ISS digipeater

Discussion in 'Satellite and Space Communications' started by KE3LB, Dec 2, 2016.

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  1. WD9EWK

    WD9EWK Ham Member QRZ Page

    Nothing was picked up on the net site from that pass, or anything since 1626 UTC today over Europe. ISS Fan Club had a report from Europe a few hours ago saying it was off. There's a NASA spacewalk coming up, but that's not until Friday. The Progress docked yesterday. Not sure what's up, but there's always the next pass (or, for me, next couple of passes)...
  2. K3RLD

    K3RLD Ham Member QRZ Page

    I definitely decoded a single RS0ISS packet, so it was on....
  3. KD0KZE

    KD0KZE Ham Member QRZ Page

    My rig's been picking up packets again. I've not been able to attempt beaconing/TX though, since the better passes tend to be daytime lately.
  4. KD0KZE

    KD0KZE Ham Member QRZ Page

    Say, do you guys log ISS QSO's into LoTW? I've never done it (properly) before since it was unclear to me how to populate the various fields. Looks like ARISS is an option within TQSL ( and you can create those entries within the application itself. Are digipeated QSO's valid LoTW QSO's?

    73, KD0KZE / Paul
  5. WD9EWK

    WD9EWK Ham Member QRZ Page

    Yes, QSOs via orbiting digipeater are valid for LOTW. FalconSat-3 hasn't been added to LOTW yet, but ISS (as ARISS) is valid. Also NO-84, NO-44, and even Mir if you used that station's digipeater to work other stations. Message left in the mailbox/BBS systems aren't QSOs.

    Here's another useful document related to logging satellite QSOs in LOTW: Instructions/N5JB.pdf

  6. KE4AZZ

    KE4AZZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    I log all contacts on and also log packets sent that made it into the aprs system...
  7. KD0KZE

    KD0KZE Ham Member QRZ Page

    What's considered a full QSO exchange with a digipeater? And does every message need to appear on I find that alot don't, either because they somehow get de-duped or that my APRS software seems to de-dupe itself if I have the APIRS-IS port turned on while TX'ing -- or the other station is an HT and he hears it fine, but maybe nobody gates it.

    Something like this:
    You: CQ {your call} {your grid}
    Other operator: {your call} QSL, 599 to {his grid}. 73!
    You: {other callsign}, 599, QSL, 73!

    Is it just the three exchanges? So long as you hear his first reply, it's fair game to enter in your LoTW? And so long as he hears your report confirmation (your second TX) then it's fair game for him to enter?

    73, KD0KZE / Paul
  8. WD9EWK

    WD9EWK Ham Member QRZ Page

    Not everything appears on, since there aren't gateways that cover all of the continental USA. Even if there were more gateways, it is possible that some packets just won't be picked up by the gateways. This is, unfortunately, common - especially out west.

    The CQ call you mention could be done by transmitting your position along with a comment. Some will put "LIVE OP" in the comment text, to emphasize there is someone at the keyboard/keypad, ready to make a contact. Otherwise, what you list is accurate.

    For the Kenwood radios I have (TH-D72, TH-D74, TM-D710G), I store "phrases" in the radios' memory with the exchanges I would normally use. There are 3 phrases I normally work with on the digipeater passes, and normally will use a couple of these for each QSO...

    1. Hi from (grid) in (state)
    2. TNX for call. (grid) in (state)
    3. TNX/73!

    If I'm calling someone for a QSO, I send the first message. If I received a message from another station trying to make a QSO, I send the second message. If I called someone and they reply to my message, I then send the 3rd message. I have other messages that give a brief rundown of my station that I can send, if there is still time on the pass to exchange additional messages, or I'll maybe send a quick "hi (name)" if I know the other operator.

    Sometimes I will see the ACK flash on the radio's screen when the other station acknowledges receiving my messages. I don't consider this part of the QSO, since there are some stations that will do that and also use the auto-answer messages. The messages listing on these radios is what I work with for knowing if QSOs were made, and - hopefully - the other station sent a position packet so it shows up on the heard listing.

    Some stations won't transmit their position, but I will see their call sign sending messages to others. In that case, I will create a new message, manually entering the call sign for that station, and send the first of my 3 messages above. Then I hope the other station will reply to me.

    I contributed to an article on how I do this with Kenwood HTs that appeared in the AMSAT Journal earlier this year. A PDF of that article can be downloaded from the "Articles" folder at if you wish to read through it.

    I will look to (or for non-ISS digipeaters, or sometimes and examine raw packets for my call sign) to confirm that my transmissions made it through the digipeater. Then again, if stations send messages that have the right context - I called you, or I am responding to you - I don't worry if I don't show up on those sites. If I do show up, I'll usually take a screenshot or make a PDF file with the packets, to have another bit of proof a QSO took place. There are only one or two stations acting as a gateway for FalconSat-3 (W7KKE on the west coast, K4KDR on the east coast), so you're pretty much relying on what you see on your radio/screen to know what went through.

    KC1OCA likes this.
  9. KD0KZE

    KD0KZE Ham Member QRZ Page

    Thanks for the tips. I haven't used my TH-D72 + Arrow II for as much work as my D710, mainly due to the long winter months and certain logistics. Setting up the Arrow II and dismantling it, ensuring the HT is charged, and some method of knowing the el/az information for the pass. And I should definitely program the responses, as you have.

    Whereas with YAAC, I can easily select a station, path, and type a full-QWERTY message (and gate it all). I also have a live GPredict window open, so I just feel more in control.

    After every session I've TX'd whether it was just a beacon getting through or a QSO, I save the HTML of a couple pages from -- so I've got a few years' worth. From now on, I'll start putting the QSO's in LoTW. I don't like the idea of hand-editing the logs/tags since it's possible to make a typo and break things, maybe even rendering the whole thing unparsable.

    I think I'll start a specialized log, within TQSL itself, solely for satellite and longer-distance FM contacts and embark on VUCC. DXCC has been slow-going on HF during this period of the solar cycle, but no such issues here.

    73, KD0KZE / Paul
  10. WD9EWK

    WD9EWK Ham Member QRZ Page


    After being off for a few days, it looks like the ISS digipeater is up and running again. Pass times aren't convenient for me on weekdays right now, but I hope to be on the mid-morning passes Saturday morning from the hamfest in Marana AZ (NW of Tucson, in grid DM42) as part of the demonstrations I'll do from the AMSAT table at that event.

    W5PFG likes this.

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