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Amateur Satellite Tracking Communication System (Electronics Project)

Our objective in this project was to design an Antenna/Transmitter module to communicate with Low Earth Orbiting (LEO) amateur Satellites in the sky. We based our design specifically for the OSCAR satellites AO-51, FO-29, AO-27, and FO-20.

System Hardware and Software Design Overview:

The overall System Hardware and Software components can be summarised as below:

Hardware:

  • Antenna array for transmitting and receiving radio signals.
  • Horizontal and vertical rotators.
  • Relay circuits for directional control of horizontal and vertical rotators.
  • Transformers to step down the AC power supply to 24V DC.
  • Microcontroller to interfere with the relay circuit and the computer software.
  • Coaxial cables, power cables, CAT5 cables, serial cables etc.
  • Joystick for manual control override of the antenna array.
  • Radio for signal transmission and reception.
  • Modem/TNC for encoding/decoding data packets.
  • Adjustable DC power supplies to power upthe Radio, Modem and Microcontroller.
  • Amplifiers for the relay circuit.
  • Amplifiers for Signal Amplification.

Software:

  • Client side software for broadcasting co-ordinates to the server and interfacing with satellite coordinate software.
  • Server side software for controlling the antenna array.
  • Terminal software to connect to the TNC/modem and monitor dataflow.
  • Assembly software for programming the microcontroller.
  • Satellite co-ordinate tracking software.

Source: The University of Utah
Authors: Junsung cho | Vinh Pham | Suresh Subasinghe

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