27 Jan 2013

Oscar 6 and 7 satellites

Way back in the 1970s I took my first steps into amateur space communications by listening to the SSB and CW signals coming down from the new (then!) Oscar 6 and Oscar 7 satellites as they passed over. Equipment was an HB9CV antenna in the loft, a 2m-80m homebrew converter feeding a Codar T28 receiver. It was crude, but it worked fine. The same set-up worked well for monitoring 2m CW and SSB terrestrial activity as well.

Using my "osculator" - a map with the satellite paths and an overlay showing when the satellite would be in range on the various paths I could predict when signals would first appear from the south and disappear in the north.

Best passes were ones over the mid Atlantic when , for around 10-15 minutes, sometimes less, US and Canadian stations would appear at the top of the 2m band. It was very exciting at the time. If I recall correctly HB9HB was a beacon near the top of the band and that could be copied too via the satellites.

Although I had one satellite QSO years later with a 10m-15m transponder on one of the later Oscars, I never did get into it on TX.  In the Southgate News today I read that Oscar 7 is still good for DX QSOs even though it is now 37 years old. Whatever happened to the Phase III satellites in geosynchronous orbit like Oscar 40? Did that fail to work?

You can see where the satellite is now at various websites allowing tracking. For example http://www.n2yo.com/?s=7530 .

1 comment:

DD5CF said...

Thanks for the trip down memory lane Roger, my first European 2m QSO's were via RS13 with just 20w and a simple homemade 2m GP antenna and an old CB GP ant during the 1980's.
Vy 73 Colin