On 23 January 2002, the word
spread around the world about an "intruder" on the 144-146 MHz amateur
band. Space listener's quickly identified the satellite as MAROC-TUBSAT,
launched 10 December from Baikonur in Kazakhstan on a Zenit-2 rocket. The
satellite has the international designation 2001-56D and is in an orbit
with an inclination of 99.6 degrees, a period of 105.2 minutes and an altitude
between 986.8 and 1015.5 km.
The CN is the ITU prefix for Morocco as many have noted. This makes sense since the satellite was built for the Royal Centre for Remote Sensing in Morocco by the Technical University of Berlin. I have visited the control centre for the satellite in the capital Rabat a couple of years ago. It is a very nice facility. Concerning the words "Zarkaa Al Yamama", an Arabian-speaking friend of mine says that this a woman's name . It could also be a name of a boat, a ship or a monument. But mainly this is a woman's name. So, maybe this is the name of the satellite!
I received more information
from the AMSAT Bulletin board via Jeff Brower:
143.625 MHz (same as
voice from ISS and Mir!!)
I really listened hard for signals on the two lower frequencies soon after launch but heard nothing. Has anyone heard it on those frequencies?
The presently used frequency appears to be a violation of international agreements on how to use the 144-146 MHz radio amateur band (the so-called 2 meter band). The OSCAR satellite sub-band is 145.8-146.0 MHz. Morocco is an IARU member (International Amateur Radio Union) and should be well aware of this. 2-m band planning gives 144.05-144.10 for general CW and weak signals and 144.10-144.20 for Earth-Moon-Earth transmissions and weak signal Single Side Band (SSB) communications.
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