International Space Station Upgrades Amateur Radio Operations

From the ARRL Letter

ARISS, Amateur Radio on the International Space Station, announced that simultaneous operations of the ARISS voice repeater and digital APRS (Automatic Packet Reporting System) communications on the Space Station are now a reality.

Current ARISS operations include voice repeater transmissions with the JVC Kenwood TM-D710GA in the Columbus module and APRS operation from an identical radio in the Zvezda module. Packet operations are on 145.825 MHz.

The Columbus module radio uses the call sign NA1SS and the new radio in Zvezda uses RS0ISS. Aside from the call signs, the radios are identical, and packet operations are the same as before. You can use RS0ISS, ARISS, or APRSAT as the packet path. Both radios are expected to be running full time, except during educational contacts, extra vehicular activities (EVAs), and docking maneuvers. Final checkouts and equipment activation occurred on August 11.

ARISS International Chair Frank Bauer, KA3HDO, said, “Simultaneous operation of APRS and the voice repeater on ISS is transformative for ARISS. It 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 lifelong learning in ham radio operations. Our heartfelt thanks to Sergey Samburov, RV3DR, for making this crucial ARISS 2.0 initiative become a reality.”

Rosalie White, K1STO, one of two US delegates to ARISS, said the ham radio community will be very happy with the new radio operations from the ISS. “Hams really love doing ARISS packet, cross-band repeater, and Slow-Scan Television (SSTV) operations. Besides the thousands who download ARISS SSTV images downlinked from the ISS, we discovered that in a year’s time, hams did 80,000 ARISS packet messages,” she said. “We are not sure how many have been enjoying the ARISS cross band repeater, but we know it is a lot. This simultaneous operation capability is going to make many hams happy — and we know that keeping hams on the air is good for ARRL and good for amateur radio,” White added.

Operational status and expected downtimes of the ISS radios can be found at