Learning about ground stations

On Sunday 7 February, Daniel Sjöström and Sven Grahn paid a visit to radio amateur Lars Thunberg, SM0TGU, in Sollentuna outside Stockholm.

He specializes in receiving telemetry from radio amateur satellites, nowadays mostly Cubesats. He has an antenna setup for 2 meter (145.8-146.0 MHz amateur satellite band) och 70 cm (435-438 MHz amateur satellite band) that is programme steered, i.e. a computer calculates where the satellite is and points the antenna in that direction. The video clip below shows Lars’ antenna move.


SM0TGU_C

Lars (left) explaining to Daniel that all is done in the lap-top computer: demodulation, decoding, display of telemetry as well as steering the antenna.

SM0TGU_B

The heart of the set-up is the software-defined radio (SDR), in this case a “FunCube Dongle+” developed originally for the UK satellite FunCube-1.

SM0TGU_A

The lap-top doing all the work sits on top of the antenna controller.

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