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20 Years of Amateur Radio on the International Space Station

Amateur radio achieved 20 years of continuous operations on the International Space Station in December and celebrated with a slow-scan television (SSTV) event at the end of the month. The ISS crew set up automated SSTV transmissions of 12 different images and multitudes of Earth stations received them.

I managed to copy 7 of the 12, plus the very bottom of an eighth, using my makeshift setup: an iPhone with the Black Cat SSTV app held at the speaker of my Kenwood TH-F6A handheld. I used a rooftop 7/8-wavelength 2-meter vertical for my first attempts, which gives good results except for some noise banding. My best images came with the Arrow antenna I use for all satellites.

Like many other listeners, I uploaded my image files to the ARISS SSTV Gallery, then requested a certificate of accomplishment. It arrived promptly today.


The first successful ARISS contact with a school happened December 21, 2000. Since then, astronauts have made more than 1300 school contacts all over the world.

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