Amateur radio satellite AO-51 remembered

Dozens of messages were posted to the Amsat-bb after the news of the amateur radio satellite AO-51‘s end of mission was received. Many remembered their contacts, several thanked the Operating Team. Many noted that AO-51 was the satellite that brought them into this part of our hobby.

While too numerous to list them all a sample of the content seems appropriate …

 Robin Haighton, VE3FRH, who was AMSAT-NA President when AO-51 was designed and launched wrote, “I was very sorry to hear of the final loss of AO-51 (Echo) as it was the last satellite developed by AMSAT-NA and launched in 2004. As I recall much of the work was carried out by Mark Kanawati, Jim White WD0E, Chuck Green N0ADI (who accompanied the satellite to the Launch site) and Rick Hambly W2GPS. My thanks to all.

Photo galleries of the people and AO-51 can be found at:

 Control Operator Mark Hammond, N8MH commented, “We essentially got ‘a free, bonus overtime’ from July 2010 until now. We thought it was about gone back then…check your logs and see just how many QSOs you made on AO-51 from the end of July 2010 until the end of November 2011 (and then check how many overall during the 7.5 years).

To which Patrick WD9EWK/VA7EWK replied, “I have logged a total of 10931 satellite QSOs. Of those, 4891 (44.7%) were on AO-51’s different configurations. Since July 2010, I have logged 2233 satellite QSOs, with 574 of those (25.7%) on AO-51. My last AO-51 QSOs were logged on 13 November.

 Pete, WB2OQQ wrote, “AO-51, has been one of my best satellite recruiting tools and I will certainly miss her, however she gave us many wonderful years of faithful service, good bye dear friend. It is important to note that the control team managed AO-51 in a manner that I believe extended her life, thank you. We all must continue to support AMSAT’s Fox-1 project, and other AMSAT projects I believe thru Amateur Satellites we have found a potential path to excite the children today and continue the STEM initiative.

 Bob, KC2WYH recalls, “I am a new ham, licensed less than two years, and worked John K8YSE via AO-51 with my little HT and an Arrow maybe six weeks after passing my Tech. A few months later after another test my first QSO signing “slash AG” was again on that bird, with Patrick WD9EWK. Just to “echo” what others have been saying: AO51, R.I.P.
And a hearty thank-you to the Control Team for giving us so many many happy and proud hours!

 Andreas, VK4HHH, AMSAT-VK Member said, “I think thanks are in order for the operations team who provided us with many years of enjoyment on countless AO-51 QSO’s. Job well done from start to finish. RIP little satellite. May your solar panels always been shone on Look up and see what your grand-daddy, AO-07, has done and maybe you can draw the inspiration to come back to life in a decade or so.

 Hector, CO6CBF wrote, “AO-51 has been like a work horse. It is the bird which got me into satellites. Thanks very much to the control team for the great work done.

 Mani, VU2WMY from AMSAT-India and Secretary & Station-In-Charge of the Upagrah Amateur Radio Club VU2URC at India’s ISRO Satellite
Centre, Bangalore sent this message, “It is really a sad news.
Bidding a farewell to AO-51 with a very heavy heart. Looking at the success, we all at Upagrah Amateur Radio Club VU2URC at ISRO Satellite Centre and AMSAT-India express our heartfelt and sincere thanks, appreciations and compliments to the entire AO-51 (ECHO) team.
AO-51 was truly one of the best amateur radio satellites.
It was a very favorite for many of our VU hams for its strong signals and ease of operations. ‘Thank you AO-51 for your great and fruitful services to the World of Amateur Radio’. We take this opportunity to thank each & every one associated with this great project and wish AMSAT-NA all the success in their future endeavors.