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Arduino-powered probes ArduSats launched in space: Listen in to beacon

Signal caught by radio hams at 437MHz

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With ArduSat 1 and ArduSat X pushed out of the hatch of the International Space Station and now in orbit, the project's organisers are calling on people with radio kit to help track the tiny satellites.

The two Arduino-powered open-source cubesats were among four scheduled for ISS deployment this week. The other two are Pico Dragon, a joint project between IHI Aerospace and universities in Vietnam and Japan; and TechSatEd-3, which was developed by Ames Research Centre interns.

The ArduSats are broadcasting a beacon at 437MHz, and its operators, NanoSatisfy, want radio hams to listen out for the signals and report back. The beacons indicate battery condition and count the data packets received and sent by the satellites. The beacons are transmitted at a rate of 20 words per minute; ArduSat 1's callsign is WG9XFC-1 and ArduSat X is using WG9XFC-X.

Their masters ask that received beacons be sent in plaintext to nanosatisfi@gmail.com with the subject line “beacon”. Hams can also record audio and send it as an attachment to the same email address.

At least one of the satellites is orbiting and transmitting, since NanoSatisfy has received its first beacon report, five seconds of carrier wave from WD9GYO/VK2AAF, who also reported the catch from the Twitter account @weezmgk.

YouTube account Kennisnet shows the ArduSats and Picosat being released from the ISS, below. ®

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