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Re: ARISS Operations

On 28 Feb 2003 at 2:50, Scott Avery WA6LIE wrote:

> So, I guess there is some hope on ISS activity.
> I am wondering if any HAM during a QSO has mentioned to turn the PMS ON?
> Just a valid question, I hope.. HI

Hi again all,

I apologize that I did not have the presence of mind to ask Don to 
turn on the packet system.  It was just after 4am my time, and I was 
sleeping when the radio speaker woke me with him talking to 
another station (whose callsign I did not hear). And so I was rushed 
to put my teeth in and run into the basement ham shack in my 
underwear.  Not a pretty picture!!!  ;-)

And then, my contact was not very good.  He was approaching LOS 
and I was on the ground plane, not the beam.  I could only barely 
copy him repeating my callsign, although he reported that I was 
"loud and clear".  There didn't seem to be much competition at that 
time of the morning.  My first call was without the amplifier, running 
about 35 watts, and he did not answer. He responded when I turned 
on the amp, about 100 watts.

I see on www.ariss.net that Scott/WA6LIE and two others got 
packets digipeated "26 days ago".  I think I heard that activity... it 
was the evening of Feb. 1st, the day of the Columbia disaster.  The 
packet was only on for maybe a minute, tops, and then was silent 
again. I thought that was kinda strange, but no one brought it up 
here on the reflector and I just let it go too.  I did not save the text 
to know the exact times.

But this activity made me think that the TNC was problably left ON 
all the time (as was obvious during Valery's voice contacts, and 
also many, if not all, of the school contacts that I've heard since the 
packet beacon has been enabled).  So it seemed that the crew had, 
at that moment, turned the RADIO on... and then either turned it off 
again, or went QSY. 

My "guess" for the time was between 7-8pm CST... a little late for 
the crew to be awake if they still live by UTC.  But their sleep 
cycles are sometimes deviated, and also the shuttle disaster might 
have had them awake at the late hour too.  I thought it possible that 
they might use the radio for personal or family contact at that time 
of night too.

So that is my observation for the last packet signals that I've heard. 
I did not hear any packets with the voice comm yesterday morning, 
but the time was so short that it is also possible that it was not yet 
time for the packet beacon to transmit.

The greatest lesson I've learned over many years of trying to 
contact the crew is... you've got to be there when they are! And that 
is especially true when there are "not-so-interested" crew members. 
If Don Pettit is "not-so-interested" himself, then we've been 
extremely lucky for him to be on the few times that he has. But it 
may take weeks, or sometimes months, of listening to silence 
before you finally get that chance to call for them.  Bill Shepherd, of 
Expedition-1, only made ONE random contact that I know of (and it 
wasn't me, darn it!).  Be patient, keep the faith, and keep trying.  
Good luck!

73, Stan/W4SV
Hanna, Indiana
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