UBARoyal Belgian Amateur Radio Union

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Photo: Couloir

Morse code on the sky

On December 12/13 FITSAT-1 will be using its optical LED beacon to flash a message in Morse Code over the USA and Europe which may be visible to the unaided eye although binoculars are advised. NIWAKA's high power LEDs will be driven with more than 200W pulses to produce extremely bright flashes. The LEDs were successfully tested on November 26 and it had been planned to flash the LEDs on Christmas Eve, however, the FITSAT-1 website reports that there will be a Full Moon that night which would make the signals impossible to see.

The plan is now to activate the LEDs over Europe on 13 December 2012 - 22:10:30 to 22:14:30 (2 or 4 minutes depending on the test results on December 11 over Japan).

The FITSAT-1 CubeSat was developed by students at the Fukuoka Institute of Technology (FIT) in Japan. As well as the optical LED experiment the satellite carries several amateur radio payloads: a CW beacon on 437.250 MHz, a telemetry beacon on 437.445 MHz and a high-speed data downlink on 5840.0 MHz.