November 15 is AO-7’s 40th Anniversary – W7O Special Events Station

AO-7 40 years on-orbit. W2GPS archive. Click to enlarge.

40 years ago: AMSAT-OSCAR 7 was launched at 1711 UTC, November 15, 1974 from the Western Test Range at Vandenberg AFB in California

AO-7 became the second AMSAT-NA constructed and Phase 2 amateur radio satellite launched into Low Earth Orbit. It remained operational until a short circuit in a battery in 1981. On 21 June 2002 the satellite was heard again on its 2 meter beacon (145.9775 MHz CW) after 21 years of silence, and 27 years in space. AO-7 remains semi-operational with reliable power only from its solar panels. The restoration of service was due to the short circuited battery becoming an open circuit allowing the solar cells to power the spacecraft. When the satellite eclipses it powers down. It is operational while the solar panels are illuminated by sunlight.

Read the original AO-7 launch announcement in the 1974 AMSAT Newsletter: AMSAT-Newsletter-1974-AO-7Launch.

W7O Special Event Station

Patrick Stoddard, WD9EWK has secured the special call sign W7O (WHISKEY SEVEN OSCAR) for use in commemorating the 40th anniversary of the launch of OSCAR 7 on 15 November 1974. He plans on having this call on the air between 15 and 24 November 2014, working satellites and possibly other bands.

He will work satellite passes from Arizona, including AO-7 passes, and hope to recruit a small group of operators who can work other passes that cover eastern North America along with other places I can’t work from here (Europe, north Africa, South America). There also may be some operators working HF with this call.

Patrick will handle the QSL requests for W7O during this period. He said he is thinking of incorporating the original QSL card design AMSAT used to confirm AO-7 reception reports from the 1970s in the W7O card. This is the original card as compared with the widely circulated 30th anniversary design. The QSL cards will be printed after the W7O activity wraps up. W7O contacts will also be uploaded  to the ARRL’s Logbook of the World system.

AO-7 Photo Gallery

Dick Daniels, W4PUJ (SK) working on the 2-to-10 meter transponder. N4HY and W2GPS archive. Click to enlarge.
Perry Klein, K3JTE/now-W3PK with AO-7 prior to thermal-vacuum testing. N4HY and W2GPS archive. Click to enlarge.
OSCAR 7 with Dick Daniels W4PUJ, Jan King K8VTR-W3GEY, Marie Marr and Perry Klein K3JTE/now-W3PK. N4HY and W2GPS archive. Click to enlarge.
Shroud assembly prior to lift-off. N4HY and W2GPS archive. Click to enlarge.
Dick Daniels, W4PUJ (SK) at the Vandenberg launch complex. N4HY and W2GPS archive. Click to enlarge.
3, 2, 1 … AO-7 liftoff 1711 UTC, November 15, 1974. N4HY and W2GPS archive. Click to enlarge.

The N4HY AO-7 photo archive can be viewed here.

Full details of AO-7 operation are posted on the satellite status page.