Many readers will no doubt have been following the on-going project of using amateur radio satellites, from receive only to fully blown ground station within a couple of months much to the dislike of my bank account. Its been an exciting year full of learning and experimenting with both the equipment and software to make it all fully automated.
Since getting the transmitting side functioning I’ve made 1,672 QSOs the main bulk being on AO-51. I was lucky enough to have 385 QSOs on before it finally stopped working in November, this satellite was clearly the most popular because it was easy to access & every pass was busy or more appropriate manic.
With everyone shouting over each other specially at the weekends. The next most popular satellites for me where SO-50 (137 QSOs), VO-52 (143 QSOs) and FO-29 (134 QSOs) nearly matching QSO totals. Sadly out of those three only SO-50 & VO-52 are active due to FO-29 not getting enough sunlight I believe but VO-52 is very reliable every pass for a couple of contacts although sometimes with regular people 🙂
Next up is AO-7 with a total of 111 QSOs, this has two modes either a VHF or HF downlink. I only use the VHF downlink but I’ve made two contacts into North America KB1RVT and K3SZH which was exciting and a first for me. Followed by AO-27 (95 QSOs) this again is a reliable FM satellite although turns off early in its pass over Europe, and is plagued with interface from repeaters on its uplink.
Lets not forget SO-67 which I’ve only managed 15 QSOs, and is currently off due to a fault on the satellite but hopefully will be back in the new year if they can fix it. To round things off I’ve been luckily enough to have 5 QSOs on Arissat-1 and collect telemetry and SSTV images. Its due re-enter in the new year but I’m pleased to be able to say and prove that I’ve been able to have a couple of QSOs on this satellite.
In the new year of course comes new satellites with the launch of PW-Sat which is a transponder on board, and hopefully the launch of Funcube and UKube-1 in the later part of the year and not forgetting the Cubesats which transmit useful telemetry to college students round the world working on there research projects.