# What are amateur radio satellites passes?

On the website heavens-above.com, there is a page dedicated to the amateur radio satellites passes over a location.What is that and why this particular information? Also, since the website gives out the frequencies, can you tune into these satellites (I don't support illegalty)?

In short broadcasting to these satellites is subject to various laws and licence depending on where you are.

Amateur radio operators have been granted an amateur radio license by a governmental regulatory authority after passing an examination on applicable regulations, electronics, and radio theory and operation

These satellites are designed to be used in a number of ways to extend the range over which an amateur radios operator can broadcast. But they can only be used while in range (while in line of sight) which makes a website that lists their locations and frequencies useful.

These satellites can be used for free by licensed amateur radio operators for voice (FM, SSB) and data communications (AX.25, packet radio, APRS). Currently, over 5 fully operational amateur-satellites in orbit act as repeaters, linear transponders or store and forward digital relays.

They are intended for public and free use, though I cannot comment on details of law.

• I have also seen in the list the International Space Station and a Russian military satellite. – Archa Jul 25 '16 at 23:27
• @Archa The ISS is listed because they have an amateur radio on board. I do not understand the spy satellite being listed with the rest. Could you share its name? I'm curious. – OrangePeel52 Jul 25 '16 at 23:36
• There are some Kosmos satellites. Kosmos 2504 and 2491. – Archa Jul 25 '16 at 23:54
• Just another question, can you listen to these satellites or you can only send broadcasting signals? I don't plan to do anything, just curiosity. – Archa Jul 26 '16 at 0:19
• With right equipment you should be able listen to these satellites. Note that they may be sending non-voice data. – OrangePeel52 Jul 26 '16 at 0:22

The matter of communicating with the satellites is adequately covered by the previous answer. You'll be able to communicate with the amateur radio satellites, or use them to communicate with other receivers:

These satellites can be used for free by licensed amateur radio operators for voice (FM, SSB) and data communications (AX.25, packet radio, APRS). Currently, over 5 fully operational amateur-satellites in orbit act as repeaters, linear transponders or store and forward digital relays.

But you may have to be content just to observe many of the other satellites on the list, although if you tune into the listed frequencies, you should detect a signal while they pass.

The table of data lists time that a satellite rises above the horizon, its setting, and the zenith, or highest point, of various satellites. The location of the zenith is listed as degrees above the horizon (altitude), and degrees clockwise from $0^0 (N)$ (azimuth).

By TWCarlson - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Azimut_altitude.svg, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=17727911

You can click through on the satellite name to get a short description, including when and from where it was launched. The default location is $00:00:00^0$ by $00:00:00^0$, the longitude of Greenwich at the equator, but once you set up an account and provide it with a location, the table updates to tell you just when the satellites are passing overhead where you are now.