Oscar Locator

Most tracking programs use an equirectangular projection which is by far the easiest to program and shows the entire earth at once. A 3D model is often used which helps visualize orbits but does not show the entire earth at the same time. I remember having an easier time visualizing the orbits back in the day when we used cardboard Oscar Locators with overlays. This Windows program lets you visualize orbits Oscar Locator style.


Andy Thomas G0SFJ has a web page for a vintage Russian geostationary satellite locator he was fortunate enough to buy at a flea market in St Petersburg, Russia. I added an option to the program to use the Russian INMARSAT tracking map. At first glance it does not look much different than the Oscar Locator map. A closer look reveals that this map covers almost all of the world. Yes that yellow blob is suppose to be Africa.


My qth EN53gc is shown as the yellow square on the map is in Wisconsin (+ 43 degrees latitude) and is north of the southern end of Lake Michigan. It came out quite close to the latitude scale on the map but the great lakes are shown way too far north. Things like this add to the charm of this great map.

You might want to try and find your qth on the map. Use the latitude and longitude scales on the map and see where it comes out on the the land mass. The longitude numbers are hard to read on the left side of the map. Not sure if it is due to a poor printing job or the map was not flat during digitizing. The longitude marks are every 15 degrees so it is not hard to figure out.

The program has been stripped down to the minimum required to let you get a feel for using a polar projection map. The 'Display' menu has the options. The TLE data is downloaded automatically when you run the program.

Click on the link to download the OscarLocatorSetup.zip file. After you unzip the file click on the OscarLocatorSetup.exe file to install the program. The program will show up in the Windows start menu and can be uninstalled from the Control Panel like any other Windows application. It is early days for this program so please let me know how it goes - thanks.



If you find this program useful consider a donation to http://www.amsat.org

73 de W9KE