CanX Program: Use of Amateur Radio

December 10, 2013

Only certain CanX nanosatellites utilize frequencies in the UHF band of the amateur satellite service.

In compliance with the established IARU, AMSAT, and Industry Canada rules and regulations, UTIAS/SFL obtained the necessary agreement for the use of uplink and downlink frequencies in the 70 cm amateur satellite band. The uplink frequency is only used for command purposes and the downlink is on 437.880 +/- 0.015 MHz for receiving data.

The downlink format in use for all CanX satellites in the amateur satellite band will be published.

The radios used for CanX-1 and CanX-2 were developed by people possessing a Canadian Amateur Radio License with Advanced Qualification, in accordance with Industry Canada regulations. Furthermore, all communication with CanX satellites carrying amateur radio is performed by students who are licensed amateurs. A secondary benefit of this program has been the introduction and licensing of many students to amateur radio over the years.

The CanX nanosatellite missions are in agreement with the IARU Regulations for Use of Amateur Frequencies which states that “The purpose of an amateur satellite should be to conduct technical investigation in all respects consistent with the Radio Regulations”, and further that “Technical investigations carried out using frequencies allocated to the amateur-satellite service should be relevant to the development of “radio technique,” that is, have a reasonable possibility of application to the development of radio communication systems.”

Examples of such technical investigations include: propagation studies, operational analysis of protocols used for digital voice and data communication, development of attitude determination methods, development of command and control procedures, studies of radiation effects on various electronic components, studies of meteor trail reflection, and measurement of the orbital environment useful in designing future amateur satellites.

Furthermore, these investigations are being conducted by students who are not receiving any pecuniary gain from this research.

The CanX nanosatellite missions directly and indirectly investigate:

  • The effect of the earth’s atmosphere in radio frequency propagation
  • The value of advanced satellite communication protocols
  • The effects of radiation environment on various electronics components
  • The effects of orbital environment on low-cost spacecraft
  • New attitude determination and control methods
  • New command and control procedures and architecture

UTIAS/SFL therefore believes that the use of the Amateur Radio Frequency in the UHF band for certain CanX nanosatellites is compliant with the IARU Regulations for Use of Amateur Frequencies. Industry Canada, the Canadian Regulatory body, agrees with this assessment.

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