A number of amateurs have reported that the FM repeater of AO-27 has been active for brief intervals in recent weeks. When commanded on by control operators, the transponder is active for about two minutes before reverting to telemetry transmissions only.
Patrick Stoddard, WD9EWK, remarks that AO-27 wasn’t originally intended to be an FM satellite. It lacks the audio filtering normally seen with a n FM receiver, since its uplink receiver was going to be used for data.
With the lack of audio filtering on the uplink receiver, AO-27 was used for tests with D-Star radios.
The Wayback Machine has captures of the former ao27.org web site, detailing how those tests were done. Two radios were used for those D- Star QSOs, one for uplink and the other for downlink).
Many are hopeful that control stations will eventually be able to recover the satellite sufficiently to provide more regular operation.
In the meantime, if you hear the satellite active, make your contacts quickly!
Patrick Stoddard, WD9EWK/VA7EWK AMSAT Board Member