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AMSAT Pioneer Ray Soifer, W2RS, SK


Satellite pioneer Raphael “Ray” Soifer, W2RS, of Green Valley, Arizona, died on March 1. An ARRL Life member, he was 79.

Licensed in 1955, Soifer was among those involved in founding the AMSAT organization. A native of New York City, he studied engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and then obtained an MBA at Harvard Business School. His career was in finance, serving as a news media banking commentator and banking analyst.

As a 16-year-old at MIT, Soifer served as lead engineer in the AMSAT organization’s satellite radio projects, including early ham satellite OSCAR-1. He was featured in Time magazine in 1960 for this work.

Soifer has written many articles for QST, RadCom, The AMSAT Journal, and other ham publications, mostly about satellites and moonbounce. He holds Satellite DXCC No. 13 and Satellite Worked All Continents (WAC) No. 6, both earned entirely via low-Earth-orbit spacecraft.

Soifer participated in the first two-way contact in any radio service via satellite-to-satellite relay, with W2BXA (SK) via AMSAT-OSCAR 7 and AMSAT-OSCAR 6 in 1975, as well as the first known contact via satellite ionization trail reflection, a propagation mode first reported by W8JK (SK) in 1958. He was active on 2-meter moonbounce from 1985 until 1995. Other call signs held over the years include K1WXC, K2QBW, WA4IJR, and G3DDU.



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