Kata Kovács and Tom O’Doherty

On the roof

August 20, 2016
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As part of the research for a new work, we have made antennas to try to receive the signal from the LES-1 satellite. Time to test the antennas.

For our first attempt, on the morning of August 19., the time-frame for intercepting signals looks like this:

  • Rising: 05:58:17
  • Peak: 06:09:41
  • Setting: 06:21:07

So this means that shortly after 6am, the satellite will be at its highest in the sky. From our perspective, it means that it will be travelling from west to east, just above the height of the moon, in the southern sky.

We know what frequency we were looking for (237 mHz) and we know that the signal is fragmented and weak, and altering every four seconds.

LES-1-chasing on the roof
LES-1-chasing on the roof

We started with the first antenna, Peter, to roughly locate the signal. After some initial setup futzing, we started listening. A few minutes later, a weak droning beep — with a matching tiny signal on the spectrogram — became audible, coming around about every 4 seconds. We were fairly sure that it was the signal that we were looking for. So, we decided to switch antennas (from Peter to Heather), in order to try to get a stronger and more precise signal. But in the time it took to switch antennas, the signal was gone.

We tried switching back again, but we didn’t get the signal again within our time frame. Frustrating. But a beginning, nonetheless.

Time to go back to bed and get a rest. We have four more days when the LES-1 will be above Berlin during sunlight hours.

LES-1-chasing on the roof
LES-1-chasing on the roof