iss offline today - any news on radio replacement?

Discussion in 'Satellite and Space Communications' started by KM6LYW, Oct 11, 2018.

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  1. WD9EWK

    WD9EWK Ham Member QRZ Page


    After the aborted Soyuz launch early this morning, it appears an ISS crewmember turned the packet system back on. The web site shows activity starting again from 1807 UTC.


    If I can get outside during my lunch break, there is a pass around 1917 UTC I will try.

    K3RLD likes this.
  2. WD9EWK

    WD9EWK Ham Member QRZ Page


    Lunchtime packet... ISS packet is back on. I made a QSO with AI6DO in southern California during the 1916 UTC pass, and almost made one with KI7UNJ in Oregon. Here's a screenshot of activity heard by gateway stations during that pass, from


    Timestamps for each packet are in YYYYMMDDHHMMSS using UTC times, starting from the bottom of the screenshot for the oldest packets.

    KM6LYW likes this.
  3. KM6LYW

    KM6LYW Ham Member QRZ Page

    confirmed, heard my own packet come back at 2pm pacific today. thanks for the report!
  4. KG2C

    KG2C Ham Member QRZ Page

    I tried the ISS digipeater for the first time today. It was pretty easy to hear it and get in.
    WE4B, WD9EWK and K3RLD like this.
  5. KG2C

    KG2C Ham Member QRZ Page

    So I just tried again and managed to botch it pretty badly with the help of my FT2D. I say with the help of it, because I know that it is absolutely capable of doing what I wanted to do, but the UI for that is awkward to use. With some practice it could be usable but definitely not fast as the menus get in the way of exchanging multiple messages with different stations. It has a nice interface for just receiving though.

    I beaconed a few times (and one made it in) but I also tried responding to other people's beacons using messages.
    That's the part which really sucks in FT2D. I received a beacon from KB1AE and replied to it. Then VE9BJK sent a CQ message and when I tried to reply to it, the radio sent my reply to KB1AE instead.
    Apparently if you just press the REPLY button from the message list it won't change call signs. It needs to be done while viewing the message.

    Also when I was viewing the message from VE9BJK and pressed reply, the To field change to him but the message text was what he had sent me. Ok, I go in the menu and clear everything. Another menu to type new text. Another menu to paste a message I've pre-written. Go back two menus and I am ready to send the message I selected but the VE9BJK call sign is now gone. So I either have to type it manually if I still remember it, or I have to leave the message editing, go back to the original message and start over.

    The rest of the radio is much more intuitive to use, but for some reason the APRS menu system and confirmations for choices made are different in APRS than for the rest of the radio, like it was designed separately by someone else.
  6. WD9EWK

    WD9EWK Ham Member QRZ Page

    I have heard that from a couple of others who have used an FT-2DR for APRS. Seems like the Kenwood radios are a little easier to manage for APRS than the Yaesu radios. I think I have worked one or two stations using an FT-2DR in the past couple of years. Seems like more are using a Kenwood APRS-ready radio, or software like UISS on a Windows PC.

    Good luck, and 73!
  7. KG2C

    KG2C Ham Member QRZ Page

    Yes, the FT2D works well for receiving APRS as it organizes the messages and stations heard nicely, and the information layout is good.
    It is also easy to send a beacon or to even compose a message to a specific station if you are not in a rush.
    The problem comes when you are trying to do it quickly and with several stations because the touchscreen menus are not laid out well for that purpose, which admittedly is a specialized usage of APRS. I am sure that with sufficient practice it can work better than my impromptu attempts, but from reading the Kenwood manuals the same tasks are handled more intuitively and with fewer sub-menus there.
    I think Yaesu expected people to mostly just send beacons and look at the incoming APRS traffic.
    It can easily be fixed by Yaesu if they wanted to, since these menus are not dependent on any hardware keys (it is all touch sceen).

    I also like the UISS. Very simple to use, once you connect the radio to a laptop.
    WD9EWK likes this.
  8. KD0KZE

    KD0KZE Ham Member QRZ Page

    Good to hear that the Soyuz crew is safe. While obviously a launch failure -- it was a safety success.

    Some hams in my area have an informal outdoor get together once a month over the summers. I noted a pass starting around 12:37 pm (central time) on Saturday at my QTH. So I took out the Arrow II and Kenwood TH-D72. First day we've had without rain -- and over 50 degrees -- in a couple weeks it seems. It's been awhile since I operated as KD0KZE-7 mobile. Saw several familiar callsigns and got a beacon up to the ISS myself. I wish I could program responses quickly or have response macros mostly pre-made, but I don't use that setup enough to get proficient with typing real-time on the HT keypad. If Kenwood or someone would come out with a smartphone-style full qwerty keyboard I'd be in business.

    I'd forgotten how much more effective the Arrow II is for satellite work than my Comet vertical + D710. I use a fraction of the power, and far more of the pass is workable. We were situated in a regional park with some low hills to the east and west, but I was still able to work low to both horizons. It was great to work the ISS outdoors.

    After visiting with fellow hams for awhile I went home and got my snowblower ready for the season, changing oil and whatnot. Also spent a couple hours vacuuming my car, washing it, etc. Sadly, it snowed yesterday.

    73, KD0KZE / Paul
  9. WD9EWK

    WD9EWK Ham Member QRZ Page

    It might be useful to get a small group of messages stored in the D72. That can be done on the front panel before a pass comes by. Then when you want to send a message to a call, you'd start a message, and press the F key to bring up the list of stored messages.

    It would be nice if there was an option for a full keyboard, or a better user interface on these radios for messaging. Even with things as they are, many are using HTs like your D72 to send and receive messages on ISS and NO-84 passes.

    Yup. Many seem to do well with the HTs and directional antennas. I have a TM-D710G at home, but don't use it a lot for the ISS and NO-84 passes. Even FalconSat-3 with a D72 and directional antenna is a good setup, although you have to make a few changes to settings compared to working ISS/NO-84 on 145.825 MHz.

    KD0KZE likes this.
  10. KD0KZE

    KD0KZE Ham Member QRZ Page

    I'll make a cheat-sheet and practice until it becomes muscle memory. I forget simple things, like which key is the space or delete character, or how to toggle a particular message to be the current one. The passes seem substantially longer with the directional antenna, so with a little practice I should be able to manage simple messages in the greater time span.

    Mainly it's a matter of limiting the typing required, whether the message sender's callsign or common segments of QSO exchanges. Being able to pre-select some of that would enable more time for inputing a bit of real-time custom text.

    73, KD0KZE / Paul

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