Space and Satellite Symposium 2021 Transcript and Video Links

Welcome to the IEEE Space and Satellite Symposium: Information Theory, Amateur Radio, and Amateur Satellites.

This event is co-sponsored by the IEEE San Diego Computer Society Chapter, lead by Naveed Qazi. Please welcome him to the stage as explains what the Computer Society is all about. Naveed you have the floor.

(Naveed shared a live update with the audience about the Computer Society meetings, events, and areas of concentration.)

This event is also co-sponsored by the IEEE San Diego Information Theory Society, lead by Dr. Orlitsky and Michelle Thompson, W5NYV.

Logistics sponsor is Open Research Institute. A special thank you to Vidya Gopalakrishna, Jayala_29, Jim Tittsler, Navid Qazi, Charlie Bird, the IEEE review committee, IEEE-USA, and all our speakers.

All talks have already been published on YouTube, so if there’s something in particular you want to see and you have limited time, then please feel free to go straight to the playlist. Our goal for this event is high-tech and low-stress.

If you have questions for the speakers, please put them in chat. If the speaker is present, then they will answer there. All questions will be anonymized and sent to the speakers. A Q&A will be added to the YouTube playlist.

Information Theory is an intensely interdisciplinary field. This collection of talks demonstrates that to great effect.

The talks span a variety of subjects and are from people with a range of experience and backgrounds.

All talks will be available for free going forward and we look forward to working with IEEE on future events and workshops.

In November, Open Research Institute will have a series about mission planning for non-traditional amateur satellite orbits and we will be at HamCation in Florida in February of 2022. If you are there, please visit our booth. We’ll have a forum with TAPR and will be hosting a contest for the hamlets attendees.

We will begin with our keynote, Ugly Modern Music: An Information Theoretic View by Frank Brickle. Talks will play live from here with a brief intermission at 10am US Pacific.

It has been a great honor to work with Frank Brickle. It’s often said that music and mathematics are closely related, but relatively little published accessible and practical work. We hope this presentation is a step forward towards a goal of Information Theory Applications in Music.

Our next talk is about amateur radio as a testbed for science and high technology. Courtney Duncan has a unique viewpoint here, as he recently retired from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and was a lead on the Mars Helicopter.

Thank you to Courtney for continuing service to both the scientific and amateur communities and for describing an interpretation of the amateur radio service, for both space and terrestrial, that provides both a practical and a theoretical role.

I think we can see how amateur radio values and practice assisted in the success of the Mars Helicopter.

Please share your questions for Courtney in the chat. He is here and can answer. If you want to send in your questions later, then send them in to the address in the Symposium email, or at

Next, is Anshul Makkar, who will speak about specific very technical work for the amateur radio satellite service. He is working on Low Density Parity Check implementation on Field Programmable Gate Arrays for any amateur satellite project that sees the value in open source work.

Thank you to Anshul Makkar. If you have questions for him please share them in chat, as he is here and can answer them live, or send them to the contact addresses in the Symposium registration email, and we will follow up.

Bringing multiple implementations of LDPC to the open source community is one of the things that Open Research institute does, and it is something that you can find an enormous number of IEEE resources about.

Next is Dr. Estevez who will be speaking about his work on a narrowband modem for the QO-100 GEO amateur radio transponder. For those of you unfamiliar with this satellite, it’s the first geosynchronous amateur radio payload. This is a remarkable achievement and a huge step forward for amateur communications. This physical platform for experimentation will give us opportunities for innovation for years to come. Dr. Estevez work is a big part of that movement. Please welcome him to the stage.

A special note, on October 24th, Dr. Estevez was awarded the G3AAJ Trophy, from AMSAT-UK, in recognition of his contributions to amateur satellite development and activity. In addition to the practical applications seen in this presentation, Dr. Estevez is also the author of GNU Radio satellites block set, which are blocks in gnu radio that allow one to much more easily receive satellite communications using GNU Radio. If you are unfamiliar with GNU Radio, a DSP framework for SDR, then please visit gnu radio dot org to learn more.

Next is a talk about a very practical and scrappy project – figuring out how to characterize channels and make circuits for a very small open source satellite platform called AmbaSat. Part of the mission of IEEE and Open Research Institute is education and professional development. If you see a way to contribute to the success of renovating and improving the AmbaSat platform, please get in touch with Vidya Gopalakrishna and Dr. Alan Johnston, the Primary investigator and advisor for this particular project, which is funded by ARDC.

Please welcome Vidya to the stage.

Thank you to Vidya Gopalakrishna. Please ask your questions for her in the chat, as she is here and can answer them live.

Part of our event was a call for musical compositions related to Space and Satellites. We are proud to premiere some original music today. The first of the two short pieces that we will play today is Space Orchestra, which is categorized as Jazz. A full information theory analysis of this piece will be done for the next San Diego Information Theory Society meeting, later this year.

The theme of this piece, is what the composer felt and decide to write, when focusing on the planets of our solar system, and our place within it. This is Space Orchestra, put into the public domain and available at no cost from Open Research Institute.

Space Orchestra

Our second music premiere is called Risk, and is in the electronic dance music category. The lyrics are from John F. Kennedy’s speech at Rice University, but are from a part of the speech that is not quoted as often as the section that includes “we choose to go to the moon, not because it is easy, but because it it hard.” Instead, we highlight the part of the speech that puts space exploration in the context of human history, and recognizes the great risk of exploration into hostile conditions for the benefit of all.

This is Risk, available from Open Research Institute for free.


Jan King

Our closing talk is from Jan King, a space industry professional and frequent contributor to amateur satellite work. He is speaking today about the very bright future for millimeter wave amateur satellites. Please welcome to the stage Jan King.

Thank you to Jan King.

This event would not be possible without a significant amount of work from our speakers, sponsors, supporters, and volunteers. Thank you all for your time and expertise.

Do you have an idea or talk that you would like to share? All of us at the chapter level in IEEE, like Naveed Qazi, Dr. Orlitzky, myself, and many others, are here to make it as easy as possible for your work to be shared. Get in touch and we’ll get you started and supported.

This transcript with the links to videos will be posted to the YouTube playlist description, and will be sent out to everyone that registered in advance, to make it easy for anyone to replay any part of this event. For this set of presentations, 104 people pre-registered and there’s a large number of views on the content in the playlist as of the close of the conference.

While the half-day conference program has concluded, the floor is open for discussion, questions, comments, and ideas for related or future work.

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