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Space Communication



On December 12, 1961, Amateur Radio entered the Space Age when OSCAR-1 was launched. Since then, amateurs from more than 22 different countries have launched over 70 satellites, exploring both digital and analog satellite technology. Many of the latest birds have been school experiments, training scientists and engineers. But, you don’t need to be a rocket scientist to participate-- Some satellites operate FM and can actually be worked using a dual-band handheld transceiver. An excellent place to start is AMSAT's Station and Operating Hints page. AMSAT, or the Radio Amateur Satellite Corporation, has played a key role in building, launching, and using amateur satellites.Occasionally, Radio Amateurs can talk with the astronauts on the International Space Station. For more information check out ARISS



ARRL Videos at the 2011 AMSAT Symposium

Bob Allison, WB1GCM, ARRL Test Engineer, interviews some of the key people today in AMSAT. Recorded November 5th, 2011 at the AMSAT Symposium in San Jose, California. Video by ARRL  Laboratory Technical Consultant, Jerry Ramie, Ki6LGY.

For more information about the ARRL's working Oscar 1 prototype, see February, 2012 QST.

Lance Ginner, K6GSJ


One of Oscar 1's original builders, Lance reflects on Oscar 1 and his work on later Amateur Satellites.

Carrol Swain, W7DU


Carrol Swain, W7DU, first licensed in 1929, is active in satellite communications. Carrol explains how he started out in Ham Radio.

Keith Baker KB1SF


Keith Baker, past president of AMSAT, talks about AMSAT

Jan King, VK6GEY


Jan King, VK6GEY and charter member of AMSAT, talks about his work in getting Oscar 5 launched from a NASA spacecraft. Not an easy task at the time!

Barry Baines, WD4ASW


Barry Baines, current President of AMSAT, talks about AMSAT today and of future planned Amateur satellites.

Gould Smith, WA4SXM


Gould Smith, WA4SXM, Project Manager of ARRISAT-1 talks about the satellite's recent launch from the International Space Station. Gould also explains the ARRISAT mock-up in front of him.


  • An Amateur Satellite Primer
    QST April 2000, pp. 36-41
    If you think you might like to work satellites but think it is difficult and expensive, this is a must read
    (Note: This article contains a chart showing the Uplink and Downlink frequencies of several amateur satellites at the time of publication of the April 2000 QST. These frequency pairs can be reversed without notice by the control operator of the individual satellite. If you don't hear the signal near the Downlink frequency, you might want to check for the latest status.
  • Those Keplerian Elements
    Operating Manual 3rd Edition p. 13-19
    What do those numbers mean?
  • Loading ARRL Keplerian Bulletins into InstanTrack
    Question submitted to the ARRL Technical Information Service
  • A Simple Fixed Antenna for VHF/UHF Satellite Work 
    QST August 2001, pp. 38-41
    Work the low-earth orbiting satellites with this effective Turnstile Antenna system
  • A Low-Loss VHF/UHF Bias Tee 
    QEX May/June 2002, pp. 52-54
    A simple circuit that lets you superimpose DC control voltage onto the transmission line without altering the RF characteristics.
  • An Inexpensive External GPS Antenna
    QST October 2002, pp. 36-39
    An easy to build antenna for your GPS unit for better reception.
  • Satellite DXing "To Go" 
    QST June 2002, pp. 40-43
    Working the Amateur Satellites from a mobile.


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