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Space Radio
Part 2

NOAA weather satellite image received by a
low cost PC based satellite station system.

This page provides a selection of links for general information about amateur Space Radio. In addition, there are resources concerning projects in amateur deep space radio, reception of natural radio signals (from the Aurora, electrical storms, etc.) and amateur radio astronomy.

Finally, there is a set links to radio equipment sites.


Amateur Space Radio Info

IARU: International Amateur Radio Union
The international organization for Ham radio enthusiasts.

AARL: American Radio Relay League
The premier American Ham radio organization.

Houston Amsat RealAudio Broadcasts
Listen to this weekly online broadcast for the latest on Amsat developments. See also the w0kie lists of other satellite related internet spacecasts.
Lots of useful information on tracking and monitoring amateur sats, weather sats, shuttles, ISS and MIR. Keplerian elements and other tracking data provided.

SpaceNews Index
The newsletter from John Magliacane with the latest info on amateur radio and satellites.

US Naval Academy Satellite Ground Station
Students at the US Naval Academy maintain this ground station. They also have a amateur radio station : W3ADO Midshipmen Amateur Radio Club and they have built several amateur radio hand satellites.

Space Hams
Short list of some space amateur radio enthusiasts:

More Radio & Satellite sites:
Miscellaneous Info

Radio Frequency Lists
Comprehensive lists spacecraft transmission frequencies are at

Deep Space Amateur Radio Reception
This section deals with amateur radio enthusiasts receiving signals from sources outside of earth orbit.

While radio amateurs have not yet sent an amsat to Mars or picked up signals from a NASA mission at Jupiter, they have managed to pick up signals from the moon missions and from a spacecraft on the way to Mars.

During the Apollo missions, amateur radio enthusiast picked up communications transmissions from the spacecraft in lunar orbit.

Recently, amateurs were able to receive signals from the Lunar Prospector spacecraft from its low orbit around the Moon.

SETI League Extra-Terrestrial QSL Cards - get a QSL card for a confirmed contact with a non-terrestrial radio source.

AMSAT P5-A: Amateur Mars Satellite
Communications with the amateur satellite heading to Mars will be the biggest challenge of the project. See this entry in the Satellite Building section for information on the probe's com system.

Voyager 1 Contact
AMSAT-DL was given control of a 20 meter radio dish observatory in Bochum and a 30 m one in Weilheimer. In March 2006 the group successfully picked up signals from the Voyager 1 spacecraft with the Bochum dish: VOYAGER 1 received by AMSAT-DL group - Southgate Amateur Radio Club - April.1.06 Voyager 1 is the most distant manmade object.

Here's a note in German about the accomplishment: Raumsonde VOYAGER 1 von Funkamateuren empfangen - Amsat Deutschland - Mar.31.06.

Note that the main goal for the big dishes is to use them to communicate with the spacecraft that AMSAT-DL plans to send to Mars: Go Mars - AMSAT-DL . See also the AMSAT P5-A entry in the Satellite Building section.

Mars/Venus Spacecraft Monitoring


Mars Relay Flight Test at JPL &
Stanford University Mars Relay Flight Test

During its flight to Mars, the Mars Global Surveyor did a test transmission of its UHF relay radio in the amateur band at 437.1Mhz. The relay was planned for communications between the MGS and small stations placed on the surface of Mars by other missions.

Hams were invited to participate in this test which occurred over three days in 1996 November 24. The spacecraft was about 6 million km from earth and used only 1.3watts.

Amateurs around the globe could "monitor the signal and measure its strength as a function of time (the spacecraft rotates every 100 minutes). This information will help JPL establish the functionality and performance of the Mars Relay prior to its use at Mars."

Moonbouncing (EME)
Ross Bateman (W4A0) and William L. Smith (W3GKP) successfully received radio signals bounced off the moon in 1953. Hams have continued playing with this challenging task.

This is also called EME for Earth-Moon-Earth communications.


FFTDSP - See weak signals with your PC and Sound Card
This commercial PC program from Mike Cook (AF9Y ) "...can detect weak radio signals in real time. - Uses the PC's soundcard and advanced signal processing techniques. - Extracts and displays weak signals from the receiver audio."

