Special Event Station for 40th Anniversary of OSCAR 7 Launch

OSCAR 7 in Space

OSCAR 7 in Space

Patrick Stoddard WD9EWK/VA7EWK has secured the special call sign W7O (Whiskey Seven Oscar) for use in commemorating the 40th anniversary of the launch of OSCAR 7 on November 15, 1974.

OSCAR 7 in anechoic chamber with Perry Klein K3JTE and Jan King K8VTR/W3GEY - Credit Dick Daniels W4PUJ

OSCAR 7 in anechoic chamber with Perry Klein K3JTE and Jan King K8VTR/W3GEY – Credit Dick Daniels W4PUJ

On the AMSAT Bulletin Board he writes:

I plan on having this call on the air between November 15-24 2014, working satellites and possibly other bands.  I will work satellite passes from Arizona, including AO-7 passes, and hope to recruit a small group of operators who can work other passes that cover eastern North America along with other places I can’t work from here (Europe, North Africa, South America).  I may also try to get some operators working HF with this call.

I will handle the QSL requests for W7O during this period. I am thinking of incorporating the original QSL card design AMSAT used to confirm AO-7 reception reports from the 1970s in the W7O card.

The QSL cards will be printed after the W7O activity wraps up.  I will also upload W7O QSOs to ARRL’s Logbook of the World system.

Please contact me directly if you have any questions related to this operation, or if you are willing to operate on satellites and/or HF as W7O during this 10-day period.

Thanks in advance, and 73!

Patrick WD9EWK/VA7EWK http://www.wd9ewk.net/

OSCAR 7 with Dick Daniels W4PUJ, Jan King K8VTR-W3GEY, Marie Marr and Perry Klein K3JTE

OSCAR 7 with Dick Daniels W4PUJ, Jan King K8VTR-W3GEY, Marie Marr and Perry Klein K3JTE

The amateur radio satellite AMSAT-OSCAR 7 was launched by a Delta rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base on November 15, 1974 and provided many years of service until it went silent from battery failure in mid 1981.

For 21 years nothing more was heard until June 21, 2002 when Pat Gowen G3IOR came across a beacon sending slow 8 -10 wpm CW on 145.973.8 MHz. It sounded like old OSCAR satellite telemetry, it had the familiar HI HI followed by a string of numbers in groups of three. After monitoring by many radio amateurs it turned out to be OSCAR-7, and it seemed to have come back from the dead.

Pat’s email to the AMSAT Bulletin Board announcing his discovery can be seen at


OSCAR 7 amateur radio satelliteIt is believed that in 1981 the batteries failed short-circuit, however, in 2002 they became open-circuit enabling the satellite to run again from the solar panels. Since that day OSCAR 7 has been operational when in sunlight and provided radio amateurs with many long distance (DX) SSB/CW contacts.

Remember when working OSCAR 7 use the least uplink power possible to minimize your downlink power usage, and maximize the number of simultaneous contacts supported in the passband.

A BBC News report Radio ham finds lost satellite about the reception of OSCAR 7 by Dave Rowan G4CUO can be seen at http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/2149381.stm

A collection of photos by Dick Daniels W4PUJ taken during the construction, test and launch of the AMSAT-OSCAR 7 spacecraft in 1973 and 1974 can be viewed at http://n4hy.smugmug.com/AMSAT/AMSAT-Oscar-7

Oscar 7 Information http://ww2.amsat.org/?page_id=1031

Video of 2E0HTS Working the OSCAR-7 Satellite http://amsat-uk.org/2012/01/26/2e0hts-working-the-oscar-7-satellite/

2010 video of the then AO-7 distance record http://www.southgatearc.org/news/january2010/new_ao7_record.htm

‘Getting started on amateur radio satellites’ by G7HIA published in the March 2007 RadCom. Download the article at http://ukamsat.files.wordpress.com/2011/05/satellites_radcom_mar07.pdf
Copyright 2007 Radio Society of Great Britain. For personal use only – no copying, reprinting or distribution without written permission from the RSGB.

Join the AMSAT Bulletin Board AMSAT-BB http://amsat.org/mailman/listinfo


ISS HamTV Presentation by G3VZV

Front panel of the HamTV transmitter

Front panel of the HamTV transmitter

In this video radio amateur Graham Shirville G3VZV talks about the International Space Station (ISS) HamTV project. The presentation was given to the BATC Convention on October 26, 2013.

Watch ISS Ham TV

Noel Matthews G8GTZ, Chair of the BATC, has announced the first 11 presentation videos from the CAT13 convention on ATV/DATV, held October 26, 2013, have been put up on the BATC video archive area.

They can be found in the http://batc.tv/ Film Archive by selecting the BATC CAT13 category.

