The first amateur radio station on the Moon, JS1YMG, is now transmitting.
The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) successfully landed their Smart Lander for Investigating Moon (SLIM) on January 19, 2024. Just before touchdown, SLIM released two small lunar surface probes, LEV-1 and LEV-2.
LEV-2 collects data while moving on the lunar surface, and LEV-1 receives the data.
The JAXA Ham Radio Club (JHRC), JQ1ZVI, secured amateur radio license JS1YMG for LEV-1, which has been transmitting Morse code on 437.41 MHz since January 19. The probe uses a 1 W UHF antenna with circular polarization and is transmitting “matters related to amateur business.”
Radio amateurs have been busy analyzing JS1YMG’s signal, with Daniel Estévez’s, EA4GPZ, blog introducing the method and extraction results for demodulating Morse code from the signal, as well as extracting the code string.
It’s unclear how long signals will be heard. JAXA has said that SLIM was not designed to survive a lunar night, which lasts about 14 days, and is due to return in a few days.
SLIM was launched on September 6, 2023, and landed on January 19, 2024, with the mission of analyzing the composition of rocks to aid research about the origin of the moon. SLIM’s landing made Japan the fifth country to achieve a soft touchdown on the moon. The landing was achieved with exceptional precision — within 180 feet of its targeted touchdown location.