Tag Archives: International Space Station

Radio Waves: Digital Broadcasts in South Africa, Cold War Broadcasting in Late Soviet Era, Possible Ban on RFI Producers in Sweden, and Ham Radio on the ISS

Radio Waves:  Stories Making Waves in the World of Radio

Because I keep my ear to the waves, as well as receive many tips from others who do the same, I find myself privy to radio-related stories that might interest SWLing Post readers.  To that end: Welcome to the SWLing Post’s Radio Waves, a collection of links to interesting stories making waves in the world of radio. Enjoy!

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributors Paul, Michael Bird,  William Lee, Rob PE9PE, and the Southgate ARC for the following tips:


SABA partners with T&A and Sentech to deliver digital radio in SADC (Advanced Television)

The Southern African community will soon enjoy digital audio broadcasts, thanks to an initiative lead by a South African based entity, Thembeka & Associates that has taken the lead in implementing the much anticipated interactive radio solution.

This was announced by the Secretary-General of the Southern African Broadcasting Association, SABA, Mr Cecil Jarurakouje Nguvauva, following the conclusion of initial agreements between the participating entities. Welcoming the digital radio solution to the SADC region, Nguvauva emphasised the need for rural communities to be engaged fully in the developmental agenda of the respective African governments if the planned development is to add value to the lives of the most disadvantaged members of our society.

Chief Executive Officer of Thembeka & Associates, Madam Thembeka Kaka has hailed this initiative a huge success for the continent and a dream come true for her institution. Madam Kaka added that as a member of the National Committee on ICT Chamber Accessible Broadcasting for People Living with Disabilities, she has passionately driven this project for a long while. Madam Kaka added that “Following the announcement of the Policy Directive that has introduced Digital Sound Broadcasting by the South African Minister of Communications & Digital Technologies, Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams in July this year. I have since realised that greater opportunities have emerged for the broadcast industry as a whole. And this initialises an evolution of radio broadcasts going forward,” she stated.

Sentech’s Meyerton Radio Shortwave site in South Africa will carry the Digital Sound Broadcasting Shortwave Transmission from the broadcast centre in Southern Africa to the rest of SADC countries.

For the initial stage, only six countries are earmarked for the coverage, before it is rolled out to the rest of the SADC Region. The targeted countries are Namibia, Botswana, Lesotho, Eswatini, Zambia and South Africa. The rapid deployment is planned to work alongside the existing analogue radio service, which will seamlessly transition to a fully-fledged Digital Radio transmission in SADC. The receivers to be deployed will have the capabilities to receive and transmit both Analogue and Digital radio signal on FM and AM.

The primary purpose of the initiative is for governments and various newsmakers to urgently provide vital information to all citizens, especially the rural, remote and marginalised vulnerable communities. The outbreak of COVID-19 has amplified the need for this undertaking, that has highlighted risk areas in our various communities. Particular emphasis will be given to the following sectors in the respective communities: Education Sector; Health Sector; Socio-Economic factors; Gender issues; Youth & Disability.[]

Listening Out, Listening For, Listening In: Cold War Radio Broadcasting and the Late Soviet Audience (Wiley Online Library)

Abstract

This article interrogates the well?known phenomenon of western broadcasting to the Soviet Union from the little?known vantage point of the audience’s sonic experience and expression. I use the example of the BBC’s main popular music program in the late USSR, Rok posevy, with its remarkable presenter, Seva Novgorodsev, to explore fundamental questions about the who, how, and why of listening to the so?called “enemy voices.” The popularity of Novgorodsev’s show, I argue, is best understood in the context of the Soviet soundscape and, in particular, of longstanding Soviet media practices, including radio jamming and Soviet ideologies of the voice. Novgorodsev’s Rok posevy presented listeners with a powerful alternative sociocultural space, one that promoted models of authority and community very different from Soviet norms and, indeed, antithetical to Soviet norms.[]

Swedish Electrical Safety Agency threatens ban on sale of optimizers (Southgate ARC)

In Sweden the Swedish Electrical Safety Agency may ban the sale of optimizers used in Solar Panel installations due to the high level of RF Pollution they produce

A translation of an SSA post reads:

The Swedish Electrical Safety Agency wants to remove optimizers that spread interference. “It should be easy for the electrician to do the right thing.”

