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.


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.


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.


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

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