Designed as a relay for the planned chinese Chang’e 4 misson to explore the far side of the Moon with a lander and a rover, the Queqiao probe has reached it´s final destination 60000 km behind the Moon. There it is in a halo orbit around the Langrangian L2 point of the Earth-Moon-system. So it won´t be covered by the Moon, seen from Earth.
The signal of the S-band beacon is audible at about 2275.225 MHz. The used equipment is HDSDR software with an RTL-SDR-Stick with a 13 cm ATV Converter (LO=916 MHz), 13 cm LNA (Kuhne) at a 23/13cm and a dualband ringfeed in a 3 m dish.
Queqiao also carries a radio astronomy experiment for low frequency exploration in collaboration with dutch ASTRON. During the fly-by at the Moon two microsatellites Longjiang-1 (DSLWP-A) and Longjiang-2 (DSLWP-B) were released, to enter orbits around the moon. These satellites carry a radio astronomy experiment as well as amateur radio payloads. While Longjiang-1 went lost, Longjiang-2 is operating and can be monitored in the 70 cm band.
After I noticed some spots for SR1KOL in JO74SE on 1296.960 MHz, I monitored the frequency using WSJT-X Wide Graph. About 400 Hz below the nominal frequency traces of a F1 signal can be seen, when airplanes cross the path to the beacon. The signal is not audible, but I am pretty sure, it is SR1KOL.
Traces of SR1KOL in JO74SE, “1000” = 1296.960 MHz. The strong signal at the very left is a birdie.
Some information can be found on the website of Polski Klub UKF: It is located on a high rise building in Kołobrzeg, 40 m above ground. The power is 3 W into a slot antenna. Beacon keeper is Andrzej, SQ1GU.
The video shows an A380 crossing the path between DJ5AR and SR1KOL. At minute 2:00 the plane crosses the first time and at minute 4:00 after a turn it crosses a second time. Mind the traces at 580 Hz in the waterfall diagram. The 1000 Hz mark corresponds to 1296.960 MHz.
Irek, SP5MX, who was involved in building the beacon and who repaired it recently, told me, the beacons reference is an OCXO withtout any GPS-lock. So possibly the beacon may transmit 400 Hz lower than defined.
At least in the morning of July 31st audible reflections could be heard via an Airbus A330. This time the 1000 Hz mark correspondents to 1296.9596 MHz.
After 10 seconds the noise becomes a kind of ‘musical’. Another 10 seconds later experienced ears can hear the tone.
In Mainz-Ebersheim haben sich die Weltraum-Kinder der Katholischen Kindertagesstätte St. Laurentius intensiv auf den Raumflug Ihres Astro-Alex vorbereitet. Auftakt war ein Blick auf den Mond an der Paul-Baumann-Sternwarte der Astronomischen Arbeitsgemeinschaft Mainz e.V., der Appetit auf mehr machte. Aktivitäten, wie ein Raumfahrer-Training, das Herstellen von Astronauten-Nahrung oder Experimente zum Einfluss des Horizonts auf Funkverbindungen mit Walkie Talkies, machte kleine Experten aus ihnen.
Heute besuchten sie dann meine Amateurfunk-Station, um gegen 12:32 Uhr Ortszeit zuzuhören, wie sich die Stimme Alexander Gersts aus dem Rauschen schälte, als die ISS sich im Westen über den Horizont erhob. Mit einem Blick aus dem Dachfenster vergewisserten sie sich, dass die Antenne auch brav die Bahn der Raumstation am Himmel verfolgte. Klar und deutlich hörten sie die Antworten auf die Fragen der Schüler, die ihnen von ihrer Erzieherin vorgelesen wurden, da die Schulen hinter dem Horizont nicht zu hören waren. Nach 10 Minuten verabschiedete sich Astro-Alex und seine Stimme verschwand wieder im Rauschen.
