Lunar Eclipse 2014

Persistence and coffee helped to produce the two images below of the Lunar Eclipse last night. I was fighting high wispy clouds all night. The 1st magnitude star Spica was conveniently parked next to the moon and made for a nice photo op.

Phase of Lunar Eclipse.

Phase of Lunar Eclipse.

Full Lunar Eclipse with Spica  Star.

Full Lunar Eclipse with Spica Star.

Posted in Astronomy Tagged

April Planets with some nice Glass

Spent some time with the big gas planets and Mars. Mars is closest to Earth since 2007 and is still pretty hard to see. Jupiter turned out nice. Saturn was a bit out of focus, seeing was not too good. Will try again in May for better Saturn image.

Jupiter

Jupiter

Mars

Mars

Saturn

Saturn

Here is a shot of the telescope. This is remotely operated, not local.

Ritchey Chretien 16"

Ritchey Chretien 16″

Quite a bit of weight needed for balance.

Quite a bit of weight needed for balance.

Posted in Astronomy Tagged

Multi-Channel Inmarsat-B Decoder

Below is an graphical overview of Marine-B, an Ethernet based Multi-Channel Inmarsat-B decoder.

Overview of Multi-Channel Inmarsat-B Decoder

Overview of Multi-Channel Inmarsat-B Decoder

Below is a more detailed block diagram of multi-channel decoder with a few screenshots of operational logging and FFT waveforms.

Marine-B Screenshots.

Marine-B Screenshots

Marine-B is a fully automatic frequency agile Inmarsat-B multi-channel decoder. The decoder supports BPSK for NCS call logging/directing, OQPSK for APC voice demodulation, real time audio output and automated MP3 audio file archiving. It can handle as many voice decoders as CPU capability allows. Initial testing with multi-core i7 Intel CPU comfortable supports 6-12 parallel channels.

The decoder only supports RFSpace SDR-IP or NetSDR SDRs.

Here a a couple of short sample voice decodes (these are generic and do not violate any privacy).

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Posted in Inmarsat, Projects Tagged

Protected: Inmarsat B Decoder

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Posted in Inmarsat Tagged

New Hardware for some new Software

I have been working on some new decoding software that directly interfaces to RF Space SDR-IP or NetSDR. These SDR’s provide wide-band IQ data over Ethernet and are ideal for plug and play operation. All the new decoders are multi-channel and offer simultaneous decoding in real time for multiple protocols, including voice, data and fax for multiple Inmarsat services. More to be posted soon.

RF Space SDR-IP

RF Space SDR-IP

Posted in Inmarsat, Projects Tagged

Comet ISON

Comet ISON is getting closer. Here is an image I grabbed in the early morning hours before sunrise. This image was taken October 18th at the KESA Observatory in Colfax CA. I am in the process of imaging ISON again as it is much closer now (but it’s been cloudy).

Comet ISON.

Comet ISON.

A final look at ISON before it’s too close to sun to image anymore. I will take another look in the second week of December assuming it survives the Sun encounter, but with wider angle camera instead of telescope.

Last telescope based image of ISON.

Last telescope based image of ISON.

Posted in Astronomy Tagged

NOAA HRPT Weather Satellites

There are some nice wide HRPT signals coming from NOAA 15, 18 and 19 (others too, but these are the ones I looked at today). NOAA 15, 18 and 19 are LEO satellites and therefore require real time tracking. Since it’s been a while since i have tracked any LEOs it took some time to get the tracking software operational, not to mention getting the dish calibrated. The signals are pretty good and stable for most of the 10-15 minute pass – suitable for decoding software.

NOAA 18 on 1707 MHz.

NOAA 18 on 1707 MHz.


NOAA 19 on 1698 MHz.

NOAA 19 on 1698 MHz.


Not a bad signal from NOAA 15 with it’s omni-directional antenna.
NOAA 15 on 1702.5 MHz.

NOAA 15 on 1702.5 MHz.

The signals coming from NOAA 18 and 19 are RHCP and look to be 665.4 kbit/s split phase PSK. I could not confirm this because of the government shutdown.

gov_shutdown

Posted in SATCOM Tagged

Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter

LRO-moon-borderHere is a quick look at the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) signal. Even though NASA is shutdown as part the US government shutdown, there is still a good signal coming from the LRO. I was doing a quick 1.2m dish calibration and grabbed this screenshot of some nice doppler just as LRO was passing to far side of the moon. This is pretty weak compared to the larger 2.4m dish. Also, this was using the L-Band Feed and LNA so not very optimal considering LRO is on S-Band.

Weak LRO Signal.

Weak LRO Signal.

Posted in Spacecraft Tagged , ,

Inmarsat STD-C

Inmarsat STD-C is a data or message-based system used mostly by maritime operators. An Inmarsat C terminal transmits and received on L-Band to various geosynchronous satellites that service each major ocean region (POR, IOR, AOR-E, AOR-W). The information rate is 600 bits/sec. The channel is modulated with BPSK at 1200 bits/sec. The ship-based (or aircraft-based) Inmarsat C terminal is called an MES (Mobile Earth Station) while the land based ground stations are called LES (Land Earth Station).

In the Pacific Ocean Region (POR) there are nine different LESs which the following IDs and Frequencies.

