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SOAR: Satellite Optimized Amateur Radio


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SOAR: Satellite Optimized Amateur Radio.  A compact, automated, unified amateur radio that makes it easy to work FM amateur radio satellites:

  • Full duplex 2m/70cm FM operation.
  • Automates Doppler frequency adjustments, and displays azimuth/elevation in real time.
  • Built-in audio recorder, records up- and down-link into separate channels.

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SKU: SOAR-1 Category: Tag:

SOAR, Satellite Optimized Amateur Radio, is a compact, automated, unified amateur radio that makes it easy to work FM amateur radio satellites.

  • Compact—Small, lightweight design.
  • Automated—Performs the necessary calculations for tracking the satellite and controlling the radio automatically.
  • Unified—SOAR is a single device that performs these functions, which historically have been separate devices:
    • Satellite pass prediction
    • Full duplex cross-band operation
    • Real-time Doppler compensation, and azimuth/elevation display
    • Audio recording and playback

SOAR Benefits:

  • Small size: Small and portable. All features are included in a single device.
  • Separate independent VHF and UHF radios: Supports cross-band full duplex (2m and 70cm bands), enabling you to talk to, and hear from, the satellite simultaneously. SOAR includes band-pass filters on each radio preventing desense and enabling you to operate both bands simultaneously.
  • Automatic and integrated satellite calculations: SOAR uses stored satellite TLE data and built-in GPS to automatically calculate:
    • Satellite pass prediction: Acquisition of signal and loss of signal (AOS and LOS) times and azimuths, and maximum elevation.
    • Automatic frequency adjustment for Doppler shift: SOAR calculates the relative velocity of the satellite and automatically adjusts the frequency both radios to account for Doppler shift. This automatic adjustment removes the need for you to manually adjust your radio’s frequency in real time.
    • Azimuth and elevation. Displays on the built-in screen (both numerically and on a sky chart) showing where in the sky the satellite is located currently. It also makes this data available on a serial port for rotor control.
  • Hands-free audio support. Includes a standard “PC Headset” audio jack you can use with an inexpensive PC/mobile phone headset that seamlessly routes to both the VHF and UHF radios.
  • Satellite pass recording. Records the audio of the satellite pass, uplink and downlink in separate channels.  You can play back the recording on SOAR, or download the WAV file by connecting SOAR to a PC using USB.

SOAR Includes

  • Built-in GPS.
  • Support for downloading current TLE data from NORAD or CelesTrak by connecting to a PC using USB.
  • Built-in storage. SOAR uses this storage for:
    • Satellite TLE data, which describes the orbit of each satellite. SOAR uses the current time and TLE data to automatically calculate where a satellite is.
    • Satellite pass audio recordings.
    • Radio configuration.
  • Integrated and remote PTT support.
  • 4-pin 3.5 mm TRRS connectors:
    • Audio/headset jack
    • PTT,
    • Serial port with azimuth and elevation data (and PTT control).
    • Opto-isolated amp keying circuits, separate keys for VHF and UHF.
  • Full duplex VHF/UHF radio with separate antenna connections, eliminating diplexor insertion loss.
  • External passive GPS antenna.
    • Note: SOAR also supports (user-provided) active GPS antennas.
  • Support for a power source ranging from 9 volts to 40 volts DC, with at least 1 amp, using Anderson Powerpole connectors.
  • Micro-USB connector that connects to the built-in microprocessor. This enables you to:
    • Access internal storage.

SOAR Does Not Include

  • VHF/UHF antenna
  • Cables to connect SOAR to a VHF/UHF antenna.
  • Headset
  • External PTT (SOAR includes a PTT button on the front panel.)
  • Power source or battery.

Operating Views

  • Standard HT: Memory and VFO modes.
  • Pass Prediction: See future passes for a given satellite.
  • Pass Operation: When the satellite is currently overhead
  • Pass Playback: Plays back both the recorded audio and the visuals on the screen, such as frequencies and satellite location.


SOAR started as a personal, last minute project for Mark “Smitty” Smith to bring to Bring-a-Hack at Maker Faire 2017 in San Mateo, California. There were many problems with this first version, especially the audio. Largely considered a disaster, it sat on the shelf for years. But even still, Smitty wanted to work on improving the project when he had the time.

In late 2021, Smitty and his employer parted ways, giving him the opportunity to focus his energy on this passion project. Funnily enough, when you spend more than a single weekend designing a project, you can make great progress. His next prototype went really well!

This inspired Smitty to make an honest project out of SOAR by officially forming Halibut Electronics, Inc.

Weight 1 lbs
Dimensions 12 × 10 × 4 in


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