Youth Outreach – ISS Contact Project?

Nashua Area Radio Society Topics In All Forums Youth Forum Youth Outreach – ISS Contact Project?

This topic contains 2 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by Fred Kemmerer Fred Kemmerer 1 year, 6 months ago.

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  • #7269
    Greg Fuller
    Greg Fuller
    Participant

    I know we have a lot going on right now with youth outreach, but if I could add something we might think about.  Since becoming a ham, I have wanted to make contact with the International Space Station, and share that experience with my kids, my scouts, and students to demonstrate the reach of amateur radio and to get kids excited about STEM.

    We can apply to ARISS for a scheduled contact with an astronaut ham, if we can demonstrate that we have an appropriate ground station with backup.  What would be cooler than to have NARC youth outreach enabling contacts with people in space?

    Attached is the ground station requirements, this is not something we need to jump on today, but if we could put a station together, and I think we have many of the elements already, I am prepared to go through the process of application and follow up.

    Let me know your thoughts, I think we could really turn this into a major PR event with local media and would be a coup for our youth outreach activities.  We might host something like this at the McAulliffe Shepard Discovery Center in Concord.  NH has given a great deal to space exploration, and I think we could capitalize on that visceral connection with kids and educators throughout the state.

    73,

    Greg, W1TEN

    - Greg (W1TEN)

    w1ten@arrl.net
    Visit us on the web at - https://www.n1fd.org

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    #7281
    Fred Kemmerer
    Fred Kemmerer
    Keymaster

    Hi Greg,

    This sound like a great idea if we could get approval for an ARISS contact with a crew member. I think that we’d probably have a much better chance at this if we teamed up with a school. Perhaps the Nashua ASD school that John and I have been working with might be a candidate?

    73,

     

    - Fred (AB1OC)
    President, Nashua Area Radio Society

    ab1oc@arrl.net
    Visit us on the web at - https://www.n1fd.org

    #7285
    Fred Kemmerer
    Fred Kemmerer
    Keymaster

    It turns out that Anita and I are working on an updated version of the satellite station that we’ve been using for club satellite contacts. Its pretty close to what is suggested in the ground stations recommendations that you referenced:

    Here is what we are planning for the V2.0 station:

    • Icom IC-9100 Radio (100W on 2M, 75W on 70cm)
    • GlenMartin 4.5’ roof tower which we plan to mount on a steel plate for portable use
    • Yaesu G-5500 Az/El Rotator with a Green Heron RT-21 computer controlled Az/El controller
    • M2 LEO Sat Pack – 8 elements Circular X-POL on 2M, 16 elements Circular X-POL on 70cm (see below)
    • Mast mounted low-noise preamps for 2M and 70cm (same units we are currently using with our HT-based station)
    • Computer controlled tracking and radio/doppler shift via software (probably PCSat32)

    This would cover most of the recommended station items in green in the diagram above. The only problems is that the 2M antenna in the M2 LEO Pack may not quite be up to what we need for an ISS crew contact:

    What I’d suggest we do is put together the V2.0 LEO satellite station first and see how it does with other ARISS contacts (repeaters, packet and APRISS). Here’s some information on what is available on the ISS (info from http://issfanclub.com):

    ISS Frequencies

    Amateur Radio Frequencies (Note: Only one mode active at a time) FM VOICE for ITU Region 1: Europe-Middle East-Africa-North Asia

    • Downlink 145.800
    • Uplink 145.200

    FM VOICE for ITU Region 2&3: North and South America-Caribbean-Greenland-Australia-South Asia [These are the ISS Crew Frequencies]

    • Downlink 145.800
    • Uplink 144.490

    FM U/v VOICE Repeater (Worldwide) – [Looks like there may be a U/V repeater onboard]

    • Downlink 145.800
    • Uplink 437.800

    FM V/u with PL VOICE Repeater (Worldwide) – [And also a V/U repeater, likely is this or the previous but not both at the same time….]

    • Downlink 437.800
    • Uplink 145.990 with 67.0 PL

    FM L/v VOICE Repeater (Worldwide) – [This might be interesting to try at some point in the future]

    • Downlink 145.800
    • Uplink 1269.650

    AX.25 1200 Bd AFSK Packet Radio (Worldwide) – 

    • Downlink 145.825
    • Uplink 145.825

    FM SSTV downlink (Worldwide) – [We should DEFINITELY try this when there is an SSTV event scheduled!]

    • Downlink 145.800

    UHF Simplex (rarely used) – [Probably a crew communications alternative]

    • Downlink 437.550
    • Uplink 437.550
    Here’s what AMSAT lists – not quite the same but may be more reliable information (info from http://www.ariss.org/contact-the-iss.html) –
    • Voice Uplink: 144.49 for ITU Regions 2 and 3 (The Americas, and the Pacific and Southern Asia)
    • Voice Uplink: 145.20 for ITU Region 1 (Europe, Russia and Africa)
    • VHF Packet Uplink and Downlink: 145.825 (Worldwide)
    • UHF Packet Uplink and Downlink: 437.550
    • UHF/VHF Repeater Uplink: 437.80
    • UHF/VHF Repeater Downlink: 145.80

    If we find that the 2m antenna in the LEO pack is not enough, we could replace the antennas in the LEO pack shown above with something like a pair of the following antennas from M2:

    Using a pair of these should give us a gain of about 15 dBi which should be more than enough to work the ISS on 2M with 100W. I would also probably add a polarization switch to the larger antennas so that we could run them with either left or right had circular polarization.

    Greg, I know that you and others in the club are interested in satellite station building and operating. Would you or others in the club be interested in help to put together and test the V2.0 satellite station once everything arrive here? If anyone is interested, please reply to this topic. I am guessing that all of the gear will be here sometime in January.

    73,

     

    - Fred (AB1OC)
    President, Nashua Area Radio Society

    ab1oc@arrl.net
    Visit us on the web at - https://www.n1fd.org

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