201 1539.655 Telenor Satellite Services Inc
202 1539.625 Stratos Global New Zealand Auckland
203 1539.515 KDDI Yamaguchi Japan
204 1539.595 EIK Telenor Norway
210 1539.605 Sentosa Singapore
211 1539.665 Beijing MCN China
212 1539.505 Stratos Burum Netherlands
217 1539.635 Nudol Morsviasputnik Russia
221 1539.615 France Telecom MSC

There is a main Network Coordination Station (NCS) that assigned signaling channels (used to uplink) to the MESs.

The main NCS frequency for POR is 1541.450 MHz.

The NCS channel is also where you will receive Enhanced Group Call (EGC) messages. There are two types of EGCs, SafetyNET and FleetNET; SafetyNET is used for anything related to safety, such as SAR, navigation, coast guard, etc. FleetNET is typically used for distribution of news, weather, incidents, etc.

There is also various data services such as 2-way messaging, email, polling, position reporting and distress alerting.

Here is an example EGC Navarea message:

NAVAREA XI WARNING
NAVAREA XI 0706/13
SOUTH CHINA SEA, SOUTHERN PART.
PIRATES INFORMATION.
231415Z SEP. 04-52N 104-05E.
EIGHT PIRATES WEARING MASKS ARMED WITH A
HAND GUN AND LONG KNIVES IN A HIGH SPEED
CRAFT APPROACHED AND BOARDED AN OFFSHORE
TUG UNDERWAY. THEY TOOK HOSTAGE ALL CREW
MEMBERS, TIED THEM UP AND STOLE THEIR
PERSONAL BELONGINGS. AFTER ABOUT THREE
HOURS, THE PIRATES LEFT THE VESSEL. CREW
MANAGED TO FREE THEMSELVES AND THE
MASTER REPORTED THE INCIDENT TO THE
OWNERS. VESSEL RETURNED TO THE PORT OF
DEPARTURE WHERE THE AUTHORITIES BOARDED
THE VESSEL FOR INVESTIGATION. MASTER
REPORTS A POSSIBILITY OF A MOTHER VESSEL
IN THE VICINITY.
VESSELS REQUESTED TO BE CAUTION ADVISED.

Here is an example EGC Distress Alert:

Eik LES 2-OCT-2013 22:25:07 676140
SUBJECT: **406 MHZ DISTRESS ALERT**
MESSAGE: AT 022143 UTC OCT 13,
A 406 MHZ DISTRESS BEACON HAS BEEN DETECTED IN
POSITION 27-37N 139-57.8W.
NO FUTHER INFORMATION HAS BEEN GIVEN WITH THIS ALERT.
VESSELS IN THE AREA ARE REQUESTED TO KEEP A SHARP LOOKOUT,
ASSIST IF POSSIBLE AND REPORT SIGHTINGS TO RCC HONOLULU, HI.
VOICE 808-535-3333,
FAX 808-535-3338;
TELEX 392401 ANSWERBACK CG14 UD;
MF/HF DSC 003669993 OR 003669990
EMAIL: JRCCHONOLULU@USCG.MIL

Here is an example of email in response to SSAS ALERT test message.
Email addresses and confidential information have been removed.

From: operations.sin@xxxx.com
Date: 10/02/2013 06:23:49 AM
Subject: SSAS ALERT REPORT
Good day Capt,

Well received your SSAS test alert message.

Thanks
xxxxxx/Ops

—–Original Message—–
From: xxxxxxxx@xx.xxxxx.com.sg
Sent: Wednesday, October 02, 2013 2:22 pm
To: Operations Singapore
Subject: SSAS ALERT REPORT
Importance: High

To+xxxxxxxx@xxxxx.com
Subject+SSAS ALERT REPORT

!!!! Test Call !!!!
— SSAS ALERT MESSAGE —
Vessel Name: SMIT SERAYA
MMSI: 566xxx000
IMN: 456xxx410
IMO:9662xxx CALL SIGN:9V9845
Ship Security Alarm,Please Help!!!
LAT: 01:18.24N
LON: 103:40.16E
Time: 10/02/2013 06:13:12(UTC)
COURSE: 307 deg
SPEED: 00 kt
Time: 10/02/2013 06:13:11(UTC)

SEN Ref#540848 sent on 2-OCT-13 06:14

The test message shown above is from a ship called the Smit Seraya. Here is a picture the actual ship.

Smit Seraya

Smit Seraya


Based on the Latitude and Longitude in the Test Call above, here is the location of the ship when the test message was sent.
Location of Smit Seraya for SSAS Alert

Location of Smit Seraya for SSAS Alert

Posted in Inmarsat Tagged ,

Inmarsat FAX

Inmarsat STD-B service is still active, even after all these years. On STD-B you will find voice, data and fax services Here are a couple of examples of recently received faxes via Inmarsat 3F3 Pacific Ocean Region (POR) at 178°.

NCS Frequency: 1538.230 MHz

Sample FAX via STD-B

Sample FAX via STD-B

Sample FAX via STD-B

Sample FAX via STD-B

Inmarsat Mini-M is also still active, you will also find voice, data and fax services. Mini-M is much more active than STD-B as it is a less expensive service and uses a much smaller antenna/dish. Here is an example of a recently received fax.

NCS Frequency: 1537.330 MHz

Sample FAX via STD-mM

Sample FAX via STD-mM

Ever wonder what a food order looks like for a ship at sea?

Food order for ship at sea.

Food order for ship at sea.

Posted in Inmarsat Tagged ,