Cwmbrân & District Amateur Radio Society
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International Space Station (ISS)
How to pick up SSTV from the International Space Station (I.S.S., Zarya)
By Peter MW0RPB
To find out information for the ISS (Zarya) and other NASA activities go to http://www.nasa.gov/
To watch NASA TV go to http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/nasatv/
For other NASA related TV and live ground to ISS communications and to see the ISS and the astronauts activity go to this link http://www.cosmosplus.com/live
For other Satellite information go to http://amsat-uk.org/
Using the excellent free MMSSTV PC program (http://hamsoft.ca/pages/mmsstv.php) made by Makoto Mori JE3HHT, an old laptop running XP 500mb Memory, a home brew RX / TX to PC interface to the com port and Mic in and H/P out ports, and a vertical 6 element homebrew Yagi, pointing South, on the frequency 145.800 Mhz
I received the pictures below from the ISS (Zarya) on its various passes over Europe 22-02-2015 and 23-02-2015
The Doppler Shift worked out about 600 - 700 KHz, I have nothing elaborate to rotate my antenna just a cheap secondhand antenna rotator, so I think the pictures are not bad for my first attempt at receiving from the International Space Station, around 11:15am GMT. Onwards on the 22-02-2015 and 23-02-2015
Twelve different images depicting space pioneer Yuri Gagarin- the first human to orbit Earth were being sent out, using SSTV mode PD 180 with a 3 minute off time between transmissions, for what I assume to allow cooling down period for the equipment being used!
The ISS (Zarya) was broadcasting a series of 12 different pictures with 3 minute intervals all day Sunday and all day Monday
You do not need any elaborate interface to receive the pictures you can just run a lead from your headphone socket on your receiver straight into the microphone socket on your PC but keep all the levels turned down low on your Receiver and PC soundcard then adjust for a suitable Level without the overload (Red Scale) showing up on the strength meter of the MMSSTV program then you are set to receive any SSTV picture from anywhere, but you need to follow the instructions in the menus to make any other adjustments but it is really quite easy.
If you are intending to transmit pictures you will need an interface which you can either purchase for loads of money or make your own for a few pounds.
DO NOT Transmit on 145.800 Mhz it is for ISS and Satellite use only!!
You can transmit SSTV and other modes on the All MODES frequencies lower down the 2 meter band around 144.00 MHz or other allocations in the Amateur bands
It helps if you have some tracking software, I used this software which can be found on www.n2yo.com I found it very accurate and it also tracks loads of other Satellites simultaneously if necessary as well.
I live in Cwmbran Gwent South Wales 20 miles North East of Cardiff in the locator square of IO81LP and I am approximately 350ft ASL. To The South I have a fairly clear take off to the North. I have hills to the East, and to the West I have a Mountain blocking my take off but still managed to pick up pictures from the Westerly direction.
The pictures below were picked up at various times through the day and were picked up as far away as the West coast of Ireland as the ISS was approaching and then as far away as Slovakia when it was going out of range.
A few of the other Pictures although not quite complete were picked up from central Italy and down as far as Algiers before I lost them.
Others were picked up from the Atlantic and the West coast of Spain then on across France Germany and Poland. I was amazed how far away I could receive the pictures on VHF with it normally being usually line of site.
Copyright 2015 © Cwmbran and District Amateur Radio Society
http://www.issfanclub.com/frequencies Amateur Radio Freq
http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/nasatv/schedule.html#.VhNzYvlVikp Schedule times for events. Cube Sat launch tomorrow 8th October 2015.
http://www.cosmosplus.com/live Live video coverage plus live communication between earth and ISS. Make sure your sound is on.