AMSAT-OSCAR 7 was launched November 15, 1974 by a Delta 2310 launcher from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Lompoc, California. AO-7 was launched piggyback with ITOS-G (NOAA 4) and the Spanish INTASAT. AO-7 was the second phase 2 satellite (Phase II-B).

AO-7 was operational for 6.5 years until a battery failure ceased operation in mid 1981. Then on June 21, 2002, Pat Gowen, G3IOR, while attempting to find pirate stations on the 2M band in the UK heard a beacon sending 10WPM CW slowly shifting down the band due to doppler effect. AO-7 had woken up! The batteries, after 20 or so years of being too weak to power the satellite, finally failed completely in an open state, this allowed AO-7 to resume operation via a direct path from it’s solar panels.

AO-7 still continues to function to this day, making it a 35 year old this Sunday. Happy Birthday AO-7!