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April 9th, 2018

What is a Lilac Doing in Space? Student Built LilacSat-1's Success with an Amateur Radio

Students installing antennas at BY2HIT

Mission LilacSat-1 accomplished, according to the reports from the students at the Harbin Institute of Technology. 

The student built LilacSat-1 carries an amateur radio 145/436 MHz FM to Codec2-BPSK digital voice transponder, APRS Digipeater and camera.

The satellite was developed at the Harbin Institute of Technology and is part of the QB50 mission which aims to study the lower thermosphere. It was deployed from the International Space Station at 0835 GMT on Thursday, May 25, 2017.

Shortly after deployment LilacSat-1 took a picture of the solar panels on the ISS. The image was downloaded by the students on 436.510 MHz +/- 10 kHz Doppler Shift using 9600 bps BPSK.

The FM to Codec2-BPSK transponder was activated late afternoon GMT on Thursday, May 25:

Image of ISS Solar Panels taken by LilacSat-1 just after deployment
  • FM Uplink 145.985 MHz with 67 Hz CTCSS (PL Tone)
  • Codec2 9600 bps BPSK Downlink 436.510 MHz


The first contact using the Codec2 transponder took place on May 31 between Mike Rupprecht DK3WN and John Grant GI7UGV http://www.dk3wn.info/p/?p=79889

LilacSat-1 radio information is at https://web.archive.org/web/20170730212917/http://lilacsat.hit.edu.cn/?page_id=594

Adam Whitney K0FFY has documented how to receive the LilacSat-1 Codec2 Digital Voice transponder using the FUNcube Dongle Pro+ SDR http://adamwhitney.net/working-lilacsat-1/

M6SIG live CD for LilacSat 1 and 2

Lilacsat 1 and 2 decoder now available on Experimental Raspberry Pi (3) image with GNU radio / gr-lilacsat

LilacSat-1 Codec2 downlink by Daniel Estévez EA4GPZ / M0HXM

Updated LilacSat-1 Live CD from M6SIG latest link at https://web.archive.org/web/20170730212917/http://lilacsat.hit.edu.cn/?page_id=594

The main payload is an ion and neutral particle mass spectrometer (INMS) developed by the University of London (UCL) to measure the mass and distribution of charged and neutral atoms.

[LilacSat-1 signal received by JA0CAW]

LilacSat-1 signal received by JA0CAW

In preparation for the deployment HIT students installed new VHF and UHF antennas for the ground station.

Harbin Institute of Technology Amateur Radio Club BY2HIT

LilacSat-1 page (use Google translator) http://lilacsat.hit.edu.cn/?page_id=143

QB50 LilacSat-1 information https://upload.qb50.eu/detail/CN02/

IARU information http://www.amsatuk.me.uk/iaru/finished_detail.php?serialnum=343

Keplerian Two Line Elements (TLEs) ‘Keps’ for new satellites launched in past 30 days