Amateur Radio Packet via the International Space Station (ISS)

I’ve been meaning to try out packet radio via the ISS packet digipeater for a while. My first attempt the pass was less that 50degrees and I didn’t hear anything during the pass. Tonight there was a 76degree elevation pass – for this try I had my Icom 880 set to 145.825MHz, connected via a Rigblaster to a laptop running AGW Packet Engine. My antenna is just a homegrown 1/4wave vertical in my attic.

All set and ready to go, I started to hear some activity just before the peak elevation. I tried sending my unproto packet, but found out the hard way that AGWTerminal only does connected mode, and won’t send unproto packets. Found a discussion here as well, so I guess this is a limitation of AGWTerminal.

Apparently UISS is the app of choice for working packet via the ISS, but there wasn’t enough time to download it and get it installed in time for this pass.

I did receive some packets though, so although I didn’t get a chance to transmit, here’s what I received on this pass:

1:Fm K6PKL To CQ Via RS0ISS* <UI pid=F0 Len=42 >[21:58:00]
 =3748.51N/12112.44W-Solar Power
 1:Fm K6PKL To CQ Via RS0ISS* <UI pid=F0 Len=24 >[21:58:19]
 >142032zUI-View32 V2.03
 1:Fm K7LWV-6 To APRS Via RS0ISS* <UI pid=F0 Len=47 >[21:58:52]
 =4454.96N/12319.98W`Dallas, OR Via ISS {UISS53}

More TNC Commands

MCON ON : monitor all packets to/from other stations, not just your station

MCOM ON: monitor all packets sent (including ack packets etc)

MONITOR ON: turn on monitoring while not connected

Kantronics All Mode TNC – useful commands and tips

I’m still learning what the different commands are, but here’s what I’ve worked out so far (some of this might be wrong, if so leave me a comment!)

  • c callsign : connect to callsign
  • c callsign1 via callsign2 : connect via some other station you can hear
  • unproto name via call1, call2, etc : sets the routing list of stations where your want your packets to be sent when in conv mode (?)
  • when you connect (c) direct to another station, you enter conv mode with that station
  • conv: enter conv mode when not directly connected to another station (packets are broadcast to the stations in your unproto string)
  • Ctrl-C : to exit conv mode, and get back to cmd: mode
  • perm : write settings to eprom

Useful commands when connected to someone’s bbs:

  • l : list all messages
  • lm : list messages to me
  • b : list broadcast messages
  • s callsign : send message to callsign
  • r # : read msg #
  • b (bye) : exit