Maurice and Stephen rang to wish me happy new year from oz this afternoon, Happy new year to you as well. Seeing as they were drunk and seemed to be enjoying themselves, I rapidly lost interest in writing up notes for the class I’m teaching. Now what? Looking around the room I was wondering what to do, and, seeing as I have a radio experimenters license, I thought I would do some radio experimenting.

A day or two ago I was listening to see which satellites I could hear. I really dont have a setup geared for working through satellites, but I do have an omnidirectional antenna on the roof of the house and a 50Watt transciever plugged into it, so I should hear something. Anyway, I already had Predict, a satellite tracking program for Linux on my machine, so I updated my keplers, synced to the correct time and began listening around.

One of the first satellites to appear was PCsat. It recently returned to life after a period of inactivity. It is supposed to be possible to communicate with the satellite with modest equipment. I dug out my soundcard Interface, got it working with the Linux soundmodem drivers within a few minutes. I did a bit of googling and found Xastir. A Linux package specifically for APRS.

After a while I had xastir compiled and running, so I switched on the radio, tuned to 145.825 (doppler shift isn’t much of an issue at these frequencies apparently) and waited. At about 15:30 the satellite came over the horizon, I received the first packet from it about 15:35 and shortly therafter the satellite received my beacon text. Here is a list of all stations the satellite has heard and here is my stations entry. Very cool!

Oh well, back to writing notes.