– We want to remove all solar cell products that spread disruption from the market. It should be easy for the electrician to do the right thing, and if you choose CE-marked gadgets and follow the manufacturer’s instructions, the system should be nice, says Martin Gustafsson, who is an inspector in market control at the Swedish Electrical Safety Agency. reports of disturbing solar cells. In addition to radio amateurs such as Anders Ljunggren, the  mobile operator Telia is among those affected . The Swedish Electrical Safety Board has made inspection visits to disturbing facilities, and carried out a market review of optimizers and inverters from eleven different manufacturers.

“They take advantage of a gap in the standard and instead hide behind a general EMC standard.”

The report is not complete yet. However, one of the conclusions is that a number of manufacturers of interfering products have chosen not to use the standard developed for photovoltaic products, but which has not yet been harmonized by the European Commission.

– They use a gap in the standard and instead hide behind a general EMC standard, which does not make any demands on the dc side. This makes our evidentiary situation difficult. But if the disruption problems are not solved, the products can be banned from sale, says Martin Gustafsson.

Text:  Charlotta von Schultz – www.elinstallatoren.se

Thank you SM5TJH / Janne for the information
Source SSA https://tinyurl.com/SwedenSSA

New Ham Radio Onboard The ISS Is On The Air (K0LWC Blog)

Ham Radio operators have enjoyed making contact with the ISS for many years. The holy grail has always been talking to ISS astronauts on FM simplex (145.800) — but those can be rare chance encounters. Ham radio operators have also enjoyed slow-scan television (SSTV) broadcasts and APRS packet radio via the ISS digipeater. Now we get to work the world’s most expensive FM repeater thanks to the new InterOperable Radio System (IORS) installed on the ISS.

The InterOperable Radio System (IORS) replaces an ancient Ericsson radio system and packet module that were certified for spaceflight over two decades ago. The 5 watt HT that was aboard the ISS was getting worn out after many years of use. The Ericsson radio looks like something from a 1990s episode of Cops.

The new IORS was launched from Kennedy Space Center on March 6, 2020 onboard the SpaceX CRS-20 resupply mission. It consists of a custom space-modified Kenwood D710GA transceiver and an ARISS-developed multi-voltage power supply. The equipment was installed by NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy (KF5KDR).

New Kenwood D710G ‘Space Flight Edition’

The radio now being used is a Kenwood D710G and was engineered specifically for space flight. JVCKENWOOD USA and the ARISS worked closely to modify the D710G. The upgrades were performed by JVCKENWOOD and include:

  • Output power is hardware limited to 25 watts for the safety of the International Space Station
  • Custom firmware and menus tailored for operation onboard the ISS.
  • Higher output/high-reliability fan to allow continuous repeater operation.

Continuous fan operation is an important feature in space for the reliability of the radio. There is no convection in microgravity, so all heat-generating components need to be cooled by moving air or conduction. If the radio burns up, there isn’t a Ham Radio Outlet down the street to grab parts.[Continue reading the the full article at K0LWC’s blog…]


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The International Space Station now has an accessible FM Repeater

If you’ve been following ham radio news lately, no doubt you’ve heard that the International Space Station now has an FM repeater in operation. Pretty much any amateur radio operator can use this repeater with a capable dual band radio and (ideally) a directional antenna.

Here’s the information about the new system from an ARISS news release:

First Element of ARISS Next Generation (Next-Gen)
Radio System 
Installed in ISS Columbus Module

September 2, 2020—The ARISS team is pleased to announce that set up and installation of the first element of our next generation radio system was completed and amateur radio operations with it are now underway. This first element, dubbed the InterOperable Radio System (IORS), was installed in the International Space Station Columbus module. The IORS replaces the Ericsson radio system and packet module that were originally certified for spaceflight on July 26, 2000.

Initial operation of the new radio system is in FM cross band repeater mode using an uplink frequency of 145.99 MHz with an access tone of 67 Hz and a downlink frequency of 437.800 MHz. System activation was first observed at 01:02 UTC on September 2. Special operations will continue to be announced.

