacon's frequency is 145.960 MHz
"Max Valier Satellite" was launched by the Indian Rocket PSLV-C38 on June 23, 2017 at 9:29 am IST (05:59 am CET) from Satish Dhawan Space Centre.
More tech details: 
Regarding the CW beacon: 

Beacon by Holger Eckardt DF2FQ:

  • Transmit frequency is 145,960 MHz (IARU and ITU coordinated).
  • Modulation is CW:
    • Duration of one dot is 114 ms.
    • Duration of one dash is 342 ms.
    • Interval between words is 1881 ms.
    • Interval between repetitions of the message is 6000 ms.
  • The beacon transmits Max Valier Sat's call sign and a greeting message.
  • Transmitting power is 500 mW.

And who was Max Valier?  Quite an interesting fellow: 
Max Valier in his Rocket Car in 1930

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