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Wednesday, 24 July, 2002, 14:48 GMT 15:48 UK
Radio ham finds lost satellite
Dave Rowan in his shed
Mr Rowan tracked the satellite in the 1970s
A radio enthusiast has traced the whereabouts of a communication satellite which had been lost in space.

Dave Rowan found the Oscar 7 satellite, which stopped working in 1979, using equipment he has set up in his garden shed.

The enthusiast had recognised the code because he had tracked the satellite when it was working in the late 1970s.

Now scientists at the University of Surrey have asked Mr Rowan to monitor Oscar 7 so they can work out why it went wrong.

Solar panels

Mr Rowan said: "It was an old friend. I had spent many hours in the early hours of the morning tracking this satellite.

"When it made a reappearance and I confirmed it was Oscar 7 I was quite delighted."

Oscar 7
The satellite stopped working in 1979

Mr Rowan believes the battery on the satellites stopped working but somehow the solar panels have begun to work again.

"It is live but not necessarily that well.

"It has no battery and the guess will be how long will this spacecraft last again.

"After 20 years in space with millions of miles to its credit, there is no reason it shouldn't last further time."

Mr Rowan's wife said he spends much of his spare time in his shed which is fitted with powerful radio equipment with a satellite dish outside.

She calls herself a "radio widow" and Mr Rowan has fitted an intercom from the shed to the house so she can get in touch with him.

Mrs Rowan said: "He has got everything in his shed but a bed.

"And I won't allow that."


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See also:

13 Jun 02 | Newsnight
29 Aug 00 | Science/Nature
16 Apr 99 | Science/Nature
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