Ham Radio on the Moon
Japan's OMOTENASHI, the world's smallest moon lander, will have an X-band and UHF communication system, although it will not carry an amateur band transponder.
OMOTENASHI is a 6 Unit sized CubeSat set for launch via a NASA SLS rocket as early as February 2022. It will have a mission period of 4 to 5 days. The name is an acronym for Outstanding Moon Exploration Technologies demonstrated by Nano Semi-Hard Impactor. Wataru Torii of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency Ham Radio Club, JQ1ZVI, said radio amateurs can play a role in gathering data from the spacecraft.
The spacecraft is made up of two separable components, both having independent communication systems, an orbiting module and a surface probe. The orbiting module will take the surface probe to the moon. It will transmit beacon or digital telemetry data on 437.31 MHz. The moon lander surface probe will transmit digital telemetry or three-axis acceleration analog-wave with FM modulation on 437.41 MHz. Transmitter power is 1 Watt, enough to be picked up with a high gain yagi.
According to Torii, JQ1ZVI, if they succeed in receiving the UHF signal from the surface probe, one could know the acceleration data of the impact on the moon and the success of the landing sequence. They already have a station for the uplink and downlink at Wakayama in Japan, normally used as an EME station. However, when the moon and satellite is not visible from Japan, help with the receiption of the downlink signal will be needed from ham radio stations worldwide.
The orbiting module beacon will transmit on 437.31 MHz using PSK31. The surface probe beacon will transmit on 22.41 MHz using FM, PSK31, and PCM-PSK.