[amsat-bb] Re: ISS a Satellite or an airplane?

Eric H. Christensen eric at christensenplace.us
Sat Sep 15 03:29:59 PDT 2007

I think you hit the nail on the head.  All of his responses before late
last night were talking about the fact that the ISS wasn't a DXCC entity
and couldn't be claimed for an award.  Then I presented him with my QSO
with KB1GVR that was via the ISS and he said it didn't count because it
was via an aircraft.

I've got a message in with Dave Sumner that he responded to earlier this
morning.  I'm going to see if I can get to the bottom of this even if I
have to do a picture show for them up in Newington.

Eric W4OTN

John P. Toscano wrote:
> Eric Christensen wrote:
>> Can someone sanity check me, please?  I'm trying to convince a guy at the ARRL that the ISS needs to be added to the LoTW as a satellite and he says it is not valid because it isn't a satellite but rather an airplane. 
>> Anyone out there help me with this?  
>> 73s,
>> Eric W4OTN
> Perhaps they are thinking of the ISS only in the mode where an astronaut 
> talks to an earth station in split simplex mode.
> For the purposes of a satellite QSO, they are most likely allow only the 
> situation where two earth stations talk to one another, using a 
> transponder of some sort that is in orbit. You're not talking TO the 
> satellite, you're talking THROUGH the satellite to another earth station.
> I believe that the ISS radio(s) can be (but only rarely are) configured 
> as a cross-band repeater, in which case two earth stations WOULD be able 
> to talk to one another THROUGH the orbiting ISS satellite. If this is 
> the case, it should probably be added to LOTW, since it's just like any 
> other satellite transponder (except that it can be fixed in orbit if it 
> breaks!) If this is done, however, clear instructions would need to be 
> promulgated to point out that it is only valid in transponder mode for a 
> satellite QSO.
> OTOH, when the astronauts in their space station are talking with a 
> ground station, that should be valid for a (non-satellite) QSO. One 
> problem becomes "what is the location of the (non-earth station)?" 
> Should ISS be a "location", albeit a moving target?  I don't think it's 
> too easy for an astronaut to give you a Maidenhead Grid Square of their 
> location, but I guess that depends on how well a GPS works at that 
> altitude and speed inside all that metal.  But people in the VHF & up 
> contesting community talk about "high-speed roving", and the ISS is the 
> ultimate high-speed rover! But there's another important issue here. 
> Although it is crystal clear (to me, at least) that the ISS is not an 
> airplane (heck, there's no AIR up there!), it behaves in many respects 
> like an aeronautical mobile station, and those are excluded from most 
> contests. So communication between an earth station and a space station 
> seems to be legitimately excluded from most contests and awards.  It 
> would still be nice to have the QSL card in your collection.
> 73 de WØJT
> AMSAT-NA Life Member #2292
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