Getting Ready for RadFxSat (Fox-1B)

Introduction

RadFxSat (Fox-1B) is scheduled for launch on November 10, 2017. RadFxSat is one of four CubeSats making up the NASA ELaNa XIV mission, riding as secondary payloads aboard the Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS)-1 mission. JPSS-1 will launch on a Delta II from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California.

RadFxSat Flight Model

RadFxSat is a partnership with Vanderbilt University ISDE and hosts four payloads for the study of radiation effects on commercial off the shelf components. RadFxSat features the Fox-1 style FM U/v repeater with an uplink on 435.250 MHz (67.0 Hz CTCSS) and a downlink on 145.960 MHz. Satellite and experiment telemetry will be downlinked via the “DUV” subaudible telemetry stream and can be decoded with the FoxTelem software.

Launch and Early Orbit Phase (LEOP)

RadFxSat will launch at 01:47 PST (09:47 UTC) on November 10, 2017 from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California. At this time, pre-launch Keplerian elements are not expected to be available. However, based on the Local Time of the Ascending Node (LTAN) of the primary payload, 13:30, stations should expect to have their initial ascending passes starting around noon local time. The estimated time of “First Veronica,” the initial beacon after deployment, is 12:07 UTC. Due to the tight constraints on the primary payload deployment, the secondary payloads may be delayed slightly, so this should be considered the soonest the transmitter will be enabled. Orbital elements will be published as soon as they are available on the AMSAT website. Stations in Europe, South America, and North America should point your beams south and have FoxTelem running while awaiting the initial post-launch Keplerian elements.

Participation in telemetry collection by as many stations in as many parts of the world as possible is essential as AMSAT Engineering looks for successful startup and indications of the general health and function of the satellite as it begins to acclimate to space.

If you are capturing telemetry with FoxTelem please be sure that “Upload to Server” is checked in your settings, and that your “Ground Station Params” are filled in as well. You can help AMSAT and everyone waiting to get on the air with RadFxSat tremendously by capturing RadFxSat telemetry.

About 60 minutes after deployment, or 140 minutes after launch, the satellite will start up in Beacon Mode. In this initial mode, the transmitter is limited to 10 seconds on time and then will be off for two minutes. For those of you capturing telemetry, that means that you will only see Current frames and no High or Low frames. The High and Low frames are truncated as it takes just over the 10 second limit to send two frames. Veronica may also be cut off before she gets to say her whole ID string as the full ID, “RadFxSat Fox-1B Safe Mode,” is a bit longer than the approximately 3.5 seconds she has in Beacon Mode. If the voice ID is cut off, the satellite is still in Beacon Mode.

If AMSAT Engineering is seeing nominal values from the telemetry you gather, the satellite will be commanded from Beacon Mode to Safe Mode on the first good pass over the United States. In Safe Mode, the satellite transmits a full two frames of telemetry (one Current frame followed by, and alternating each ID cycle, a High or a Low frame). Veronica now has time to make the whole ID announcement in Safe Mode.

The on-orbit checkout procedure for RadFxSat is similar to Fox-1A/AO-85 and could be completed in as little as a few days if users cooperate. It is very important, and good amateur operating practice, to refrain from using the transponder uplink so the on-orbit tests can be performed, including when the satellite is switched into Transponder Mode for testing.

AMSAT will make it broadly known when the tests are complete and the transponder is available for all to use. If you hear someone on the transponder, please do not assume that it is open for general use – check AMSAT’s website, Facebook, and Twitter before transmitting to be sure you do not interfere with testing.

AMSAT asks all satellite operators to contribute just a little bit of your time by gathering telemetry, not using the transponder uplink, to help complete the last few days of getting RadFxSat operating for the amateur radio community.

Lots of hams put thousands of volunteer hours of their time into making RadFxSat happen. Just like any ham radio project you might undertake, AMSAT builds satellites. AMSAT volunteers do it because they like to, and when they are done, AMSAT freely shares their project with hams everywhere as is the spirit of amateur radio.

Thank you very much and see you on the bird!

Radio Programming Chart

RadFxSat (Fox-1B) Doppler Shift Correction
Memory Your Transmit Frequency(With 67 Hz Tone) Your Receive Frequency
Acquisition of Signal (AOS) 435.240 MHz 145.960 MHz
Approaching 435.245 MHz 145.960 MHz
Time of Closest Approach (TCA) 435.250 MHz 145.960 MHz
Departing 435.255 MHz 145.960 MHz
Loss of Signal (LOS) 435.260 MHz 145.960 MHz

Frequencies are subject to change after launch.

Source: https://www.amsat.org/getting-ready-for-radfxsat-fox-1b/