Thursday, 7 December 2017

Images from the Space Station!

This week, the International Space Station is broadcasting (something that we Earthbound operators are prohibited from doing) slow scan amateur radio TV images celebrating various Russian achievements. 

Here she comes!  Image: NASA.

Even mobile phone and tablet-obsessed kids are fascinated by signals from orbit, so I set the little Yaesu FM rig on 145.800MHz early last evening, which uses a simple homebrew SlimJim antenna on the roof.

I used a simple tablet computer running Robot36 freeware (there are many others available), and just picking up the sound without a wired connection.  So long as the software picks up the initial SSTV header signal, it will save the images received automatically.

At the time of the transmissions, the ISS was using PD120 mode (now turn down the volume on your PC!):

The SlimJim has an extremely good low angle performance, which was very evident during a high-elevation pass by the ISS last evening.  The signal faded strongly for a few seconds from the ISS as it passed near the overhead point.  At a later, horizon-hugging pass, the signal was very strong and steady for the whole pass.  A soft Russian female voice was also overlaid on the SSTV signal, though I couldn't make out what the message was.

Even though we know that it's easy to work near earth orbit radio, it's still amazing to me that the signal from the ISS is so incredibly strong with such simple equipment.

Simple, but effective.

The screen captures from my tablet went straight to my daughter's social media account.  It attracted quite a few likes and questions, which just goes to show the power of something new and different in bringing kids on board our great hobby.

1 comment:

  1. It is indeed cool to see. I should try that myself. I have been doing sats 15 years ago, as well as packetradio. I remember did some relay transmitting via the ISS packetradio system which was received in Italy. If only there was some more time for the hobby. 73, Bas