New world record for LoRa comms
Written by: Richard Hook | Published:
Illustration of satellite Moonbounce transmission A illustration of the first-ever LoRa Moonbounce using the Dwingeloo radio telescope (Credit: Sofie Shen)

A team of European scientists have set a new distance world record for long range (LoRa) communications technology by transmitting a message more than 730,360km to the Moon and back.

The team of CA Muller Radio Astronomy Station's Jan van Muijlwijk and Tammo Jan Dijkema, Lacuna Space chief technology officer Thomas Telkamp and the European Space Agency’s Frank Zeppenfeldt used a Semtech LR1110 RF transceiver chip in the 430-440 Mhz amateur band to send the LoRa signal across what the group claims is a record distance.

For the ‘Moonbounce’ test, the LoRa signal was amplified to 350w using the 25-metre dish at the Dwingeloo Radio Observatory in the Netherlands to send the signal to the Moon and back in under 2.5 seconds. The message contained a full LoRa Wide Area Network (LoRaWAN) frame and the modulated call sign ‘PI9CAM’, the call sign of the telescope at Dwingeloo,

The test marks the first time LoRa technology has been used to bounce a signal off the Moon and the scientists claimed it illustrates the potential of LoRa tech for Internet of Things applications and lunar communications including satellites and probes.

Commenting on the achievement, Nicolas Sornin, co-inventor of LoRa technology, 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”.

When constructed in 1956, the telescope at Dwingeloo Radio Observatory was the largest in the world at a diameter of 25m before it was eclipsed by the 76m Lovell Telescope in the UK.

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