My first amateur radio project is to make contact with the ISS through a repeater onboard the station. I have yet to be successful being heard but I have managed to tune into the repeater for a majority of the station’s pass overhead. What do you hear? Not the astronauts but other amateur radio operators transmitting signals through the station’s repeater. They talk quickly but there’s very limited time to make contacts. Usually it’s just a call sign, an acknowledgement, and a farewell.
Because the station is moving so fast towards me and then away from me, the radio’s tuner needs to be adjusted slightly as it passes to account for the doppler effect. This video from Tech Minds was really helpful in dialing in the right frequencies. So that was the big progress I made last night – before that I could only hear the repeater for a minute or two. Last night I got about 5 minutes out of it – the duration of the pass in range of my location.
After I make verbal contact I’m also going to attempt to bounce some data packets off of its digipeater!
More information can be found at ARISS.org’s contact the station page.