When new hams get their licenses, they generally purchase a handheld transceiver (HT) and get on the local repeaters. This is fun for a while, but don’t get stuck just talking on the repeaters. Ham radio has much more to offer. For example, one of the other cool things you can do with a Technician Class license is work the “birds,” otherwise known as amateur radio satellites.
Did you know that amateur radio operators have been sending satellites into space since the early 1960s? The Orbiting Satellite Carrying Amateur Radio, or OSCAR I for short, was successfully launched into a low Earth orbit on December 12, 1961. It carried a small beacon transmitter whose purpose was to study radio propagation through the ionosphere. It only lasted a few weeks before it dropped into Earth’s atmosphere and burned up, but it secured amateur radio’s place in space.
Now, there are dozens of amateur radio satellites in space, and as a Technician you can make contacts by bouncing your signals off of them. Think of them as repeaters in space.