Chris Thompson - AC2CZ - Amateur Radio Station

Fox-1Cliff - Adding a new spacecraft to FoxTelem

2018-Nov-11

I hear that Fox-1Cliff will soon be in orbit. I don't know exactly when that will be, but sites like Spaceflightnow.com are tracking when SSO-A is likely to launch.

If you are using FoxTelem you may be wondering how you make sure it will also decode Fox-1Cliff. That is what I am going to talk about in this post.

The FoxTelem manual and other advice I have posted says "install the active spacecraft". So you may have either one copy of FoxTelem that tracks AO-85 / AO-91 / AO-92 or three copies that each track one of them. If you have all the spacecraft installed I will cover that case too.

So how do you install/enable Fox-1Cliff?

I'm running multiple copies of FoxTelem

If, like me, you are running two or more separate copies, then start a new one by copying one of your launch scripts or shortcuts. To create a windows shortcut in the first place you can right click and drag the FoxTelem.exe file to your desktop (or another folder). Then pass the executable a new folder for the logs. This goes after the executable in the "Target Field" as shown below, where the folder is going to be C:\Users\chris\desktop\data. If the path has spaces in it then surround it with quotes like this: "C:\data folder". The folder does not need to exist. When you start this copy of FoxTelem by double clicking this shortcut, it will recognize it is running for the first time for this log files directory, create the needed folders and ask which spacecraft to install. Just pick Fox-1Cliff and ignore the others.

I already have all the spacecraft in FoxTelem

If you installed all of the spacecraft when FoxTelem was first run, then the Fox-1Cliff tabs have been sitting dormant. If you are decoding from another SDR or your radio then FoxTelem is setup. It will recognize and decode Fox-1Cliff just as it does the other spacecraft. If you are using FoxTelem's SDR, then in the top right of the Input tab Fox-1Cliff probablly says "Not Tracked". Clicking that starts tracking. It will probably say "Tracked / No TLE". I discuss TLEs at the end of this note.

I have the existing three active spacecraft in FoxTelem

If you have the active spacecraft in one copy of FoxTelem, but not Fox-1Cliff, then you need to copy in Fox-1Cliff's spacecraft file. You can find it in the installation directory, in a sub-folder called "spacecraft". It is called FOX1C_fm.MASTER. You need to copy this file into the logfile directory, into a sub-folder also called "spacecraft". That should contain files like FOX1A_fm.dat. After you copy the file in, change the extension from .MASTER to .dat so that you have FOX1C_fm.dat. Then restart FoxTelem. Fox-1Cliff should now be installed. Enable tracking if you are using FoxTelem's SDR.

Setting the center frequency

If you use FoxTelem's SDR make sure you have a center frequency that allows all the Fox spacecraft to be tracked. 145940 kHz is a good frequency because it puts the DC spike at the center of the SDR at least 10 kHz from any of the default reception bands.

No TLE

Tracking Fox-1Cliff on the Input tab gives the message "Tracked / No TLE". This message means that FoxTelem will search for the Fox-1Cliff signal in the frequency range shown, but that no Kelperian Three Letter Elements (TLEs) are available in the "nasabare.txt" file in amsat.org. FoxTelem is looking for a spacecraft called Fox-1Cliff in that file and of course one does not exist. This has one or two repercussions:

1) If you use "Auto Start" and FoxTelem says "Decoder will start when spacecraft above the horizon" then Fox-1Cliff will never be decoded because the decoder does not know when to start.

2) At launch you have to work out what the name of Fox-1Cliff is in the nasabare.txt file and change the name in FoxTelem. Initially the name may be just the object number, or with luck it will be "Fox-1Cliff". Later it will change to the Oscar number.

You change the spacecraft name in FoxTelem from the spacecraft menu. Select Fox-1Cliff and then update the name on the window that is shown and click save. Restart FoxTelem. (It is supposed to dynamically update all the values, but the spacecraft menu itself is not updated correctly when the name is changed. That can be confusing.)

Feel free to post any comments or suggestions below.

73 Chris g0kla/ac2Cz


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Comments on this post

On: 11/11/18 21:21 KK4YEL said:
Thank you Chris. Great instructions. Let’s hope for a successful launch from Elon and his crew 
On: 11/12/18 7:07 K3RLD said:
Thanks, Chris! 
On: 11/15/18 14:14 N0AN said:
 I have been using FoxTLM 1.06r (patched, I beleive) for some time with my 
SDRPlay RSP2 and SDR Console v3.03. Works fine on 85/91/92. I looked in the 
directory listed above for Fox1C_fm.dat and it is present. It has been there 
since I installed many weeks ago. When FoxTLM is running it says, "not 
tracked" . Is that simply because it has no keplers yet? If so, I'll add 
them, but I couldn't tell from the instructions if I had another problem or 
not. TIA, Hasan, N0AN
On: 11/15/18 19:19 Chris G0KLA said:
 @NOAN, Tracked vs Not Tracked is less important when you are running in "AF" 
mode and sourcing the audio from another SDR.  But you probably want to track it 
so that you log the position of the spacecraft along with your telemetry.  That 
allows you to do some analysis and create Earth Plots.

First of all you click on the "Not Tracked" and it changes to "Tracked in blue, 
with perhaps some additional words.

Also you need to either tell FoxTelem to calculate the position of the 
spacecraft, or you need to read the position from SatPC32.  You make that choice 
in the settings window. If you choose "FoxTelem calculates position" then Fox-
1Cliff will say "Tracked / No TLE".  If you use SatPC32 then it will say 
"Tracked via SatPC32".  If neither are selected then it will just say "Tracked", 
which means nothing in AF mode.

Once we have some valid TLEs, we will put them in nasabare.txt and publicize the 
name.  When you have the TLE it should say Az: xx.x El: yy.y after Fox-1Cliff 
and change in real time as the spacecraft orbits the planet.
On: 12/10/18 17:17SQ5WAF said:
Hi Chris,
Thank you for your great manual.
I am trying to set the newest version of Fox 1.06j to get signal from Fox1-
Cliff.
At the moment I am receiving all satellites: AO-85, AO-91, AO-92 and Fox1-Cliff.
Satellite Fox1-Cliff is already added to nasabare.txt file as AO-95. I have 
changed name of Fox1-Cliff to AO-95 in program as you proposed. I have restarted 
program too.
All things are working fine and I see status: AO-95: Tracked. 
Unfortunately if I move tracing cursor inside any other satellite the signal 
recognition is jumping inside (as I understand it is tracking Doppler function). 
When I set it for AO-95 satellite, cursor is not moving at all. Do I have to 
change something more to get it to work?

All the best,
Krzysztof
On: 12/11/18 17:17 Chris g0kla said:
 @SQ5WAF thanks for the note. Let me know if it worked on a live pass.  The 
cursor moves around if the noise is over a certain threshold. It may have been 
noisier in the other sat bands. Once the Cliff signal turned up it should have 
tracked fine. 

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