On this week's Den I would like to talk about contacting the ISS with Packet Radio. We talked about Packet, Winlink and APRS. Now we will try to reach out to that digipeater high in the sky.
So the ISS has two Ham Radio stations on board. One is a Kenwood TM-710D that they use for voice QSOs, on 145.800, usually with a school and the SSTV events. The other station is a measly Erickson HT which they use as a Packet digipeater on 145.825. These are relatively easy to work because the ISS is only 254 miles up but it is traveling 4.76 miles per second so the pass only lasts several minutes at a time. On a good day there may be 3 or 4 passes in this area.
The first thing that you need to know is when the passes will occur. My favorite web site is https://www.heavens-above.com/
My favorite smart phone app is ISS Detector. The phone knows where you are at all times :-) I like this app because you can take the phone outside and get an idea of where to point the Yagi. Get the kids to help with this. They will get a kick out of aiming the Yagi and following it across the sky. It's especially cool if the ISS is making a visible path then just follow it by site. If anyone has a tracking program they use let us know.
Okay, so here's a slick program I found called UISS written by ON6MU. Go here to download http://users.belgacom.net/ Look for UISS 5.4.2 (UISS Setup.exe) and click to download. Find the program and double click to run the install and follow the prompts using the default values. You will also get the Soundmodem program from UZ7HO that we covered before. When you open the UISS program it will automatically open the soundmodem program. The first thing you should do is configure this progrram by clicking Settings, Devices. Use this as an example replacing Output and Input devices with what you have. The USB Audio CODEC is for the Signalink.
Then click Settings, Modems. Here's what these settings should be.
You can either leave sound modem on the display or minimize it. The next step is click Setup in the UISS program then click UISS. Make sure you call is correct. You shouldn't have to change anything else in the setup. On the main screen we will be using TX Test/DATA to send a text message. The To: position will be CQ or you could enter someone's callsign. In the Via block it should be ARISS. This is what the digipeater alias is for the callsign RS0ISS. Remember during our APRS discussions we mentioned that for digipeating you can use an alias such as wide2-2. The ISS acts like a digipeater the same as K3PDR-1 does. For Tuesday I will set up my station with the Alias of ARISS and ask each station to click the block that says F5 Text/data. If it works you will see my station digipeat your signal.
As usual the first part of the DEN will be the Fldigi checkin traffic practice portion so get those poems and jokes ready to send. Either Flmsg or Flamp. Any questions or comments send them to me. See you all Tuesday.