The First Moon-Based Amateur Radio Station, JS1YMG, Starts Its Operations

This article highlights the groundbreaking achievement of establishing JS1YMG, the first amateur radio station on the moon, which has started its transmit operations. This marks a significant milestone in lunar exploration and amateur radio communication.


2/17/20241 min read

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) accomplished a landmark lunar landing with its Smart Lander for Investigating Moon (SLIM) on January 19, 2024. In a pioneering move, SLIM deployed two miniature lunar probes, named LEV-1 and LEV-2, moments before its successful landing.

LEV-2 is designed to traverse the moon's surface and gather data, while LEV-1 is tasked with receiving this information.

Furthermore, the JAXA Ham Radio Club (JHRC), operating under the call sign JQ1ZVI, obtained the amateur radio license JS1YMG for LEV-1. Since the landing day, LEV-1 has been actively broadcasting Morse code signals at 437.41 MHz. The probe is equipped with a 1 W UHF antenna that employs circular polarization, focusing on broadcasting information pertinent to amateur radio activities.

The amateur radio community has shown keen interest in decoding the Morse code signals from JS1YMG, with notable contributions from Daniel Estévez, EA4GPZ, who shared insights on his blog regarding the techniques for demodulating the Morse code from the signal, including detailed extraction results.

The duration for which these signals will remain detectable is uncertain. JAXA has indicated that SLIM's operational life is limited, as it is not expected to withstand the extreme conditions of a lunar night, which can last approximately 14 days. The mission is anticipated to conclude in the near future.

SLIM's journey began with its launch on September 6, 2023, culminating in its precise landing on January 19, 2024. The mission's primary goal is to analyze lunar rock compositions, contributing valuable insights into the moon's origins. With its successful landing, Japan has joined an elite group of nations that have achieved a soft landing on the moon, demonstrating remarkable accuracy by landing within 180 feet of the designated target site.