The AMSAT satellite status page at http://www.amsat.org/wordpress/status/ indicates
that as of the morning of 11/25/2016, AO-7 is once again entering eclipse
each orbit. This means that the 24 Hour mode change timer is interrupted
each orbit, and the satellite will be found primarily in Mode U/v (aka Mode
As the satellite is powered solely by the now 42 year-old solar panels, it
is very sensitive to strong uplink signals, particularly CW. Users should
closely monitor their downlink for excessive chirp, warbling or “FM’ing” and
reduce power as necessary. More information including frequencies can be
found at http://ww2.amsat.org/?page_id=1031
UPDATE: The DXpedition has been postponed by the Venezuelan Navy. Check back for further updates.
The YX0V DXpedition to Aves Island, scheduled for August 31, 2016 – September 10, 2016, will include satellite operations. Aves Island, a dependency of Venezuela located west of Dominica and Guadeloupe in the Caribbean Sea (grid FK85eq), is currently the 17th most wanted DXCC entity on the Club Log DXCC Most-Wanted List and was last on the air in 2007. It was active on satellite during the YV0D expedition in 2004, but only three QSOs were made before the DXpedition was cut short due to rain.
Happy 20th Birthday to Fuji-OSCAR 29! FO-29, known as JAS-2 (Japan Amateur Satellite #2) prior to launch, was built by the Japan Amateur Radio League and launched on August 17, 1996 from Tanegashima Space Center on an H-II launch vehicle into a 1,323 km x 800 km orbit with an inclination of 98.5 degrees. In addition to a 100 kHz wide analog Mode V/u (JA) transponder, the satellite also includes a packet BBS and digitalker. While the packet BBS and digitalker are non-functional, the analog transponder continues to provide excellent service to the present day.
With an apogee of 1,323 km, FO-29 provides satellite operators with excellent DX opportunities every few months when the passes over a certain area are at or near apogee. Intercontinental QSOs are regularly reported, including between Japan and Alaska as well as North America and Europe. Although the theoretical maximum range at apogee is 7,502 km, the excellent sensitivity of the transponder as well as it’s strong and solid 1 watt downlink signal allows that distance to be stretched when the conditions are suitable. The longest distance QSO made via FO-29’s analog transponder occurred on August 27, 2015 with an unscheduled 7,599.959 km contact between KG5CCI in Arkansas and F4CQA in France.
The sensitivity of the transponder and Mode V/u configuration also allow for the effective use of minimal equipment. QSOs have been reported using a single Yaesu FT-817 transceiver and the stock rubber duck antenna. Taking advantage of the large footprint and ease of use, the K1N DXpedition to Navassa Island made a total of 29 QSOs during two passes of FO-29 on February 12, 2015 using a single Yaesu FT-817 along with an Arrow antenna, activating that extremely rare DX entity on satellite for the first time since 1978. To this day, FO-29 remains the most widely used linear transponder satellite and an ideal satellite for beginners looking to become active on the linear transponder satellites to try first. The FO-29 control station maintains a blog (in Japanese) at http://blog.goo.ne.jp/fo-29. The JARL also offers an award for confirmed QSOs with ten different stations via FO-29.
The Argentinian earth observation satellite ÑuSat-1 carries a linear transponder built by AMSAT Argentina. The satellite was launched on a CZ-4B rocket from Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center in China on May 30, 2016 into a 500 km sun-synchronous orbit with an inclination of 97.5 degrees and a Local Time of the Descending Node (LTDN) of 10:30.
The AMSAT Argentina U/v inverting transponder, named LUSEX, has an uplink of 435.935 MHz to 435.965 MHz and a downlink of 145.935 MHz to 145.965 MHz. Total power output is 250 mW. There is also a CW beacon at 145.900 MHz with a power output of 70 mW.
The transponder and beacon are currently active over Latin America and Europe.