I’ve been interested in satellite communication since I first got into Amateur Radio in 1996. I talked to the MIR space station for about half a minute in 1998; when it was still in service. I also had some experience communicating with military satellites during my time in Marine Corp; using the PSC-5. Military satellites are usually in a Geo-synchronous orbit and are fairly easy to connect to.
Many Amateur Radio Satellites have a very tight orbit around the Earth and usually have very short windows; around 10 minutes. These satellites are also known as LEOSATS (Low Earth Orbiting Satellites).
Tonight I used Heavens-Above.com to generate a forecast, based on my location, of all Amateur satellites that would be ‘visible’ to my radio. I choose a few that that would pass ‘high in sky’ (almost overhead). The first few passed by without any incident.
Then SaudiSat (So-50) passed by at 21:20 with an elevation of 80 degrees; transmitting on a down link of 435.225Mhz. At first I heard a very faint voices and then, almost suddenly, I could hear several stations exchanging Call signs. There were stations in Sweden, upper New York, Cincinnati, DC, and Texas.
After a few minutes the signal began fading away, however, the experience was still fresh in my mind!
After I have the Arrow Antenna I will stand a good chance of getting a clear signal in the satellite but for now I am content with just listening.