Frequenz: 145,800 MHz FM
Empfänger: YAESU FT-897
– 17 Element Yagi F9FT für ISS in Horizontnähe bei Auf- und Untergang
– 3 m Parabolspiegel mit 145 MHz Feed in AZ/EL-Montierung für den Überflug
When switching to 13 cm after monitoring GB3MHZ on 23 cm, I heard typical PI4 sound followed by a callsign in CW. So I learned, former GB3MHS changed the callsign to GB3MHZ and is transmitting in PI4 now.
This morning I had a look for DB0MFI, a new beacon on 1296.940 MHz in JN58HW. It is audible with 529 constantly via tropo and peaking 579 via aircraft scatter. The power is 5 W into a 4 times stacked big wheel antenna.
In the afternoon I went for it on 2320.940 MHz. Faint reflections on some airplanes were audible and traces could be seen in the waterfall of WSJT-X Wide Graph:
As can be noticed now, the fears, many Microwavers would prefer to go to the HAM RADIO fair in Friedrichshafen, were overdone. It was a nice contest and in the 23 and 13 cm sections I worked more stations than in the last contests in May and March, as well as in all previous microwave contests I participated in June before. As can be seen in the maps, my honey pot is the east.
QSOs on 23 cm in Microwave Contest June 2018
The signal levels were very strong and I managed to work HA5KDQ on 23 cm in SSB over a distance of 830 km via Aircraft Scatter (ODX). To be honest: I am sure, we would have been faster in using CW 😉
QSOs on 13 cm in Microwave Contest June 2018
Working on 13 cm was big fun and ODX was HG7F over 817 km in a quick QSO in CW (as usual). When I went to bed at night, I already had 22 QSOs on this band with an average of 457 km per QSO.
Hannes, OE3JPC, was so kind, to send an audio record of my signal on 13 cm.
First steps have been done on 3 cm. But there is a lot of potential for improvements.
So it was not really a problem to quit two hours earlier to attend a barbecue with the family.
Recently, when getting the WAC Award for 23 cm, I outed myself, not really being an awards collector. The other day some HAMs proudly presented the first WAE awards for FT8 only contacts on Facebook. So the question was, how far would I come with VHF and up. Surprisingly I found QSLs for 42 WAE countries and 100 band points, when checking my shoe boxes and the QSL systems in the Internet.
2018: WAE III, 100 of the 106 Band Points on 144 MHz to 2320 MHz
As electronic QSLs were involved, these had at least to be imported to the German “DARC Community Logbook”, short DCL, for the award application. It´s not my favourite, because there are problems to enter and store QSOs on the GHz bands. I asked the developer about and he mentioned, that it isn´t intended for. So I decided to interpret DCL as “Direct Current Log”. No wonder, there also was no way to delete the six embarassing shortwave QSLs, it had imported automatically.
It´s one of the rare moments in the life of a Radio Amateur, when his shack is cleared up. Beyond believe, everything was up and running 2 hours (!) before contest time. Being a kind of bewildered, I sorted the stuff on my desk. The amazing result can be admired in the photo I took hereafter.
Starting with a nice QSO with M1CRO in SSB on 23 cm, I tried the new 3 cm Equipment, mounted on the VHF/UHF pole. 1 W into a 50 cm dish should be enough to collect first experiences. Two QSOs over 100 km were entered to the log. Quite nice, but further tests showed, that the topography is not ideal to cover larger distances, without the help of e.g. tropo, aircraft or rain scatter.
QSOs on 23 cm in blue, on 13 cm in red
Then I had my focus on 1296 and 2320 MHz, as usual. At least 58 QSOs, 36 squares and 14 DXCCs on 23 cm and 32 QSOs, 25 squares and 10 DXCCs on 13 cm have been logged. ODX, as last year, was HG7F in JN97KR over 817 km on both bands. Having an easy exchange on 1296 MHz, it took us nearly 20 minutes of hard work to puzzle a QSO on 13 cm as well. I remeber, last year it was vice versa.