Listen to Astronauts on the ISS - ARISS contacts with Paolo Nespoli
After the SSTV Event on the ISS I discovered that the italian astronaut Polo Nespoli will make a few amateur radio contacts for the ARISS programm to stations around Europe in august. On these contacts the participents on earth will ask the astronaut questions, that they collected before the contact, over the amateur radio link. All voice contacts from the ISS are made over the same frequency as SSTV on 145.8 mhz. The modulation is standard FM, so almost any radio can receive it. Even a cheap Setup with either a SDR or Baofeng, like I used, works quite well.
First try - VCP-Budneszeltplatz contact
The first contact I tried to recive was on august 1th between Paolo Nespoli on the ISS and the VCP-Bundeszeltplatz her in Germany. The pass was far from perfet for me with a max elevation of 56°. I used a Baofeng UV5R and my DIY Carbon Yagi on the reiving end and recorded the audio from the radio with a USB Soundard and a cable on my Tablet. With that Setup I got the answers to question 3 to 17 that where all understandable. Because I had not much time to set everything up, after arriving in the field, i didn't tracked the ISS with my Yagi perfectly, but it is still a greate result for a 50€ Baofeng Setup.
I Also made a Video about it:
Second try - Frontiers of Flight Museum (USA)
The second contact to the Frontiers of Flight Museum in Dallas, Taxas in the USA used a telebridge in belgium, so I was also in range for that pass. I even had a better pass then before with a max elv. of over 70°. This time I used the Baofeng setup and also recorded everything with my RTL-SDR, FMTrap and LNA4ALL on a V-Dipole. The Antenna was placed on the roof of my car and was held on with some tape to a coffe dose that was attached to the roof with some magnets. To my surprising the SDR Setup worked really well and I received the whole pass from 1.6° to 1.3° elevation. Because of that I got all answeres from Nespoli even though there was a strange overloading issue on my SDR and also the Baofeng for about 2 minutes. I don't know exactly what the cause was, but it could have been a reflection off the signal from a Airplane or so. It was not a local Signal, because the overloading only happend when the ISS was transmitting.
I also made a Video, so have fun listening to Paolo: