Scouts on Long Island Contact the ISS via Amateur Radio

Matinecock District Scout ISS Contact

Matinecock District Scout ISS Contact

I once again had the pleasure to help a group of young people make contact with an Astronaut on the International Space Station this past week.

NASA Astronaut Kjell Lindgren

NASA Astronaut Kjell Lindgren

Scouts from the Matinecock District made a contact with Astronaut Kjell Lindgren, KO5MOS on the International Space Station on Saturday, June 4th, 2022.  You can watch and listen to the contact on YouTube by clicking below.  The actual contact begins at about 40:35 into the video.

The Scouts’ contact lasted for approximately 10 minutes. The Scouts asked and Kjell answered 18 of their 20 questions and there was time at the end of the contact for “Thank Yous”.  Here are the questions that the Scouts asked:

1. What do you have to study after HS in order to have a career as an Astronaut?
2. Could the ISS ever be self-sustaining and not need care packages of food/water/oxygen from Earth?
3. Are ISS teams only picked based on skills or does NASA try to match personalities as well?
4. How does the ISS stay safe from all the “space junk” floating around the Earth?
5. Do you only do experiments in your field of expertise on the ISS or because of limited resources do you find yourself assisting others doing things you’re not as comfortable with?
6. Is automated piloting better than manual piloting in terms of flight controls and docking?
7. What one thing did you do as a young adult that you felt was your first significant step to becoming an astronaut?
8. I’ve heard being in space can change your taste buds. Have you created any interesting or creative recipes to make space food taste better?
9. How do they supply the ISS with constant oxygen?
10. We saw a video of a gorilla suit prank on the ISS a few months ago. Have there been any other funny pranks?
11. What jobs do you have to do on the ship?
12. Do the astronauts get to bring something from home with them to space?
13. I’ve heard astronauts from different countries will trade food. What country has the most popular dish on the ISS?
14. In your personal opinion, what is the best and least good thing about being on the ISS?
15. Can you swim in space when you’re floating?
16. Can you feel the effects being in space has on your body? If so, what’s it like?
17. Can you yo-yo upside down in space?
18. Does the ISS have technology installed that could capture Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAP)like the US Navy has recently? Have you seen anything up there that you can’t explain?
19. What does it feel like to go to space?
20. I read that there was once water on Mars. Where did all the water go?
AB1OC ARISS Ground Station Operations

AB1OC ARISS Ground Station Operations

This contact was made in a Telebridge format using my Ground Station here in New Hampshire, USA. The linkup with the Scouts on Long Island was via a Zoom conference call. You can learn more about our ground station here.
ARISS Ground Station

ARISS Ground Station

Helping young people make contact with astronauts on the ISS using Amateur Radio is great fun. My work with ARISS is near the top of my list in terms of the most rewarding work that I do with Amateur Radio.

Best and 73,

Fred, AB1OC

Scouts in Australia Contact the ISS via Amateur Radio

Scout Making Contact with the ISS

Scouts in Victoria, Australia Making Contact with the ISS at VicJam

I once again had the pleasure to help a group of young people make contact with an Astronaut on the International Space Station this past week. The Scouts were participating in a Jamboree in Victoria, Australia. You can learn more about the event, called VicJam, here.

Astronaut Mark VandeHei, KG5GNP

Astronaut Mark VandeHei, KG5GNP

The Scouts made contact with Astronaut Mark VandeHei, KG5GNP this past Tuesday, January 4th, 2022. You can watch and listen to the contact on YouTube by clicking below. The actual contact begins at about 8:25 into the video.

The Scout’s contact lasted for approximately 10 minutes. The Scouts asked and Mark answered all of their questions and there was time at the end of the contact for “Thank You’s” and “Good Wishes”. Here are the questions that the Scouts asked:

  1. What 3 things do you miss from Earth? My Mum worked on a ship and missed; sleeping with the window open, the smell of cut grass, and the sound of rain on the roof.
  2. What do you have to do to become an astronaut?
  3. What would happen if someone were seriously ill on the ISS, and what would you do?
  4. How do you prepare and eat your meals while up in the space station?
  5. What is it like to float around in no gravity without friction?
  6. How does it feel going from zero gravity in space back to earth’s gravity? Does it hurt??
  7. What is the scariest thing to happen to you whilst you have been in space?
  8. How do you shower and go to the toilet in space?
  9. After being in the space station for so many months, how does it feel to experience planet Earth and nature again with all your senses, especially smell?
  10. How do the seasons affect the veggie production system on the ISS? How often do you get to eat fresh food?
  11. Did you always want to be an astronaut and how did you make it happen?
  12. Why do people go into space and how long is an average mission?
  13. How did you feel when you first learned of your selection to go to space and has this been a life-long ambition for you?
  14. Can you share some of the science that was worked on in space that we can now see on earth?
  15. Is there sound or much noise in space?
  16. Multiple nations have had space stations each bestowed with a specific name – Russia had Mir, NASA had Skylab, and China Tiangong-1. As a truly international effort and the largest man-made object in space, does the ISS have a Nickname, or is there a name that the astronauts use for the individual components?
  17. What energy supply do you use to power the station. If nuclear, what type of reactor do you use? If solar, how many solar panels do you use, and what is their power density?
ARISS Ground Station

ARISS Ground Station

This contact was made in a Telebridge format using my Ground Station here in New Hampshire, USA. The linkup with the Scouts in Australia was via a telephone connection using a phone patch in my shack. You can learn more about our ground station here.