Jamesburg Earth Station
This large radio telescope was saved by an amateur group from destruction.

Sven Grahn
Sven Grahn's site includes a several pages on various deep space reception projects:

Other Resources

Natural Radio

NASA online VLF receiver
Now one can hear the sounds of near space in realtime with this online VLF reciever from NASA.

Stephen P. McGreevy's ground-based ELF-VLF recordings
Stephen McGreevy's home web site at the University of Iowa, USA, provides audio files, mostly in WAV format, of natural radio. Also, the site holds lots of introductory materials.
Latest News
Another McGreevy page at:

Space Sounds
This site is devoted to space generated sounds has become quite popular. It also includes speeches and other space related recordings. Check out the navigator, which makes it easy and fun to hear clips of various space sounds.

Dick Fergus (W9DTW) provides essentially an on line manual for building a PC based station to pick up SFERICS - electromagnetic pulses generated during severe electrical storms. He provides a list and description of the hardware requried and also he offers software to download.

The INSPIRE Project
The non-profit educational Inspire ("Interactive NASA Space Physics Ionosphere Radio Experiments") Project brings the sounds of Very Long Frequency (VLF) radio to thousands of students. Hear Whistlers and Tweeks and other atmospheric sounds. These can originate from lightning strikes but also from events in the magnetosphere 20000 miles above the earth.

"VLF radio emissions are at such low frequencies that they can be received, amplified and turned into sound that we can hear. Each of the natural VLF radio emissions has a very distinctive sound. It is fun to listen to natural VLF emissions."

Goddard Spaceflight Center leads this educational outreach program to encourage development of natural radio reciever stations in schools.

LWCA Longwave
Members of the Longwave Club of America present this up-to-date site on the latest happenings in longwave radio. Includes news, links, utility station listing, etc.

Longwave Club of America home page. Much more info,however, is available at the above LWCA Longwave site.

University of Florida Radio Observatory - UFRO Online
This site offers several space radio resources for public and educational use.

Meteor Detection
More Sites
Related HobbySpace

Amateur Radio Astronomy

Radio astronomy is usually considered a very advanced activity only carried out by research organizations at universities and government programs and using gigantic dishes like the one at Arecibo in Puerto Rico.

In fact, very interesting tasks can be undertaken by amateurs and students with modest sized dishes and support systems.

As reported by the Radio Astronomy FAQ at Radio-Sky Publishing, the tasks accesible to the amateur range from studying Jupiters ion storms to detecting signals from the galactic center to Meteor Observation to doing your own SETI quest.

Society of Amateur Radio Astronomers
This group of over 400 members was founded in 1981 and is devoted to radio astronomy by amateurs. Even with small dishes, amateurs can study solar activity, meteors, and even do imaging of celestial radio sources. Also, some members participate in SETI projects.

SARA involves people who want

".. to learn, trade technical information and do their own observations of the radio sky...The group consists of optical astronomers, ham radio operators, engineers, teachers and non-technical persons. Many of our members are new to the field of radio astronomy and membership is extended to all who have an interest in radio astronomy."

Education Resources

Radio Jove - Planetary Radio Astronomy for Schools
A NASA & Univ. of Florida project to involve schools in radio astronomy. Low priced ( ~$100) antenna kits are available for assembly and then used to gather planetary and solar radio astronomy data. Aimed at high school and introductory college science classes.

Radio-Sky Publishing
Devoted to amateur radio astronomy, this company offers a wide and deep array of resources on the field, with an orientation towards amateurs and students. Sections include:

Grote Reber
Grote Reber was a radio engineer and ham radio enthuisast who essentially created radio astronomy. He built the first dedicated radio telescope dish in his backyard in the 1930s.

He used the parabolic antennas in his backyward in Wheaton, Illinois to make comprehensive radio sky maps showing the locations radio noise sources across the sky. Thus began a long career devoted to radio astronomy and continue until his recent death at the age of 90.


More Resources

Radio Equipment


The Art of C. Sergent Lindsey


Satellite Handbook

Steve Ford
Amazon: US 

The Satellite Projects Handbook
Satellite Projects Handbook
Lawrence Harris - 1996
Amazon: US 
How-to book for setting up a satellite receiving station


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