Monday, July 28, 2014

No visual / Eggbeater Test

Over the weekend I successfully transmitted a packet to the cubesat using this eggbeater antenna and an old (version 1.0) Kenwood TH-77A handheld packet radio.  While I was only to get one packet through (at the peak of the elevation), this was a good indication that the buoy concept can work, particularly in lower latitudes.  I am spending a great deal of time (while the passes were overnight) assembling components to make a prototype buoy.  I will see if I can set this setup (above) up a little more permanently and leave it for unattended operation.  Parts are on order, don't know if I can get that far this week.

During this weekend's new moon I stayed up (very late) for 4 passes to see if I could see the LEDs on board blink.  I used automation to send the "blink" command every 20 seconds.  My laptop is too bright to use even on the lowest setting and would ruin my night vision.  I was able to use my I-pad and Samsung phone by locking them down to the lowest brightness and disabling "auto" brightness.  I also used some Baofeng cheapo handheld radios to monitor uplink and downlink in real time so I could "hear" what was going on.  I had one pass that was fairly clear (cutting down on the light pollution from the nearby elementary school and village of Randolph, which I have to look over to see the satellite from home), I was unable to see anything.  The other 3 passes were clear sky but enough fog/haze to increase the light pollution too much to clearly see stars.  I went out at least 30 minutes before the pass to make sure my eyes adjusted beforehand.  I would like to try again, seems like this won't be until mid September.

I am trying to get in the habit of creating blog posts, seems like there isn't enough time to do everything I want to do.

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