Monday, May 18, 2015

L-Band Uplink Added to Fox-1C/-1D Design: Fox-1E to Carry Linear Transponder

Fox-1 engineering prototype
(from AMSAT-NA website)
AMSAT has announced plans to include L-Band (1.2 GHz) uplink capability in its upcoming Fox-1C and Fox-1D satellites. But there won't be a complete L-band receiver on board the spacecraft. Instead, the AMSAT News Service reports, the plan is to design a frequency converter that will receive uplinked signals on 1.2 GHz, down-convert them to 435 MHz and feed them to the satellite's regular UHF receiver. Downlink will be a single FM channel on 2 meters, regardless of the uplink band. A team of volunteers is working on designing an affordable Mode L uplink station to convert 70-centimeter FM signals to 1.2 GHz.

Fox-1E is now slated to carry a Mode J (2 meters up, 70 cm down) linear transponder into orbit, with a 30 kHz bandwidth and a beacon sending telemetry in BPSK. The goal is to test a design for including linear transponders in future cubesats, most of which are currently limited to single-channel FM receivers and transmitters. AMSAT says there is a chance that Fox-1E will have a launch opportunity next year, but could not disclose details.