mobile packet setup

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Is it possible to send BBS messages to the iss using a arrow antenna and a laptop?
Has anyone used one hand to hold the antenna and the other hand to adjust for doppler and type on the computer?
My problem is that I can't install a az/el rotor where I live, let alone afford one.
Is it possible to automate a packet program to receive my new messages and send my pre-typed ones?
William, KC2NEK

Anonymous – Fri, 2006 – 03 – 17 13:28


I several times have made contacts with the ISS with a 5 watt ht and 5/8 wave antenna and a Sharp pda running a simple terminal program.It's not an optimal setup but it will work.On passes above 10 degrees or more elevation I could almost always make a qsl contact. Of course my ft-847 3ghz computer with 19'' LCD screen and uiss v5 software and a 18 element yagi almost guarantee sucessful 1-2+degree passes.Have fun and practice several times connecting to a local packet station before you go for the big one KB1CHU

cell phone beeper maglite ham ht gmrs ht gps multimeter tnc tablet pc blackberry ''HEY KIDS WHERE ARE MY *^(%$#!! BATTERIES''

Submitted by kb1chu on Thu, 2006-04-06 00:05.

Some possibilities

I have a slightly different problem. I sometimes chase the space station in the middle of the night, so I don't want to be outside the car for safety reasons.

Some possibilities. There's always a way.

(1) if it is not too congested, use a vertical mag mount square in the middle of the roof -- perhaps a 1/4 wave -- and 30 watts or more. That way, you won't have to do the tracking. With a 1/2 wave vertical in the middle of the roof, I notice a drop in signal strength when the space station appears near over head (something like S7) -- compared to the 30 degree elevation mark where the sig is full scale.

(2) Or, you can put the magmount on the SIDE of your car, so the doughnut shaped radiation pattern is in a vertical plane. Point the car along the line where you expect the shuttle to appear and pass, but allow for some radiation off axis from the whip so don't point the car dead-square on at that point.

(3) When doppler is in play, the range is often something like 500+ miles -- so you're fighting two things -- the doppler shift (up to 3 khz) and the weak signal. So, concentrate on the middle of the pass where the distances are closer, your sig is stronger and the doppler is minimized.

(4) It helps if you can mount the Arrow antenna onto a video tripod, and give a friend a photocopy map of the immediate area and ask the friend to help point the antenna. Mark the map with times and direction and elevation of the pass. I often use one minute increments, unless the pass is near overhead, when I use 30 second increments. Adjust accordingly.

(5) If you don't have a friend readily available, put the laptop on the trunk of the car, operate the packet program, and occasionally move the Arrow on the video tripod.

There are several packet programs with the "upload" command. In terms of full automation, I'm not aware of one.

Ron H, AH6RH

Submitted by AH6RH on Sat, 2006-03-18 02:59.

BBS access

Trying to access the BBS over highly populated areas is a very difficult task due to all the QRM from other stations.
Best just try to UNPROTO digi through the ISS and make short and quick exchanges. Once your station improves, then trying the BBS during low use hours may be easier.

Kenneth - N5VHO

Submitted by N5VHO on Fri, 2006-03-17 15:35.

mobile packet

Yes, you could use an Arrow Yagi with a laptop to access the ISS mailbox. Chances are you won't need to deal with Doppler, unless you are trying to make a connection near the beginning or end of the pass. There might be programs that can do what you're asking for, but the commands on the ISS mailbox are not necessarily the same as on other packet BBS systems.

Have you looked over the information on Cor's (PD0RKC) web site:

There are probably other programs that could help you out with this, try searching for "ISS packet" and you'll see.

Chances are you won't have enough time on a pass to send and receive lots of messages. There are stations which use the ISS packet system to relay their location (APRS), and you can see this activity at:

I'm not trying to discourage your efforts, but keep in mind that the ISS is a very popular station no matter what mode it operates in, and many will be trying to work it on packet - accessing the mailbox and the digipeater - during a pass. Try it manually at first, so you can see it for yourself before going to an automated setup. If the packet isn't on, the crew may be on the microphone or the equipment may be turned off for some other activity on the station or an upcoming docking (new crew or Progress resupply ship).

Good luck and 73!

Patrick WD9EWK/VA7EWK - Phoenix, Arizona USA

Submitted by WD9EWK on Fri, 2006-03-17 15:24.

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