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It is a high-tech spacecraft developed by groups of amateur radio operators (a.k.a. hams) around the globe, and financed through donations of time, hardware and cash.
Dozens of communications and science satellites have been orbited since OSCAR-1 was launched in 1961. OSCAR stands for Orbital Satellite Carrying Amateur Radio.
Hamsats relay voice, Morse code and digital-computer signals. Most have message bulletin boards (bbs).
Sometimes they are science craft with transmitters for radio propagation tests, ionospheric research, radioteletype and meteor sounding; receivers for radioastronomy, radiolocation and other original science research; and television cameras for photos of Earth.
Hamsat beacons report telemetry information about conditions of satellite equipment and the space environment.
The satellites serve the public by training satellite trackers, relaying medical data, teaching school science groups and providing emergency communications for disaster relief.
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