Ham Radio Operator Finds Lost NASA Satellite

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WildBill
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Ham Radio Operator Finds Lost NASA Satellite

Postby WildBill » Thu Feb 01, 2018 12:18 pm

Scott Tilley, an amateur radio operator from Canada discovered signals from a NASA weather satellite
that NASA lost contact with in 2005.

Pretty cool stuff!

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/ins ... 92723dacc2

http://www.arrl.org/news/canadian-radio ... -satellite
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Re: Ham Radio Operator Finds Lost NASA Satellite

Postby flechero » Thu Feb 01, 2018 2:09 pm

Fascinating! But kind of scary that NASA could lose it for 12 years and some regular Joe finds it. Hidden in plain sight comes to mind.

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Re: Ham Radio Operator Finds Lost NASA Satellite

Postby Keith B » Thu Feb 01, 2018 5:25 pm

flechero wrote:Fascinating! But kind of scary that NASA could lose it for 12 years and some regular Joe finds it. Hidden in plain sight comes to mind.


He's really not a regular Joe. He is an electrical engineer, so probably has as much or more knowledge in the field of radio as many of the NASA engineers these days. I have found those types that have a passion for a field may be way more smarter than them thar rocket scientists at NASA. ;-)
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Re: Ham Radio Operator Finds Lost NASA Satellite

Postby Pilgrim » Thu Feb 01, 2018 6:33 pm

He should get a finder's fee :shock:

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Re: Ham Radio Operator Finds Lost NASA Satellite

Postby Flightmare » Thu Feb 01, 2018 6:51 pm

Pilgrim wrote:He should get a finder's fee :shock:


At the bare minimum, a QSL card from NASA
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Re: Ham Radio Operator Finds Lost NASA Satellite

Postby Liberty » Thu Feb 01, 2018 7:01 pm

:smash:
This wins the comment of the day award!
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Re: Ham Radio Operator Finds Lost NASA Satellite

Postby Keith B » Thu Feb 01, 2018 7:10 pm

Flightmare wrote:
Pilgrim wrote:He should get a finder's fee :shock:


At the bare minimum, a QSL card from NASA


I have three QSL cards from NASA and one from the Russian Federal Space Agency I am pretty fond of. One from Skylab, two from the Space Shuttle, and then one from the Russian space station MIR. I have more contacts than that, but that's the cards I have. One of the shuttle contacts was with an astronaut that I was friends with, so that one is extra special.

I was actually one of 2 HAMS that set up the first SAREX (Shuttle Amateur Radio EXperiment) school contact in Missouri. We made contact on VHF radio before the shuttle cleared the horizon (ducting) and continued until it was a little below the horizon on the pass. The pass was almost directly overhead, so it was a nice long duration for us!!
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Re: Ham Radio Operator Finds Lost NASA Satellite

Postby troglodyte » Fri Feb 02, 2018 7:36 am

Does he get to keep it?
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Re: Ham Radio Operator Finds Lost NASA Satellite

Postby Gunner4640 » Fri Feb 02, 2018 8:10 am

Flightmare wrote:
Pilgrim wrote:He should get a finder's fee :shock:


At the bare minimum, a QSL card from NASA

I have a qsl from MIR Space station R0MIR I caught them 2 times in one day.
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Last edited by Gunner4640 on Fri Feb 02, 2018 10:10 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Ham Radio Operator Finds Lost NASA Satellite

Postby EL29jm » Fri Feb 02, 2018 8:57 am

Keith B wrote:I was actually one of 2 HAMS that set up the first SAREX (Shuttle Amateur Radio EXperiment) school contact in Missouri.


Part of a team with the Clear Lake Amateur Radio Club (CLARC) who setup a contact with the Space Station for IMAX. I setup the antenna at the Seabrook Intermediate school (simple vertical, Diamond). What made it unique, main radio at the Gilruth Center at NASA using the club's W5RRR (array with azimuth/elevation tracking) with cross band repeat to another radio at the school. We had a good horizon-horizon tracking for the contact during the filming of the movie for the contact. Interesting in the movie, testing the setup and you will hear "AB5A". It was only a test but the movie leaves you to believe it was a contact with the station. You also see the kids talking to the astronauts on the Station. Pretty cool, and fun doing that for the kids and the Movie.
Also, in memory of Nick Lance KC5KBO SK, a great ham who lead the effort.

