Ham radio in National Geographic film Before Mars

Before Mars - Hana and Joon Seung - Credit National Geographic Channels - Scott Gries

Before Mars – Hana and Joon Seung – Credit National Geographic Channels – Scott Gries

The National Geographic channel have announced the release of the short film Before Mars which is the dramatic backstory of Hana and Joon Seung, identical twin sisters who will grow up to be central characters in the upcoming global event series, MARS.

Shot in Ellenville, NY, “Before Mars” is the story of twin Korean teenage girls who move to a new town with their military mom. Hana, a bit of a nerd, finds a ham radio and with the help of an Elmer, makes contact with the International Space Station.

The amateur radio researcher on the project was Michael Gilmer N2MG.

Watch the 33 minute National Geographic Channel short film Before Mars at

How to hear the ISS https://amsat-uk.org/beginners/how-to-hear-the-iss/

Raspberry Pi could generate ISS HamTV video

International Space Station - Image Credit NASA

International Space Station – Image Credit NASA

The ARISS meeting minutes for August 16, 2016 cover the discussion about using a Raspberry Pi computer board to generate video to feed the ISS Digital ATV transmitter.

An idea was proposed by Jean-Pierre Courjaud F6DZP for using Raspberry Pi at the transmitting ground stations for generating a H264 video stream that modulates a DVB-S or DVB-52 carrier. His report was distributed to the ARISS team on August 12, 2016.

Discussion:  Jean-Pierre Courjaud had brought this idea to a Ham TV Technical (HTT) meeting for using Raspberry Pi to generate a H264 video stream. Raspberry Pi is used in the United Kingdom for DATV on 2 meters.

Gaston Bertels ON4WF termed this a cost effective solution, probably easy to work on, many people and schools would be able to receive video from the ISS, and he inquired if this idea was proposed for the Paolo Nespoli IZ0JPA flight next year. Jean-Pierre Courjaud related that Paolo Nespoli had asked about it, and the team hopes he could use it if the idea is presented for review to the ARISS-International Technical Evaluation & Support Committee and approved by ARISS Delegates.

Jean-Pierre Courjaud explained that Raspberry Pi could be a solution for two things—first, the webcam could be used instead of the onboard ISS camera, and second, signals received by schools could be transmitted back to the crew.  Frank Bauer KA3HDO felt the astronauts would like this.  Dave Taylor W8AAS asked about the type of receiver schools would need and how signals would be uplinked.  Jean-Pierre Courjaud clarified that schools would have a narrowband ATV receiver that uses a USB dongle; this would bring the signal to the Surface Pro computer that Paolo Nespoli plans to fly on ISS, and modified mini-tutioune software would decode the uplink signal received from the L-band antenna.

Dave Taylor inquired what new hardware would have to be tested and certified for flight.  Jean-Pierre Courjaud said that Nespoli plans to take the Surface Pro, and to be tested and launched would be the USB interface that would work with the L-band antenna and serve as an L-band receiver with the Surface Pro. During Nespoli’s mission the mini-tutioune software could be uploaded to his Surface Pro.  Oliver Amend DG6BCE planned to share the meeting discussion with Emanuele D’Andria I0ELE and ask him and the committee, because the project originated with AMSAT-Italia, to give the plan, including what must be tested and launched, to Mark Steiner K3MS, chair of the ARISS-International Technical Evaluation & Support Committee.

Read the full ARISS Meeting Minutes August 16, 2016 at

ARISS Meeting Minutes http://www.ariss.org/meeting-minutes/

ISS Columbus ham radio HT inoperative


International Space Station

The Ericsson VHF handheld transceiver in the ISS Columbus module which is used for amateur radio voice contacts on 144.800 MHz and the packet radio digipeater on 145.825 MHz is unusable.

The VHF handheld radio model that has been used by the ARISS program to connect students worldwide with astronauts on board the International Space Station (ISS) for over 16 years has given an error message and is unusable at this time.

While the ARISS technical team evaluates the best path to restore operation from the Columbus module, ARISS contacts will be supported using the Kenwood radio in the Russian Service Module.  During this period, the packet digipeater will be unavailable.

Switching to the 70 cm radio capability on board the Columbus module for some operations is being coordinated. Expect further updates as we work to resolve this problem.

Amateur Radio on the International Space Station

Dave Taylor W8AAS has posted the following information on the AMSAT Bulletin Board:

ARISS is actively working on a new Interoperable Radio System for ISS.  The primary components are a modified Kenwood D710GA radio and a custom ARISS-designed power supply.  The radio is complete except for final programming and NASA testing and certification.  The power supply design is in final stages and a hardware prototype has been built.  It will power existing and anticipated ARISS equipment.

