Friday, October 30, 2015

AGS visit to Pune

Pune visit team, from Left to Right: Ketkee Kambli,
Samuel Jacob Sir, Akshay Patil, Vikas Anaokar,
Pragnesh Panchal, Sandipan Das and Aishwarya Sansare
We the team members of Atharva Satellite Ground Station went to Pune on 4th August, 2015 with the purpose of visiting College of Engineering- Pune (COEP), Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) - Pune and Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM) to gain some knowledge pertaining to balloon satellites and atmospheric parameters measurement. We were a group of seven people including our project guide Prof. Samuel Jacob who accompanied us to the venture. Since the team is currently working on a balloon satellite project, APSARHA-1, this visit was necessary to understand the new technologies and methods used in advancements for a balloon satellite. We intended to meet experts and scientists in this field who could guide us to our way to launching our balloon. Also from visits and experiencing a live balloon launch if possible we would be sure that we are going on the right track. Visiting COEP was with the intention to have better contacts with other student satellite projects, know more about there ground and exchange knowledge amonsgt both of us.

As per our schedule, we visited COEP on the first day of our stay i.e. 4th August, 2015. There we saw their Robotics Lab, Fabrication Lab and also interacted with the SWAYAM team. We also went on to have a look to their ground station setup and had an interesting discussion on antennas, their characterisation techniques and their tracking mechanisms On-site, their team gave us a demo by tracking and recieving the beacon of a satellite that was passing by at range. We had a great time interacting with the students, they were very cooperative and helpful.

Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology
The next day i.e. on 5th August, 2015, we visited IITM, Pune. This was the most interesting and informative part of our visit. We met Dr. Chakraborty who told us about different atmospheric parameter measurement techniques, such as measuring the ratio of different isotopes of gases in the atmosphere. He showed us the equipment they use for the measurements. We also met Dr. G. Pandithurai who guided us and gave us information about the procedure to be followed for the launch of APSARHA. Luckily, we happened to witness the actual weather monitoring balloon's launch by IITM as well. It was quite a wonderful experience. Moving on, we also saw their data acquisition system which automatically plots the graphs of all the measured parameters.

On the final day of our stay, i.e. 6th August, 2015, we visited IMD-Pune, where we met Mr. Satish Banker. He showed us the ozonesonde and the radiosonde circuits that they use. Also, he explained to us briefly about the calibration process of the ozonesonde and its principle of working. We came to know that though the technology IMD uses is a decade old, it was very accurate in fulfilling the payload. Furthermore, we went on to see the pilot balloon launch which measures the wind speed, it was nothing but the Helium balloon with a long rope attached to it, the rope had two red flags on it, when the balloon was set uplift, technicians just had to track the distance covered by the red flags in equal intervals of time to get the speed of wind. This pilot balloon launch takes place twice a day. We got to know about various instruments for parameter measurement used on ground, such as the Stevenson screen, rain gauge, seisemometer. With this our visit came to an end.

Team at IMD-Pune

Thus this visit to Pune was very fruitful, where we got to know a lot of things about atmosphere parameters, their measurement techniques, ozonesonde, permissions required for the balloon launch etc. This visit also helped us build contacts and interact with very qualified scientists and like minnded students who are experts in their fields, including a healthy exchange of knowledge . We hope to make use of this knowledge gained in our projects and future ventures.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Seminar at I.I.T Bombay

The entire team of Atharva Satellite Ground Station was present at the workshop held at I.I.T. Bombay on the 21st and 22nd of March. The workshop was held by students of I.I.T- Bombay and ACE-GS with the purpose of involving more engineering colleges to their student satellite project PRATHAM. Students representing various engineering colleges throughout India were present during the seminar.

