[amsat-bb] Re: using a microsat as a potential high altitude VHFreflector

i8cvs domenico.i8cvs at tin.it
Wed Oct 28 16:53:57 PDT 2009

----- Original Message -----
From: "Samudra Haque" <samudra.haque at gmail.com>
To: "Amsat-bb" <amsat-bb at amsat.org>
Sent: Wednesday, October 28, 2009 8:46 PM
Subject: [amsat-bb] using a microsat as a potential high altitude

Hi all,

I read with interest an article on the web "ECHO - America's First
Communications Satellite"  By John R. Pierce  which is available here:

I know ham radio operators love using their hand helds to communicate
using active transponders or active repeaters in space... no issue
with that.

were there any ham radio projects (either through amsat-na or abroad)
that implemented a passive reflector on an orbital vehicle like
Project Echo

I quote from

The Echo-1 Balloon Satellite as it sits, fully inflated, at a Navy
hangar in Weeksville, North Carolina. The spacecraft measured 100 feet
across when deployed, and was nicknamed a ‘satelloon’ by those
involved in the project. The mylar film balloon acted as a passive
communications reflector for transcontinental and intercontinental
telephone (voice), radio and television signals. Echo 1 re-entered the
atmosphere May 24, 1968.

What strikes me is the implications of a large large very large
antenna (reflector), if only it could be reflective on one side of the
sphere only .... (any ideas?)

The Echo 2 was a 135-foot rigidized inflatable balloon satellite. The
satellite is shown undergoing tensile stress test in a dirigible
hanger at Weekesville. The satellite, 50 times more rigidized than
Echo I. When folded, the satellite is packed into the 41-inch diameter
canister shown in the foreground.

Did early amsat folks consider duplicating / adding to any of these
projects or launch their own 'satelloon' that did not carry an active
RF payload ? Could we outfit one of our future microsats to provide a
reflector to aid in Earth-LEO DXing like meteor-scatter ?

73 de Samudra, N3RDX

Hi Samudra, N3RDX

Early 13 august 1960 about 50 years ago I have received the ECHO 1A
45 mW beacons transmitting at 108.00 and 108.03 MHz and also I got an
excellent visual of the big satellite balloon only looking at it in the sky
with naked eye

Receiving radio signals and looking at the orbiting satellite at the same
time it was a very exciting experience and I newer forget !

I was using a home brewed downconverter for 108 MHz with two low noise
triodes 6AN4 in a front end grounded grid circuit.

The second IF receiver tuned at 27.963 MHz was an Hallicrafters SX-28
and the antenna was a qubical quad.

By the way the NASA and GSFC ground stations where transmitting to the
reflecting surface of the above passive satellite a  very very high EIRP at
960 MHz and 2390 MHz using big dishes.

The experience gained with the passive ECHO satellites demonstrates that
they are not convenient at all so that the project was soon abandoned.

73" de

i8CVS Domenico

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