I think that I was born to become a radioamateur. When I was a child I was fascinated by the family's broadcast radio, wondering how it could be that speachs or musics could come out of this box?
I discovered hamradio by chance when listening to short waves at the age of 14. My second chance was that radioamateur transmissions were easy to copy on a broadcast receiver for they were still using AM on 40m and 20m at this time. SSB was just in the begining. My third chance was that an OM gave a list of different OMs address in Belgium. I wrote to ON4KJ and my fourth chance was that this nice man sent back a long letter explaining a lot of things about hamradio and giving me the address of the REF in Paris. The same year I went to England for three weeks summer hollidays and was happy to discover that next house was the QTH of a very nice OM, G3OML in Morden, Surrey.
At school, I was more interested in physics than in other programs, and one of my best friends was also interested in electronics. Other school boys started to call me "Short Wave" for we spent a lot of time discussing about radio. We both became Medical Doctors !
I first assembled a few radio kits (HW-32), thanks to HeathKit, and trained myself building a TV receiver and an oscilloscope. I received my first licence with callsign F1BJI in 1972. Then I worked CW, completed my license and received the callsign F6BVP.
In 1979, F8ZS asked me to join a group of hams from CNES for a radioamateur satellite project. We founded the RACE, Radio Amateur Club de l'Espace, and started the ARSENE adventure.
In 1979, I assembled a Heathkit H9 console (a two weeks project!) and a 8080 Intel based H8 microcomputer with 4 Kilobytes and lately 8 Kilobytes static RAM that is still working. My pillow book during these summer hollidays was The 8080 cookbook.
I started satellite QSOs running a VHF station with a 13 elements F9FT antenna, and an inverted V for 28 MHz.
I was able to copy UoSat-1 and UoSat-2 telemetry using the magnetic recorder Kansas City interface of the H8.
With the same H8 programmed in assembly language, and a software published in QST, I could copy and display CW on the screen and send on CW what I typed on the keyboard. I can remember a remark from a US ham telling me that my CW signal on 14080 KHz sounded like music!
In 1981, I assembled an H88 with 32Kb RAM and a single 180 Ko floppy drive that allowed me to perform RTTY QSOs at 45.5 bauds using 5 moments Murray-Baudot code! I copied nicely the firsts ARRL's RTTY experiments with 7 bits ASCII at 110 bauds on 20 m band.
I listened and made my first satellite contacts with AMSAT OSCAR 6, 7 and 8, the last one was a very nice LEO satellite with more than 20 minutes pass on mode A.
Then came the era of the Heath-Zenith Z100. A CP/M - DOS 8086-8088 based microcomputer with two 180 Ko floppies, 128 Kb RAM and a 6 MHz clock. At the same time, my antenna system improved with an elevation rotator.
On november 1983, I heard my own CW signal return through AO-10 mode B transponder (435 Up and 145 Downlink).
I discovered packet radio through AMRAD publications and was one of the first french station to experiment AX25 packet with F6ABJ in 1984 who assembled two PK1 kits packet controlers, and in 1984 I built a home made packet relay using again the H8 with a 8073 HDLC controler wrapped on a H8 development board. In 1986, we were using the CPK software to transfer files via packet radio. With F6ABJ and a few OMs we founded the ATEPRA, a Packet Radio Association.
On November 1987, I changed my antenna system with two 2X9 elements F9FT for 145 MHz and a KLM 22c for UHF plus preamps and low loss cables. This resulted in my first OSCAR-12 SSB mode B contacts with DL0XK, I8CVS, DC9UP, HB9RHV, DC6PX, I0LYL. AMSAT OSCAR 13 was launched on june 15, 1988 at 13:19. I could copy the AO-13 CW telemetry during orbit 7 on June 18. It was saying that after apogee rocket burned the new perigee was 1500 Km and apogee 36000 Km.
On July 25th 1988, I made my first AO-13 mode B QSO during orbit 87 on CW with N4MW and VU1BR on SSB..
On October 1989, I heard MIR on 143,625 MHz and again in July 1991 but it was Anatoly U5MIR-1 using AX25.
Also in July 1991 was performed my first QSO through OSCAR-21 with G8ATE in SSB.
At this time NASA used to send for free, every 10 days or so, a letter with a list of 2Lines keplerian elements that I copied manually and used to send on the packet network and published in a small satellite newsletter.
Since 1990, I am running a packet radio BBS dedicated to Space and Satellites subjects. The BBS program is written by Jean Paul, F6FBB.
On December 1991, I was the first french continental amateur who completed PACSAT contacts with UOSAT-3 and UOSAT-5 at 9600 bauds using PB and PG programs by Harold Price NK6K and Jeff Ward G0/K8KA, a G3RUH modem with a TNC-2 (TAPR 1.1.7b EPROM) and UHF/VHF ICOM IC-490/IC-290 transceivers modified for 9600 bauds.
The computer I used was a 80386 SX 16 MHz clone with 4 Mb. Azimut and Elevation computed by ITRACK TSR were displayed on the computer screen corner. Antenna pointing and frequency tuning were performed manually while watching simultaneously the "EYE diagram" on the oscilloscope and typing messages on the keyboard. It was a lot of fun. I operated the french SATGATE for a year, and wrote HEADOUT.EXE a SATGATE dedicated program still in use.
The other steps are more contemporary history.
HEADOUT creates only type 2 message files reserved for SATGATES BBS EXPORT TRAFFIC.
The BBS FORWARD.SYS file contains the list of all possible destination SATGATES. When a message arrives into the BBS the hierarchical address determines automatically the BBS to forward. This forward, in case of a SATGATE, is done into a file with the SATGATE callsign and .IN extension
This is a Terminate and Stay Resident (TSR) rotor driver that is to be used with a Kansas City Tracker standard compliant software, such as InstantTrack and QuickTrak. Written in assembly language, it is the same as RotorDRV program, but it sends the AZimuth and ELevation values to a parallel port instead of a port of the KCT card. Basically, the program was designed after the DUMMYKCT.ASM code. It is invoked via software interrupt INT 63h by the main program. This is not a very sophisticated program, that only sends to the parallel port LPT1 or LPT2 or LPT3, AZ and EL angle values if they are different from the previous ones by more than 2 degrees. It must be loaded once before invoking IT. See the document files for more details.
This is a Terminate and Stay Resident (TSR) rotor driver that is to be used with a Kansas City Tracker standard compliant software, such as InstantTrack and QuickTrak. Written in assembly language it is the same as RotorDRV program, but it sends the AZimuth and ELevation values to a computer serial port instead of a port of the KCT card. Basically, the program is designed after the DUMMYKCT.ASM code. It is invoked via software interrupt INT 63h by the main program. This is not a very sophisticated program, that only sends to the serial port COM1 or COM2 or COM3 or COM4, AZ and EL angle values if they are different from the previous ones by more than 2 degrees. It must be loaded once before invoking IT. See the document files for more details.