[sarex] ARISS contacts General info
AJ9N at aol.com
AJ9N at aol.com
Fri Nov 10 14:48:54 PST 2006
I see that Kenneth N5VHO and Tim W6MU have addressed some of the questions
about ARISS contacts. Here is a bit more.
I post the information as fast as I get it and thus there could be changes
that happen rapidly; after all this is real space business and ARISS is a
guest. There have been times when the contact time changed 2 or 3 times in a day
and I try to always post the latest info.
Please listen in on the contacts if you are in the footprint. ARISS uses
145.800 MHz FM as the international downlink. Even a simple scanner can be
used to hear at least part of a contact if you are in the footprint.
About 1/3 of the school contacts are handled via the ARISS Telebridge
system. The Telebridge system allows for schools that may not have the technical
ability to handle a direct contact but still be able to have a wonderful
educational activity. It also allows for ARISS to work in conjunction with the
ISS crew work schedules, orbital mechanics, etc. Remember 3 things must happen
simultaneously; the crew must be awake and available, the school must be in
session, and the ISS must be over the ground station. The ARISS ham radio
Telebridge ground stations are located in Australia, Hawaii, California, Texas,
Maryland, Belgium, and South Africa. All of these locations have an
outstanding satellite station equipped with a phone patch. Verizon provides for
the Telebridge hookup; this is truly an international phone hookup that they
donate time and personnel for and we at ARISS thank them for their
contributions. The participants for a typical Telebridge contact are the school, the
ARISS ground station, and an ARISS moderator who acts as net control.
The remaining contacts are direct; meaning that all of the equipment is at
the school. Think of it as your worst case Field Day exercise. It is not
that difficulty technically, but you are dealing with anywhere from 500 to 1000
non-hams who think everything should be perfect. If you ever get the chance
to help out or to even be the control op; please do so as I think you will
find it pretty rewarding. I always tell the schools to plan on 500 to 700
people hours of prep time; all for 10 minutes of contact time. They always think
I am crazy until after the contact and then it hits them as to the impact.
Because we realize that many of you wish to listen in but may be out of the
footprint, ARISS tries to have a live retransmission via IRLP, Echolink, as a
live audio web stream, or a live video web stream. All Telebridge contacts
will be able to be on the web courtesy of Verizon and their webservices.
ARISS volunteers then pick up that audio stream and put it on Echolink and IRLP.
If the contact is a direct one, then ARISS works with the school to
determine if a retransmission is possible via IRLP, Echolink, or the web. In any
case, as soon as I know whether the contact is going to be retransmitted, I
post that information. There have been times when a school decided at the last
minute to do a live retransmission, so I suggest you check the ARISS
announcements right before a contact to get the most up to date info.
If you have not done an ARISS contact, consider finding a school,
volunteering, getting the application in, and doing one. I have been the control op
for 4 and a mentor for almost 30 and each has been a blast. The present wait
time is between 1.5 and 2.5 years.
The schedule page has been updated as of 2006-11-10 19:00 UTC. Here you
will find a listing of all scheduled school contacts and questions, other ISS
related websites, IRLP and Echolink websites, and instructions for any contact
that may be streamed live.
There are several ARISS web sites:
ARISS Europe: http://www.ariss-eu.org/
ARISS Japan: http://www.jarl.or.jp/ariss/
I have also seen comments along the way about what ARISS can and cannot do
as far as scheduling. As a school works it way through the scheduling
process, it eventually gets to be about 6 months out from a contact date and an
ARISS mentor is assigned. So the really hard work may go for about 6 months;
serious business where ARISS works with the ISS planners and the school to get a
date and for the school to be prepared. But we are only guests and we can
only put in our requests for contact times; we can never demand. Sometimes we
get our desired times; sometimes it is back to the drawing board. So once
again, check for my postings as well as info from the other ARISS mentors for
the very latest schedule.
I hope this helps explain a bit more on how ARISS works to provide a truly
out of this world educational experience.
Charlie Sufana AJ9N
One of the ARISS Mentors
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