Using SDR For QO-100 Satellite Operation

Es’hailsat, otherwise known as QO-100 is the first geostationary satellite with an amateur radio payload on-board. The satellite contains both a Wide Band transponder for experimental modes and DVB-S Digital Television and a Narrow Band transponder used mostly for SSB voice and some digital mode contacts with other amateur operators. If you’re unfamiliar with this satellite we’ve covered it in previous articles, like in [Es’hail Transponder Now Active]

While many choose to use a transverter connected to a traditional amateur transceiver, others have turned to use Software Defined Radios to complete their satellite ground stations.

[Radio Innovation] posted a video back in March showing his contact on QO-100 using a LimeSDR Mini as the 2.4 GHz transmitter and a 10 GHz LNB for the downlink.

Calling cq on QO-100 with LIMESDR

The PlutoSDR has been frequently seen used for QO-100 satellite operation on the Wide Band transponder due to its ease of DVB-S transmission utilizing software such as [DATV Express] but more recently there have been more and more operators turning to SDR for their day to day satellite operation.

It will be interesting to see how these stations evolve, perhaps by the time North America has access to a similar satellite, we’ll be prepared to operate it.

8 comments

    • Neil

      small World Syed… I was just looking at your project pages just before I commented on this – Looking forward to that working in Europe –
      Anyway, I hope you get an Amateur geo over there, but I do know that QO-100 took a LOT of work over a few years from AMSAT-de and the Qatar people to become a reality. Lobby AMSAT in the US 🙂

      • Syed

        Definitely a small world. Some of the work we did for the EU beam has resulted in a very high stability LNB that can be used for QO-100. It is a sub-1000 Hz accuracy/offset LNB that can go down to 10.4 GHz. I’ll have more details in about a week.

        • RF Guy

          is this a homemade modification (change PLL quartz to a TCXO) or is it a commercial high Stability LNB Project ?

          • Syed

            It’s a purpose-built, commercially produced unit. I was reviewing production at the factory today. It’s guaranteed to have 1kHz of stability. Some of the samples were just a few hundred Hertz off.

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