PSAS/ communications

Communications Team Homepage

Amateur (radio + rocketry) = PSAS Communications Team! Welcome to the official page of the PSAS Communications Team. We use amateur radio (as defined by the FCC) on high powered rockets. For more information on getting your amateur license, see LicensingInformation.

Team Mailing List: psas-avionics (click to subscribe or read archives)

You know, I'm very concerned about our link budget... Oh so pretty, but oh so far off in frequency. Steve demonstrates the Trackmaster 2000

Above, ground control to tower WiFi antennas, circularly polarized patch antennas for the rocket, and high-gain directional antenna for ATV and ARRL 802.11b communications to the rocket in flight.

CURRENT STATUS: Our communications systems and version 3 linearly polarized 1.3, 1.5, and 2.4 GHz cylindrical patch antennas were a stunning success for the launch of LV2 on August 20th, 2005. But the loss of LV2 due to a failed gun powder charge put us back several years since we're "refactoring" our airframe and avionics. But now, we're ramping back up and rebuilding our communications systems for LV2c.

Current Project: Launch Vehicle No. 2.3 (LV2.3)!

Current Antenna Design

Current Communication Hardware

Current To-Do and To-Get Lists (shared with the Avionics Team):

Cubesat Information

Past Project: Launch Vehicle No. 2 - Launched 2005-08-22

LV2 RF equipment:

LV2c Antennas:

Ground antennas:

Ground RF Equipment:

Ground to ground Communications:

Past Project: Launch Vehicle No. 1b (LV1b) - Launched 2000-10-07

LV1b Communications Systems:

Past Project: Launch Vehicle No. 1 (LV1) - Launched 1999-4-11

Past Project: Launch Vehicle No. 0 (LV0) - Launched 1998-06-07

History, Notes, Etc.

To add a new entry, please use the date of the entry (YYYY-MM-DD) and then add a [[meta title="YYYY-MM-DD - Title here!"]] line to give it a title. Include a line like [[tag comm]] to get it listed here.

RSS Add a new post titled:

2010-05-25 - Thoughts on characterization of the UHMW PE for v4 CPAs

2008-09-01 - More planning on CPAs for LV2c

2008-07-09 - Standalone ATV System Discussion and Continued Planning

2008-07-02 - Standalone ATV System discussion and design start

2008-04-09 - Ad Hoc comm team meeting on communication system frequencies

2008-01-30 - Discussing LV2c's telemetry system

2005-06-21 - GPS redux 4: test of retuned 2m & GPS: success!

2005-05-29 - GPS redux 3: SAW filters, GPS/ATV, 2m

2005-05-26 - GPS redux 2: trying a LNA with two added saw filters

2005-03-22 - GPS redux: We measure the absolute signal in on the GPS antenna from the ATV system

2005-03-14 - GPS, ATV & 2m oh my: Tim and Andrew freeze their asses off testing 2 GPS boards

2005-03-09 - Fun with a spectrum analyzer: communication team field day at Maxim Semiconductor

2004-12-27 - ATV test: success across 4.7 mi through the Columbia gorge

2004-11-08 - VNA test of LV2 CPAs and ground equipment

2004-10-11 - LV2 Communications Systems test results

2004-10-10 - Comm system thoughts: End-to-end equipment lists, thoughts on testing

2004-08-18 - VNA test of "v3" CPAs

2004-07-27 - v3 patch antenna discussion with airframe and avionics team

2004-07-22 - VNA test of solid UHMW PE "v2b" CPAs

2004-06-27 - Conference call with Glen Gardner re: sounding rockets

2004-06-09 - Foam density revisited

2004-06-07 - Trip to Timberline lodge to build the last of the V2 CPAs & measurement at PSU microwave lab

2004-02-19 - v3 patch antennna design: Next steps and new mechanical design

2004-02-12 - Measurement of foam density

2004-02-09 - Test of a v2 CPA constructed at sea level

2004-02-06 - Built two more v2 CPAs (Wifi, GPS) to test the "altitude effects dielectric thickness" hypothesis

2004-02-03 - v3 CPA design

2004-02-01 - Chat with Professor Jim Binkley about 802.11b and Linux drivers

2004-01-20 - Look at to-do lists and discuss link budget

2003-12-13 - Suck on foam with the VNA, remeasure the slot antennas, measure the reference dipoles Teflon test?

2003-12-09 - Field trip to NW EMC in Hillsboro to test CPA propagation

2003-11-23 - One more v2 CPA test with VNA; smush testing, etc

2003-11-21 - Andrew sucks (foam)

2003-11-19 - v3 CPA meeting

2003-11-10 - Made 1.277 and 1.575 GHz flat patch antennas to test (build pictures)

2003-11-10 - Successfully tuned the 1.575 GHz and 1.277 GHz antennas in the PSU microwave lab... then we went nuts and turned the GPS antenna into a WiFi then 3 GHz antenna. Fun!

2003-10-20 - Successfully tuned a flat 2.4GHz CPA from it's natural resonant freq. to the design freq. of 2.422 GHz via exacto blade

2003-10-10 - Second test of v2 CPAs in PSU Microwave Lab: they're all way below the design frequency, but have great VSWR's

2003-10-06 - First test of v2 CPAs (built in NV desert) in PSU Microwave Lab: resonant frequencies off scale for 2/3

2003-09-14 - Glenn makes up thousands of new helixes

2003-09-11 - v2 CPA's designed using Excel spreadsheet: calculates CPA dimensions and generates EAGLE CAD commands

2003-08-16 - Mock up CPA test using 0.005" PCB and 0.01" Copper and EPU

2003-07-31 - Tests of Tap Plastic's X-30 expanding polyurethane (EPU) foam

2003-06-10 - Test of v1 CPA's at Xerox's anechoic chamber

2003-06-04 - Measurements of v1 CPA's in PSU's Microwave Lab

2003-05-23 - Dave T designs v1 CPA's on RT Duroid PCB

2002-09-19 - Tuning 1.3GHz and 2.4GHz helical antennas @ the PSU microwave lab

2002-08-27 - GPS CAN node done; Clementine determined to be broken








Date Summary
2003/09/21 Blew up rocket; decided not to launch avionics.
2003/09/20 Built v2 CPAs in desert of Nevada, at night, in the cold, with no sleep.
2003/09/16 Steve makes "TrackMaster 2000" for the helical antennas.
2003/09/15 v2 CPAs artwork run by Circuit Images and made into reality by Parks PCB.
2003-09-11 JITCPAs: Just In Time Cylindrical Patch Antennas. v2 CPA's designed using Excel spreadshet which calculates CPA dimensions and generates EAGLE CAD commands.
PeFoamTapeEr In a brilliant insight, we jump to double-sticky polyethylene foam tape from expanded polyurethane foam. Here are the calculated Er values.
2003-08-16 Here's a mock up test of the CPA using 0.005" PCB and 0.01" Copper and EPU.
1997 - 2003 See the Avionics and the ?LV0, ?LV1/1b and Projects for more info on past Communications Team activities.