Bigger Ears from Lockheed!

Thanks to Eric Kirk and John Springmann for leading an effort to upgrade our antennas here at MXL.  We just installed two new UHF yagi antennas that are phased together to increase gain.  We also installed a new low noise amplifier to boost our signal to noise ratio.  The antennas are shown below on top of the FXB building.  Thanks to Tom Griffin for helping with the approval process and Terry Larrow for building the mast system!

New UHF yagi's installed
The new UHF yagi’s installed on top of FXB.
motor noise

Our initial data from the station looks good, but there is still some fine tuning needed.   The Alfa Spid rotors are great, by the position sensing needs an upgrade.  It frequently gets off by 1 degree repeatedly and does not provide information on what direction it is moving.  Also, there appears to be some RFI generated during tracking.  See the plot below.  It plot signal strength in color as a function of time and frequency.

The MCubed beacons are down in the lower half of the picture as repetitive chirps that change in frequency as the satellite moves towards and then away from the station.  The frequency scale is inverted with higher frequencies down low and lower frequencies above.  AubieSat is barely visible in the upper half.  E1P broadband transmissions are also visible.  In the middle of the plot though are large, vertical EMI spikes.  We believe this is due to EMI from the rotors and are looking into how they are entering the system.

This station will be a great addition to our tracking abilities!  Thanks to Ed Boesinger and Lockheed Martin for sponsoring part of this upgrade!