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Hamradio

ARISS SSTV reception, 13 April 2016

Excellent signals in IO91 in a pass starting at around 17:40 UTC.

PD180_20160413_180335

Received using:

  • Yaesu VX-7R
  • QFH antenna
ARISS April 2016 commemorative event

After initial delay, ARISS SSTV commemorative event continues being well received across the globe. These picures were recorded on 12th April 2016 at about 20:15 UTC in IO91:

PD180_20160412_215052

PD180_20160412_221548

Note this pass wasn't very favourable for my location, at its highest elevation (and, conversely, the strongest signal) a 3 minute off period (when no signal is transmitted from the ISS in order to allow the gear to cool off) kicked in. Therefore in this pass I could only record the end of one image and this one in which the signal slowly drifted into white noise as the ISS was reaching my radio-horizon. Still, I'm pretty pleased with this picture.

Received using:

  • Yaesu FT-857D
  • Fedora linux, Gpredict and remote hamlib for radio control (Doppler)
  • Raspberry Pi + Raspbian attached to radio for hamlib remote control and for audio capture
  • QSSTV (learn how)
ISS Contact With Fleurance Astronomy Festival

Tonight's ISS contact was a success, despite some initial delay (it had taken about 4 minutes from the beginning of the pass to good communication on both sides). 

In just under 9 minutes the participants managed to ask all planned questions (read the Southgate ARC article for more details, note also only downlink is audible in this recording due to my location being too far away from Fleurance):

  1. How are you? How do you feel today? (4:15)
  2. Which time zone do you use? (4:32)
  3. Which scientific experiments are you working at the moment? (4:52)
  4. What's the latest big problem you have experienced? (5:20)
  5. What did you feel during take-off? (5:51)
  6. How often do you go out of the station? (6:13)
  7. Do you do your own laundry, if yes, how? (6:36)
  8. What can you do if you have health problems? (6:51)
  9. What do you eat? (7:15)
  10. Do you look forward to going back on Earth? (7:39)
  11. What do you fear the most in the Station? (7:56)
  12. Is there day and night in space? (8:17)
  13. Do you have internet access in the station? (8:37)
  14. Do nails and hair still grow in space? (inaudible from my location)

This recording was made using:

  • Yaesu FT857-D
  • 2m Quadrifilar Helix antenna
  • Raspberry Pi (audio recording + doppler correction)
ISS SWL or How I Got To Hear a Real Astronaut

I enjoy taking part in ASISS SSTV events. To receive a signal from the International Space Station no advanced azimuth-elevation rotators or low-noise preamplifiers are required, although they certainly do help those who have them.

In January 2015 I finally felt brave enough to try to receive one such broadcast for the first time ever. Frequency... checked. Recording... checked. Tracking software... checked... I can literally feel my heart starting to beat faster. White noise... Nothing... Maximum elevation, still nothing. I'm checking the RX frequency again, it should be fine. Suddenly I can hear a warbling signal. That's it, my first ham signal from space!

As it turned out, the time of maximum elevation at my QTH corresponded with the 3-minute break the ISS guys make in-between two pictures, so I managed to receive only something at the end of my pass. Still, an image from space!

Even with this modest setup (just a simple fixed dipole in the loft + FT857D) I managed to receive my first image from space. Partial decode and noisy but a signal from space nevertheless.

2015-02-01_00.25.33

And this was enough to get me hooked. I soon realised the ability to track a satellite was more important than the receiver specs. My next attempt, in February 2015, was done using just a Yaesu VX-7R handheld, while sitting in my car and enjoying my lunch break. This time I got really lucky: 2 full decodes!

iss_12_12iss_4_12

But my by far most exciting experience so far happened this April. Using a handheld 2m dipole and my FT857d this time around I managed to hear the end of one image and just as I started cursing my luck suddenly a male voice with Russian accent called other stations. I couldn't believe my ears, I was actually hearing a real astronaut! Hear for yourself (fast forward to about 4:20 minutes if it doesn't happen automatically).

In all this excitement by the time I managed to google the ISS uplink frequencies the pass was already over. But this got me even more motivated to be there for RS0ISS next time around.