The PCSAT spacecraft, launched over fourteen years ago and has, due to an on-board power system issue, started to transmit APRS on 144.390 MHz
Although this is the correct frequency for APRS operation in IARU Region 2, it is not compatible within the Region 1 bandplan which has this part of the band designated for weak signal and particularly Meteor Scatter operation.
The orbit of this spacecraft means that sometimes it is in full sunlight and, at other times, it is eclipsed for a major percentage of the orbit. As the on-board batteries have lost their ability to hold a charge, the problem can only occur when it is in sunlight.
Various methods to mitigate this problem are presently under active consideration but in the meantime it is important that no amateur / ham radio operator in Region 1 should attempt to digipeat through this spacecraft. Additionally Ham Radio Operators on the east coast of the American continent are also requested not to attempt to activate the spacecraft when it can be “seen” from Europe.
At IARU level, further work is being undertaken to reduce the risk from future spacecraft potentially causing similar problems. Such problems could result from developers not following the globally agreed band plans for amateur satellite operations.
In particular the IARU Satellite Coordinator has been requested to make urgent contact with the team responsible for XW-2(CAS-3) mission of nine satellites from China. Some of the proposed frequencies do not respect the internationally agreed Region 1 Bandplan for 2 metres.