Friday, October 9, 2020

Lucky Numbers 20 + 7?

 The International Space Station (NASA image)
The numbers 20 and 7 are popping up in three stories about amateur radio in space. ARISS, the Amateur Radio on the International Space Station program, is celebrating the 20th anniversary of ham radio operations from the orbiting space station. ARISS has supported nearly 1400 scheduled contacts over the past two decades, according to the ARRL Letter, and astronauts aboard the station are in the process of installing new ham equipment for the first time since launch.

OSCAR-7 (AMSAT image)

AMSAT-OSCAR 7, the oldest ham radio satellite still operating, should be accessible by earthbound hams through Christmas. The satellite works only when in full sunlight, which it entered in late September. It is expected to be accessible through December 26, operating in either Mode A (2 meters up, 10 meters down) or Mode B (70 centimeters up, 2 meters down). AO-7 was launched in 1974, went silent for many years and amazed the amateur satellite world by suddenly coming back on the air in 2002.

Finally, AMRAD-OSCAR 27 celebrated its 27th anniversary in orbit on September 27th! According to the AMSAT News Service, AO-27 was the first FM "bent pipe" repeater in orbit and was also the platform for the first successful D-STAR satellite QSO.