The direct links are as follows:

BATC review http://www.batc.tv/streams/cat1301

LNB developments http://www.batc.tv/streams/cat1302

HAB introduction http://www.batc.tv/streams/cat1303

Early colour cameras http://www.batc.tv/streams/cat1304

SMD techniques http://www.batc.tv/streams/cat1305

DTX1 DVB-S xmtr http://www.batc.tv/streams/cat1306

DATV in practice http://www.batc.tv/streams/cat1307

Spectrum matters http://www.batc.tv/streams/cat1308

10 GHz Tx multipliers http://www.batc.tv/streams/cat1309

10GHz PLL LNBs http://www.batc.tv/streams/cat1310

ISS HAMTV http://www.batc.tv/streams/cat1311

Press coverage of 4M ham radio lunar payload

LX0OHB-4M amateur radio lunar payload - Credit LuxSpace

LX0OHB-4M amateur radio lunar payload – Credit LuxSpace

The successful amateur radio lunar payload 4M launched on October 23 has generated a number of articles, the latest is in The Daily Beast.

Read The Daily Beast article about the first privately-funded spacecraft to travel the Moon at http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/10/26/luxembourg-and-china-team-up-on-private-mission-to-the-moon.html

Since its launch 4M has been transmitting the digital mode JT65B on 145.980 MHz. The signal was first picked up 79 minutes after launch by Roland Zurmely PY4ZBZ in Brazil. The signal was very weak as 4M flew around the Moon but radio amateurs still managed to copy it. 4M is now heading back toward Earth.

4M reception by Berend PA3ARK signal level -8 dB

4M reception by Berend PA3ARK

Ghislain Ruy LX2RG has provided some additional information on the 4M project:

This project is entirely funded by our company [Luxspace], with strictly no commercial purpose. It means also that it had to be cheap, fast, efficient. In the partner page, you will find all those partner companies that have provided their services for free or at reduced cost. http://moon.luxspace.lu/partners/

I had only 6 months to set it all up, starting from blank page or quite so. I mean all really. And on top of that a mission from my boss: take the youngest by the hand and lead them to success. Done. I have repaid what I have been given by the elders when I was a beginner.

Here are at Luxspace, we are quite a lot of skilled high level engineers, and to say the truth, we do not object having fun on top of that.

LSE space offered for free to deal with all the data handling and setup all the website, data base, and so on. They did it in a very few months, and choose the most practical way for them in order to be in time and operational. And we are. As simple as it is.

We have learned a lot during these 6 months, and the last 6 days have been quite an education also.

The next mission will integrate all what was discovered and learned. My homework this week is to write it all down. Now, it is Java, and that’s it. Could have been better, but it works as expected or so, and that’s what counts. Fine tuning will come later.

Believe or not, I knew nothing of JT65B 7 months ago. We have put it all in a small microprocessor, including SDR !

Read the 4M blog at http://moon.luxspace.lu/blog/

For tracking information just enter your latitude and longitude at http://moon.luxspace.lu/tracking/

Lunar Ham Radio Payload Launched http://amsat-uk.org/2014/10/23/lunar-ham-radio-payload-launched/

ARRL – Radio Amateurs Report Hearing 4M Moon Orbiter JT65B Signal

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Bandplan released for 146 MHz

New Ways of Amateur CommunicationsFriday, October 31 is the formal start of the 146-147 MHz ‘experiment’ for Full licence holders with NoV’s and the RSGB has released a bandplan.

The bandplan has an allocation for digital modes with up to 500 kHz bandwidth and 12.5 kHz channels for narrowband digital modes including digital voice.

Users of wideband modes may need to use bandwidth tailoring to ensure no RF extends into the weak signal satellite segment at 145.8-146.0 MHz (the Lunar 4M JT65B beacon uses 145.980 MHz) or goes above 147.0 (or 146.93750 where applicable).

146 MHz Spectral CompatibilityDownload the bandplan from http://rsgb.org/main/files/2014/10/146-147-Initial-Bandplan.pdf

Some amateurs will be active in the early hours of Friday with the digital voice mode FreeDV which uses Codec2, download FreeDV from http://freedv.org/tiki-index.php

Apply now for your NoV at http://rsgb.org/main/operating/licensing-novs-visitors/online-nov-application/146mhz-147mhz-nov/

146-147 MHz Usage and Band Planning FAQ

RSGB 146 MHz Information




Founded in 1975 AMSAT-UK is a voluntary organisation that supports the design and building of equipment for amateur radio satellites.

AMSAT-UK initially produced a short bulletin called OSCAR News to give members advice on amateur satellite communications. Since those early days OSCAR News has grown in size and the print quality has improved beyond recognition. Today, OSCAR News is produced as a high-quality quarterly colour A4 magazine consisting of up to 40 pages of news, information and comment about amateur radio space communications.

The new lower-cost E-membership provides OSCAR News as a downloadable PDF file giving members the freedom to read it on their Tablets or Smartphones anytime, anyplace, anywhere.