The colleges included:

1) Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur

2) National Institute of Technology, Karnataka, Surathkal

3) National Institute of Technology, Bhopal

4) University School of Sciences, Ahmedabad

5) Thapar University, Patiala

6) University Collage of Engineering, Kota

7) Yadavrao Tasgoankar College of Engineering and Management

8) Government Engineering College, Gandhinagar

9) Vishwakarma Government Engineering College, Chandkheda

The seminar started with an introduction on PRATHAM by Shantanu Shahane, the  project manager of PRATHAM. He covered many the important points like the payload and other sub systems and its history and currents status. This was followed by a presentation on communication overview, different modulation techniques used for PRATHAM and the power link budget estimations presented by Ayush Yadav, a member of the PRATHAM team.

Post lunch, the session commenced with a presentation on antenna basics by team members of ACE GS- Priyank Salot, Aishwarya Wahane, Pragnesh Panchal, Shweta Palande and Anoop Tiwari. The topics covered by us included an introduction and background of Atharva Satellite Ground Station, a detailed explanation of the block diagram of our setup, types of antennas and antenna parameters, designing, fabrication and characterization of antennas. Many of the participating students present in the seminar came to us with their doubts post the presentation and we are glad that we were able to solve their queries.This was followed by a presentation on mechanical aspects of a typical ground station by Ratnesh Mishra, a team member of the PRATHAM.

On the second day, Rachna Agarwal from the PRATHAM team gave a presentation on HAM communication, transceivers and the phase measurement chip AD8302.

The seminar was a great opportunity for us as we presented a seminar along with I.I.T. Bombay in front of many universities all over India, which gave a lot of exposure to Atharva College of Engineering. We are also glad that we along with I.I.T. Bombay could spread your knowledge to other colleges helping them to setup their own ground station and bring up healthy virtues between different colleges.


Article in Mumbai Times section of Maharashtra Times Newspaper on 20th October 2015

Website: Email:

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Seminar on "Satellite Tracking and Data Acquisition"

Atharva Satellite Ground Station presents a seminar on "Satellite Tracking and Data Acquisition" intended for interested F.E. Students and the faculty members. Registration desks will be setup on the first and the third floor on 17th, 18th and 19th September. 
Certificates will be awarded to the attendees.

Date - 22nd September, 2014
Time - 1 pm to 4 pm
Venue - circular hall, ground floor

For further details, 
Vikas Anaokar - 8097755192
Akshay Patil - 9619505494
Pragnesh Panchal - 9821936052

Sunday, August 4, 2013

IEEE R10 Congress.. The Hyderabad Visit!!

IEEE R10 Student/Gold/WIE Congress in co-ordination with Lab – X foundation had organized an International Poster & Prototype Presentation Competition with an initiative to empower Indian students to represent themselves at an International platform. As we felt our project has a opportunity to receive an international acclaim, we decided to participate in it.

We submitted two abstracts pertaining to the systems used in our Ground-Station, Satellite Ground-Station: TEC measurement & Communication on VHF & UHF bands and Antenna Rotor Mechanism & Satellite Tracking system. Two days later, we received the call all of us were eagerly awaiting. We had been selected as one of the finalists in the competition!!! The abstract selected was ‘Antenna Rotor Mechanism & Satellite tracking system’.

 We worked hard on preparing the poster which was then reviewed by our seniors & submitted. We also worked on honing our presentation skills. Finalizing the contents, getting ready all the paper work in place, preparing for the journey, there was lot of work to be done.

Poster Presented

We embarked on an exciting expedition; the journey to the city of Pearls, Hyderabad! On 11th of July our team departed from Mumbai with our poster.

13th July was the D- day! The day of Presentation. The presentation was at Hotel Taj Krishna. Along with us, there were teams from all over the world representing their respective colleges and universities, showcasing innovative ideas extremely commendable. It was a really nice exposure to team Ground-Station. Along with the competition, there were conferences by International speakers on various topics like Human Centric - Technology & ResearchEnergy and Environment Conservation, Sustaining the Future, Start-up ideas and young Entrepreneurs, etc.

The competition judges were present and IEEE Presidents Moshe Kam, Roberto de Marca, Peter Staecker and Michael Lightner and delegates of the congress included IEEE Presidents from various regions. 

