[time-nuts] Time and frequency practical exercise 2018 late quarter; precision measure of 432mhz band Sat in Lunar Orbit

Patrick Barthelow apolloeme at gmail.com
Fri Nov 17 16:26:18 EST 2017

>From me, Pat a newbie, second post:

A new project, STEM opportunity.   A STEM/CitizenScience/Ham Space Science
project. Kids welcome.
In formative stages so this is for internal discussion, not for public
announcements yet.
Will do a frequency measurement of a Cubesat at about 437 mhz that will
orbit the Moon in 2018.
Can be received by modest yagi antennas while orbiting the moon.
 Challenge is to get/use/build precision frequency references and counters,
and measure the carrier frequency.    Cesium, Rubidium,  MASER, GPS based,
commercial standards, and their derivations all welcome.
Have found 4 (and More)  more hydrogen line masers in diverse locations
around the world, who wish to participate.
USA, Netherlands, South Africa, Australia, Mexico, and other locations have
expressed interest.

 I am a member of  Team Alpha Cubesat.  We and some other teams are in the
NASA CUBEQUEST challenge.  Launching next year a 6u  cubesat to lunar
orbit.  I am not an expert at the freq measurement aspect of this, so, I am
a Newbie. With tons of questions, but  I was surprised how quickly a check
of the world's Hydrogen line MASERS got many to offer to come on board.
MASER is overkill, but that is OK.  The Chief Scientist of the project is
in the USA and wants to make measurements to the HZ level, at 437 mhz so
with MASERS and Cesium, Rubidium we are overkill but it could generate
STEM/Citizen Science participation.  That is what we are doing.  So the
satellite will be on 437.5 mhz  plus  minus doppler.  We have to measure
its received freq to 1 HZ or less.   So I talked to the chief scientist,
and we decided to go with a public STEM related program  with it. [PLEASE
DO NOT GO PUBLIC YET this is confidential for now.] Announcement of a
competition for anyone to measure the frequency of the sat as it is in moon
orbit.  So I decided to check with  about 5 geographically diverse located
MASERS. ( Australia,  South Africa, UK, Holland, Mexico and USA,  and got
or am getting buy-in from them to make the measurement.  I was surprised
they did not just say go away... a half million dollar MASER is, or should
be busy with similar but necessary measurements from paying customers.
 Overkill, I admit, but it is a chance for Citizen Science publicity,
Popular Science, STEM, etc..

Anyway I got a bunch of MASERS  to participate and will develop a website
for people to measure the freq and send in their "answer".  We will have
(are looking for) sponsors that will pay prizes or wall paper awards,  for
very close accurate measurements.
This is like a modern day Frequency Measurement Test that ARRL did years
ago.  I will in fact call ARRL to see if they want to play in this.  I will
CC others to see if they want to play.  Other frequency references used may
be commercial variations of
Cesium Beam and Rubidium references.  But the King Kong in accuracy is the
MASER.  I got to learn a bit about the MASER they had at Arecibo when I was
there.   And now know a school in Europe a Technical Instrumentation
school, that offers a project to build a Hydrogen Line Maser using modern
simpler, cheaper methods and hardware.

Arecibo may play on this event next year.   So, you only need modest yagis
to pick up the Sat at moon distances  on 437.5 mhz  should be fun...
​The Goldstone MASER; above:

> https://www.nist.gov/pml/time-and-frequency-division
> https://www.nist.gov/pml/time-and-frequency-division/radio-stations/wwv
> http://tf.nist.gov/stations/wwvtimecode.htm
> https://www.nist.gov/pml/time-and-frequency-division/time-se
> rvices/history-radio-station-wwv
> https://www.nist.gov/pml/time-and-frequency-division/time-se
> rvices/wwv-and-wwvh-digital-time-code-and-broadcast-format
> http://tf.nist.gov/phase/Properties/main.htm

​See/Search Also:
​Precise Time and Time Interval Clocks Time Frames and Frequency, James R.
Clynch  Navy Postgraduate School.
​Introduction to Frequency Standards  by Lindon Lewis

​Interested?   Get back to me to start planning for the 2018 launch, and
cubesat in lunar orbit,  exact date not known.​

Best, 73,   Pat Barthelow AA6EG
apol <apolloeme at gmail.com>loeme at gmail.com

*"The most exciting phrase to hear in Science, the one that heraldsnew
discoveries,  is not "Eureka, I have found it!"    but:*
"That's funny..."  ----Isaac Asimov
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