Now back to the topic, interesting that the guy was able to locate the Satellite and from an article they were scrambling to find some of the code to run some restart patterns. Batteries probably shot and as they degrade will have a little spark of life before they are gone forever, sadly will be a short endeavor.

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Re: Ham Radio Operator Finds Lost NASA Satellite

Postby flechero » Fri Feb 02, 2018 10:08 am

Keith B wrote:
flechero wrote:Fascinating! But kind of scary that NASA could lose it for 12 years and some regular Joe finds it. Hidden in plain sight comes to mind.


He's really not a regular Joe. He is an electrical engineer, so probably has as much or more knowledge in the field of radio as many of the NASA engineers these days. I have found those types that have a passion for a field may be way more smarter than them thar rocket scientists at NASA. ;-)


I just meant "regular Joe" in the sense that he didn't have NASA's equipment, clearances and gov't backing... Clearly he's a smart guy and passionate about his hobby. :tiphat:

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Re: Ham Radio Operator Finds Lost NASA Satellite

Postby Pawpaw » Fri Feb 02, 2018 12:17 pm

troglodyte wrote:Does he get to keep it?

I'm sure he can, if he goes and gets it. :biggrinjester:
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Re: Ham Radio Operator Finds Lost NASA Satellite

Postby Keith B » Fri Feb 02, 2018 1:40 pm

EL29jm wrote:
Keith B wrote:I was actually one of 2 HAMS that set up the first SAREX (Shuttle Amateur Radio EXperiment) school contact in Missouri.


Part of a team with the Clear Lake Amateur Radio Club (CLARC) who setup a contact with the Space Station for IMAX. I setup the antenna at the Seabrook Intermediate school (simple vertical, Diamond). What made it unique, main radio at the Gilruth Center at NASA using the club's W5RRR (array with azimuth/elevation tracking) with cross band repeat to another radio at the school. We had a good horizon-horizon tracking for the contact during the filming of the movie for the contact. Interesting in the movie, testing the setup and you will hear "AB5A". It was only a test but the movie leaves you to believe it was a contact with the station. You also see the kids talking to the astronauts on the Station. Pretty cool, and fun doing that for the kids and the Movie.
Also, in memory of Nick Lance KC5KBO SK, a great ham who lead the effort.

-AJ5TT


The 4th grade science teacher at the school had gotten a Christa McAuliffe grant from NASA to set up an amateur radio station. I was involved in AMSAT in Missouri. She contacted me and I helped her choose the equipment and worked with the set-up. The station was a TS-711A 2 meter and TS-811A 70 centimeter pair. We had a 14 element Yagi-Uda antenna for VHF, sitting on a Yaesu G-5500 rotator. We used KC Tracker software with the W0SL software to make the antenna flip over so it would track completely through a pass off a north elevation pass. Roy Welch W0SL was big in AMSAT and was also a friend and coworker at my company and he came down on the day of the contact to help. I kinda knew John Nickel, WD5EEV over the SAREX project at NASA through AMSAT, so coordination was easy with him for the school. We used my 160 watt VHF amp and 10 watts of drive. Made the contact clean!! Was a lot of fun that day!! Other contacts made from home were always satisfying. The astronaut I knew had grown up not far from where I was living. Here is a picture of her operating from the shuttle. I believe this is a different mission than when I contacted her.

Image
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Re: Ham Radio Operator Finds Lost NASA Satellite

Postby oohrah » Sat Feb 03, 2018 8:51 am

Like astronomy, there is so much out there, the professionals cannot possibly look for or research everything that's happening. That's there are always opportunities for serious amateurs to make real contributions, and without a lot of fancy equipment.

Satellite orbits are highly predictable, and despite what your read in spy novels, cannot be maneuvered to change their basic orbit. Tracking parameters are published online, tracking software is freely available, and simple radios such as scanners can be used to listen. Think about it, weather satellites, mapping satellites, spy sayellites are only a couple hundred miles away. I have one radio that listens on 145.825 MHz that picks up the ISS packet data every time it passes over.

I think it's great that this guy (and others probably) are doing this listening, becasue NASA will not.
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Re: Ham Radio Operator Finds Lost NASA Satellite

Postby puma guy » Sat Feb 03, 2018 9:02 am

Now if he could just find the 33,000 emails! :lol:
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