Wednesday, April 11, 2018

First Encounters with International Space Station - RS0ISS VHF FM SSTV

While experimenting with listening to amateur radio satellites, I saw that you can track the path of the International Space Station (ISS).  As luck would have it right as I'm starting to learn about Slow Scan TV, I see that the ISS will be transmitting SSTV images via VHF for a few days.  So far I've only decoded a few images on 20m SSB.  After talking to Brandon (KN4HDZ), we decided to each give it a try from our stations.

My challenge was figuring out how to hook up my Yaesu FT-2980R VHF FM radio to my PC to decode these transmissions.  I figured out that I could connect the external speaker jack on the rig to my SignaLink USB SPKR port!  I quickly installed MMSSTV and got it working just in time for the ISS to cross over the sky.

When it was time, I received part of an image!  Then after a short delay, I got another image and Brandon decoded one too!  Since this was not a direct path crossing you can see the images are incomplete and have a lot of noise.  But we'll try again in the coming days!

1st ISS SSTV VHF image - KG4LST

2nd ISS VHF FM SSTV image - KG4LST


UPDATE: 4/12/2018:

I got set up again and there was a little more direct of a ISS cross over tonight around 8:25PM. I heard 3 total SSTV transmissions on that pass. I didn't decode much of the first one.  The second one came in pretty clear (below) and I got only about half of the third one.

4/12/2018 around 8:25PM ISS VHF FM SSTV image - KG4LST

Then there was another pass at around 10:05PM where Brandon and I both decoded some clearer images.

4/12/2018 around 10:05PM ISS VHF FM SSTV image - KG4LST

4/12/2018 around 10:05PM ISS VHF FM SSTV image - KN4HDZ

It still blows my mind that we decoded these images on our simple VHF stations from 254 miles above Earth!

UPDATE: 5/9/2018:
The local newspaper (The Northeast Georgian) featured a story about Brandon and I decoding these images on the front page!

73 de KG4LST sk

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