Satellites

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Heavens Above lists the orbits for most satellites. Look up the orbits visible from your area.

Wired article on Amateur satellite tracking

Satellite spotters often learn too much for government's comfort

If you're going to try out satellite tracking, I would recommend you start with a LEO (low earth orbiting) or the ISS (International Space station) which are easier, and work your way out further upon success.

Nations with satellite launching capability

  • Canada
  • USA
  • France
  • Britain
  • ex-Soviet Union
  • Israel
  • China
  • India
  • Korea
  • Japan
  • Iran

Watching

Some satellites ("birds" in slang) are visible with the human eye, and some may require binoculars. Make sure you have a good idea of its orbit, and time in your sky, so you can train your eye to follow the general path for when it actually does become visible.

Visual Satellite Observer's home page

Listening

Find the downlink frequency for the amateur radio satellite you're tracking, and adjust it accordingly on your frequency scanner/radio. A directional antenna is preferred, however the standard "rubber ducky" (resistor) antenna may work.

Amsat satellite status which should list downlink frequency

Transmitting

If you have a radio with a directional Yagi-Uda high-gain antenna, and an amateur radio license for the uplink frequency, you can try to point your antenna in that direction. You have to be quick to transmit off a satellite, as usually the passes go by quite quickly.

Amsat satellite status which should list uplink frequency

Software

List of satellite prediction software


Amsat Keplerian elements for amateur radio satellites. Keps are used in satellite prediction software to predict satellites current passes. You will most likely want to download this data on a regular basis to ensure you're as accurate as possible almost most satellites do have static orbits.