Only One FM Satellite Available During Field Day
If you or your club are hoping to get the 100 bonus points for completing a satellite contact during ARRL Field Day, the opportunities this weekend are slim. According to AMSAT, SaudiSat OSCAR-50 (145.850 MHz up — 67.0 Hz CTCSS tone; 436.795 MHz down) will be the only operational FM-transponder satellite this year. Stations considering only FM voice for Field Day satellite contacts will find the single uplink/downlink channel “extremely challenging,” says AMSAT, which sponsors its own concurrent satellite version of Field Day during the ARRL event.
“As in prior years, this intense congestion on FM LEO (low-earth orbit) satellites drives the limitation in the rules [both AMSAT’s and ARRL’s — Ed] of one QSO per FM satellite,” AMSAT adds. AMSAT Field Day and ARRL Field Day rules differ in some aspects with respect to satellite contacts.
AMSAT advises, however, that linear transponders on such satellites as VO-52, FO-29, and AO-7 will support many contacts at the same time. “During Field Day the transponders come alive like 20 meters on a weekend,” AMSAT says. “The transponders on these satellites will support multiple simultaneous SSB or CW contacts.” Stations should never attempt to communicate via a linear transponder satellite using FM mode.
For the ARRL Field Day, satellite contacts must be between two earth stations through a satellite. These contacts count for QSO credit and should be listed on the summary sheet as a separate “band.” No additional bonus points are available for contacting different satellites. Only classes A, B and F qualify for satellite contact bonus points.
Keplerian elements for all satellite are available on the AMSAT website.
The concurrent AMSAT Field Day is open to all Amateur Radio operators, and participants use the ARRL Field Day exchange — operating class plus ARRL or RAC Section. The AMSAT competition is to encourage the use of all amateur satellites. AMSAT Field Day Rules are available online. — AMSAT News Service/Bruce Paige, KK5DO