June 27th, 2002


Amateur radio satellite, dead for more than 27 years, returns to life

Space Bulletin 006 ARLS006
>From ARRL Headquarters
Newington, CT June 25, 2002
To all radio amateurs

ARLS006 AMSAT-OSCAR 7 returns to life

The AMSAT-OSCAR 7 satellite suddenly has come back to life after
being dormant for more than 20 years. First heard June 21 by Pat
Gowan, G3IOR, AO-7 subsequently has been monitored and used by
several other amateurs. AO-7 was launched November 15, 1974. It
remained operational for more than six years before succumbing to
battery failure in 1981.

''I'm blown away,'' was the reaction of AO-7 Project Manager Jan King,
W3GEY. ''So, this old war horse of a spacecraft seems to have come
back from the dead if only for a few moments.''

Exclaimed satellite enthusiast and AMSAT Vice President for User
Services Bruce Paige, KK5DO, ''This is really awesome.'' Paige said
the latest turn of events makes AO-7 is the oldest amateur satellite
that's still working. AMSAT-NA has now listed AO-7 as

AMSAT says it seems certain the satellite is running only off its
solar panels, not from the onboard batteries, so it will be
operational only while it's in sunlight. King speculates that the
batteries, which shorted as they failed two decades ago, now are
''un-shorting'' and causing the satellite to come back to life.
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