hams use coax to transfer high frequency electromagnetic energy between antennae and receivers and transmitters

May 04, 2005
(an archived page, this may contain outdated or broken links)
Contact with Outer Space !
Once again, WB5RMG is heard from
far overhead - this time as a digital
signal relayed via the
International Space Station.

Satellite position prediction table from InstantTrack v1.5,
for my location near Charleston, SC.

This page details how I re-introduced myself to the ISS.
I have done this before, but not since I took everything apart and moved to South Carolina. I still had most of the pieces, so it wasn't too difficult. First I had to dig out InstantTrack, a program I bought from AMSAT in 1988 (actually the 1.5 version fixes the old Y2K bugs). After updating the Keplerian data, and my new station coordinates, I was able to generate the pass prediction table seen above. The image on the right, is a partial screen capture of the real-time map mode. The yellow X is my location, the white circle indicates that the eastern half of the country is within range of the ISS radio equipment.
The faint grey line indicates the groundtrack of the next orbit. The violet/pink line represents the day/night terminator.
Without tracking software, you can use on line resources like Heavens-Above.com.

Environment :
+ My station is using the MFJ-1278 TNC and UI-View32.exe version 2.03 .
+ The computer is a 700MHz Dell Optiplex, Win2000Pro, with 128MB ram ... less should also work .
+ The radio is a Yaesu FT-736R, operating split VFO.
+ The uplink frequency is 145.990 MHz, downlink is 145.800 MHz.
+ The antenna is an old Hustler 2m vertical colinear whip (5/8 over 1/4) about 10ft above ground.

Results :
+ Once I start hearing the packet racket . . . I switch the audio into the TNC.
+ I confirm the station settings in the UI-View program, as seen here.
* Note that the Lat/Lon information is entered with Degrees, Minutes and decimal minutes.

  DD.MM.mm - not minutes and seconds . . .

* The Unproto address (or beacon path) specifys RS0ISS-3 < that is a zero > .
This is the alias used by the digipeater onboard Zarya.

* hit OK.

+ The received data starts placing call signs on the UI-View default US map.

 + I hit <ctrl-z> to enlarge the text monitor window, and hit <F9> to send a beacon. It may take a few beacons, but by watching the received data, you may spot a line with your beacon text, that shows an asterisk after RS0ISS-3*.
+ This indicates where the packet came from, confirming that it was relayed by RS0ISS-3 ...

+ The final proof of performance, is taken from the APRS Internet web site  . . .
+ www.findu.com collects APRS data from all over the world, and presents a variety of look-ups.
+ The ISS page has multiple maps, indicating the position reports from beaconing stations, as well as the current position of the ISS. When your call sign is on the map, you know it was for real.

+ The ISS page also shows a text listing of recent stations heard, indicating their Lat/Lon as well.
+ This table is also useful, to confirm the ARISS station is setup for packet-data mode, and is active.

+ Roger Barker (G4IDE) Wrote a really nice program UI-View32, but passed on in 2004. His memorial site.
+ You might check my UI-View page for more details on using this program.
+ Of course, AMSAT.ORG has lots of operational status, educational info, and other useful stuff.
+ APRS on orbit : FAQ

  + + + More links to fun stuff with APRS + + +
+ You can look up any APRS station report, via FindU.com, mine for example.

+ Check the last reported position of Stan (KC4ZPL) - Hiway Trucker Extrordinaire . . .
    (He showed me this many years back, to keep up with where he was driving)
+ Check on current NWS radar, with my location indicated...
+ Check current and historical weather conditions in Summerville, via W4HNK.
+ APRSWXNET information helped start a new program for NOAA, called Citizen Weather.
+ You can also go see my WinAPRS page, made before I tried UI-View.
+ You can see maps generated by the Census Bureau, with TIGER data here.

(Still) Coming soon :

+ the WB5RMG "hamcam" !

"Hummm . . . . What should I do now ?"
+ don't forget about the rest of SomeNet !

Copyright 2005 - wb5rmg @ somenet.net