AMSAT: ISS (International Space Station)


Onboard the International Space Station (ISS) are several amateur radio experiments. Amateur radio operators can (if they are lucky...) work the astronauts on 2m FM or can digipeat packet radio signals through the UI (APRS) digipeater onboard the ISS.
Below you'll find some practical information regarding ISS.

Callsigns used by ISS:

Callsign Remarks
NA1SS USA callsign
RS0ISS Russian callsign

Frequencies used by ISS:

  voice packet radio
Region uplink
(MHz)
downlink
(MHz)
uplink
(MHz)
downlink
(MHz)
1 (Europe, Russia, Near East, Africa) (FM) 145.200 145.800 145.990 145.800
2 (Americas), 3 (Far East, Pacific) (FM) 144.490 145.800 145.990 145.800
U/V FM repeater (all regions) 437.800 145.800 - -
Communication with ground control (FM) - 143.625 - -
Spacewalk communications (EVA)
(AM)
259.700
296.800
279.000
259.700
296.800
279.000
- -

To be able to work ISS in FM voice you must be really lucky as the crew is very busy most of the times. The packet radio digipeater hardware, however, has been replaced and is online.

If the U/V FM repeater is switched on remember to correct for doppler on the uplink, otherwise you will probably not make it into the repeater! A PL tone is not needed.

I was very lucky to have a (late night/early morning) QSO with RS0ISS on 24 juli 2002 at 23.13 UTC. It was really exciting talking to Valeri Korzun (own call: RZ3FK).
He said (in a QSO with another station) that "he only needed 4-5 hours of sleep per night and that he had more fun talking to radio amateurs on the radio".
I received a recording from Francisco CT1EAT of my QSO with RS0ISS. You can listen to it by clicking on the link in the table below. It is a little hard to understand because Francisco ran out of audio tape and recorded the pass on his camcorder.

On december 30th, 2005 I had a short QSO with Bill McArthur NA1SS via the U/V FM repeater onboard the ISS. You can listen to a recording of that QSO by clicking the link in the table below.

Other amateur radio activity from ISS are scheduled radio contacts with schools around the world. Below you'll find recordings I did of some of those contacts.

Date Time
(UTC)
Freq
(MHz)
Contact with audio length
(m:ss)
file size
(KB)
28 feb 2002 09:24 145.800 Kursk's Technical University, Kursk, Russia mp3 1:04 253
7 mar 2002 08:47 145.800 Harrogate Ladies College, Harrogate, UK mp3 6:38 1167
24 july 2002 23:13 145.800 PE1OIG (that's me!) with Valeri Korzun RS0ISS mp3 0:27 81
7 aug 2002 18:04 145.800 Euro Space Center space camp, Belgium mp3 4:01 709
25 april 2004 * 09:55 145.800 Technical University Eindhoven, Netherlands mp3 4:24 979
30 dec 2005 22:28 145.800 PH7AT (me) with Bill McArthur NA1SS mp3 0:20 79

* Thanks to Jos PA7DW for the recording