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SSTV Pictures from the International Space Station
07-15-2015, 11:13 PM (This post was last modified: 07-15-2015 11:18 PM by Bill (Smithville NJ).)
Post: #1
SSTV Pictures from the International Space Station
This is mainly for the Ham Radio members, but can be done by anyone.

To celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the Apollo-Soyuz Space Mission, the International Space Station will be broadcasting SSTV (Slow Scan TV) pictures from July 18 through July 19. Following is link to the announcement:

ARISS

ARRL

You can use free software (MMSSTV is what I use) and a fairly simple FM radio that is capable of tuning to 145.8 MHz.

You will need to know when the pass occurs. You can get a printout of the passes for your area at:

NASA Spotting ISS

Unfortunately for me, I probably won't be able to capture the SSTV signal. I just checked my location and I am only seeing 2 to 4 minute passes.

Back in April, the ISS sent several SSTV photos to celebrate Yuri Gagarin. The ISS had several good passes over my location and, if I went into the street so that I was clear of trees, I could hear the signal real strong on a 2 meter HT using the rubber duck antenna. My radio that was hooked to my computer didn't do as well (bad antenna location), but I did copy the following:

   


Please let me know how you make out from your location.

Oh Yes, if you send them printout of what you copied, they will send a very nice QSL card to confirm your reception.

Bill
WD9EQD
Smithville, NJ
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07-16-2015, 04:17 AM (This post was last modified: 07-18-2015 11:50 AM by Steve Simpkin.)
Post: #2
RE: SSTV Pictures from the International Space Station
Very cool!
Unfortunately, where I live (Southern California) I only see one pass on the weekend for less than 1 minuteSad

EDIT: I was wrong. The ISS is only VISIBLE during one pass over the weekend. It actually passes over me 8 times during the weekend for up to 6 minutes at a time. See my new post below for more information.
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07-16-2015, 04:30 AM
Post: #3
RE: SSTV Pictures from the International Space Station
Zero passes those days here.

- Pauli
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07-16-2015, 07:53 AM
Post: #4
RE: SSTV Pictures from the International Space Station
Thanks for the info.
I have passed it to Mauricio Matos, one of my infancy friends still living in our home village in North.
He is into ham radio ( CT1EFD )since he was in the military service during the Portuguese colonial war.
I'm almost sure he has the required VHF equipment and appropriate antennas to tune the ISS.

Jose Mesquita
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07-18-2015, 12:10 PM
Post: #5
RE: SSTV Pictures from the International Space Station
Additional information:
The NASA website mentioned in the original post only shows the time that the ISS will pass over you and be VISIBLE. It does not show the other times the ISS will pass over you. To see all of the times when the ISS will pass over you (whether it is visible or not), go to the Heavens-Above website at:
Heavens-Above ISS Tracking

Click next to Location in the upper right corner (it initially says Unspecified) and set your current location. Then be sure to select "All" for "Passes to include:"

From where I was (Southern California), I was able to hear a dead carrier on 145.800 MHz starting around 3:30am and ending around 3:34am. I have not been able to find out exactly what time they will be starting the SSTV broadcast but there are several more opportunities for me to listed over the weekend. I used a portable HAM radio and a J-Pole antenna that is about 20 feet above my house to listen.

For more information about this event see:
http://www.rtl-sdr.com/tag/iss/
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07-18-2015, 01:20 PM
Post: #6
RE: SSTV Pictures from the International Space Station
(07-18-2015 12:10 PM)Steve Simpkin Wrote:  Additional information:
The NASA website mentioned in the original post only shows the time that the ISS will pass over you and be VISIBLE. It does not show the other times the ISS will pass over you. To see all of the times when the ISS will pass over you (whether it is visible or not), go to the Heavens-Above website at:
Heavens-Above ISS Tracking

Click next to Location in the upper right corner (it initially says Unspecified) and set your current location. Then be sure to select "All" for "Passes to include:"

From where I was (Southern California), I was able to hear a dead carrier on 145.800 MHz starting around 3:30am and ending around 3:34am. I have not been able to find out exactly what time they will be starting the SSTV broadcast but there are several more opportunities for me to listed over the weekend. I used a portable HAM radio and a J-Pole antenna that is about 20 feet above my house to listen.

For more information about this event see:
http://www.rtl-sdr.com/tag/iss/

Hi Steve,

Thanks for the additional info. I had forgotten about "when visible" versus when is the pass. Two different things.

One other item. They usually transmit in SSTV Mode PD180. This mode is normally not shown on the main list of modes in MMSSTV. Just do a Right Click over the RX Mode List and you get a list of all the available modes. Click on PD180 to add it to the main list. Otherwise, it might not auto change to the correct mode.

