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Marex news Aug 6, 2002

ISS Amateur Radio Status: August 6, 2002
By Miles Mann WF1F,
MAREX-NA (Manned Amateur Radio Experiment, North American Division)
High Activity on ISS voice and Packet:

Its great to see all of the emails about the ISS crew working many stations
on voice.  And its great to see the packet email system (PMS ) being
actively used by the ISS crew.  The only down side, is we are seeing one of
the seasonal peak loads on the ISS station.  Whenever there is a lot of
Press or Email about ISS, there will always be in increase in the number of
users and or attempted users trying to access the PMS and Voice.  After a
while the new-ness will wear off and the packet satiations pining will drop
off and the people calling on voice will drop off.  Until the next big story
or shuttle launch.  Then the user load will go up again.
If you are a beginner at ISS packet, then this month may be a bad month to
make your first packet connect (Geography and time zone dependant).

I have posted several memos on working iss packet and voice on the MAREX web
page.  Please review the data and try to have fun.


How to use the ISS voice and packet systems 

     ISS Packet Operations Manual (PMS)  August 5, 2002 
     How to configure and use Unproto/Round Table on ISS  February 27, 2002 
     Tips for working ISS on Voice  July 8, 2001 
     ISS Packet Interference issues  May 28, 2001 
     How Much power do I need to operate packet on ISS  May 28, 2001 
     Packet Race Condition  May 21, 2001 
     MAREX News ISS Unproto / Round Table Activated  April 8, 2001 
     How to operate APRS

When can I talk to the ISS crew,  Lets do the Numbers:

Amateur Radio stations world wide.	2,000,000
Assume 10% want to talk to ISS.	20,000
Assume ISS talks to 10 people day:	3,600 total per year
Years required for 10% of the Amateur Radio population to have a 2-way voice
link with ISS = 5.5 years

Actually these numbers are not reality.  The ISS crew only has a very small
amount of fee time to talk make Random contacts.  The actual number of
people they do talk to per month is much lower.  Some of the ISS crews do
not have any real Amateur Radio experience, and those crews usually only use
the ISS Amateur Radio station during formal approved time line school

The bottom line:

Be Grateful that we have the equipment on ISS.
Use Experience to improve you success.
Avoid using lots of transmitter power.

Radio Status and Voice Tips:

Current ISS crew:
Valery Korzun RZ3FK
Sergei Yevgenyevich Treschev RZ3FU
Peggy Whitson KC5ZTD
The ISS is currently using an Ericsson portable radio (known as a HT) which
is operating on the Amateur Radio 2-meter band. The Packet Radio System
(PRS) is using a Paccom Picopacket 1200 baud Terminal Node Controller (also
called a TNC or Packet Radio System). The radio is currently connected to a
pair of externally mounted co-phased mono band antennas (2-meter band). The
typical power output is 5 watts, with an ERP rating of 5 watts.


The ISS crew is using a set of headphones with mic (David Clark Aviation
style), which is then attached to the HT.  There are a few minor draw backs
to this configuration.  The first is, the other crew members can not join
into a conversation easily because and there is no external speaker for the
system (a speaker upgrade is in development).  

The other issue is the noise canceling microphone on the DC headset.  The
audio level is very low and the ISS crew members must remember to "Eat the
Mic" and talk loud.  

The ISS crew is on UTC times, so expect the crew to be awake from 07:00 -
22:00 UTC time.  And sleeping from 22:00 - 07:00 UTC (approximately). Make
sure you know the difference between your local time and the UTC time.

The ISS crew can only use the Amateur Radio station, during their OFF-Times,
when all other important work has been completed.  Voice contacts are purely
Random.  However your best times to find the crews are during the evening
hours on ISS (ISS crews are in UTC time.  Best times between 1500 - 2200
Good luck all, suggest you get your tape recorders ready and start listening
to the ISS channels.  Please observer the proper calling procedures.

 1. Make sure you are using the correct channel for your country.
 2. Wait for ISS Crew to call CQ or QRZ.
 3. Send only your call sign and wait for crew to acknowledge.
 4. Listen closely for the call of the station she is talking to.
 5. If you do not hear your call sign, DO NOT TRANSMIT again until you hear
the ISS crew member say CQ or QRZ
Please be courteous.
Note:  ISS changes channels depending on which  part of the word they are
http://www.rac.ca/arisnews.htm#Frequencies in use

145.80 Downlink  Worldwide (Voice and Packet)
144.49 Voice Uplink Regions 2 & 3 (Americas, Asia, Australia)
145.20 Voice Uplink Region 1 (Europe, Africa)
145.990 Packet Uplink world wide

Related NASA indexes:
 73 Miles WF1F MAREX-NA
 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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