More importantly, welcome to the world of Amateur Radio Satellites! Founded in 1969, Radio Amateur Satellite Corp. (AMSAT) is an all-volunteer organization (our office manager is the only paid employee), AMSAT has been instrumental in “keeping amateur radio in space” over the past 44 years.
Starting with the launch of AO-5 in 1970 and through the deployment of ARISSat-1 in 2011, AMSAT has been directly involved with 15 amateur radio satellite projects, 14 of which were successfully placed in orbit. Now, adding to our line of projects is FOX-1, a 4”x4”x4” ‘cubesat’ currently in development that will replace AO-51 as AMSAT’s primary FM repeater satellite; this satellite is expected to be launched in November 2014. In addition, Fox-2 which has been accepted by NASA’s Educational Launch of NanoSat (ELaNa) program; we’re awaiting confirmation of a launch for this satellite
There are currently several operational amateur radio satellites in orbit, providing a variety of services such as FM voice, SSB and cw communications. While some satellites may require equipment that you may not currently have access to, there are “birds” that utilize modes that are already in your shack. SO-50, for example uses two meters and 435 MHz FM. Amateur radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) has both voice and digital capabilities on two meters and 435 MHz. AO-7, FO-29 and VO-52 are linear transponders for CW and SSB. There are also a number of university satellites with scientific payloads that have transmit downlinks in the amateur radio bands that can be monitored. The “Weekly Satellite Report” provides the status of all satellites operating in the amateur radio bands, including frequency and operating mode configurations. Check the AMSAT website for information on how to subscribe to this weekly update.
AMSAT has developed a number of publications and software items that are designed to help you become active in the satellite program. A complete listing of our resource offerings is available on our website and you may purchase them through AMSAT’s secure web store.
If our activities interest you, please consider an AMSAT membership that will provide you with our magazine. The AMSAT Journal is a bimonthly publication that provides a wealth of information on the amateur satellite program. You will find the magazine to be a great source for not only ‘getting started’, but developing an understanding of satellite communications.
I also encourage you to support AMSAT. We are a 501-(c)-(3) not-for-profit educational and scientific organization of amateur radio operators whose purpose is to design, construct, launch, and operate satellites in space and to provide the support needed to encourage amateurs to utilize these resources. Please consider a tax-deductible contribution to AMSAT to help underwrite the development and launch expenses of our Fox-class satellite program.
Thank you for visiting the AMSAT website!
Barry A. Baines, WD4ASW