Radio on the
Frequently asked questions
- About ARISS equipment on the ISS
- About contacting the ISS Astronauts
- About ARISS and the ARISS team
- About the ARISS Packet hardware
- About the ISS packet Personal Messaging System
- About school contacts
What kinds of radios does ARISS use on the ISS?
The ISS Ham radios are Ericsson MP-X handheld radios, and a KenwoodD-700. More equipment for HF may be shipped to the station later next year.
There is an orbit prediction capability on-board. It is called Worldmap. It is on the LAN-based computers in ISS. The laptop we are currently using is not hooked up to the LAN, so Worldmap is not used near the radio system. The Ham radio equipment is currently housed in the aft end of the FGB (Zarya). and, as described, is velcroed to the wall.
What are the voice frequencies used to contact the space station?
We have programmed numerous channels in the radios. Two of these channels on the 2 meter radio support voice operations (145.80 down/144.49 for regions 2 &3 & 145.80 down/145.20 for region 1). It was necessary to use two uplinks due to region-to-region restrictions on uplink frequencies.
Does that mean that the crew have to change over freq when they are in range of a region 2/3 country, or does their little hand held allow reception on 2 freqs at the same time?
We do not use a scanning capability on the radio. The crew switches between one freq to the other. If they begin a QSO over the US, they can track US stations until they hit the Atlantic and then they will quickly lose US stations. They can then switch over to the other freq and pick up Europe or Africa.
What is the difference between regions 1, 2 and 3 ?
ITU region 1 is Europe, Middle East, Africa, and North Asia.
ITU region 2 is North and South America, Caribbean, Greenland.
ITU region 3 is South Asia, Australia New Zealand, and Oceania.
What does ARISS use for Packet Hardware control?
The computer that was being used for the packet system was an IBM Thinkpad A22P that Mark Shuttleworth left on-board the ISS after his flight. The power supply for this unit has failed and we are making preparations to have the computer replaced
There are two primary ways to use the packet system---unproto operations and using the Packet Mailbox System (PMS). Given that only one person can use the Packet Mailbox System at a time, remember that unproto mode allows more to participate in the use of the packet system than the Mailbox System. I realize that many of you would like to get an e-mail from an astronaut. We understand that. But when you have thousands trying to connect up to the Mailbox and only one can connect and send their message, this can sometimes lead to frustrations by others on the ground. The most important thing to remember....if you use the PMS, keep your messages short and pre-developed. Other things to consider: Be surprised when the ISS crew responds to your message because they are quite busy up there. Please don't resend the same message to the crew if they haven't responded to your first message. Also, please don't put the crew in a bad position by asking them to set up a schedule with you. This would be unfair to all the hams and school children around the world. We want all to participate, not just a select few. Stick with unproto ops whenever possible to maximize the packet throughput and send short PMS messages only on occasion.
Where can I find instructions for using the ARISS packet system?
There is a page of instructions on this web site. Just click here
I never seem to be able to make a contact. What are my chances?
The international ARISS team is committed to making sure we are fair and accommodating to all---the hams on the ground, the ISS crew, the national radio organizations, those organizations interested in supporting ham radio on ISS, and the school children. The international Space Agencies have allowed ham radio on ISS for a reason....it provides a great psychological boost for the crew and it is an outstanding educational outreach tool. We are guests on ISS. Our operation on ISS is a privilege just like our ham radio license is a privilege. The ARISS team will continue to balance the needs of all for the long-term betterment of amateur radio in space. Thanks for all the ideas and inputs. And thanks for all your interest in Amateur Radio on the International Space Station."
Current Expedition 34 Crew (Exp 34 begins with the Soyuz TMA-05M undocking in November 2012)
(Launch October 23, 2012, Landing - March 2013)
Commander Kevin Ford, KF5GPP
Flight Engineer Oleg Novitskiy
Flight Engineer Evgeny Tarelkin
(Launch December 19, 2012, Landing - May 2013)
Flight Engineer Chris Hadfield, KC5RNJ/VA3OOG
Flight Engineer Tom Marshburn, KE5HOC
Flight Engineer Roman Romanenko
The following call signs are available for use on the ISS:
Russian callsigns RS0ISS, RZ3DZR USA callsign NA1SS European callsign DP0ISS, OR4ISS Packet station mailbox callsign RS0ISS-11 Packet station keyboard callsign RS0ISS
Other call signs may come into use as the station and crew change. Watch here for any updates.
The following frequencies are currently used for ARISS general QSO's
Voice and Packet Downlink: 145.80 (Worldwide)
Voice Uplink: 144.49 for Regions 2 and 3 (The Americas, and the Pacific)
Voice Uplink: 145.20 for Region 1 (Europe, Central Asia and Africa)
Packet Uplink: 145.99 (Worldwide)
How do I get a QSL card for an astronaut contact?
For the USA :
225 Main Street
Newington, CT 06111-1494 USA
For Canada :
Radio Amateurs of Canada
720 Belfast Road, Suite 217
ARISS Japan QSL
JARL International Section
Novo - Mytishchinsky prospekt 52 - 111
Mytishchi 18, Moskovskaya obl.
Other Sources of information
- Frequencies in use
- ISS Callsigns in Use
- Current ISS crew
- QSL addresses
- Amateur Radio Stations heard via ISS
- ARISS Packet system instructions
- ARISS - Frequently Asked Questions
- NASA News
- AMSAT News Service
- ISS Expedition Crews and their call signs
- ISS Expedition Three and Expedition Four Crews
- Astronaut-Ham Web Page
- Expedition Two page. and Expedition Three page
- ISS Shuttle Launch schedule
- VK5ZAI ARISS School contact Info and pictures
- More VK5ZAI information on ISS
- STS-106 (ISS 2A.2b)
- Photo Gallery (updated with flyaround photo of the Zarya antennas).
- ISS Expedition One (ISS 2R) overview and operations information (callsigns, frequencies, schedules, etc.) Updated with a description of the initial ham station on the ISS.
- listening to NASA TV rebroadcasts.
ARISS-Related Web Sites
http://www.ariss-eu.org English, Europe
http://www.amrad.pt/ariss.php Portuguese, Portugal
http://www.qsl.net/py1kcf/ Portuguese, Brazil
Send comments or questions to: TBD