I left my system running last night, but didn't receive anything. I see that there is a ten minute pass with maximum elevation of 60 degrees around 9:50 this morning - so maybe I'll get lucky then.

NOTE: You can also use one of the many SDR web receivers. One in London one is:

London SDR


There is a list of many others on the SWEBDR Page:

WEBSDR

As to transmissions, following from the AMSTAT-UK page:

Quote:Previous ISS SSTV transmissions have used the SSTV mode PD180 with a 3-minute off time between each image.

That 3-minute off time creates a problem with short overhead pass times. You may get the tail end of one photo, then three minutes of off time, and then the start of the next photo only to find that you have run out of the overhead pass time. That's what happened several times to me back in April. It's just the luck of the draw whether they will be starting a new SSTV transmission just as it becomes optimum for reception at your particular location. Of course, that's part of the fun/frustration.


Bill
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Smithville, NJ
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07-18-2015, 05:51 PM
Post: #7
RE: SSTV Pictures from the International Space Station
Bill,

Thank you for the tip about SSTV Mode PD180. I managed to pick up the ISS at the 8:20am and 10:02am windows but both cases were strictly voice communications. Being a fan of the history of human space exploration, it was very cool hearing astronaut (or should I say cosmonaut) Gennady Padalka or Mikhail Kornienko speaking live from space (I believe it was live). The next opportunity for me to listen is at 1:00am Sunday.

I am not sure if I should thank you or not for the links to SDR web receiversSmile I had not seen this before and I was shocked at this amazing capability. I could see this easily being highly addictive!

I will report back what I find at 1:00am tonight.
In the mean time, on to 70's Disco Weekend at 1550 kHz London...

Steve Simpkin
KI6ZWR
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07-18-2015, 06:21 PM
Post: #8
RE: SSTV Pictures from the International Space Station
(07-18-2015 05:51 PM)Steve Simpkin Wrote:  Bill,

I am not sure if I should thank you or not for the links to SDR web receiversSmile I had not seen this before and I was shocked at this amazing capability. I could see this easily being highly addictive!

I will report back what I find at 1:00am tonight.
In the mean time, on to 70's Disco Weekend at 1550 kHz London...

Steve Simpkin
KI6ZWR


Steve,

I use the SDR web receivers to monitor my transmissions. I do a lot of digital (PSK-31 & JT-65) and I can monitor how my transmission looks.

I tried to receive the SSTV from ISS at 9:50 here. I could hear a full quieting carrier, but no audio. That's pretty neat that you heard some voices.

Bill
WD9EQD
Smithville, NJ
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07-19-2015, 09:42 AM
Post: #9
RE: SSTV Pictures from the International Space Station
Success!
Here is the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project Logo I received via Slow Scan TV (SSTV) from the ISS on 2015-7-19 at 01:03am. When I started receiving the broadcast at 12:59am, it was sending the tail end of an image. This was followed by dead air for 1-2 minutes (eating into my very limited 5-6 minute window of reception). Then the image was broadcast again and I managed to capture an entire image (with brief periods of bad reception). This was complicated by the fact that we were near the end of a 7 hour AC power outage at the time, due to storm activity.

Thank you very much Bill for introducing me to listening to the ISS, SSTV and Software Defined Radio (SDR) and SDR web receivers. My head is still spinningSmile

Steve Simpkin
KI6ZWR


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07-19-2015, 10:57 AM (This post was last modified: 07-19-2015 11:00 AM by Bill (Smithville NJ).)
Post: #10
RE: SSTV Pictures from the International Space Station
(07-19-2015 09:42 AM)Steve Simpkin Wrote:  Success!
Here is the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project Logo I received via Slow Scan TV (SSTV) from the ISS on 2015-7-19 at 01:03am. When I started receiving the broadcast at 12:59am, it was sending the tail end of an image. This was followed by dead air for 1-2 minutes (eating into my very limited 5-6 minute window of reception). Then the image was broadcast again and I managed to capture an entire image (with brief periods of bad reception). This was complicated by the fact that we were near the end of a 7 hour AC power outage at the time, due to storm activity.

Thank you very much Bill for introducing me to listening to the ISS, SSTV and Software Defined Radio (SDR) and SDR web receivers. My head is still spinningSmile

Steve Simpkin
KI6ZWR

Congratulations Steve! What equipment/antenna were you using?

I ended up with a lot of partial images - either the start or the end of an image. But I did finally get one complete image with the 4 am pass this morning (a lot of noise on the signal):

   

I was using an Yaesu FT-897 transceiver with a Comet GP-3 dual band antenna mounted on a 10 foot pole. It is surrounded by trees and really doesn't have a clear view of the sky.

A friend of mine just sent me a couple of the images he received - beautiful, perfect copy. But he was using a yagi antenna aimed at the ISS.

