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The amateur satellite community used to have a small fleet of pacsat satellites (AO-16 and friends), which were capable of store-and-forward message passing: you could upload messages to the LEO satellite on one side of the world, and download the message once the satellite has travelled to the other side. 1200 bit/s BPSK on 2m/70cm. At the time, as a kid, I didn't have the budget to set up a ground station for them.

Are any amateur satellites with digital store-and-forward capability in usable status these days? It might be fun to try them out.

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Some otherwise operational amateur radio satellites have store and forward, however none of them appear to have store and forward enabled or working at this time:

AO-7

AO-7, launched in 1974, included a store and forward message unit, Codestore, cablae of storing and repeatedly retransmitting 18-word Morse code messages loaded by ground stations. It's the same design as was flown on OSCAR 6. The unit is not currently in use, and it's unclear if it's still operational, though many other parts of AO-7 are still functioning.

FO-29 (JAS-2)

FO-29, launched in 1996, included a digital BBS that is not longer operational.

You can find a list of operating Amateur Radio satellites on Wikipedia, and searching their names will bring up sites that show their capability. There is also a list of Amateur Radio satellites, including cubesats, and on the SatBlog which may prove useful.

Also note that another launch of many cubesats is occurring at the end of November, 2013, and some of these satellites may have store and forward. Keep in mind that cubesats are very often short-lived without altitude or attitude control, so you will want to focus on the OSCAR satellites that are still operational.

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The negative answer still applies in 2017. Store & forward satellites are expensive to develop and maintain, and with the decline in terrestrial packet radio, fewer supporters are willing to kick up the dough. It's a shame.

Jim KV2Z

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  • $\begingroup$ I think that is a shame. I took a ten-year life-diversion to working with the people in poverty in a large city and came back to find that there is no more packet radio. Gone are the PBBS days. Everybody seems to think we're going to have a power grid and the Internet. I'm from the old school and my place is nearly 100% solar-powered except the kitchen. I'll have communications when only the cockroaches are left to notice. $\endgroup$
    – SDsolar
    May 28 '17 at 10:37
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The closest to store and forward used right now which is easily doable is JS8CALL on, believe it or not, HF. A station can put a message on a ground station , say a California station, could put one on a south African station in a mailbox on that station. A station which sends out a beacon, say in Europe, is notified that a message is waiting for it from the California station , with a small added notification IN a response the the European beacon with a message number, which hopefully is seen by the European station. The reason store and forward is so helpful from the world perspective is that the South African station may not be awake, nor the European station , when the California Station initially stores its message on the South African stations mailbox. Also, these stations are using simple low powered (30w) transmitters on 40m . Nothing exotic and costly. There is also a direct relay set up available, the California station could relay THROUGH the South African station to the European station or perhaps to a station in Antarctica at the base? Also, the message length shouldn't be too long but could be long enough to give weather warnings or health and welfare messages and do incorporate the CRC verification system.

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    $\begingroup$ Hello and welcome to ham.stackexchange.com! The question was about amateur satellites that do message storing and forwarding, not digital modes that allow storing and forwarding. $\endgroup$
    – rclocher3
    May 11 at 23:47

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