Thursday, December 18, 2008

Amateur Radio from Space

ARLS009 ARISS Finalizes Plans for Silver Anniversary of Amateur Radio
from Space
Space Bulletin 009 ARLS009
From ARRL Headquarters
Newington, CT December 18, 2008
To all radio amateurs
ARLS009 ARISS Finalizes Plans for Silver Anniversary of Amateur Radio
from Space
The Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) team is
currently celebrating the silver anniversary -- 25 years -- of Amateur
Radio operations from space. According to ARISS International Chairman
Frank Bauer, KA3HDO, the crew on the International Space Station (ISS)
has configured the radio to support cross-band repeater operations.
They have also supported some SSTV downlinks and participated in a
special test of 9600 baud packet radio operations on the simplex
frequency of 145.825 MHz.
After December 19, Bauer said he expects the ISS ham radio system to
be on the 145.825 MHz frequency supporting 1200 baud packet. If PCSAT
"During the week of December 21-26, we plan to support the cross-band
repeater mode with a twist," Bauer said. "Our intent is to configure
the radio for 145.99 MHz uplink -- including CTCSS tone of 67.0 and
437.80 MHz down. This will be performed in low power mode. We should
also note that an extra-vehicular activity (EVA) is planned for that
week -- Expedition 18 Commander Mike Fincke, KE5AIT, and Flight
Engineer Yury Lonchakov, RA3DT, plan to perform a spacewalk on
December 22. As per standard procedure, the ISS ham radio system will
be turned off for the EVA."
Bauer said that from December 28-January 3, the cross-band repeater
will be reconfigured for what he called "a special experiment. This
will be a test of our L-Band uplink capability, which, to date, has
not been proven out. Plan for an uplink of 1269.65 MHz and a downlink
on the standard frequency of 145.80 MHz, using low power,"
he said. "Given the substantial cable losses of the L-band system, we
hope some 'big guns' are able to penetrate through, keep up with
Doppler and make the connection."
A special certificate is being developed for those who communicate
with the ISS from November 30, 2008 to January 15, 2009. This
certificate will be awarded to those who have had two-way
communications with the ISS on voice, packet (APRS) or through the
voice repeater. Those who hear the ISS from space in any of the ARISS
operations modes -- voice, SSTV, school contact, voice repeater or
digital - will also be eligible to receive a certificate.
To receive the certificate, Bauer said to note the ARISS mode of
operation (such as SSTV, voice or school) on your QSL and whether the
contact was one-way (receive only) or two-way. "You should send your
self-addressed, stamped envelope to the normal ARISS QSL volunteer
distributor in your area of the world," he explained. "On the outside
of the QSL envelope, please include the words '25th Anniversary
Certificate.' Make sure your envelope is big enough to accept an 8.5 x
11 inch certificate and includes the proper postage."
If you do not know where to send your QSL, check the ARISS Web site to
find the one that serves your part of the world.
"We will be sending your certificate to the volunteer distributors in
bulk after the event is over," Bauer said. "This saves workload and
money. So do not expect to see it until 1-2 months after the event
closes on January 15." Bauer reminded hams that due to ISS flight
requirements related to spacewalks and vehicle activity, the radio
onboard the ISS may be off for some portion of this schedule.
School contacts and general QSO opportunities by the crew will also
pre-empt this schedule for short periods of time. "But remember that if
you hear these," he said, "you still qualify for a commemorative
certificate. Enjoy the ARISS ops on ISS!"

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