I just looked you up on QRZ and read your bio. I see you are a Technician. Time to study and upgrade to a General class so you can get on HF and send some SSTV pictures yourself.

I was wondering if you have heard of AllStar Link? See following link:

AllStar Link

Raspberry PI Node

The second link describes the use of the small BeagleBone Black and Raspberry Pi computers instead of a full size computer. There's a group of us that have put nodes on the air that covers the Philadelphia to the South Jersey area. My node at home covers about five miles around my house when using a HT and about ten miles if using a mobile rig.

Glad you are enjoying the SDR Web Receivers. They are a lot of fun to use.

73,

WD9EQD
Bill
Smithville, NJ
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07-19-2015, 07:07 PM
Post: #11
RE: SSTV Pictures from the International Space Station
(07-19-2015 10:57 AM)Bill (Smithville NJ) Wrote:  Congratulations Steve! What equipment/antenna were you using?
Thanks! I used a Yaesu VX-6R HT with a 2M/70cm J-Pole antenna purchased on eBay. Since the power was off, I recorded the audio using a smartphone App and played it back to MMSSTV when the power came back on. About as low-tech as you can getSmile


(07-19-2015 10:57 AM)Bill (Smithville NJ) Wrote:  I ended up with a lot of partial images - either the start or the end of an image. But I did finally get one complete image with the 4 am pass this morning (a lot of noise on the signal):
Very Nice! Your image did not slew like mine. Yes, I found out it is a bit challenging getting a good image when your contact is 250 miles above you moving at 17, 000 MPH!


(07-19-2015 10:57 AM)Bill (Smithville NJ) Wrote:  I was using an Yaesu FT-897 transceiver with a Comet GP-3 dual band antenna mounted on a 10 foot pole. It is surrounded by trees and really doesn't have a clear view of the sky.

I just looked you up on QRZ and read your bio. I see you are a Technician. Time to study and upgrade to a General class so you can get on HF and send some SSTV pictures yourself.
Nice setup! (I, know I probably should call it a "rig").
It's funny, my wife and I were just talking about upgrading our licenses. We took the test together so we could use 2M HTs when we were out exploring. We haven't been very active in the hobby lately.


(07-19-2015 10:57 AM)Bill (Smithville NJ) Wrote:  I was wondering if you have heard of AllStar Link? See following link:
AllStar Link
I have not. I was familiar with Echolink and IRLP, but had not used them before either. Very cool.

Thanks again for all the information.
73
KI6ZWR
Steve Simpkin
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07-20-2015, 03:52 PM (This post was last modified: 07-20-2015 03:53 PM by jebem.)
Post: #12
RE: SSTV Pictures from the International Space Station
Thank you, Bill and Steve, for sharing all this information here.
Nice effort and great job!

Jose Mesquita
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07-21-2015, 04:08 PM
Post: #13
RE: SSTV Pictures from the International Space Station
(07-20-2015 03:52 PM)jebem Wrote:  Thank you, Bill and Steve, for sharing all this information here.
Nice effort and great job!

How did your friend make out? was he able to copy any of the signals?

Bill
Smithville, NJ
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07-21-2015, 04:17 PM
Post: #14
RE: SSTV Pictures from the International Space Station
Hopefully everyone had some success and copied some nice photos.

Following is link where people have uploaded some of their successful photos:

SSTV Photos

My friend Jim (KC3BRA) has two nice photos on the page. He lives about 50 miles from me and was using a homemade "arrow" antenna. Shows what can be done even on a quick pass if you can get clear sky to the ISS and can follow it's path.

You can either post your photo to the above site or email them. Then just fill out the form at the following to receive a nice diploma by email:

Application for SSTV Dipoloma

Bill
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Smithville, NJ
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07-22-2015, 12:11 AM
Post: #15
RE: SSTV Pictures from the International Space Station
(07-21-2015 04:08 PM)Bill (Smithville NJ) Wrote:  
(07-20-2015 03:52 PM)jebem Wrote:  Thank you, Bill and Steve, for sharing all this information here.
Nice effort and great job!

How did your friend make out? was he able to copy any of the signals?

Bill
Smithville, NJ

Unfortunately he didn't answer to my messages.
I met him a few months back in North and he was very busy restoring a new acquisition:
A military RACAL TR-15S (synthesized) made in South Africa in the 70's and used by both SA and Portuguese forces.

I used to repair this equipment along with the portable (backpack) Racal TR-28. The 15S was top of its class in those days as far as I remember. It could operate mobile on a vehicle or fixed by using the power adapter.

Mauricio was radio operator during the war and used these equipments in combat.
I am a few years younger than him, so I missed the war for just one year.

Jose Mesquita
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