OT Suit Sat - weak signal detected

From: jmario (jmario@fast.net)
Date: Sat Feb 04 2006 - 05:55:28 EST

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    Believe suitsat is alive but alive does not mean performing as expected.
    Sat Jan 4 2006 09:02 UTC pass over East PA in USA had max elev of 75 deg.
    On this pass I monitored 145.990  by using  my kit for NOAA WX sat 
    (Icom R-7000 receiver, turnstile cut for 137 mhz and mounted 6 feet 
    above ground,
    50 feet  of RG-8) - I added an ARR SP144 2 mtr preamp for suitsat 
    reception. The 
    R7000 was set for CW reception because news and chatter indicates that 
    signal, if it exists, is very weak.  This setup with a 220mhz preamp 
    the 144mhz preamp and FFT post processing of the audio is capable of 
    the moon passing through the NAVSPASUR radar fence (which the moon is 
    doing do twice a day through Feb 15).
    Recorded 145.99 audio from R-7000 receiver on laptop starting at 08:55Z
    and ending at 09:06Z.  Definitely heard a brief (about 30 sec) but very 
    signal by virtue of CW mode beat note on 145.990mhz.
    Post processed audio using baudline (FFT utility) in a Linux environment. 
    Spectrogram shows a doppler shifted signal - approximate visual signal on
    the spectrogram begins at 09:00:26Z and ends at about 09:02:05.
    Clock on Linux box is synced to NTP pool (via dial up connection) - the
    resulting clock accuracy is usually +- 5sec or better.
    Based on this I suspect that suitsat is transmitting a rather weak
    signal on 145.99 and that someone with some antenna gain and tracking
    capability should be able to hear suitsat and gather telem data.
    Not so sure that looking at a spectrogram counts as visual detection but
    I doubt that I'll be able to see suitsat with my binoculars...
    Joe K3FMA
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