VP’s Corner

June was quite a busy month for the club. In
a span of two weeks we managed to cover the
Warrior Bike charity event, Hamfest, Field Day,
and a MiniTri – flawlessly. Well done Team OVH!
In addition to celebrating our nation’s
independence, this July marks another important
anniversary – the 50th anniversary of man’s first
landing on the moon. As a youngster I can
remember being awestruck by those first TV
pictures from the moon. It wasn’t until a few
years later while pursuing a technical degree
that I began to appreciate just how daunting a
task the communications link design for the
Apollo missions was. Among the challenges:
– A path loss of over 200db ruled out the VHF communications used
on earlier missions. A special S-Band (2GHz)radio and deployable
parabolic antenna had to be developed to link those on the moon
with earth. Transmission delay was about 1.25 seconds each way.
– There were no small handheld TV cameras until NASA had one
designed for the Apollo program.


– Desktop workstations and most of the CAD software we take for granted today had yet to be developed. NASA engineers wrote their own software in FORTRAN which ran on an IBM mainframe.
Amateur radio entered the challenging space
environment in December 1961 with the launch of
the OSCAR 1 satellite. Designed after hours
in home workshops by a group of hams employed
in the space industry, its 2 meter beacon sent
the Morse letters “Hi” to amateurs around the
world. Follow-on launches from Project OSCAR
(for Orbiting Satellite Carrying Amateur Radio)
offered hams a variety of space based repeaters.

As interest in amateur satellites grew, AMSAT
(The Radio Amateur Satellite Corporation)was
formed as a nonprofit in 1969 to “embrace and
expand on the work started by Project OSCAR” [2]
In the years which followed, AMSAT coordinated
teams from a variety of nations in the development and launch of 20 amateur satellites into
orbit. AMSAT is sponsoring a 50th Anniversary
Awards program this year.[2]
It has been a while since we’ve had a space presentation.
Let me know if this area is of interest and I will schedule some demos.

Further reading
1. CQ Magazine June 69: “Said the Spider in the Sky” by Howard Kelley K4DSN

2. AMSAT web page: : https://www.amsat.org/amsat-50th-anniversary-awards-program/

Leave a Comment