[aprssig] Packet on the ISS

Steve Dimse steve at dimse.com
Fri Feb 28 08:26:21 EST 2020

Astronaut/cosmonaut time is among the scarcest commodities in the world. The packet station must be off for spacewalks and rendezvous operations, so turning it off is high priority, turning it on quite low. Troubleshooting faulty equipment even lower. It is not unusual for ISS packet to disappear for months.

The current system is a backup flown last year to replace the original. I would not be surprised to see no attempt made to troubleshoot this since it is scheduled for replacement. The prior system had a habit of suddenly appearing though, so keep checking. There is a nice Kenwood D-710 with custom software, but it is currently only used for ARISS school contacts, which, as a very visible PR activity has much higher priority than packet.

A beautiful new ham radio system has been built and is scheduled for launch early March on SpaceX ISS mission 20, which has been bumped a few days because of a valve issue. Getting there is not the same as getting it online, installation is said to be months away.

But really, working APRS on ISS is a pretty simple thing to do, cool when you first do it, but not technically challenging. With the same setup you could wor the FM birds, then if you get a UHF/VHF all mode you can move up to the linear transponder sats. Look at the downtime on ISS as a chance to do something harder!

Steve K4HG

> On Feb 27, 2020, at 2:03 PM, MJ Inabnit <ke6sls at arrl.net> wrote:
> I've become really interested in working the ISS on packet.  A fellow
> ham was able to get his ping returned about 2 months ago which gave me
> hope!
> The last few weeks, I've planned my days around ISS passes and haven't
> heard a peep.  Yesterday I found this:
> <https://www.ariss.org/current-status-of-iss-stations.html>
> Current Status of ISS Stations
> as of 02/20/2020
> ​Columbus Module radios:
>    Ericsson VHF-  Packet system stopped working (2/15).
>    Ericsson UHF- Stowed.
>    MarconISSta - Temp. stowed.
> Looks like my odds of working the ISS are NIL at this point, but does
> anyone have an idea how long the ISS will be down?  I've dug around here
> but I really have not found any real "radio space news"..  Hopefully
> someone here might know a little more.
> Until then, my pings will remain "GROUNDED" :)
> 73
> j
> -- 
> wishing you well
> Jaye, ke6sls--via the toshiba w/thunderchicken
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