[amsat-bb] Re: ISS & Amateur Voice Comms (R)

Eric H Christensen eric at christensenplace.us
Tue Jun 5 04:46:15 PDT 2007

Good Morning Patrick,
I couldn't help but reply to this...  I can't believe that we have astronauts that can't use a D700 and us regular folk that can.

You could use the PMs to make life easier on the ISS.  PM 1 could be setup for earth-space communications when the astronauts have time to talk with us Earth-bound people.  Then you could have PM 2 setup for packet, PM 3 setup for crossband repeat, PM 4 setup for APRS digi, PM 5 setup for...

That would completely negate the thought process of having to change the settings and frequencies each time.  I have my D700 setup similarly so when I go to PM 1 the radio reverts to a specific channel on each side, turns the TNC on and into APRS mode, and selects all the proper settings in the menus.  I set this up via the software many months ago and everything works great.  I no longer have to continuously swap my settings when I get out of the vehicle because going to PM 2 does my "Out of Vehicle" settings.  PM 3 is setup for crossband repeat so when I get out of the vehicle to go hike it is already setup to go to my local repeater and a simplex frequency and I'm ready to go.  This would seem to be the most efficient use of what that radio has to offer.

Eric W4OTN

>Hello Patrick,
>Thank you very much for your comments on the Marex
>Project proposal. We are always interested in hearing
>pros and cons for all projects and welcome
>constructive input.
>We believe in the slogan Keep It Simple (KIS). 
>When it comes to projects we sometimes Dumb them down
>to make it easier for the ISS crew.  Sure these guys
>are very smart, but they do not have time to find and
>read the manuals for the 50+ radio, etc on ISS.
>On Mir Marex flew the Kenwood TM-D7A.  This radio was
>used to run the SSTV project and became the primary
>Voice link.  This and other Kenwood’s have a row of
>Program Mode buttons (I call them function buttons). 
>They allow you to save different modes of operation
>and can be very complicated.  After reading the
>manuals several times and testing the PM buttons, we
>decided it would be too complicated for the crew to
>understand these buttons, so we disabled them. 
>Actually I programmed all of the PM buttons to do just
>the same two items, Go To Channel #1 and Set Transmit
>Power to Low.  That way if the crew hit a PM button
>they did not have to worry about rebooting the radio
>into a different configuration.
>Slow Scan TV:
>On ISS, Silicon Pixels custom designed software just
>for ISS.  We chose them because they had the best
>solution at the time for SSTV. However, there off the
>shelf version of software “CPIX” wold have been too
>complicated for the crew to understand.  There were
>many great features that the ISS crew just would not
>have time to learn.  The Silicon Pixels team developed
>a Dumbed down version of software that had just the
>basic features that the ISS crew would need.  We tried
>to make it as simple as possibly by deliberately
>deleting features that were not needed.  And we made
>the Buttons big so the crew could hit them easily
>while floating in Zero-G.
>For the new Dual band Radio proposal that Marex has
>put forward, I wanted to again try to Keep it simple. 
>I wanted to avoid the problems associated with a true
>Dual-Band radio, such as two volume controls, two
>squelches and a Band switch etc. The ISS crews have
>been having problems with figuring out a “Function
>Button” radio verses a Channel knob radio.  I wanted
>to go back to 1 channel knob, 1 squelch and 1 volume
>The Icom ID-800 seems to meet most of our requirements
>for Keeping it Simple.  Once we program the radio on
>the ground the ISS crew only needs to know the
>following controls:
>Power Switch
>Channel Knob
>Volume Knob
>Squelch knob.
>Instructions for changing frequencies, bands or Voice
>Modes will be as follows.
>Turn Channel knob to channel XYZ.
>Turning on Packet will be as simple as:
>Turn Channel knob to channel XYZ.