An additional advantage is that the PDF should be available for download up to 2 weeks before the paper copy is posted.

AMSAT-UK FUNcube Mission Patch Rev4 20100609

AMSAT-UK FUNcube Mission Patch

The Membership year lasts for 12 months starting on January 1 each year.

If you join after July 31 of any particular year, then you will receive complimentary membership for the whole of the following year, i.e. join on August 10, 2014, and you have nothing more to pay until Dec 31, 2015.

Take out an Electronic membership here http://shop.amsat.org.uk/shop/category_9/Join-Amsat-UK.html

E-members can download their copies of OSCAR News from http://www.amsatuk.me.uk/on

A sample issue of OSCAR News can be downloaded here.

146-147 MHz Usage and Band Planning FAQ

New Ways of Amateur CommunicationsThe new 146-147 MHz allocation is available to UK Full licence holders from October 31, 2014. The RSGB have issued a FAQ document which answers some of the common questions about the new allocation.

They say in terms of enabling innovation and experimentation it might have been preferable if Ofcom was prepared to grant 146 MHz NoVs to holders of all classes of UK amateur licence. However, the Ofcom view was that because Full licensees have demonstrated a greater comprehension of the interference aspects, NoVs will only be available for holders of full amateur licences.

Map illustrating where 146 MHz cannot be used

Map illustrating where 146 MHz cannot be used

It is expected the allocation will be used for wideband digital transmissions. Bandwidth tailoring will be imperative to ensure no RF extends into the weak signal satellite segment at 145.8-146.0 MHz (the Lunar 4M JT65B beacon uses 145.980 MHz). Narrow band users in 147 MHz must also be protected from any increase in the noise floor.

The FAQ says:

The 146‐147 MHz band is ideal for testing new forms of medium bandwidth data transmission that can surpass traditional methods such as amateur AX25 packet data. Some higher speed data modes used by amateurs on microwave frequencies produce a very wide transmitted spectrum and are clearly not suitable for the 146‐147 MHz band. Even the 128kbps medium data rate D‐Star ‘DD Mode’ used on the 1296 MHz band fills up over 500 kHz of bandwidth at 60dB down on the peak transmitted power. However we do expect that amateurs will be able to develop solutions compatible with the spectral constraints of the 146‐147 MHz band.

146 MHz Spectral CompatibilityIn the initial 146‐147 MHz band plan there is a recommendation that wider bandwidth data modes should be centred at 146.500 MHz to make sure that all of the sidebands are contained within the 146‐147 MHz band. For initial experiments the recommendation is to use data rates of no more than 350 kbps and measure the total bandwidth at the transmitter output in order to ensure maximum protection of other users at the 147 MHz band edges and amateur satellite users below 146 MHz. As amateur radio access to the 146‐147 MHz band has been granted on a non‐interference basis, it is important that all amateurs adhere to these guidelines in order to ensure that there is no interference with users of adjacent bands. In the longer term it might be possible with bandwidth tailoring and pre‐distortion techniques to produce cleaner transmitters to permit greater data rates with sharper spectral slopes.

Apply now for your NoV at http://rsgb.org/main/operating/licensing-novs-visitors/online-nov-application/146mhz-147mhz-nov/

The application asks you for your Licence Number which appears on page 1 of your licence. If you don’t have it simply login to the Ofcom licencing page and download a new licence PDF at https://services.ofcom.org.uk/

RSGB 146 MHz http://rsgb.org/main/operating/band-plans/vhf-uhf/vhf-spectrum-release/

FAQ PDF http://rsgb.org/main/files/2014/03/146-147MHz_FAQ.pdf

146 MHz talk slides http://rsgb.org/main/files/2014/03/RSGB_146-147MHz.pdf

UK radio hams start 146 MHz development

New UK Amateur Radio 146 MHz allocation

FUNcube-1 Telemetry Statistics

AO-73 (FUNcube-1) - Image credit Wouter Weggelaar PA3WEG

AO-73 (FUNcube-1) – Image credit Wouter Weggelaar PA3WEG

FUNcube-1 was launched on November 21, 2013 and since then radio amateurs and schools have been collecting the telemetry which has been stored in the Data Warehouse.

The Data Warehouse statistics as of 21:49 GMT on October 25, 2014 were:

Number of registered users: 1286
Number of active users (data received in last two weeks): 195
Number of active users since launch: 757

Number of packets transmitted by satellite since deployment: 5865120 (1.5GB)
Number of packets uploaded by users before deduplication: 6370976 (1.63 GB)

Number of packets stored in warehouse: 1466239 (376.9 MB) which also
represents the same number of realtime data points (collected once every
5 seconds),

Whole orbit Data: 276.3 days of data (collected once every minute)
High Resolution Data: 806 hours of data (collected once every second, for a period of a minute, every other minute)

Whole orbit Data: 276.3 days of data (collected once every minute)
High Resolution Data: 806 hours of data (collected once every second, for a period of a minute, every other minute)

Recovery rates:
Realtime  (25%)
WOD (81%)
HiRes (22%)

As always, many thanks to all those who have and continue to send data.

