ISS Crew Contact

We have been working with Hudson Memorial School to help them secure and prepare for an ISS Crew Contact. We are hoping to support their ISS Crew Contact using an upgraded version of our Portable Satellite Ground Station. A school in Raleigh, North Carolina had their ISS Crew Contact today and I decided to record the downlink from the ISS to test our backup Portable 2.0 ISS/Satellite Ground Station.

The video above is a capture of the school’s contact. It was very easy to receive the ISS downlink on our portable backup ground station. I heard the downlink a few seconds before the ISS came up on the horizon and the audio was solid for the duration of the contact. We can only hear the astronaut’s side of the contact as we cannot receive the school’s uplink from Raleigh, NC. The ISS pass began here in New Hampshire part way through the school’s session so we did not hear the first few questions.

Update on Portable ISS/Sat Station 3.0

Portable ISS/Sat Station 3.0 Antenna System
Portable ISS/Sat Station 3.0 Antenna System

Work on our upgraded primary Portable 3.0 Station which includes a larger antenna system using switchable circular polarity is progressing well. The portable tower, upgraded rotator system, and the new, larger 2m and 70cm circularly polarized antennas are complete.  We are just waiting for a few additional components to arrive here and the upgraded portable ground station should be ready for its first test at our Technician License Class later this month.

More on Today’s ISS Crew Contact

You can see a live stream of the ISS Contact from the school above. There is a great deal of planning which goes into an ISS Crew Contact such as this. We are working closely with Hudson Memorial School on their project and their school is also beginning a High-Altitude Balloon Project with us in a few weeks.

The ISS Crew Contact today was exciting to listen too and we are looking forward to being able to share this experience with Hudson Memorial School in the near future.

Fred, AB1OC

FT8 DXpedition mode

You have probably heard something about recent efforts to develop a special “FT8 DXpedition Mode” in WSJT-X. This message aims to bring you up-to-date on our  progress, and generally to make our plans more widely known.

Source: FT8 – DX Pedition mode

It looks like some of the major DXpeditions are beginning to embrace FT8. This will certainly create a need to handle “pileups” in FT8 mode and to make it possible to make many contacts in the shortest period of time possible. It appears that Joe Taylor, K1JT is working on an update to WSJT-X to create a variation of FT8 tailored for DXpedition use. Also, we will also need to update our copies of WXJT-X to take advantage of the new FT8 DXpedition mode. The link above is an article by Joe which gives more information about his new FT8 DXpedition mode and the software which will support it.

Fred, AB1OC

Radio Amateurs Developing Skills and Having Fun