Amateur Radio

I have a new hobby—Amateur Radio. I have earned my license and now a Class B operator, with call sign 4I1AWN.


Recently, I have been engaged with satellite communications. Here’s a short demo on how I used a two-way radio and a smart phone to receive Slow Scan Television (SSTV) images from the International Space Station (ISS) as it orbits the Earth at a height of about 400 km. The transmission was received on February 9, 2019, at around 8 am local time, from Bacoor City, Cavite.

Equipment: Yaesu FT60
Decoder app: Robot 36
ISS locator app: ISS Detector
Frequency: 145.8 MHz

Note that as a satellite such as the International Space Station (ISS) orbits the Earth, the orientation of its transmitting antenna changes with respect to the Earth. It could have an orientation anywhere from horizontal to vertical. To get a good signal, the Earth-based receiving antenna must match the orientation of the ISS’s transmitting antenna, especially when using only a hand-held tranceiver with stock antenna. An antenna with a pair of elements placed at right angles with each other (such as a cross Yagi or a cross dipole) is best suited for satellite work, because elements at right angles can receive signals from both horizontally and vertically-oriented antennas. In this video, I have demonstrated this effect and shown how changes in antenna orientation affects the strength of the signal received.

Through amateur radio, you can engage in various activities such as receiving images from the ISS, use various satellites as relay stations, bounce a signal off the moon, or talk to the astronauts on the ISS (as it orbits 400 kilometers above)!

Transmission received from the International Space Station

Related link: Receiving Transmissions from Space

© Anthony Urbano (Manila, Philippines)