Few of the projects / prototypes displayed were:-
Team with the Poster.
    1. Bio-energy And Bio-plastic production by Lignocellulosic Market Waste.
    2. Cognitive Humanoid Autonomous Modular Platform.
    3. Cognitive Learning Assisted Robotic Arm (CLARA)
    4. Weather Station Data analysis using MATLAB.
    5. Solarian Effect: Trapping of Sun’s Energy for Fresh Drinking Water.
    6. The Humanoid Robot.
    7. Infinity Printer.
    8.  Low cost handover in Leo - Satellites.

The judges and dignitaries appreciated our work at college level & were glad to see and advanced communication project. They appreciated the presentation and also gave us suggestions for further development. We had a very good discussion with most of the dignitaries. Many universities currently working on launching Student Satellites took great interest in our project.

Ground - Station Team
This conference proved to be a excellent learning exposure for the team. The response and appreciation we received there was simply overwhelming and motivated us to stay true to our motto....

We Innovate Communication,
                                                                     We Communicate Innovation!!!”

Looking forward for an interactive response....

Team Ground Station,
Atharva College of Engineering.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

IMD and Rs/Rw Visit

         We visited the Regional Meteorological Department, RSRW Observatory, Vile Parle on the 14th of February 2013. Our objective in visiting RMD was to understand the weather monitoring system used in the observatory. Prior to this we had also visited the Indian Meteorological Department on 8th February 2013, Colaba, for the very same objective.
         The Regional Meteorological Centre, Mumbai is one of the six Regional Centres of India Meteorological Department. This Centre was established in April 1945 for providing weather related services to the states of Maharashtra, Goa and Gujarat excluding Vidarbha region of Maharashtra State. These centres are under the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), a specialized agency of the United Nations. WMO provides the framework for international cooperation on weather data. WMO promotes cooperation in the establishment of networks for making meteorological, climatological, hydrological and geophysical observations, as well as the exchange, processing and standardization of related data, and assists technology transfer, training and research.

Forecasting Services done by the observatories in India are :   
§  Cyclone Warning Services for Maharashtra, Goa, Gujarat states and Arabian Sea.

§  Services to Aviation.

§  Services for Shipping & Fisheries, and  Ports.

§  Inland Warning Services to District revenue, Irrigation, Railway.

§  Services to Public by issue of weather bulletins and warnings.

§  Services to Agriculture and Farmers.

§  Hydrometeorological and Flood Forecasting Services.

§  Supply of Meteorological data to members of public, Government Agencies and Industries for research and planning.

        The setups at both the places were similar. They used both primitive and modern techniques for measurement and compared the readings obtained. The modern equipments were good but the primitive techniques of weather monitoring and data acquisition were mind-blowing. We were amazed to see how highly efficient the ancient techniques were inspite of having less resources and technology in those days.

       The weather data from IMD and Rs/Rw is given to a geostationary meteorological satellite (METSAT) system devoted totally to meteorology which was launched in 2002. It has been renamed as Kalpana-1 and is currently the operational satellite system being used by IMD.

       We saw the live recording of an earthquake on ritcher scale at IMD Colaba. The earthquake occurred at Santa Cruz Islands, USA, magnitude 6.9 (which is quite high), at the same time. It also has a Doppler radar imaging setup.
 Following  equipments  are currently in use at the Rs/Rw observatory: 

