Simultaneous APRS and Voice Repeater on the International Space Station
ARISS, Amateur Radio on the International Space Station, announced that simultaneous operations of the ARISS Voice Repeater and digital APRS communications on the Space Station are now a reality. Current ARISS operations include voice repeater transmissions with the JVC Kenwood D710GA in the Columbus module and APRS packet operation from an identical radio in the Service Module (Zvezda). Packet operations are on 145.825 MHz.
The ARISS Russia and USA teams have been working for several weeks to prepare the Service Module radio for APRS operations. ARISS Russia team member Sergey Samburov, RV3DR, led the effort, working with Russian mission controllers and the on-board ISS cosmonauts to configure the Service Module radio for APRS ops. On August 11, final checkouts were completed and the APRS packet mode was switched on for amateur radio use.
ARISS-International Chair Frank Bauer, KA3HDO, said, “Simultaneous operation of APRS and the voice repeater on ISS is transformative for ARISS and represents a key element of our ARISS 2.0 initiative, providing interactive capabilities 24/7 that inspire, engage and educate youth and lifelong learners—especially life-long learning in ham radio operations. … Our heartfelt thanks to Sergey Samburov, RV3DR, for making this crucial ARISS 2.0 initiative become a reality.”
The Columbus Module radio uses the call sign NA1SS and the new Service Module radio uses RS0ISS. Aside from the call signs, the radios are identical and packet operations are the same as before. Hams can use RS0ISS, ARISS, or APRSAT as the packet path. Also, both radios are expected to be on full time, except during educational contacts, EVAs, and dockings or undockings.
You can find operational status and expected downtimes of the ISS radios at https://www.ariss.org/current-status-of-iss-stations.
Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) is a cooperative venture of international amateur radio societies and the space agencies that support the International Space Station (ISS). In the United States, sponsors are ARRL The National Association for Amateur Radio®, the Radio Amateur Satellite Corporation (AMSAT), the ISS National Lab-Space Station Explorers, Amateur Radio Digital Communications (ARDC), and NASA’s Space communications and Navigation program. The primary goal of ARISS is to promote exploration of science, technology, engineering, the arts, and mathematics topics. ARISS does this by organizing scheduled contacts via amateur radio between crew members aboard the ISS and students. Before and during these radio contacts, students, educators, parents, and communities take part in hands-on learning activities tied to space, space technologies, and amateur radio. For more information, see www.ariss.org.