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International Space Station Crew May Be On the Air for Field Day


NASA ISS Ham Radio Project Engineer Kenneth Ransom, N5VHO, said NASA Astronaut Reid Wiseman, KF5LKT, may be on the air for ARRL Field Day from the International Space Station (ISS) June 28-29.

“I have received a response from Wiseman that he is willing to try and work some stations on Saturday,” Ransom said on June 23. “Pass times begin very soon after the start of Field Day.” Wiseman would use the NA1SS call sign and operate from the Columbus module on the standard VHF frequencies of 144.49 MHz up and 145.80 MHz down. His Field Day exchange would be 2A DX. The ISS packet system should be operational on 145.825 MHz when the crew is not using voice. Should European Space Agency Astronaut Alex Gerst, KF5ONO, participate, he would use the call sign DP0ISS on VHF from the Columbus module radio during passes when Wiseman is not on the air. His FD exchange also would be 2A DX.

Ransom said it’s unclear whether any of the Russian crew members now on board the ISS will participate from the Russian module, but if they do, they would operate on 437.550 MHz simplex (±Doppler shift), using the call sign RS0ISS. None of the current cosmonauts has an Amateur Radio license, but under Russian regulations, Ransom said, a club trustee may authorize anyone to operate using the club call sign, RS0ISS. The FD exchange again would be 2A DX. The Columbia module station would also be available to their crew members using144.49 MHz up and 145.80 MHz down, if Wiseman is not operating.

The ISS circles the Earth about once every 90 minutes. Some passes will favor some parts of the country while other passes will favor others. Wiseman has indicated that he will be willing to try these approximate pass times (see attached photo), but crew members may or may not be able to get on the air.

Saturday, June 28

North America (1809-1831 UTC)

Hawaii (1936-1947 UTC)

North America (1947-2008 UTC)

Working an ISS crew member does not qualify for satellite bonus points. As the Field Day FAQs explain, “While the ISS is by definition a satellite, the purpose of the satellite QSO bonus is to complete an Earth-to-Earth contact via an Amateur Radio satellite. Since the ISS contact doesn’t relay back to Earth, it doesn’t meet that requirement, though it does count for regular QSO credit — and is sure to generate excitement at your site!” But working a station on Earth through the onboard digipeater would qualify and count as a valid Field Day contact. — Thanks to Kenneth Ransom, N5VHO, and David Jordan, AA4KN/ARISS




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