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Excellent video from the ISS

Date : 18 / 02 / 2017
Author : Jim Linton - VK3PC

Recent use of HAM-TV on the International Space Station in Europe has taken this popular educational activity to a new level. The Collège André Malraux in France asked ARISS Europe for HAM-TV support for its scheduled contact with European Space Agency Astronaut, Thomas Pesquet KG5FYG.

The experimental HAM-TV was possible due to the equipped ground stations in Europe to provide video coverage from the ISS downlink signal. This particular contact had voice transmissions from the ISS on the UHF band on 437 MHz, with a ground station at the school. As a back-up feed to the school was the ON4ISS ARISS telebridge station in Belgium.

ARISS (Amateur Radio on the International Space Station) lets students talk directly with those on board, inspiring them to pursue interests in careers in science, technology, engineering and math, and engaging them with radio science technology through Amateur Radio.

The contact lasted about 10 minutes on Monday 13 February and also involved a series of five radio amateur radio ground stations in Europe equipped with the HAMTV receive capability. These were linked together forming a chain for the video from the ISS. It had a downlink signal of 2395 MHz and was streamed live on the British Amateur TV Club server seamlessly, using Multi viewer technology which selects the strongest signal.

The video from space in real time was excellent, with Thomas at first testing, and seen checking that the antenna was correctly connected to a hand-held UHF transceiver and the correct frequency was set. Then, wearing a head-set, the astronaut answered 19 questions in the French language prepared by students watched in awe at the school by an audience of 190 students and guests. Looking at the camera and gesturing to areas in the Columbus module he seemed at ease in dealing with the inquiring youngsters. The contact ended with a wave from Thomas, a thank you, and then he floated out of sight.

HAM-TV from the ISS has certainly added a new dimension to talking to the crew on the International Space Station. It is just another part of our part of our diverse hobby an exciting opportunity to inspire the minds of students and to hopefully generate a greater awareness of our unique hobby. With two stations already in Australia being HAM-TV equipped ground stations, Shane VK4KHZ and Martin VK6MJ, hopefully video from the ISS via HAM-TV is a possibility for an Australian school.

For more on the story, pictures and and videos, see this Link


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