Saturday, 15 January 2011

15/01/11 1515 - ISS

Nice Pass with a maximum elevation of about 25°.

Total of 15 stations heard, 14 individual as MM0XXP had two SSIDs.

Furthest away was Spain, EA8AHA. Interesting to note that we are closer to bits of Hungary than bits of Spain! I'd never have thought that. Got a Portuguese station for the first time too. More activity in Scotland - Hello GM1WKR in Aberdeen!

No list today - busy doing other things, such as revising for exams!

Here's where everyone was, in case you're unfamiliar with the layout of Europe.

Now, back to the world of industrial control...

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

11/1/11 16:45 - ISS

Another busy pass, this time with 12 stations heard and placed on the map!

So, we heard and placed Scotland (MM0XXP), England (G4ILO 2E0JXE G6HMS), Ireland (EI2GNB), The Netherlands (PD2RLD), Germany (DB3LA), France (G6EZP), Italy (IK1COA), Spain (EA1JM), Hungary (HA3HT) and Yugoslavia (YU7RD).

Yugoslavia's a new one - pretty far away as it goes (2011.06KM to be exact)... The ISS definately does it's job for long distance communication on low power!

Just in case you weren't sure where the countries were!

Messages were sent to/from G6HMS, Ted in Doncaster.

System's working nicely, and now that 70cm has been properly activated, we can do full duplex communications over satellites such as AO-51!

Enough play, back to the studies!

11/1/11 1500 - ISS

This pass started off quiet but got busier towards the end, as the ISS passed over the more Eastern European countries.
The APRS software, AGWTracker, had some difficulty as not all station include their Latitude and Longitude data in the packets I was hearing.
Also, updating the Keps was a good plan - everything was much clearer, even after our tracking software (currently Nova for Windows) said the ISS was out of range!

In total, we heard, recognised and placed 11 stations (ordered in terms of distance, starting with us):

However, there are at least 3 I know of that haven't come up in this list due to me not receiving their positional data - UT4QU from Ukraine, 9A2RI from Croatia, F4FHY from France and OM3FH from the Slovak Republic.

 Outside of that, we heard (and placed) England (G4ILO G6UIM), Netherlands (PD2RLD), Germany (DB3LA DL6SDA), Spain (EA1GGK EA1JM EA4DS) and Poland (SP2FOP).

Messages were sent and received to/from G4ILO and EA1JM!

All in all, a pretty good pass!

Monday, 10 January 2011

10/1/11 17:55 - ISS

This was a pretty quiet pass, with 6 stations being heard.

From Left to right it reads:
Callsign - Type - Mobile/Portable/Fixed - Distance - Latitude - Longitude - Number of Packets Received

So, all in all we heard Germany (DG4BR DG3LA), Italy (IK3ZGB), Hungary (HA3HT), Spain (EA1JM) and England (G0GOO).
Some familiar callsigns beginning to pop up. Transmission and Reception wasn't the clearest - I'll have to update the Keplarian Elements (see the bottom for more) by the looks of it. Interestingly, for me anyway, is that I can actually hear when the system isn't going to be able to decode a packet, and there were quite a few of those moments, so I think that means I'll need to look at the Elements. Will try again tomorrow with new ones and see if the quality increases and as such, reception improves. Another thing that's worth taking away as a valuable lesson from playing with the ISS.

Keplarian Elements are defined as the standard mathematical model that describes the orbit of a spacecraft. In real English, they're a bunch of numbers I download from here, the system does some maths and it tells us where and when a satellite will be overhead. They have a limited timespan - they can only predict the pass for a few days as the model isn't 100% perfect, and it appears that these 5 day old ones might be a bit past their best. By updating them regularly, we keep the chances of us making contact with a spacecraft much higher, and the quality of the communications will improve as a result!

Thursday, 6 January 2011

06/1/11 19:22 - ISS

This was a busier pass, with 14 stations heard...

From Left to right it reads:
Callsign - Type - Mobile/Portable/Fixed - Distance - Latitude - Longitude - Number of Packets Received

Through the International Space Station, I heard Ireland, (EI7IG), England (G0GOO G6WZA), Scotland (MM0YEQ), The Netherlands (PD2RLD), Belgium, (ON6MU), Germany (DB3LA DG1IHH), Spain (EB1BE EA1JM EA2BVD), Italy (IZ1BCJ IK1COA) and Hungary (HA3HT), plotted below for your viewing pleasure.

Better than last time, but a busier pass also. Highlights include sending and receiving messages from Spain - EA1JM, Francisco Jimenez-Martin Sanchez, which went much like:

MM3ZRZ->EA1JM: Hello from Dave in Scotland!
EA1JM->MM3ZRZ: 73 from Spain Dave!

Not much, I know, but it came over 1000 miles, not including the up-down bit to space, and used less power than an energy-saving lightbulb!

That's enough space for today... back soon!

06/1/11 17:50 - ISS

This pass was relatively noisy, with 10 stations being heard...

Through the space station, I heard England (G0GOO G6UIM), the Netherlands (PD2RLD), Germany (GF8LS DG4BR DM2KGB), Spain (EA1JM), Italy (IK1COA) and France (F6CDZ F4FEB), Plotted below for your viewing pleasure.

Not a bad list, overall, but I reckon we can do better.
Below is a map of all the stations in Europe that were heard by the Space Station, and we are one of them (as MM3ZRZ), but there are a lot that seem to be missing from my list above.

image from

And our path to the internet was particularly good...

RS0ISS-4 1 2011-01-06 17:52:15 IO75VU > CM78LQ 5038.7 miles 315°

In english, that's the Space station, the number of packets it heard, the date and time we were last heard, Where the signal went from and to in Maidenhead Locator format, The distance the signal covered to get there and the angle the final destination is from us. 5000 miles isn't too bad, eh? I need to find out, though, how the signal got to over the Pacific Ocean...

Any suggestions?

New Blog

So the station has a new blog finally, where we hope to keep track of all the stations that we see in the daily operation of the system.

More to come soon!