>Push power button on TNC and look for Green LED on
>Believe me, it’s a lot simpler to use than what we
>currently have in space.
>Digital Voice Modes:
>The ID-800 does support digital voce modes and all
>normal Analogue FM modes.  Since our goal is to reach
>as many people as possible, the primary mode will be
>Analog FM voice.  The digital modes wold most likely
>be used for semi-private family communications, etc.
>Deliver Time Frame:
>This project is not approved at this time.  We only
>have approval to continue with the Kantronics KPC-9612
>Modem side the project.  Back in the Old Mir days, the
>longest it took me to Pitch a theory to Switch on was
>15 months (SSTV Mir, Pitch theory September 1997,
>Switch on December 1998).  With ISS, it takes much
>longer.  I am tying to use a radio that will still be
>in production when we go into space.
>The next project proposal demonstration is tentatively
>planned for Moscow in Late 2007 or early 2008.  
>Thanks for your input and support.
>--- Patrick McGrane <N2OEQ at aceweb.com> wrote:
>> Hi miles- de patrick n2oeq- nice to see you thinking
>> of the future. I miss the MIR 
>> days. I think there was a simple kenwood dual bander
>> on the MIR. I looked at the icom 
>> ID800 and my first impression was that it was not a
>> simple radio and I am not 
>> interested in buying a new digital radio to work the
>> ISS. Since there is no rush, 
>> please consider other radio models of SIMPLE design.
>> Within the past couple of years I 
>> purchased a very easy to operate Yaesu FT8800R dual
>> band rig capable of cross-band 
>> repeat, 9600 baud packet, and narrow FM operation to
>> name a few. I looked at several 
>> rigs before deciding on it. Of course, it was a
>> personal preference and others may 
>> prefer other models but I found this to be my choice
>> for satellite work etc.
>> I think it would be safer to consider a rig that has
>> been around a while that has been 
>> refined in production and proven in use. Most
>> important is that it be as simple as 
>> possible so as not to be disinteresting to the crew.
>> Well, its all academic since it 
>> has to be approved but I'm happy to see you working
>> on it. Thank you!!!!!
>> Take care, pat
>> ------- Original Message -------
>> From    : MM[mailto:ka1rrw at yahoo.com]
>> Sent    : 6/2/2007 7:46:10 PM
>> To      : sraas at optonline.net; amsat-bb at amsat.org
>> Cc      : 
>> Subject : RE: [amsat-bb] Re: ISS & Amateur Voice
>> Comms
>> The Amateur Radio stations on board ISS have not
>> been
>> open to regular public access since August 2006. 
>> There have only be a few random days when the crew
>> from ISS has been heard calling CQ since then.
>> If you look back in the Amsat Archives, look for
>> message from Ken Ransom for an explanation of the
>> issues.
>> The Marex team is working on proposals to replace
>> the
>> existing ISS ham system with a new simpler to use
>> system. (We have found that on the Space Station Mir
>> projects, some consumer grade ham gear seemed to
>> only
>> have a life span of 2-3 year in 24/7 service while
>> orbiting in space.  All of the ham gear on ISS is
>> over
>> 3.5 years old)
>> The unapproved Marex proposals would be comprised of
>> the following hardware if approved.
>> Icom ID-800 Dual band
>> Kantronics KPC-9212 TNC
>> Slow Scan TV
>> (Off the shelf VOX box, multiple brands are
>> currently
>> being tested for SSTV)
>> Marex welcomes your support
>> www.marexmg.org
>> --- Steve Raas <sraas at optonline.net> wrote:
>> > Has any one been lucky enough to work the ISS on
>> 2m
>> > voice as of late? I call
>> > NA1SS on every pass that Im available to and so
>> far
>> > no dice. ( 3 days 4 or 5
>> > passes )
>> > 
>> >  
>> > 
>> > Thanks!
>> > 
>> >  
>> > 
>> > N2JDQ
>> > 
>> > Steven J. Raas
>> > 
>> > Locator FN20vg
>> > 
>> > QRV 2/432 ,  V/U U/V Sats & WSJT
>> > 
>> > Home Page & Sked Requests @
>> >  http://n2jdq2007.tripod.com/ 
>> > 
>> > AMSAT Member # 36396
>> > 
>> >  
>> > 
>> > _______________________________________________
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