Sunday, May 21, 2006

India's Amateur Radio Satellite

Steve Ford's column in the March issue of QST got me interested in a new ham radio satellite. Currently called Oscar 52 aka HAMSAT or VU-OSCAR 52, this satellite was built and launched in India. In low earth orbit, it is a CW/SSB repeater in the sky. The uplink is in the 70 cm. band, and the downlink is on 2 meters.

I already had a 2 meter loop antenna on my roof. Rummaging around the shack I soon put together a receive system: A Hamtronics 2 meter to 10 meter converter would feed into my trusty Sony SW7600GR travel radio.

The excellent "Heavens Above" website ( quickly gave me the times for the next pass. At 2239 BST on 20 May, right on cue the signals started pouring out of my little receiver. I quickly heard EA1FYM and EA7HG on USB, and DL1SMG on CW. Doppler shift seemed a bit more prounounced that what I had experienced with the RS10 and RS12 Russian sats.

It was great to hear this bird. Three cheers for the Indians who made this happen. Really impressive.