It was quite an exciting day for ARISS yesterday with the Expedition 18 crew docking and the start up of Richard Garriott's ham radio activities. Here are some updates and plans for ARISS during Richard's flight.
Richard, W5KWQ, fired up the radio and started SSTV operations just a couple of hours after docking. Prior to flight, Richard planned to support a slide show mode using the SpaceCam software and the SSTV interface box at the beginning of his flight. This is what you saw yesterday. Richard downlinked a number of SSTV images using Martin 1, a higher quality but longer transmit SSTV mode. The Russian team, led by Sergey Samburov, RV3DR, had requested testing several high quality image modes during Richard's flight, so don't be surprised if you see Martin 1 or other high resolution SSTV modes during Richard's flight. We asked Richard to move to the default Robot 36 mode for the time being and to space out the images once every 3 minutes to reduce the radio transmit duty cycle. Richard confirmed that he will support this. He also has transitioned to the VC-H1 as this will allow Richard to use the computer to support his Earth ops and still support SSTV.
We have over 300 image uploads on the Gallery site by hams all around the world! The ARISS team appreciates your volunteer support through all the SSTV images that have been uploaded. A volunteer ARISS team is working 24/7 during Richard's flight to review these images, to understand how the SSTV operations is progressing, and to include some of these images on the Gallery pages. ALL the images you have uploaded have been archived and are being reviewed. Please continue to upload these images as they help the ARISS team analyze and redirect the SSTV operations. You are welcome to upload these through the gallery page:
We also have a blog available that provides the latest ARISS information for this expedition. That blog is located at:
You can also reach these sites through the ARISS website:
Some other information:
SSTV uplink/downlink: Richard is really not supporting SSTV uplinks during his short duration mission. The downlink is on the normal ARISS VHF downlink, 145.80.
General Voice Contacts: Use the regular general voice frequencies. 145.80 downlink. Uplinks are 144.49 in Region 2 (Americas) and 145.20 for Region 1 (Europe, Africa, Middle East) and Region 3 (Australia, Asia). Richard and Mike Fincke, KE5AIT, have been on the air on voice since shortly after docking yesterday.
Sleep Period Activity: We have asked the crew to turn packet on during sleep periods. Our intent is to keep SSTV active during their work day. The rationale for this is that we are having some issues with the software based (SpaceCam) SSTV system occasionally keeping the radio keyed down after an image transmission. And we have a limited set of Russian batteries available during Richard's flight for the VC-H1.
Additional SSTV Information: The computer-based SSTV can also support SSTV picture taking using a USB camera. We don't anticipate Richard using this as his primary SSTV operations for his mission will be with the VC-H1. The USB camera was checked out over the weekend by the Expedition 17 crew, where they took photos of themselves and downlinked these to the ham community.
You are witnessing and are a part of history: Some of you have asked why Richard is using his callsign for some QSOs and SSTV contacts instead of the ISS station callsigns. There is a long and proud history that is attached to the Garriotts. This includes ham radio in space and their personal callsigns. 25 years ago, Richard's father, Owen Garriott, W5LFL, initiated the first ham radio contacts from space on the STS-9 SAREX mission. Richard, W5KWQ, is following in his father's footsteps, using the ARISS ham radio system extensively on his first flight. And Richard's callsign is actually his grandfather's original callsign. So you can see that this mission touches 3 generations of ham radio and 2 generations of ham radio in space!
JOTA: Remember that Jamboree on the Air is this Weekend! Scout groups are welcome to call Richard or Mike Fincke over the weekend using the General Voice Contact frequencies (see above).
School Contacts: School contacts from this day forward are tentatively scheduled as follows:
Challenger Learning Center Combined Contact #1, telebridge via W6SRJ; on Thu 2008-10-16 16:39 UTC
Howard B. Owens Science Center's Challenger Center (Lanham, MD) Challenger Learning Center of Columbia (Columbia, SC) Verizon Challenger Learning Center at MOSI (Tampa, FL) Brownsburg Challenger Learning Center (Brownsburg, IN)
Budbrooke Primary School, Warwick, England, direct via GB4OBS Fri 2008-10-17 11:05 UTC
Challenger Learning Center Combined Contact #2, telebridge via W6SRJ; on Fri 2008-10-17 15:30 UTC
Indianapolis Challenger Learning Center (Indianapolis, IN) Challenger Learning Center at Paducah (Paducah, KY) Challenger Learning Center St. Louis (St. Louis, MO)
Austin Liberal Arts and Sciences Academy, Austin, TX, direct via K5LBJ Sun 2008-10-19 13:14 UTC
Pinehurst School, Ashland, Oregon, telebridge via W6SRJ Mon 2008-10-20 15:13 UTC
National Planetarium, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, direct via 9M2RPN Tues 2008-10-21 08:30 UTC
Enjoy the ARISS operations!! And my thanks to the international ARISS team for their outstanding volunteer support.
73, Frank Bauer, KA3HDO
AMSAT-NA V.P. for Human Spaceflight Programs
ARISS International Chairman