The IORS was launched from Kennedy Space Center on March 6, 2020 on board the SpaceX CRS-20 resupply mission. It consists of a special, space-modified JVC Kenwood D710GA transceiver, an ARISS developed multi-voltage power supply and interconnecting cables. The design, development, fabrication, testing, and launch of the first IORS was an incredible five-year engineering achievement accomplished by the ARISS hardware volunteer team. It will enable new, exciting capabilities for ham radio operators, students, and the general public. Capabilities include a higher power radio, voice repeater, digital packet radio (APRS) capabilities and a Kenwood VC-H1 slow scan television (SSTV) system.

A second IORS undergoes flight certification and will be launched later for installation in the Russian Service module. This second system enables dual, simultaneous operations, (e.g. voice repeater and APRS packet), providing diverse opportunities for radio amateurs. It also provides on-orbit redundancy to ensure continuous operations in the event of an IORS component failure.

Next-gen development efforts continue. For the IORS, parts are being procured and a total of ten systems are being fabricated to support flight, additional flight spares, ground testing and astronaut training. Follow-on next generation radio system elements include an L-band repeater uplink capability, currently in development, and a flight Raspberry-Pi, dubbed “ARISS-Pi,” that is just beginning the design phase. The ARISS-Pi promises operations autonomy and enhanced SSTV operations.

ARISS is run almost entirely by volunteers, and with the help of generous contributions from ARISS sponsors and individuals. Donations to the ARISS program for next generation hardware developments, operations, education, and administration are welcome — please go to https://www.ariss.org/donate.html to contribute to these efforts.

ARISS–Celebrating 20 years of continuous amateur radio operations on the ISS!

If you’d like to get a taste for what it’s like making contacts via the ISS repeater, check out this video from K0LWC (thanks for the tip, Paul):

Of course, you don’t have to be an amateur radio operator to listen to the traffic on the ISS repeater. All you need is a scanner or receiver that can tune to the downlink frequency of 437.800 MHz and coordinate your listening session with an ISS pass (I like using NASA’s Spot the Station service). You’ll stand a much better chance of working or listening to the ISS repeater with a high pass.

Have you made a successful contact via the ISS repeater already or listened to the repeater traffic? Please comment!

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Tate Modern ISS installation doubles as ham radio antenna

Photo by @helenleigh

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Matthew, who shares the following tweet from Helen Leigh:

This sculpture at the Tate Modern blew my mind this week. It’s a wire sculpture inspired by the International Space Station that functions as an antenna for a ham radio.

Photo by @helenleigh

Twice a day it plays live audio and data transmissions from the ISS as it passes overhead.

Click here to view on Twitter.

Fascinating!  Goes to show that the Tate Modern is always chock-full of amazing discoveries. Thank you for sharing this, Matthew!

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Radio Fun: Monitoring ISS Astronaut David Saint-Jacques as he answers student questions

My daughter hold the Kenwood TH-F6 HT while we listen to the ISS contact.

Many thanks to my good buddy Eric (WD8RIF) for reminding me about a scheduled ARISS (Amateur Radio on the International Space Station) contact between Canadian astronaut David Saint-Jacques and Faith Christian Academy in Orlando, FL, USA.

Astronaut David Saint-Jacques (Source: Canadian Space Agency)

Living in the mountains, I miss a lot of low angle ISS passes due to ridge lines blocking my line of sight. This time, though, the pass was high and mostly to my open south which meant it was one of the longest ARISS contacts I’m monitored.

My daughters drop everything to monitor radio or visual ISS passes–this February 14th pass was no exception.

In fact, I’m sure a lot of their enthusiasm about studying for their ham radio licenses stems from these ARISS events.

Of course, it doesn’t take an amateur radio license to monitor an ISS VHF transmission. I’ve used everything from handheld scanners to handheld ham radio transceivers. Click here to read a post with a short tutorial on monitoring ARISS contacts.

My daughters helped me make short videos of David Saint-Jacques’ replies (of course, we can’t hear the FL school’s transmissions). Below, I’ve matched the school’s questions with his answers:

Question regarding superstitions, traditions and rituals:

Click here to view on YouTube.

“Can you see any constellations while on the ISS and do you have a favorite one?”

Click here to view on YouTube.

“Have you ever experienced a major malfunction on the ISS?”

Click here to view on YouTube.

“Does everything in your body work the same in a microgravity environment, for instance, does your heart work harder to pump blood through the body?”

Click here to view on YouTube.

“Do your ears pop like they would when you fly in a plane?”

