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Default [KB6NU] First amateur radio geosynchronous satellite to launch in 2017

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First amateur radio geosynchronous satellite to launch in 2017

Posted: 29 Dec 2015 12:24 PM PST

It was recently announced that researchers at the Ted and Karyn Hume Center
for National Security and Technology, part of Virginia Tech University are
preparing to send an amateur radio transponder into a geosynchronous orbit
in 2017.
Bob McGwier, N4HY, and research associate Zachary Lefke discussing the
antennas to be used for the geosynchronous satellites ground station.

“Seven days a week, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, a new ham band will be
available for the Americas,” said Robert McGwier, N4HY, a research
professor in the Bradley Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
and the Hume Center’s director of research. This would be the first amateur
radio payload in a geosynchronous orbit, and would significantly enhance
communications capabilities for amateur radio operators, in particular
following natural disasters or other emergency situations.

Amateurs have, of course, been communicating via satellite for decades. The
first Orbiting Satellites Carrying Amateur Radio, or OSCAR, satellites were
launched in the 1960s. Until now, however, these satellites have been in
low Earth orbit (LEO), and were only available for short times when they
happened to be overhead.

A geosynchronous satellite, however, would be accessible 24 hours a day,
seven days a week. A geosynchronous orbit has the same period as the
Earth’s rotation — just under 24 hours. That makes them easy to locate and
access, as they are almost always in the same spot in the sky. In this
case, the satellite will always be within a band of longitudes over the
Americas, continually accessible to any amateur radio operator there,
including the students and researchers at the Virginia Tech Ground Station.

One expected application is emergency communications. This satellite will
allow amateur radio operators to help emergency personnel reliably access
supplies, logistical support, and medical assistance. They key is to ensure
that the satellite would always be accessible to the radio operators —
which is why the geosynchronous orbit is critical.

The satellite itself will be operated by Millennium Space Systems on behalf
of the United States Air Force; the Radio Amateur Satellite Corporation,
also known as AMSAT, will operate the radio, which will be designed and
built by Virginia Tech students — making this project a unique
collaboration among the university, nonprofit organizations, private
companies, and the federal government.

The Hume Center team is also engineering a ground terminal that emergency
personnel could use to relay their own existing communications channels
through the satellite. This setup could be deployed through the American
Radio Relay League and the Radio Amateur Satellite Corporation as a key
part of a robust national emergency response system, allowing trained
operators to reliably mobilize to disaster areas in the first critical
hours after a devastating event.

Questions. I have questions.

Ive taken most of this information from a press release on the Virginia
Tech website. The press release raises nearly as many questions as it
answers. For example:

What can I and other amateur radio operators do to support this effort?
What frequencies will this satellite use?
Will amateurs like you and me be able to build their own equipment to
access this satellite?
If so, what kind of equipment will amateur radio operators need to
communicate via this satellite?

Ive e-mailed N4HY with these questions. Ill follow up on this story when I
have the answers. This will be an amazing addition to amateur radio, and Im
looking forward to it.

UPDATE: There is more information in the QRZ.Com
if you want to wade through some the usual baloney that these threads
contain. Ill do that myself and update this post later.

The post First amateur radio geosynchronous satellite to launch in 2017
appeared first on KB6NUs Ham Radio Blog.

I finally got my W1AW/8 Tchotchke

Posted: 29 Dec 2015 10:59 AM PST

So, it took almost a year, but I finally got my W1AW/8 tchotchke. I
operated W1AW/8 several times, once or twice from WA2HOM, the station at
the Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum, and once from W8UM, the University of
Michigan Amateur Radio Club station.

The post I finally got my W1AW/8 Tchotchke appeared first on KB6NUs Ham
Radio Blog.

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