Amateur radio satellite

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Yagi antenna for amateur satellite use
First amateur radio satellite OSCAR 1, launched in 1961
Simple OSCAR beacon signal, 1962
FASTRAC-A and FASTRAC-B amateur satellite, University of Texas at Austin

An amateur radio satellite is an artificial satellite built and used by amateur radio operators for use in the amateur radio satellite service.


The first amateur radio satellite was OSCAR-1, launched on December 12, 1961, in the United States.

Other programs besides OSCAR have included Iskra (Soviet Union) circa 1982, JAS-1 (Fuji-OSCAR 12) (Japan) in 1986, RS (Soviet Union and Russia), and CubeSats. (There is a list of major amateur satellites in Japanese Wikipedia).


The first amateur satellites contained telemetry beacons. Since 1965, most satellites carry a linear transponder for two-way communications in real time. Some satellites have a bulletin board for store-and-forward digital communications, or a digipeater for direct packet radio connections.


Amateur satellites have been launched into low Earth orbits and into highly elliptical orbits.


  • Martin Davidoff: The Radio Amateur’s Satellite Handbook. The American Radio Relay League, Newington, ISBN 978-0-87259-658-0.

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