According to Frank Bauer, KA3HDO, AMSAT’s Vice President for Human Spaceflight Programs, “…for some reason, our signals from the Service Module Kenwood D700 radio are much diminished. Our contact with Israel last Sunday [February 3] had low audio levels, with good signals only near TCA. Our contact [February 8] with the Hospital for Sick Children was even worse. Only one student was able to talk to Chris Hadfield [VA3OOG] before we lost the signal.”
Frank continued. “The crew reports hearing the ground station well. Both these contacts were with our telebridge stations, some of the best out there. Also note that Chris Hadfield got on the IP Phone, immediately after the Hospital radio contact and answered all the student’s questions, using that communications medium. So, while not optimal, we were able to make both these ARISS events successful.
After the Hospital contact, we had a full court press to revise uplinks and procedures to use the Ericsson radio that was recently installed in the Columbus Module instead of the D700. This was worked well into the crew sleep period, with the procedures ready for the crew at wakeup. While we had not fully checked out the radio, we felt the benefits of using this system outweighed the risks of using the D700, given its recent past performance. Our contact with the Japan school, using the Columbus Module Ericsson radio was very successful. We plan to use it on the contacts planned for next week.”
Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) http://www.rac.ca/ariss
ARISS International meeting minutes http://ariss.rac.ca/arissmin.htm