Data Warehouse – Telemetry Archive http://warehouse.funcube.org.uk/
Dashboard App – Telemetry Decoder http://funcube.org.uk/working-documents/funcube-telemetry-dashboard/

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4M Lunar Payload Update

LX0OHB-4M amateur radio lunar payload - Credit LuxSpace

LX0OHB-4M amateur radio lunar payload – Credit LuxSpace

On October 25 Ghislain Ruy LX2RG provided this update on the 4M lunar amateur radio payload.

Signals from 4M are quite weak. This is not due to a loss of power as telemetry shows normal parameters, but to the attitude of the last stage that places a deep of the radiation pattern in the direction of the Earth. I hope that Earth’s movement with respect to the inertial attitude of the last stage will give better results in the coming days.

The 4M is becoming a real challenge now, and receiving the signals during flyby will be quite an achievement. A little bit away from the original goal though, but this risk was known.

One sure result is the radiation measurement that showed what was to be expected, and the graphs will soon be pubished on the blog.

I hope you will be able to receive during the AMSAT-DL AGM this weekend, but you will have to put 16+dB [antenna] gain at least.

Radio amateurs are encouraged to receive and report the signals http://moon.luxspace.lu/receiving-4m/

For tracking information just enter your latitude and longitude at http://moon.luxspace.lu/tracking/

See the 4M payload Blog at http://moon.luxspace.lu/blog/

Lunar Ham Radio Payload Launched http://amsat-uk.org/2014/10/23/lunar-ham-radio-payload-launched/

4M Lunar Payload http://amsat-uk.org/2014/10/15/4m-lunar-payload-integrated-keps-released/

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UK STEM 434 MHz Balloon Flight to Release Plane

MARS BalloonElysium, a MARS Balloon flight is expected to launch at noon (+/- 1 hour) on Sunday, October 26. The 434 MHz USB signal should cover much of the UK and can also be received world-wide online using the SUWS WebSDR.

The balloon will be launched from the Mendips (51.254, -2.714) and is expected to travel almost directly east for a landing near Basingstoke. The estimated flight time is 135 minutes with a peak altitude of 30 km.

Callsign $$ELYSIUM frequency 434.250 MHz, USB RTTY 50 Baud 560 Hz Shift ASCII-7 no parity 2 stop bits

55 science experiments submitted by 36 schools from across the UK will soar 30 km up into the atmosphere and back. The flight will also contain a plane from Bristol SEDS, activated before launch and to be released at peak altitude, with a separate onboard tracker. Expected to fly further east than Basingstoke.

Callsign $$UBSEDS3 frequency 434.600 MHz LSB RTTY 50 baud 400 Hz shift ASCII-8 no parity 2 stop bits.

Updates on Twitter @marsballoon hashtags #STEM #MARSBalloon
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/marsballoon
Elysium Tracking http://marsballoon.com/elysium-2/
Web http://www.marsballoon.com/

Useful links for tracking and receiving 434 MHz balloons http://amsat-uk.org/beginners/balloons/

Pupils at the King Edward VI Grammar School (KEGS) Chelmsford, Essex are among those who have developed an experiment for MARS Balloon, see @KEGS_engineers

SUWS VHF/UHF/Microwave WebSDR http://amsat-uk.org/2014/08/15/suws-websdr-moves-to-new-site/

NoV suggestion for Airborne Ham Radio

Ofcom-logo-col-tThe RSGB response to the Ofcom licence consultation raises the suggestion of the use of NoV’s for aeronautical amateur radio operation.

The UK amateur radio licence currently prohibits airborne operation and amateurs have had to transmit using licence exempt spectrum instead.

The Society is critical of Ofcoms’ proposals regarding 470 kHz pointing out they do not align with the Wireless Telegraphy Act, nor are they the minimum necessary under the ITU Radio Regulations. The RSGB also say the 470 kHz proposals set a dangerous precedent in relation to interference.

Regarding the proposal to remove the 15 minute ID requirement and replace it with ‘as frequently as practicable’ the Society say it is open to too great a range of interpretation (and in some cases might be more burdensome than the well known 15-minute rule). The RSGB also suggests there is currently an ambiguity regarding embedding callsign data in modes such as Digital Voice.

In total over 2,000 people responded which is believed to be a record for an Ofcom consultation. It is thought Ofcom may take some time to publish all the responses but when they do they should be at

Read the full RSGB response, airborne is referenced in Question 9

RSGB – UK Amateur Licence Review http://rsgb.org/licencereview