Packet Radio via the International Space Station – March 2021

The Packet Radio service on the ISS has been out for a few months, but during an EVA yesterday a cable was replaced and the service is back up again for the first time today.

I used my regular 2m radio , an Icom 880h with my homebrew copper wire 2m groundplane antenna in the attic, and transmitted on full power (50w), hooked up to a laptop via a Rigblaster, running UZ7HO soundmodem for the packet radio modem, and used the UISS software to send the APRS packets.

The pass was only 57 degrees at the highest, so it wasn’t a particularly high pass. I don’t think I started to hear packets until it was a couple of mins towards the peak. I heard 6 other stations get digipeated by the ISS: KB6LTY, K6FVC, N6RSX, KG6LHW, W7OSG and AB7DY, and I got about 3 APRS transmission digipeated (my callsign is KK6DCT):

If you’re wondering what this is about I have a couple of other posts from when I tried to get this working a few years ago:

Oculus Link USB disconnect issues: known issue with X570 motherboards

I’ve only had my Oculus Quest 2 for a few weeks now, but using it with a Link cable has been frustrating because it continually disconnects. Thinking it was just a loose cable and was loosing connection as I turned my head, I’ve velcro strapped the cable tightly to the headset headband, but I still get issues. The disconnects appear to be random as well, and not even related to when I move my head.

Turns out there is a known issue with AMX X570 chipset motherboards (and other AMD chipsets too) and random USB disconnects. It’s a known issue, apparently a cause has been identified and BIOS updates/upated drivers are coming soon. More info here.

Installing Windows XP on Virtual PC 7 for Mac OS X

Virtual PC 7 for Mac OS X comes with a preconfigured VM image for Windows XP. The approach for installing from disk image (.iso, .dmg) files instead of physical media is not so obvious, but here’s the steps that worked for me.

I’m installing on Virtual PC 7 on OS X 10.5 running on a dual G5 Power Mac.

Select the ‘Install from a Virtual PC for Mac CD’ option:

Next you’re prompted to install the install disk:

At this mount if you double-click the first of the .iso images for Virtual PC, it will mount the disk image, and should appear in Virtual PC:

This step seemed a bit flakey for me. If it doesn’t work, unmount the image, close Virtual PC and try again. I also noticed that it doesn’t work with the .dmg images, only the .iso images.

If it does pick it up, you’ll see in Virtual PC it shows the XP Pro disk is inserted:

Press Continue and it starts installing:

It only take a couple of minutes:

When it prompts for disk 2, double click the second of the .iso files:

Once installed, you’re ready to start up the VM:

XP starts up and you can continue through the XP setup steps:


Arduino IDE board settings: ESP8266 vs ATmega328

I’m working on a couple of different project, one using the ATmega328 and another using the ESP8266 (programming the Oracle Code card which I talked about here).

Just so I don’t forget what settings to use with each board, leaving a note here for reference.

IDE settings for ATmega328:

IDE settings for ESP8266 – from :

Under Tools set the following settings:

  • Board: “Generic ESP8266 Module”
  • Upload Speed “115200”
  • CPU Frequency: “80 MHz”
  • Crystal Frequency: “26 MHz”
  • Flash Size: “4M (3M SPIFFS)”
  • Flash Mode: “DIO”
  • Flash Frequency: “40MHz”
  • Reset Method: “nodemcu”
  • Debug port: “Disabled”
  • Debug Level: “None”
  • IwIP Variant: “v2 Lower Memory”
  • VTables: “Flash”
  • Builtin Led: “2”
  • Erase Flash: “Only Sketch”
  • Port: This is the port that shows up once you turn on the CodeCard and press a button
  • Programmer: “ArduinoISP”