Hi Tim: Thank you for your comments.
I am always open to new ideas and I welcome your questions and observations. I plan on posting some suggestions on how to use the Existing Hardware on ISS to try to please as many hams and SWL as possible.
We can’t make everyone happy.
I feel there has been a loss of interest in ISS amateur Radio. Our ham projects over the past 10 years have not grabbed very much public or ham interest (with the exception of School Schedules).
To restore interest in ISS we need to have more than 1 project running at a time. We also need projects that are exciting to a larger audience.
If we continue to use our valuable launches to ISS for Short-term projects, then ISS will say a dull boring and wasted platform for amateur radio experimentation.
The project that will generate the most positive press and public enthusiasm is SSTV. Of course I am going to push this project, not just because it’s a Marex project, but because of the great news stores we received during the Mir version of SSTV. SSTV will generate good Press and TV new clips. SSTV will generate interests from the SWL (and they out number ham by at least 10 to1)
Mode Change to SSTV: I do not believe that switching from packet to SSTV would reduce the number of random public voice contacts. On the contrary, from my experience with previous Mir and ISS crews running SSTV, the number random public voice contacts increased.
Commander Pavel Vinogradov in July August 2006 would be on Voice, asking “Did you seem my SSTV pictures”?
During Richard Garriott’s Mission in October 2008, he used both Voce and SSTV. He was often interested in knowing how well people liked his images. He would have sent more images, however he had technical difficulties with the Vox box causing the TM-D700 too repeatedly get stuck transmitting. He also said there was a shortage of AA batteries for the Kenwood Communicator VCH1.
In my experience with multiple SSTV crews, SSTV will increased your opportunity to talk to the crews on Voice.
Ideally I would like to see SpaceCam1 SSTV activated for 3-4 consecutive months in a row. I do not want to see SSTV turned on for 1-2 days per month. We need a consecutive run to build up momentum. This would mean turning off Packet for a few months. The reason for this mode change experiment would be the following:
Build up a world wide following of SSTV users (both Amateur Radio and SWL) Get more Schools involved to act as geography receiving stations. Point future and existing User’s to an ARISS/AMSAT web page to learn how to SSTV, etc. Tell the News and Magazine about the project. We had great press coverage with Mir SSTV.
ISS Crew Time: MM The Station is currently manned with 3 people. That number will be increasing in 2009 to a crew of 5-6 (in theory). At the present time the ISS crew has no free time.. It will be hard to add more Public Voice Access to ISS with a 3 man crew.. We hope Public Voice activities will improve when the crew expands to 5-6 crewmembers.
My plan is to run SSTV and voice on the same world wide channel pair.
(Let’s not get into frequency politics at this time.)
In August 1996 when we made ARISS, I asked Guest speaker Astronaut Linda Godwin, what she wanted for ham projects. She said “She wanted to see the faces of the people she was talking with “. Based on Linda’s suggestion, with help of Farrell Winder, W8ZCF and Dr. Don Miller, W9NTP, we delivered SSTV to Mir in 15 months. The Mir crew loved the system and were frequently seen floating in front of the Camera sending picture to Earth.
Here is how I envision SSTV operations on ISS. The crew has SpaceCam1 running in automatic slide show mode. The volume on the TM-D700 is turned OFF. The crew has a break and goes over to the radio, turns up the volume and calls CQ and starts chatting.
If the person he is talking to has SSTV, then they can exchange two way images. All images set to ISS can be automatically stored to disk. If the user has a SSTV program that supports “SID”, then his call sign becomes part of the file name automatically.
SpaceCam1 SSTV is a win win project for everyone.
Packet on ISS:
I am a big fan of Packet. I have been a strong supporter for packet on ISS since we first began planning ISS in August 1996. The existing TM-700 is a very good voice radio. The TM-D700 is a weak packet engine. The packet engine in the TM-D700 is limited in its abilities. The TM-D700 can perform the basic packet duties, but it’s just not as good as a dedicated packet engine such as the KPC product lines. The TM-D700 does have a few operating system packet bugs that we can not fix (Forces every packet mail line to be acknowledged, etc).
To make matters worse, the TM-D700 User editable settings were setup wrong in 2003, which rendered Packet Mail unusable and slowed down the unproto link (APRS). Bob Bruninga did rewrite User editable settings for the TM-D700 in 2007, which I tested and gave a thumbs up. As far as I know, the fixed software has still not been installed on either of the two ISS TM-D700 systems.
So until the TM-D700 software is uploaded the packet mail will not work. And even when it is enabled, due to other issues with the OS, the Packet Mail Single-User throughput is only half that of an External TNC.
With an unusable mailbox the thrill of ISS Packet has been reduced. We did have some fun with ISS PacCom / Ericsson Packet Mail system in 2002 for about 1 year. The Ericsson system was shutdown in December 2003.. The location of the ISS Ericsson packet system is unknown.
How many APRS users are currently operating ISS? I assume that Bob Bruninga maybe able to peruse his APRS logs for the past few years and count how many different call signs use ISS APRs per year. That information will be helpful in knowing just how many people actually use ISS APRS. I will help us plan projects for the future.
Cross Band Repeater with the TM-D700:
The TMD700 is a basic dual band radio that also has a Cross band repeater mode. It is not a heavy-duty high quality cross band repeater. Those of us that have used the TM-D700 in cross band mode from ISS have been disappointed in its performance. The Audio is poor. The receiver has capture issues. Overall it is not as easy to use as Oscar-51 or Oscar-27 The very short duration contest style contacts are not very popular.
We have had overheating problems in the past with the TM-D700 on ISS while running high duty unattended modes. All electronics run hotter in space. Commander Pavel Vinogradov, moved the TM-D700 from its mounting tray to an open ceiling panel to help keep the radio cooler.
Efficiencies of ARISS teams: MM
Your observation are correct, depending on which ARISS team manages the project determines how fast a project will fly. All ARISS project have to go through ARISS-Russia. The ARISS Russian team actually works in the Russian space agencies. If a project is designed by ARISS-Russian, that project can fly in less than 2 years. Some of the reason are, the ARISS-Russian teams know the flight safety requirements and can generate the tests and approvals faster than the other ARISS teams. The ARISS-Russian teams like to use Off-the-Shelf hardware for faster delivery.
The other ARISS teams need to lean to be as efficient as the ARISS-Russian team.
The Suit-Sat1 project is a good example of efficiency. I am not sure who had the idea first, but it did proceed fast. ARISS-Russia liked the idea and had the spacesuit and antenna all ready in stock, NO development time.
ARISS-North America, used an Off-the-Shelf radio and only had to build the Turn-On safety timer and PIC controller board. I do not know exactly how many moths, but it was quick and used several existing components, Space Suit, Spare ARISS ham antenna, Off the shelf Radio.
The Suit-Sat-2 project is all custom built from scratch using all new technology. It’s been almost 4 years and counting.
Efficiency is the key. ARISS needs to follow ARISS-Russians lead in efficiency. And still maintain full flight safely requirements.
Better Home for SuitSat-2:
I never suggested Abandoning SuitSat-2, what I am recommending is that SuitSat-2 be placed on a rocket for a higher orbit.
We only have a hand full of flight opportunities left to get projects on ISS. Our opinions may differ and that’s fine. I just believe that with the few launches to ISS remaining we should be devoted to longer-term project for the Amateur Radio and SWL communities.
Thank you for your comments Tim.
I hope this helped
Miles WF1F [email protected]