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FO-29 Satellite Turns 20


It’s been 20 years since the Fuji-OSCAR 29 (FO-29) satellite launched on August 17, 1996, from Japan's Tanegashima Space Center. Its 100 kHz-wide analog Mode V/U transponder continues to serve the Amateur Satellite community, although its packet BBS and digitalker no longer function.

With an apogee of 1323 kilometers, FO-29 provides satellite operators with excellent DX opportunities every few months. Intercontinental contacts are regularly reported, including contacts between Japan and Alaska and between North America and Europe. While the theoretical maximum range at apogee is 7502 kilometers, the transponder’s excellent sensitivity and solid 1 W downlink signal allow that distance to be stretched when conditions are right. The longest distance covered via FO-29 was an unscheduled 7599.959 kilometer (approximately 4712 mile) contact on August 27, 2015, between Dave Swanson, KG5CCI, of Little Rock, Arkansas (on Shinnal Mountain in EM34), and Christophe Lucas, F4CQA, in Trouy, France (NJ17). Swanson answered F4CQA’s CQ.

The 2015 K1N DXpedition to Navassa Island made 29 contacts during two passes of FO-29, activating that extremely rare DX entity on satellite for the first time since 1993, when Don Roland, VE1AOE, reported logging between 400 and 500 contacts as part of the W5IJU DXpedition to Navassa — making the bulk of them on AO-13. 

FO-29 remains the most widely used linear transponder satellite and an ideal starting point for beginners.

Uplink for the mode V/U (J) inverting linear transponder is from 145.900 to 146.000 MHz, SSB or CW. The downlink is 435.800 to 435.900 MHz. The CW beacon transmits on 435.795 MHz.

JARL offers an award for confirmed QSOs with 10 different stations via FO-29. — Thanks to AMSAT News Service 



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