Click here to view on YouTube.

“Are you recognized as an astronaut on the streets?”

Click here to view on YouTube.

“Are you allowed to request certain things to be delivered by the cargo missions?”

Click here to view on YouTube.

“Describe the escape system on the ISS in case of an emergency.”

Click here to view on YouTube.

“How do you shave or cut your hair on the ISS without the hair floating away?”

Click here to view on YouTube.

“What experiment are you currently working on and is it going well?”

Click here to view on YouTube.

“What did you feel the first time you saw Earth from the ISS?”

Click here to view on YouTube.

Have you ever monitored an ARISS contact or grabbed one of the SSTV transmissions from the ISS?  Please comment!


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ARISS / NOTA Slow Scan TV Event, February 8-10

(Source: Southgate ARC)

ARISS is planning another of their popular Slow Scan Television (SSTV) experiment events. Transmissions are scheduled to begin Friday, Feb. 8 at 18:25 UTC and run through Sunday, Feb. 10 at 18:30 UTC.

SSTV operations is a process by which images are sent from the International Space Station (ISS) via ham radio and received by ham operators, shortwave listeners and other radio enthusiasts on Earth, similar to pictures shared on cell phones using twitter or instagram.

When this event becomes active, SSTV images will be transmitted from the ISS at the frequency of 145.80 MHz using the SSTV mode of PD120 and can be received using ham radio equipment as simple as a 2 meter handheld radio or a common shortwave or scanner receiver the covers the 2 meter ham band. After connecting the audio output of the radio receiver to the audio input of a computer running free software such as MMSSTV, the SSTV images can be displayed.

Transmissions will consist of eight NASA On The Air (NOTA) images see 
https://nasaontheair
.wordpress.com/
 ,
In addition, four ARISS commemorative images will also be included.

Once received, Images can be posted and viewed by the public at http://www.spaceflightsoftware
.com/ARISS_SSTV/index.php
 .
In addition, you can receive a special SSTV ARISS Award for posting your image. Once the event begins, see details at https://ariss.pzk.org.pl/sstv/ .

Please note that the event is dependent on other activities, schedules and crew responsibilities on the ISS and are subject to change at any time.

Please check for news and the most current information on the AMSAT.org and ARISS.org websites, the AMSAT-BB@amsat.org, the ARISS facebook at Amateur Radio On The International Space Station (ARISS) and ARISS twitter @ARISS_status.

About ARISS

Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) is a cooperative venture of international amateur radio societies and the space agencies that support the International Space Station (ISS). In the United States, sponsors are the Radio Amateur Satellite Corporation (AMSAT), the American Radio Relay League (ARRL), the Center for the Advancement of Science in space (CASIS) and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

The primary goal of ARISS is to promote exploration of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) topics by organizing scheduled contacts via amateur radio between crew members aboard the ISS and students in classrooms or public forms. Before and during these radio contacts, students, educators, parents, and communities learn about space, space technologies, and amateur radio. For more information, see www.ariss.org.

Also join us on Facebook: Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) Follow us on Twitter: ARISS_status

Media Contact:

Dave Jordan, AA4KN

ARISS PR
aa4kn@amsat.org

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SSTV Special Event from the International Space Station on Saturday, October 27

(Source: ARRL News)

Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) has scheduled a slow-scan television (SSTV) event to begin on Saturday, October 27, at about 1000 UTC. NASA’s Space Communications and Navigation (SCaN) Department will support the event. SCaN manages NASA’s three most important communications networks — The Space Network (SN), Near-Earth Network (NEN), and the Deep Space Network (DSN). Participants in the SSTV event can qualify for a special endorsement for NASA on the Air (NOTA), celebrating the space agency’s 60th anniversary.

As during past ARISS SSTV events, 12 images will be transmitted. Six will feature SCaN educational activities, while the other six images will commemorate  major NASA anniversaries, including the establishment of NASA and the moon landing. Transmissions are expected to take place on 145.800 MHz using PD-120 SSTV mode. Received images can be posted and viewed online. The event is dependent on other ISS activities, schedules, and crew responsibilities, and the schedule is subject to change at any time.

More information be posted to the AMSAT and ARISS websites as well as to the ARISS-BB, to the ARISS Facebook page, and via Twitter (@ARISS_status).

Click here to read the full article at the ARRL News.

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