Satellite Ground Station

W4UVA is pleased to partner with the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering (MAE) at the University of Virginia to design, construct, and operate an advanced ground station in support of the MAE cubesat team and other cubesat projects.  The satellite ground station is currently in the design phase.

The first mission to be supported by the ground station is the Virginia Cubesat Constellation, three 1U cubesats (one each designed and built by students at ODU, UVa, and Virginia Tech).

The plan is to build two ground stations.  The primary ground station will be in a location with a clear view of the sky.  It will be built from high-performance, commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) components.  The primary ground station will handle spacecraft command and control and downlink duties on a day-to-day basis.

The secondary ground station will be located at the W4UVA station.  The Observatory Hill site has inferior sky view, but is easily accessible.  The secondary ground station will be largely homebrew, and will be our platform for experimentation with new antennas and new frequency bands.


The primary station is expected to consist of:

  • (2) M2 Antennas 2MCP14 crossed Yagi, 144-148 MHz, 12.34 dBic, with polarity switch
  • (2) M2 Antennas 436CP30 crossed Yagi, 430-438 MHz, 15.5 dBic, with polarity switch
  • M2 Antennas 2MPA GaAsFET preamp, 144-146 MHz, 20 dB
  • Advanced Receiver Research MSP432VDG-160 GaAsFET preamp, 430-440 MHz, 18 dB
  • AlfaSpid BIG RAS azimuth/elevation rotator
  • Down East Microwave 2M30PA power amplifier, 140-148 MHz, 30W
  • Down East Microwave 7025OA power amplifier, 420-450 MHz, 25W
  • Ettus Research USRP N210 software-defined radio
  • Ettus Research UBX40 RF daughterboard, 10-6000 MHz, 40 MHz bandwidth

W4UVA Ground Station