Software update

We uploaded the newest version of our Client Software which will support the upcoming Masat USB Receiver device. It is available on this page.

The software has some new usability features:

  • Automatic TLE update (if you have internet connection)
  • Antenna pointing guide window
  • Builtin ground station list for the biggest Hungarian cities
USB Device for receiving Masat-1 (v1.0)

Lot of questions were asked about the receiving possibilities of the signals sent by MASAT-1 satellite since it was put into orbit. We always answered that this is a simple task; you only need to have a suitable radio receiver and antenna and also a PC, on which the Masat-1 receiving software is running.

The „only” problem is that the suitable amateur radio receivers are not cheap for a normal user (we can say that the price of an amateur radio receiver capable of receiving Masat-1 is similar than that of a notebook).

On the 1st birthday event (1 year anniversary of Masat-1 in space) we have announced that a low-cost, USB capable Masat-1 receiver device is prepared. After several weeks of development and testing, the first version of the receiver is now ready for publication. We have also made some modifications in the public client software, to be able to handle this new receiver hardware.

Masat-1 USB Receiver

USB Receiver for Masat-1

The receiver device

The RF signal coming from the antenna is amplified by a low-noise pre-amplifier. This amplified signal is then sent to the IC input of the FSK receiver, which is similar to the FSK IC in the satellite itself. The reference clock signal of the FSK receiver is provided by a thermally compensated quartz oscillator (to ensure suitable frequency stability).

The FSK receiver IC and the thermally compensated quartz oscillator in this receiver device is provided by Silicon Laboratories Hungary Kft., for which we would like to express our many thanks!

The received bit sequences coming from the FSK IC are arriving to the microcontroller in digital format. The microcontroller is interfacing with the PC by a serial port-USB converter.

Masat-1 RX Block diagram

Block diagram of the Masat-1 USB receiver

Technical parameters of the receiver device

Receiving frequency:: 437.345 MHz  
Doppler: +/- 15 kHz  
Bandwidth: 2 kHz  
Deviation: 625 Hz  
Data rate: 625 bps  
Sensitivity: -126 dBm in receiver IC input
Sensitivity: -136 dBm in the preamplifier input @ 5% PER

The receiving bandwidth is approximately 2 kHz, however the Doppler-crawl is about +/- 15 kHz due to the orbit and the velocity of the satellite to the ground station. The receiver software continuously calculates the actual receiving frequency of the receiver device according to the actual Kepler data (TLE) – therefore the tuning of the Masat radio receiver is automatic.

Besides, the receiver software generates a data file as well according to the current geological place of the receiving station, including the azimuth and elevation angles (it tells where the antenna should be facing during the satellite passing) and the Doppler-crawl value (how should we tune the radio if it was not automatic). This feature is especially useful for secondary school students, to demonstrate Doppler-shift and the orbits when they are learning wave science, astronomy and space mechanics.

The sensitivity of the Masat-1 receiver device is better than a radio amateur appliance -capable of receiving the satellite- because it was designed especially for the Masat satellite(s). We also would like to emphasize that this receiver device is capable not only to receive the signals of Masat-1 but will be able to receive the further Masats after a software update.

Regarding the antenna -because it is also necessary for receiving our satellite – the very good sensitivity gives the opportunity to use a very simple antenna made of a steel measuring tape. Our aim was to provide a very simple and easy-to-make antenna which is very cheap, as it is available in every DIY store by few euros. Every user is able to make his own antenna out of it using scissors (the sizes and the build-up will be provided with the receiver device).

European Space Expo in Budapest

The traveling exhibition promoting the everyday benefits of space technology arrives to Budapest soon. It goes on display from 20 to 25 March. Admission to the expo is free.

European Space Expo is a new traveling exhibition that arrives to Hungary to show us how we benefit from space technology in our everyday lives. The visitors of the interactive exhibition can see – and even touch – a variety of innovative space technologies and services. The Space Expo aims at demonstrating to European citizens how the European Union’s investments in space technology pay off. There are more than thirty thousand applications that are based on European satellite navigation programs such as EGNOS and Galileo, or satellite remote sensing like Copernicus, previously known as GMES. These methods include ones that make transportation more effective, contribute to fishery, agricultural productivity, environmental protection or security.
So far more than a hundred thousand people have visited the traveling exhibition in Copenhagen, Toulouse, Helsinki, Vienna, Brussels, Larnaca, London and Madrid. Now it takes place at Erzsébet tér, Budapest, between 20 and 25 March. The Expo will appear in several other European cities too over the next two years.

Visitors can learn more about the five main areas covered by Copernicus (GMES): sustainable development and renewable energy, agriculture and fisheries, health and environment, climate change and emergency management. An interactive 3D model of Earth, the ‘Omniglobe’ will stand in the center of the exhibition area. It will display information regarding sea temperatures, air traffic, forest fires and many other interesting topics. Galileo, Europe’s own global navigation satellite system – that is still being built – will also be an important part of the exhibition. The full Galileo constellation, consisting of 30 satellites when complete, will be displayed on the Omniglobe.

In addition to the exhibition material, there will be a variety of presentations held by Hungarian companies involved in space industry, research institutions and universities about their own space related work (in Hungarian). The Expo especially welcomes children with quizzes, drawing activities and posters to introduce everyday space applications to them in a fun way. They provide guided tours for school groups.

The organizers of the European Space Expo welcome all visitors!

Admission: Admission to the exhibition is free.
Venue: Erzsébet tér (downtown Budapest).
Opening hours: Monday to Friday from 9.00 to 18.00, Saturday and Sunday from 10.00 to 18.00.
Detailed program: See the detailed program here.


Website of the European Space Expo.


Nagyobb térképre váltás

The highest number of data packets submitted by a radio amateur

Of all radio amateurs, József Illés OM3BC has sent in the most data packets since Masat-1’s launch into orbit in 2012. Here are some photos of him and his antenna system. He lives in Fülek, Slovakia, and his 4×21 element antenna is equipped with a home-made rotator. His station can be remotely operated. Thank you, Jóska!



Two unique space photos

On the occasion of Masat-1’s first birthday we prepared two surprises for the guests at the event. We managed to take unique 3D space photos with Masat-1’s camera, and we picked one to be shown to our audience. The picture was taken over the southern part of Africa.


The picture published is compatible with 3D glasses with red and cyan filters. The 3D photos were taken at short intervals. Traveling at 7-8 km/h, it requires Masat-1 a few seconds to move to the adequate positions to create the 3D effect.

Another novelty is the so-called mosaic image, which consists of seven overlapping photos made by Masat-1 during a passing over a certain part of Earth. Timing is essential in this case too, and it is determined by the satellite’s movement and orbit. This method made it possible to create an image of a greater area with higher resolution than what the camera would normally have been able to make.

Mosaic image of Africa

The picture depicts the Southern part of Africa. Lake Kariba is a characteristic of the area.