T700 – Intro to Amateur Radio Satellites

[Project OSCAR graphic]

From the very early days of the US Space Program, ham radio has been involved. Hams monitored the first Sputnik launch as well as the US Explorer satellites. As the manned space program developed, many hams were involved in the design and construction of the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo communication systems and worldwide support network. Many of those hams lived and worked in Richardson and were members of RWK!

As the space program matured and the potential for orbiting communication satellites was realized, there was a desire for hams to have their own satellites – Project OSCAR (Orbiting Satellite Carrying Amateur Radio) was born. Today, most of the satellites that have some ham radio communications capability are still known by the “OSCAR” moniker.

Amateur Radio Satellites

Today, hams have many choices for communicating with and through satellites, each with their own set of challenges. After 50+ years, space is still not that easy.

Satellite Equipment



Gain and Losses

Types of Transponders

FM Birds


Linear Transponders

Other Satellite Concepts

Doppler Shift

Polarization and Spin

Mode Selection and Visibility

A Simple Satellite Station

Tracking The Birds

Next: T800 – 6M/2M SSB/CW/Digital Operating

RWK University original content is Copyright 2022 by the Chip Coker KD4C and the Richardson Wireless Klub. Reproduction, extraction or use of this material by any other entity is with explicit permission only.