“Ham Video” Transmitter May Be Tested During ARISS Contact with German School
According to ARISS-Europe (ARISS-EU) Chairman Gaston Bertels, ON4WF, the digital Amateur Radio TV “Ham Video” transmitter may be tested during an Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) contact with a high school in Siegburg, Germany, on September 1. If so, this would mark the first time the Ham Video system is used for an ARISS educational event. The direct, 2 meter FM contact with European Space Agency Astronaut Alexander Gerst, KF5ONO, will take place at about 1313 UTC between DN6KW on the ground and DP0ISS. Downlink audio should be audible in Europe on 145.800 MHz. The contact will be conducted in German.
Last March, NASA Astronaut Mike Hopkins, KF5LJG, successfully installed and commissioned the ARISS) Ham Video system, which can transmit video of the crew and the interior of the Columbus module on the 2.4 GHz band (S-band). In 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 by ARISS-EU, AMSAT-Italy, and the European Space Agency (ESA), is aimed at enhancing 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.
Some 1000 students are enrolled at the Siegburg Gymnasium, which offers a bi-lingual track in both German and French that allow participants to continue their educations in either language. Some subjects are also taught in English. The school said it was especially pleased to have been selected to take part in an ARISS contact because it has been working with the University of Bonn on a project in space science and remote sensing. “The project allows our junior and senior students to participate in an analysis of data as well as in a satellite surveying remote sensing with reference to scientific problems,” a statement from the school said.
Among other questions, the students in Sieburg are planning to ask when Gerst believes humans will be able to travel to Mars, what the ISS crew members do for fun, and what research goals he has been able to achieve during his ISS duty tour.