AB1OC ARISS Ground Station Operations

AB1OC ARISS Ground Station Operations

Helping young people make contact with astronauts on the ISS using Amateur Radio is great fun. My work with ARISS is near the top of my list in terms of the most rewarding work that I do with Amateur Radio.

Best and 73,

Fred, AB1OC

YOTA 2021 ISS Contact

International Space Station (ISS)

International Space Station (ISS)

I had the pleasure of serving as the ARISS contact moderator for the Youth On The Air (YOTA) 2021 Camp’s contact with the International Space Station (ISS) using Amateur Radio today. Young Hams spent the week at the Voice of America Bethany Relay Station in West Chester, OH engaging in a variety of Amateur Radio Activities…

Source: YOTA 2021 ISS Contact

You can view the video of YOTA 2021 Camp’s contact with astronaut Aki Hoshide, KE5DNI via the link above.

Fred, AB1OC

Satellite Passes During Field Day 2021

Field Day 2021 Satellite Passes in FN42

Field Day 2021 Satellite Passes in FN42

We had some time over the weekend so we ran some Satellite Pass Predictions for Field Day 2021 for our Grid Square which is FN42. As you can see, we are going to have a lot of fun working satellite during Field Day! Field Day rules limit us to a single FM EasySat contact using but we can work as many contacts via Linear Transponder Satellites as we wish

Field Day Satellite Station

Field Day Satellite Station

We recently set up and tested our Portable Satellite Ground station here at our QTH and it’s working great! It has produced some good DX contacts into Europe from New Hampshire, USA during the past week.

You can read more about our Portable Satellite Station test here.

Fred, AB1OC

Field Day Satellite Station for 2021 – Setup and Test in Hollis

The Nashua Area Radio Society will be using our portable Satellite Station this year at Summer Field Day. A number of members got together recently to assemble and test our Computer-Controlled Portable Satellite Station for Field Day. Here are some pictures of our Field Day Satellite Station Test…

Source: Field Day Satellite Station for 2021 – Setup and Test in Hollis

Several members of the Nashua Area Radio Society got together to set up and test our Portable Satellite Station for Field Day 2021. Our station is a computer-controlled one and enables us to work FM and Linear Satellites using phone mode and CW.

The setup uses an M2 Antenna Systems LEO Pack Antenna System on a Glen Martin Aluminum Tower that is set up to be portable. Feedlines use 100 ft lengths for LMR-400uF and LMR-600uF coax cable for the 2m and 70cm bands. The rotator is an Alfa-SPID Az/El unit. The antenna system also uses coax-powered preamplifiers from Advanced Receiver Research. The station uses an IC-9700 Transceiver, a Green Heron RT-21 Az/El Rotator Controller, and a MacBook Air Laptop running MacDoppler and MacLogger DX.

This setup is an updated version of the portable satellite station that we built for an ISS Crew Contact that a local school did with us some time ago.

You can see how the portable station goes together in the article above. You can learn more about the design and construction of our Portable Sation from the series of articles that begins here. We hope to work some of our readers on the birds during Field Day this year!

Fred, AB1OC

Tech Night – EME II: Station Construction and Operation

EME II - Station Construction and Operation

EME II Tech Night – Station Construction and Operation

We recently did a second Tech Night Program on EME as part of the Nashua Area Radio Society’s Tech Night program. I wanted to share the presentation and video from this Tech Night so that our readers might learn a little more about how to build and operate an EME station for the 2m band.

January 2021 Tech Night – EME II: Station Construction and Operation

You can view the Tech Night presentation by clicking on the video above. Here’s a link to the presentation that goes with the video. You can learn more about the Nashua Area Radio Society’s Tech Night program here. There is a demonstration of an actual live EME contact on the 2m band at 57:57 in the video.

The first Tech Night in the EME Series was about Getting Started in EME Communications. You can view that Tech Night here.

We are in the process of upgrading our EME station to include adaptive polarity. you can read more about that project here.

Fred, AB1OC

ISS Voice Repeater is QRV!

International Space Station (ISS)

International Space Station (ISS)

Thanks to some great work by the ARISS Team, a new Voice Repeater system is operating on the International Space Station! Here is the access information:

  • Mode: FM Voice
  • Uplink Frequency: 145.990 MHz, PL 67.0 Hz
  • Downlink Frequency: 437.800 MHz
IORS Hardware

IORS Hardware and Kenwood Radio

The repeater uses the new InterOperable Radio System (IORS), a space-modified JVC Kenwood D710GA transceiver, and an ARISS developed power supply system.

