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ISS Voice tips

ISS Amateur Radio Status: July 6, 2001

ISS When will ISS be on Voice

By Miles Mann WF1F,
MAREX-NA (Manned Amateur Radio Experiment, North American Division)

ISS When will ISS be on Voice:

That is one most common questions I am asked.
The Answer is, we don't know, however with a little research, you can
improve your chances of catching the ISS crew during a Random voice

Here are a few thinks you need to know:

What is the ISS crews sleep/wake cycle?
Most of the time the ISS crew is awake from 07:00 - 22:00 UTC time (also
known as Zulu time).  And the crew is sleeping from 22:00 - 7:00 UTC
time.  You will need to know the time difference between you local time
and UTC time.
Note:  Sometimes the ISS crew will "SHIFT" their sleep cycle to be
compatible with space walks and Shuttle docking.  This week the Iss crew
will be going to bed at 00:30 UTC and waking up at 10:00 UTC
(approximately).  After the STS-104 Mission, the ISS crew will resume a
normal sleep cycle of 22:00 - 7:00 UTC (approximately).

When is the ISS crew allowed to Operate Amateur Radio Voice:
The ISS crew is allowed to use the Amateur radio station for random
contacts only during their OFF hours.  However the ISS crew has very
little amount of free time.  As one ESA official said to an ARISS
meeting, "There is no such think as free time for ISS crew, all of there
time is accounted for".  The best chance for a random contact with ISS
is during the weekends and after dinner time on the space station.

An interesting side note from the Mir days, is that when all hardware on
Mir was working 100%, the Mir crew was too busy to talk on the Radio. 
When Mir had power problems or things like a broken
refrigerator/freezer, the Mir crew had more time to experiment with the
Amateur Radio projects.  No freezer, no blood tests, etc. So the crews
had more free time.  I have seen a similar scenario on ISS.  So look for
times when many projects are not working and that ISS crew is waiting
for new software etc from NASA and you may see a pattern of higher

When will ISS be in range of my house:
You will need to do some more research here too.  Either use some web
tracking programs such as are on the NASA web page or buy your own
tracking program.  If you are using your own tracking program, keep the
data (KEPS) current.  For ISS the data must be less than 2 weeks old.
The Space Stations orbit changes daily, you will need to learn about
these predictable changes.  This week in Boston Mass, the first orbit
pass of the day is around 8 am local time.  And the last orbit of the
day is around 3pm local time.  Tomorrow, all of the orbits will have
shifted by approximately 40 minutes earlier in the day.  In a few weeks,
the first orbit of the day will be around Midnight local time.  The
whole orbit cycle of ISS repeats approximately every 8 weeks. You will
need to learn how to take advantage of when ISS is in a good position
your you chances of a random voice contact.  It may mean that you may
have to get out of bed at a strange time for a shot at a voice contact.

What Frequencies are the ISS using for Amateur Radio:

The following frequencies are currently used for ARISS general QSO's
Voice and Packet Downlink: 145.80 (Worldwide)
Voice Uplink: 144.49 for Regions 2 and 3 (The Americas, and the Pacific) 
Voice Uplink: 145.20 for Region 1 (Europe, Central Asia and Africa) 
Packet Uplink: 145.99 (Worldwide)

Make sure you use the correct channel for your country.   Also use the
correct channel for transmission mode, do not transmit voice on the
packet channel and visa versa.

Good luck all, suggest you get your tape recorders ready and start
listening to the ISS channels.  Please observer the proper calling

1. Wait for ISS Crew to call CQ or QRZ.
2. Send only your call sign and wait for crew to acknowledge your
specific call sign.
3. Listen closely for the call of the station she is talking with.
4. If you do not hear your specific call sign, do not transmit again
until you hear the ISS crew member say CQ or QRZ

Please be courteous.

ISS Visible:
The ISS will not be visible this week over the USA.  It will come back
into view next week in the early morning hours.  There is also a shuttle
launched planed for July 12, and it will be possible to see the Shuttle
Boost phase from Florida to Maine.  

Then the next day, the shuttle will be visible as it chases the ISS for
a docking a few days later.
If you do not have a tracking program, please check the NASA web pages
for tracking and Visibility data.  There have been several good reports
of very bright reflections from ISS.


The ARISS Europe team has posted a QSL address for ISS.  
Please follow the links from the www.marex-na.org web page.

Field Day and ISS observations:
There are approximately 2 million Amateur Radio operators world wide. 
During the ISS operations a few weeks ago the majority of the stations
calling ISS followed the recommended contact procedures (When to call,
what frequency, etc).   I only heard a few reports of stations using the
wrong frequency and calling out of sequence.  We all need to take part
in spreading the world on the suggested operating procedures for ISS. 
By educating the world, we will increase the reliability of the ISS
links and at the same time have more fun.  
So spread the world.

73 Miles WF1F MAREX-NA

New MAREX Web pages:
Check out our future ISS Projects and a large list if Mir related links
and tips on how to use the Chat room on ISS.


Copyright 2001 Miles Mann, All Rights Reserved.  This document may be
distributed via the following means - Email (including listservers),
and World-Wide-Web.  It may not be reproduced for profit including, but
limited to, CD ROMs, books, and/or other commercial outlets without
written consent from the author.

Until we meet again

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