If you’re keen on amateur radio satellites you might have noticed that in the last two months there’s been an increase in satellites available to use on the 19th of September on a rocket from China saw the launch of a six satellites under the brand of CAS-2 all including SSB transponders.
These where slightly controversial due to the band planning of them due to the downlinks of 4 being out of the satellite part of 2m also included on the same launch was Lilacsat-2 which has an FM transponder and APRS capabilities and 2 other telemetry satellites.
Soon after launch XW-2E & XW-2F where available with their transponders working, the other 6 also heard sending telemetry, on the 20th saw myself completing a number of QSOs on both satellites and they have been working without any issue since.. No transponder activity has been heard from XW-2A,B,C,D.
Few days later it was also noted that Lilacsat-2’s FM Repeater had been turned on and I managed a couple of QSOs on that satellite as well, Lilacsat-2s transponder is only turned on for 24 hour periods on the evenings of Monday, Wednesday & Friday.
The next satellite to launch was Lapan-A2 which is an FM & APRS satellite due to the orbit being equatorial this isn’t receivable in the UK, however reports have shown that its being commissioned.
The most anticipated launch however was probably on October 8, 2015 when AMSAT-NA’s Fox-1A (AO-85) launched, it was great fun to see the rocket take off via NASA TV, and then the long wait till it would be heard over Europe that evening it was a pleasure to hear the satellite identify itself in Safe Mode then later on have the chance to try the transponder on some early morning passes nothing quite like the feeling of hearing yourself come back J
That same day in the evening I had my first AO-85 QSO with Dave M0SAT, and since then I’ve made a further 10 QSOs, although it’s worth remembering that the satellite is still being commissioned, there has been some problems with the operating styles of people which has made completing QSOs hard due to people keying up, saying ooola and other such things, it’s worth having a read of DK3WNs tips on how to behave on a pass that said it isn’t limited to AO-85 but also SO-50.