Thursday, March 6, 2014
OSCAR-11 / UOSAT-2 Celebrates 30 Years in Orbit
OSCAR-11, also known as UOSAT-2, was designed and built by a team of engineers at the University of Surrey in Guildford, Surrey, UK as the successor to OSCAR-9 / UOSAT-1 (see Hobby Electronics August 1981).
It was launched from the Western Test Range at Vandenberg Air Base, in Lompoc, California along with LANDSAT-5 on a Delta 3920 rocket on March 1, 1984.
OSCAR-11 was the most rapidly designed OSCAR, going from inception to launch in only five months. It was also the first amateur satellite to carry a digital communications package into Earth orbit, and the first to be controlled by a CPU running software written in the high-level programming language “Forth”.
OSCAR-11 carries beacons in three amateur radio bands.
The 145.826 MHz beacon transmits FM Audio Frequency Shift Keying (AFSK) 1200 bps ASCII data. It the early years it also transmitted a voice message from the digitalker experiment.
The 435.025 MHz beacon transmitted either 1200 bps FM AFSK or 4800 bps PSK data. This beacon was used to downlink information from the Digital Store and Readout (DSR) Experiment, which includes CCD Earth image data, results from the Particle Wave Experiment, and engineering data from the RCA COSMAC 1802 CPU.
The 2401.5 MHz beacon transmitted FM and PSK signals. Antenna polarization for all three beacon transmitters is left-hand circular (LHCP). Only the 145.826 MHz beacon is now operational.
Addition OSCAR-11 information
OSCAR-11 page on the DK3WN satellite blog at
SSTL Blog – Happy 30th Birthday to UOSAT-2
OSCAR-9 and OSCAR-11 TV News Reports
BBC Micro ASTRID UoSAT receiver and AMSAT-UK Software Library
HOW TO READ PROPAGATION NUMBERS
The A index [ LOW is GOOD ]
- 1 to 6 is BEST
- 7 to 9 is OK
- 11 or more is BAD
Represents the overall geomagnetic condition of the ionosphere ("Ap" if averaged from the Kp-Index) (an average of the eight 3-hour K-Indices) ('A' referring to amplitude) over a given 24 hour period, ranging (linearly) typically from 1-100 but theoretically up to 400.
A lower A-Index generally suggests better propagation on the 10, 12, 15, 17, & 20 Meter Bands; a low & steady Ap-Index generally suggest good propagation on the 30, 40, 60, 80, & 160 Meter Bands.
SFI index [ HIGH is GOOD ]
- 70 NOT GOOD
- 80 GOOD
- 90 BETTER
- 100+ BEST
The measure of total radio emissions from the sun at 10.7cm (2800 MHz), on a scale of 60 (no sunspots) to 300, generally corresponding to the sunspot level, but being too low in energy to cause ionization, not related to the ionization level of the Ionosphere.
Higher Solar Flux generally suggests better propagation on the 10, 12, 15, 17, & 20 Meter Bands; Solar Flux rarely affects the 30, 40, 60, 80, & 160 Meter Bands.
K index [ LOW is GOOD ]
- 0 or 1 is BEST
- 2 is OK
- 3 or more is BAD
- 5 is VERY VERY BAD
The overall geomagnetic condition of the ionosphere ("Kp" if averaged over the planet) over the past 3 hours, measured by 13 magnetometers between 46 & 63 degrees of latitude, and ranging quasi-logarithmically from 0-9. Designed to detect solar particle radiation by its magnetic effect. A higher K-index generally means worse HF conditions.
A lower K-Index generally suggests better propagation on the 10, 12, 15, 17, & 20 Meter Bands; a low & steady Kp-Index generally suggest good propagation on the 30, 40, 60, 80, & 160 Meter Bands.
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