The radio by itself is useless without the power supply (the radio needs 13.8 VDC, the ISS provides 120 VDC in the US segment and 28 VDC in the Russian segment).  The power supply will allow ham radio equipment to be used anywhere on ISS.

The goal is to have this new system aboard ISS about 1 year from now.  This assumes that ARISS can raise the remaining funds needed and that no delays occur in NASA testing and certification of the entire system.  The new radio system will give ISS a strong 25-watt signal on voice and packet, and is planned to support a variety of operating modes.

This system was discussed in presentations at last year’s AMSAT Symposium and you can find details in the 2015 Proceedings.  I haven’t seen a schedule, but I expect there will be updates at the Symposium next month.

Inspiring the next STEM generation

Susan Buckle UK Space Agency

Susan Buckle UK Space Agency

The UK Space Agency’s Astronaut Flight Education Programme Support Manager Susan Buckle will be giving a presentation at the RSGB Convention on Saturday, October 8.

Along with Ciaran Morgan M0XTD she will talk about the ten UK ARISS amateur radio school contacts with astronaut Tim Peake GB1SS during his Principia mission on the International Space Station.

These contacts have inspired thousands of young people and introduced them to amateur radio in a new and exciting way.

The full schedule and booking information for the convention are available at http://rsgb.org/convention Twitter hashtag #RSGBconv2016

An RSGB video celebrates these historic school contacts and the range of linked activities the schools have enjoyed.

Beginning with the exhilaration of the launch, it follows the competition for schools to host the ARISS contacts, and showcases the variety of science, technology, engineering, maths (STEM) and arts activities that helped pupils to understand more about space and amateur radio.

The contacts themselves, often led by newly-licensed pupils, were the successful culmination of many months of work and anticipation.

Watch GB1SS: schools speaking to Tim Peake

ARISS Principia https://principia.ariss.org/

What is Amateur Radio? http://www.essexham.co.uk/what-is-amateur-radio

Find an amateur radio training course near you https://thersgb.org/services/coursefinder/

A free booklet is available aimed at introducing newcomers to the hobby that can also be used as a handy reference while getting started, see

Amateur Radio Space Communications at Raspberry Pi event

Seema Talib-Hussain talking to Tim Peake GB1SS

Seema talking to Tim Peake GB1SS

Pete Sipple M0PSX from Essex Ham will be giving a talk about the Tim Peake GB1SS amateur radio school contacts at the Southend Raspberry Jam on Saturday, August 20.

The talk about Tim Peake’s amateur radio educational outreach activity starts at 10:30. Other activities during the day include a talk on Tim Peake and the AstroPi at 11:30 and a Build a Radio Workshop at 12:00.

Southend Tech and Enterprise4Good are holding Southend Raspberry Jam #10 at the Hive Enterprise Centre in Southend, SS2 6EX. The event runs from 10am until 5pm and is free but advance booking is required, see

What is Amateur Radio? http://www.essexham.co.uk/what-is-amateur-radio

Find a short Amateur Radio training course near you at https://thersgb.org/services/coursefinder/

ISS SSTV on Baofeng Handheld

ISS SSTV MAI-75 image 9/12 received by Chertsey Radio Club on Baofeng handheld

ISS SSTV MAI-75 image 9/12 received by Chertsey Radio Club

The Chertsey Radio Club demonstrated that you can receive pictures from Space using simple low-cost equipment such a Baofeng VHF handheld radio and a Lynx-7 Tablet.

On Monday, August 15, 2016 radio amateurs from Japan, India and countries as far west as Brazil successfully copied Slow Scan Television images transmitted on 145.800 MHz FM from the Russian amateur radio station located in the ISS Service Module.

The Russian Cosmonauts were using a Kenwood TM-D710 transceiver thought to be running about 25 watts output. It gave a good signal which could easily by copied on VHF handheld transceivers such as the popular Baofengs.

It expected there will be further SSTV transmissions on Tuesday, August 16. The ISS transmits 5 kHz deviation FM, if your transceiver has selectable FM filters you should select the wider filter for best results.

Receive Pictures from Space – ISS SSTV August 15-16

Receiving an ISS picture is a newsworthy event, if you’ve received part or all of an image why not tell your local newspaper and get some positive publicity for amateur radio

SSTV on a Raspberry Pi 3

Follow the Chertsey Radio Club on Twitter at