First LoRa Message Bounced off the Moon

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First LoRa Message Bounced off the Moon

For the first time ever Lacuna Space bounced a LoRa message off the moon this October. They achieved this through the Dwingeloo radio telescope. The team that achieved this consited of Jan van Muijlwijk (CAMRAS, PA3FXB), Tammo Jan Dijkema (CAMRAS), Frank Zeppenfeldt (ESA, PD0AP) and Thomas Telkamp (Lacuna Space, PA8Z). The signal traveled a total distance of 730,360 km – the furthest distance a LoRa modulated message has traveled until now.
For a short moment the entire message was in space, in between the Earth and the Moon. It was transmitted with a Semtech LR1110 RF transceiver chip in the 430-440 Mhz amateur band, using the 25-meter dish of the telescope. Only 2.44 seconds later, it was received by the same chip. One of the messages contained a full LoRaWAN frame.
Nicolas Sornin, co-inventor of LoRa, said: “This is a fantastic experiment, I had never dreamed that one day a LoRa message would travel all the way to the moon and back! I am impressed by the quality of the data captured, this dataset is going to become a classic for radiocommunications and signal processing students. A big thumbs up to the team and CAMRAS foundation for making this possible”.
The Dwingeloo radio telescope, operated by the CAMRAS foundation, has often been used in amateur radio experiments and also for moon bounces. But so far this has not been done with a small RF chip. This telescope commissioned in 1956 played an important role in the early exploration of the structure of the Milky Way.
In addition to the LoRa chips, an SDR (Software Defined Radio) was used to capture both the transmitted and received signal for further analysis. Measurements together with analysis notebooks will be published as open data.

Author: Rainer Claaßen
Image Credit: Pixabay

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