Kenwood D710GA

Kenwood D710GA

Here’s some more information from the ARISS Press Release:

The ARISS team is pleased to announce that the setup and installation of the first element of our next-generation radio system was completed and amateur radio operations with it are now underway. This first element, dubbed the InterOperable Radio System (IORS), was installed in the International Space Station Columbus module. The IORS replaces the Ericsson radio system and packet module that were originally certified for spaceflight on July 26, 2000.

The initial operation of the new radio system is in FM cross-band repeater mode using an uplink frequency of 145.99 MHz with an access tone of 67 Hz and a downlink frequency of 437.800 MHz. System activation was first observed at 01:02 UTC on September 2. Special operations will continue to be announced.

The IORS was launched from Kennedy Space Center on March 6, 2020, on board the SpaceX CRS-20 resupply mission. It consists of a special, space-modified JVC Kenwood D710GA transceiver, an ARISS developed multi-voltage power supply, and interconnecting cables. The design, development, fabrication, testing, and launch of the first IORS was an incredible five-year engineering achievement accomplished by the ARISS hardware volunteer team. It will enable new, exciting capabilities for ham radio operators, students, and the general public. Capabilities include a higher power radio, voice repeater, digital packet radio (APRS) capabilities, and a Kenwood VC-H1 slow-scan television (SSTV) system…

You can view the full ARISS Press Release here.

I was able to work several stations using the new ISS Voice Repeater this morning. It is very sensitive and uses 5 watts of downlink power with a good antenna on the ISS. I was able to make solid contacts using the Ground Station here using only 1.5 watts uplink power when the ISS was at 10 degrees above the horizon. At least one of my contacts was with a station using an HT with a whip antenna!

The voice repeater is sensitive enough and uses a power level that will enable folks with an HT and a whip antenna to make contacts using the ISS when it is close to the horizon. It should also be easy to make contacts using mobile rigs that can support cross-band operation as well. Program your radios!

I’m looking forward to working you through the ISS!

Fred, AB1OC

 

AO-27 Is Back!

AO-27 Satellite

AO-27 Satellite

The AO-27 FM satellite is back on the air! AO-27 is an FM V/U Mode satellite that was launched back in 1993. The satellite’s Amateur Radio payload became inoperative about 7 years ago due to an internal communications failure. Thanks to some great work by Micheal, N3UC who was one of AO-27’s original designers, the satellite is back on the air on a limited-time basis (4 minutes, twice per orbit over the mid-latitudes).

I was able to make my first contact through AO-27 this morning. The contact was with AI9IN in Indiana, USA. I’m looking forward to making more contacts using this satellite in the near future. Here are the current frequencies for the uplink and downlink (no PL tone is required):

  • Uplink – 145.850 MHz FM
  • Downlink – 436.7975 MHz FM

It’s great to have yet another FM satellite that we can all use. I hope that other satellite operators will give AO-27 a try.

Fred, AB1OC

Getting Started With Amateur Satellites (and Progressing to Linear Birds)

Get Started with Amateur Satellites

Get Started with Amateur Satellites

We get quite a few requests from folks to explain how to get started with Amateur Radio Satellites. Requests for information on how to build a computer-controlled ground station for Linear Satellites are also pretty common. I recently got such a request from our CWA class so I decided to put together a session on this topic.

We covered a number of topics and demonstrations during the session including:

  • How to put together a simple station and work FM EasySats with HTs and a handheld antenna
  • A recorded demonstration of some contacts using FM EasySats
  • How-to build a computer-controlled station and work Linear Transponder Satellites
  • Fixed and Portable Satellite Station Antenna options
  • A recorded demonstration of some contacts using Linear Satellites
  • How-to work digital (APRS digipeater) contacts
  • How-to receive SSTV Transmissions from the ISS

About 30 folks attended this session and there was some good Q&A throughout.

Getting Started With Amateur Satellites

The presentation was recorded and can be viewed above. Here’s a link to the associated Powerpoint Presentation.

There are lots of articles about building and operating Amateur Satellite Stations here on our blog. The following are links to several articles and series on this topic:

I hope that you find this information useful for your Amateur Satellite projects!

Fred, AB1OC

Tech Night – Getting Started In EME Communications

Tech Night – Getting Started in EME (Click to View The Presentation)

We recently did a Tech Night Program as part of the Nashua Area Radio Society’s Tech Night program.. I wanted to share the presentation and video from this Tech Night so that our readers might learn a little more about how to get started in EME or Moonbounce Communications.

April 2020 Tech Night Video – Getting Started in EME Communications

You can view the Tech Night presentation by clicking on the video above. Here’s a link to the presentation that goes with the video. You can learn more about the Nashua Area Radio Society’s Tech Night program here.

The second Tech Night in the EME Series was about Building and Operating an EME Station. You can view that Tech Night here.

We are in the process of upgrading our EME station to include adaptive polarity. you can read more about that project here.

Fred, AB1OC