From an email to the DARN-PI listserv sent by Dr. John Rash, South African SuperDARN PI just prior to the launch:

First, South Africa’s first CubeSat (“ZACUBE-1”), which has been built at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) in Cape Town and which carries an HF radio beacon, is (at last) due to be launched tomorrow, 21 November. (We announced this beacon project at the SuperDARN meeting in Moose Jaw, but there were a couple of delays in the arrangement of the launch and we did not want to get too excited prematurely…) The launch, by a Dnepr launch vehicle from Yasny, Russia (the primary payloads are DubaiSat-2 and the Korean STSat-3) is scheduled for 07:10 UT. The HF beacon will transmit on 14.099 MHz, but will only be activated after commissioning of the satellite. We’ll keep you informed as soon as we know when it will be turned on. The planned orbit is sun-synchronous, near circular, altitude 600 km, inclination 97.8 degrees, Local Time on Descending Node 10:30 hours. (More details from: link) and ) Once we have the actual orbit and can determine details for passes over the Sanae radar fov we will again let everyone know (i) orbit parameters so you can determine passes for different radars and (ii) if we want to do anything with regard to scheduling, apart from simply making observations during discretionary time.

Second, the TIGER3–design digital radar has completed construction at SANSA Space Science in Hermanus and is undergoing testing prior to packing for shipment to Antarctica from Cape Town at the beginning of December. A big thank-you to John Devlin and the team at La Trobe for everything they have done to make this possible. This involved a lot of effort and close collaboration, including visits by La Trobe engineers (Karthik most recently) to Hermanus and vice versa. The team at SANSA Space Science, Roger van Schie (Antarctic Programme Engineer), Jon Ward (2012 Sanae Radar Engineer) and Francois Olivier (2014 Sanae Radar Engineer) worked very hard, with a big push ahead of the ‘unveiling’. This was a very successful PR event as part of World Space Week in early October, when we saw the complete assembled radar electronics, complete with blinking lights, for the first time. Our thanks to Dr Lee-Anne McKinnell, Director of SANSA Space Science, for this, as well as the tremendous support she continues to give to the Sanae radar and SuperDARN. The ‘construction team’ had great support from Gert Lamprecht, Kessie Govender’s replacement as Research Support Unit Manager, and the small but extremely dedicated technical support staff at SANSA.

The plan is to install the new radar at Sanae during the Antarctic ‘takeover’ period January-February 2014. The old radar (see below) will not be removed immediately, but rather the two will run ‘alternately’ initially, while the new radar is fully checked out. For continuity we first want to see that the new radar can do what the old one does before we start to investigate some of the great flexibility of the digital design. The first challenge will be fitting both radars into the same hut, but we are sure it can be done. Assuming all goes reasonably well, we would look to bring the old radar back from Antarctica at the end of 2014.