Happy 27th birthday to AMRAD-Oscar 27, still alive and operating today!
For an amateur radio satellite operator in the early 1990s, working on a
satellite project based on the AMSAT Microsat design was a dream job!
The hams on the team (including Dino Lorenzini, Mark Kanawati, Steve
Greene and Mike Wyrick) couldn’t help but include an amateur radio
payload, and were successful with the help of fellow amateurs and the
local Vienna, Virginia Amateur Research and Development (AMRAD) group:
Paul Renaldo, Andre Castillot, Dave Rogers, Glenn Baumgartner, Sandy
Sanders, Matt Butcher, Randy Mays, and Terry Fox, and with help from
AMSAT’s Lyle Johnson, Chuck Green, and Jim White, among many others.
EYESAT-1/AO-27 launched (with the amateur payload and an extra UHF
antenna for the downlink) at 0145 UTC September 26, 1993. [Ariane-4
V59 also launched amateur satellites KO-25, IO-26, and PO-28, SSTL’s
Healthsat-2, the Stella research satellite, and the Spot-3 earth
observation satellite.] The satellite was commanded on during the next
orbit and the first QSO on the amateur payload was made the following
morning on September 27, 1993. (We think – does anyone have an archive
of amsat-bb emails from 1993 who can check?)
AO-27 was the first FM “bent pipe” satellite and proved to be easy to
work with a strong downlink and sensitive receiver. The amateur FM
repeater has served many Hams worldwide and was one of the first “Easy
Sats”. AO-27 was later used for the first successful D-Star mode
satellite QSO. The 800km orbit provides continent-spanning coverage.
At least one station is known to have worked 49 states solely via AO-27!
And here we are today, the 27th of September, 2020, celebrating the 27th
birthday of AO-27!
Thanks to Mike Wyrick N3UC who babysat the spacecraft for the last 27
And thanks to all those who helped. There are many untold stories and
photos we hope to share in the near future.
Current information on AO-27’s operating schedule is at www.ao27.net
Mark, Mike, Steve (N4TPY, N3UC, KS1G)