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ISS on Field Day

The text below is in this week's ARRL Letter.

Wayne Estes W9AE
Mundelein, IL, USA


The crew of the International Space Station--astronaut Mike Fincke,
KE5AIT, and cosmonaut Gennady Padalka, RN3DT--could be on the air for
Field Day 2004. ISS Ham Radio Project Engineer Kenneth G. Ransom, N5VHO,
says he's sent Field Day operating instructions and pass times to the ISS
support team at Johnson Space Center for relay to Fincke this week.

"Those instructions state that Mike should be operating as NA1SS, '1 Alfa
ISS,'" Ransom said. "Mike was also notified that anytime he is over North
or South America would be a chance to operate." Ransom says that if
Padalka gets on the air, he'll identify as RS0ISS and give the same
exchange. Fincke and Padalka would use the Amateur Radio on the
International Space Station (ARISS) radio gear aboard the spacecraft.

Since most ISS passes over North America will already have occurred by the
time Field Day gets under way at 1800 UTC on June 26, the ideal pass times
sent to Fincke are for the following day. Here's the pass schedule for
Sunday, June 27--all times UTC: Southern and northeastern US: 0753-0811;
Western US: 0927-0947; Northwestern US: 1103-1123; Northeastern US:
1415-1435; Central US: 1551-1611; and Southwestern US: 1727-1743.

"As with any Amateur Radio operation aboard the ISS, the crew gives of
their free time to participate, and, as such, may not be available on
every pass," Ransom said, adding that it's also possible that "more
pressing events" may preclude Field Day participation altogether.

Ransom pointed out that a space walk is scheduled for just a few days
before Field Day, and the crew "will still be in the process of getting
back to a normal schedule when Field Day is in full swing," he said.

The tentative plan calls for Fincke to be on FM using the standard ISS
voice frequencies for contacts in ITU Region 2--144.49 MHz up and 145.80
MHz down. Ransom said that if Padalka also participates, he would operate
on the same 2-meter frequency pair, and the Expedition 9 crewmates would
likely trade off on passes.

Since ARISS has two radios aboard, it's possible that both Fincke and
Padalka could get on the air at the same time. If that happens, one would
be on 2 meters while the second would operate 437.55 MHz FM simplex.
Ransom cautions, however, that Doppler shift in the 70-cm band is
significantly greater than on 2 meters.

If it turns out that the Expedition 9 crew cannot participate in Field Day
2004, Ransom says the RS0ISS packet station should be on and available for
ground stations to work each other via the packet digipeater using "ARISS"
as the alias for the call sign in UNPROTO mode. Frequencies are 145.99 MHz
up and 145.80 MHz down.

ARRL Contest Branch Manager Dan Henderson, N1ND, says he was happy to hear
that hams aboard the ISS may once again be on the air for Field Day. "We
look forward to seeing lots of reported QSOs with Mike--and perhaps
Gennady--during Field Day 2004."

Henderson notes that ISS voice or packet contacts do not count for bonus
satellite contact points because the ISS is not an "Amateur Radio
satellite," as event rules specify. Field Day has no specific rules
relating to ARISS operation because there's no guarantee that the crew
will be able to get on the air for the annual exercise.

In 2001, astronaut Susan Helms, KC7NHZ, thrilled Field Day participants by
showing up unexpectedly on the air and working several dozen stations. ISS
crew members have participated in the event each year since.

Sent via amsat-bb@amsat.org. Opinions expressed are those of the author.
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