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ARISS Discusses Ham TV, Elects New International Officers


Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) is continuing explore the possibility of establishing a network of ground stations to enable the use of the Ham TV video system during ARISS school contacts. Mark Steiner, K3MS, updated the ARISS International team on the topic during its November meeting, conducted by teleconference. Kerry Banke, N6IZW, who works on ARISS hardware issues, reported that a document under development will describe just what is required to build a ground station. He and ARISS International Project Selection & Use Committee representative Lou McFadin, W5DID, have successfully received Ham TV transmissions.

ARISS-EU President Gaston Bertels, ON4WF, has been working with European Space Agency (ESA) management to finalize the agreement that transfers custody of the Ham Video transmitter from ESA to ARISS. Steiner told the teleconference that more “blank” test transmissions could take place, once the custodial agreement is finalized.

NASA Astronaut Mike Hopkins, KF5LJG, successfully installed and commissioned the ARISS) Ham Video system last March. The system can transmit video of the crew and the interior of the Columbus module on the 2.4 GHz band (S-band). Last April, Japanese Astronaut Koichi Wakata, KC5ZTA, served as the host for a successful final commissioning pass for the Ham Video transmitter and camera. The ARISS project, led initially by ARISS-EU, AMSAT-Italy, and ESA, would enhance ARISS school contacts by providing a video and audio downlink, plus an audio-only uplink.

Operating under the call sign OR4ISS, the S-band transmitter can be connected to one of two ARISS patch antennas on Columbus. Radiated RF power is on the order of 10 W EIRP. The commissioning process primarily involved making sure that ground stations in Europe would be able to copy the DTV downlink signal. Commissioning of the overall “Ham TV” system culminated more than a decade of planning and preparation.

During the November 18 teleconference ARISS International delegates re-elected the current slate of officers for new 2-year terms starting on January 1, 2015. The incumbents are ARISS Chair Frank Bauer, KA3HDO; ARISS Vice-Chair Oliver Amend, DG6BCE, and ARISS Secretary-Treasurer Rosalie White, K1STO. In keeping with tradition, Canada’s ARISS delegate Ian MacFarquhar, VE9IM, handled the election logistics.




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