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Live Amateur Radio Digital TV Test Transmits Astronaut’s Image from the ISS


Japanese Astronaut Koichi Wakata, KC5ZTA, served as the host for a successful final commissioning pass April 13 for the Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) “Ham Video” transmitter and camera. Operating as OR4ISS from the ISS Columbus module, Wakata transmitted digital video and audio, as ground stations in France and Italy tracked the station. The Earth stations received clear video and audio during the approximately 5 minute pass and streamed the signal over the Internet via the British Amateur Television Club (BATC) server. The test used so-called “configuration 4,” on 2395 MHz with ARISS antenna 43.

“This will mark the end of the blank transmissions,” said ARISS Europe Chairman Gaston Bertels, ON4WF. “No decision has been taken yet on the future use of Ham Video. We will keep you informed on any progress.”

In early March, as one of his final actions during his duty tour aboard the International Space Station, NASA Astronaut Mike Hopkins, KF5LJG, installed and commissioned the ARISS Ham Video transmitter and camera. He also was the first member of an ISS crew to transmit his image to Earth using the Amateur Radio digital television (DATV) setup.

The ARISS project, led by ARISS-EU, AMSAT-Italy, and the European Space Agency (ESA), eventually will enhance ARISS school contacts by providing a video and audio downlink plus an audio-only uplink.

Commissioning of the “Ham TV” Amateur Radio DATV system marks the culmination of more than a decade of planning and preparation within ARISS. Although there are no immediate plans to employ Ham TV for educational contacts with schools in North America, ARISS International President Frank Bauer, KA3HDO, said several US radio amateurs are testing this capability.

“If this shows educational value,” he said, “it will be employed in the US.” The Ham Video transmitter has downlink frequencies of 2.422, 2.437, 2.369 and 2.395 GHz in a DVB-S type format (symbol rates of 1.3 Ms/s and 2.0 Ms/s). The two patch antennas, ARISS 41 and ARISS 43, are located on the nadir of the Columbus module. The Ham Video transmitter puts out approximately 10 W EIRP. The camera is a Canon XF-305. — Thanks to ARISS International President Frank Bauer, KA3HDO, and ARISS-EU Chairman Gaston Bertels, ON4WF





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