1.      Stevenson’s Screen – Used for temp Measurement. Four types : 
       i. Dry Valve – Used for Humidity and Dew point measurement.
 ii. Wet Valve – Used for Humidity and Dew point Measurement.
 iii. Max Valve – Similar to Doctors thermometer. It doesnot allow back flow of mercury.
 iv. Min Valve – It is permanently calibrated once in a day. The dumbles within it falls back as per the temperature.The first 3 thermometers are mercury thermometers and the last one is an alcohol thermometer 
as its freezing point is below mercury and thus becomes useful in colder regions.
  2.  Self-Recording Rain Guage – Measures average rainfall without   manual help...... and hence known as self recording. It consists of a funnel of fixed diameter depending on  the scale used. Once the funnel is filled with water upto 10 mm the water gets drained from the funnel and is collected in a jar. Its accuracy is around 98 %.
        3.   Ordinary Rain Guage – Measurements here are done manually every 3 hours. It is highly accurate with accuracy 100 %.
        4.   Barograph – Used to measure pressure.
Barographs are of 2 types – Direct and Q- pattern. In Direct,
the height should be known and the one being used at Rs/Rw is  the Q  pattern barometer. Readings are taken every 24 hours and the graphs are plotted accordingly.
        5.    Thermograph – Used for temperature measurement. It is based on a simple concept; the bimetallic plate in it expands and contracts proportionally with temperature.
       6.      Hygrograph – Measures humidity. Uses wet horse hair since hair expands on getting wet and contracts drying.
       7.      Sunshine recorder – It uses a convex lens. Rays are focused at a particular point after they pass through the lens and is focused on a curved metallic strip. The strip length is long, short and straight for different seasons depending on the length of the day.
       8.      Wind Vane- It is used to measure wind direction. It consists of  three Anometers which are circular in shape. The wind speed measurement is done manually.

       They also have a fully automated weather station which is very much similar to the one installed by Atharva Satellite Ground Station in our college. The data from their automated weather station is transmitted to Kalpana using a stationary crossed Yagi Antenna of 401MHz.

       These equipments were well maintained. We were lucky to see a live demonstration of all these equipments.

  1. The observatory launches 4 hydrogen balloon of 70gm at different time intervals to measure height(12km-14km), wind speed and direction.
  2. It also ascends two hydrogen balloon of 800gm with a payload to measure overall weather data at different atmospheric levels upto a range of 30km.
  3. The hydrogen filled in the balloon is prepared in the hydrogen shed. The chemicals used are ferrisilicon, caustic soda and water which is mixed in  large cylinders kept under 100 atm pressure.
  4. The payload used for 800gm balloon consists of a thermistor, humidity sensor(hygristor) , transmitter, a capsule filled with vacuum which expands as pressure increases and a  battery.
  5. The battery, aquasonde is a 22V, water activated battery which has to be immersed in water for 5 minutes before use. Its advantage over other batteries is that it is cost effective and comparatively lighter in weight.
  6. The total weight of the payload of the balloon is about 1kg.
  7. The antennas used for tracking the balloon were helical antenna, 2 and 5 beam-width radar.

Monday, January 28, 2013

The YLs and OMs of Atharva Satellite Ground Station

Amateur radio is a community of people who use radio transmitters and receivers to communicate with others Amateur radio operators. Amateur radio operators are often called Ham Radio Operators or simply "HAMS". Amateur (HAM) Radio is truly a hobby but often what makes a difference is during emergencies and natural disasters. It is an activity of Self -Learning, Inter-Communication & Technical Investigation carried on between Amateur Radio Operators. HAMS often communicate over the radio waves using a hand-held transceiver, communicating digitally with packet radio to exchange personal messages or vital information or talking to other hams in space which clearly shows there is something for everyone.

Our technically inclined team thought HAM radio as a very good opportunity in order to get themselves well acquainted with communication so that they themselves could make use of the radio frequencies when it comes to communication with satellites. With this very thought they appeared for the Amateur HAM Radio exam conducted by Ministry of Communications, Government of India.

On November 10th, 2012 the team acquired their HAM licences and became international HAM’s. The boys are called Old Men(OM) and the girls are called Young Ladies(YL) in Amateur Radio terms. The licensed HAMS of the team are :-

Anuj Tiwari
Aniruddha Khadye
Divya Acharya
Gaurav Shukla
Nikhil Joshi
Nirali Khandhar                                                                             
Pranav Athalaye
Ishan Kapse
Saurabh Sanghai
Siddharth Trivedi
Now as most of the team members are a licensed HAM, we can make use of the radio frequencies for communication. Even the current team is pursuing their course for appearing the HAM exam to acquire their licences at the earliest. We also hope to contact all base stations on Radio spectrum and spread our motto –

“We Innovate Communication...
  We Communicate Innovation..."
We look forward for some interactive inputs…

Team Ground–Station,
Atharva College of Engineering.