GB1SS for Space Station | Southgate Amateur Radio News

Page last updated on: Wednesday, October 22, 2014

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GB1SS for Space Station

The RSGB report that on October 9 Ofcom confirmed that the callsign GB1SS will be made available for issue to UK astronauts who wish to operate from the ISS

In May 1991 the first UK astronaut Helen Sharman GB1MIR talked to radio amateurs around the world from the Mir space station. After a gap of 24 years it looks as though two more UK astronauts may be flying to the International Space Station (ISS) in 2015.

In September 2015 Sarah Brightman hopes to become the second UK astronaut, flying to the ISS on a 10 day mission. She is committed to encouraging young women to pursue careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM). In 2012 in conjunction with Virgin Galactic, she launched The Brightman STEM Scholarship program. It is not yet clear if she will operate the ISS amateur radio station during her mission.

Tim Peake KG5BVI learning controls of ISS amateur radio equipment

Tim Peake was selected to train as an astronaut in 2009 and hopes to go to the ISS in November 2015.

He holds the USA callsign KG5BVI and has recently been learning to use the Ericsson 144 MHz handheld radio which is installed in the Columbus module of the ISS.

On September 18 Tim said “Will be great to chat with schools next year from space using this ham radio on board the ISS.”

There are two amateur radio stations on the ISS, one in the Russian Service Module, the other in the ESA Columbus Module.

Almost any 144 MHz FM rig will receive signals from the ISS, you can even use a general coverage VHF scanner with an external antenna. As far as the antenna is concerned the simpler the better. A ¼ wave ground plane is a good antenna for the ISS as it has a high angle of radiation. Large 2m colinears may not work quite as well since the radiation pattern is concentrated at the horizon.

You can receive the ISS outdoors using a 2 metre hand-held with its helical antenna but a 1/4 wave whip will give far better results.

In the UK we use narrow 2.5 kHz deviation FM but the ISS transmits using the wider 5 kHz deviation used in much of the world. Most rigs can be switched been wide and narrow deviation filters so select the wider deviation. Hand-held rigs all seem to have a single wide filter fitted as standard.

Voice contacts with astronauts usually take place using “split” frequencies. The astronauts transmit on 145.800 MHz and listen for replies on 145.200 MHz, you just need to activate your rig’s repeater shift. Recently, however, they have also been operating simplex listening on 145.800 MHz.

When astronauts are not on the air they usually leave the packet digi-peater running on 145.825 MHz so why not listen out for it.

ISS status and tracking information

The First UK Astronaut Helen Sharman GB1MIR

Sarah Brightman to fly to ISS

Read the report of the Ofcom-RSGB meeting on October 9



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via GB1SS for Space Station | Southgate Amateur Radio News.


Another callsign will be added to the amateur radio stations on board the International Space Station (ISS).  According to the Radio Society of Great Britain (RSGB), GR1ISS has been issued “to UK astronauts who wish to operate from the ISS.”  In September 2015, Sarah Brightman will become the second UK astronaut, flying to the station for a 10-day mission.  It’s unknown at this time if Ms. Brightman will be using amateur radio during her brief stay.  Astronaut Tim Peake (KG5BVI) is scheduled for a November 2015 mission to the ISS.  He’s  been training on equipment used to establish amateur radio contacts between the ISS and schools around the world.

For the latest Amateur Radio news and events, please check out the blog sidebars.  These news feeds are updated daily.

Aloha es 73 de Russ (KH6JRM).

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