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Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Ghost Ship: Oscar 11 Tumbles Through Space

First -- Happy Boxing Day to all our UK and Commonwealth friends. 

Oscar 11 is a UK-built amateur satellite launched in 1984.   It has been dead (well, almost dead) for many years.   But when the sun shines on the solar panels, it wakes up and transmits.   I've been able to hear it and -- more usefully -- see it on my RTL-SDR  HD-SDR receive system.  My antenna is my re-born (from the Dominican Republic) three element homebrew 2 meter cubical quad (see pictures below). 

I'm sorry the video is a bit out of focus, but you can clearly see the trace of the signal from the satellite. Realize that my HD-SDR software is about 10 kHz off calibration.  You can see the Doppler shift, and you can see the signal fading in and out as the old satellite tumbles through space.  Any ideas on what the other signals seen off to the side are?  Is anyone else listening for Oscar 11?  






  1. Bill,

    Please show us your antenna when you have some spare time..............BillF

  2. OK Bill F -- I added a couple of iPhone pictures of the antenna. Nothing fancy. Scrap lumber and refrigerator tubing. 73 Bill

    1. Thank You Bill,
      I really enjoy your blog and podcast, very inspirational and entertaining..........73

  3. Bill,
    That signal lower in frequency is most likely AO95 (FOX-1Cliff) it is still being tested and is sending a little bit of telemetry followed by a synthesised voice saying "FOX1C Safe Mode" The bird was launched on the recent Falcon Launch from Vandenberg (same one as the Indian sat). Have a listen on FM on 144.825 plus or minus Doppler. It transmits every 2 minutes in safe mode.
    I picked it up here in GM no problem.

  4. Correction to QRG of FOX1Cliff it is 145.920 MHz. My apologies.

  5. Here is my recording of AO95 Bill.

    73 David GM4JJJ

  6. Thanks David. But was AO-95 above my horizon at that time? Heavens Above only seems to point to two candidates:Kaituo 1B and AO-73. It could also be that the other signals were from ground stations. Bill

  7. Bill, my apologies, I was a bit premature in my guess. I understand that AO-95 has some receive anomaly and commissioning has been stopped for now. I do hope that they can fix it later, Cliff K7RR who it was dedicated to was a great fellow who I met while on vacation in CA. From the look of the trace on your SDR it does look like it could be

  8. Gosh, Am I making a real hash of this today? Must be too much Christmas Cheer yesterday. Hope that you find the source, perhaps a listen on another orbit and see what you hear, data or voice.

    Once again all the very best for the festive season.

  9. I see the "Ray Gun" at work. Bravo Bill. Kinda Cool.

    Pete N6QW


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