Tips for working ISS on Voice

You do not need a license to Listen (SWL Short Wave Listening)


ISS Amateur Radio Status: April 11, 2007

ISS When will ISS be on Voice

By Miles Mann WF1F,

MAREX-MG (Manned Amateur Radio Experiment, North American Division)

ISS When will ISS be on Voice:

That is one most common questions I am asked.

The good news is that some times we Do know when the ISS crew will be talking to a pre-arranged school schedule.  The ARISS team keeps a posted list that is updated frequency on the link below.

For Random public access you will just need to keep listening and with a little research, you can improve your chances of catching the ISS crew during a Random voice contact.

Here are a few thinks you need to know:

What is the ISS crews sleep/wake cycle?

Most of the time the ISS crew is awake from 07:00 22:00 UTC time (also known as Zulu time). And the crew is sleeping from 22:00 6:00 UTC time. You will need to know the time difference between you local time and UTC time.

Note: Sometimes the ISS crew will "SHIFT" their sleep cycle to be compatible with space walks and Shuttle docking.

When is the ISS crew allowed to Operate Amateur Radio Voice:

The ISS crew is allowed to use the Amateur radio station for random contacts only during their OFF hours. However the ISS crew has very little amount of free time. As one ESA official said to an ARISS meeting, "There is no such think as free time for ISS crew, all of there time is accounted for". The best chance for a random contact with ISS is during the weekends and after dinner time on the space station.

ISS Visitors:

Sometimes ISS will a guest visitor with a little lighter work schedule.  These visitors will occasionally use the Amateur Radio station to make Pre-Schedules contacts and some Random contacts.

An interesting side note from the Mir days, is that when all hardware on Mir was working 100%, the Mir crew was too busy to talk on the Radio. When Mir had power problems or things like a broken refrigerator/freezer, the Mir crew had more time to experiment with the Amateur Radio projects. No freezer, no blood tests, etc. So the crews had more free time. I have seen a similar scenario on ISS. So look for times when many projects are not working and that ISS crew is waiting for new software etc from NASA and you may see a pattern of higher activity.

When will ISS be in range of my house:

You will need to do some more research here too. Either use some web tracking programs such as are on the NASA web page or buy your own tracking program. If you are using your own tracking program, keep the data (KEPS) current. For ISS the data must be less than 2 weeks old.

The Space Stations orbit changes daily, you will need to learn about these predictable changes.  Each day the first pass of the day will have shifted by approximately 40 minutes earlier in the day. In a few weeks, the first orbit of the day will be around Midnight local time. The whole orbit cycle of ISS repeats approximately every 8 weeks. You will need to learn how to take advantage of when ISS is in a good position your you chances of a random voice contact. It may mean that you may have to get out of bed at a strange time for a shot at a voice contact.

What Frequencies are the ISS using for Amateur Radio:

If you are a Shot-wave-listener, just set your receiver to monitor 145.800  (5khz deviation FM).  This frequency is considered the public down link channel from ISS.  When ever the ISS crew is talking to the Public or a School, they will use this channel for the Down link.  The private School schedules, will always use an un-published Uplink channel.  When the ISS crew is talking to the Amateur Radio public, they will be listening on different channels depending on what part of the world they are flying over.  The following frequencies are currently used for ARISS general QSO's

Voice and Packet Downlink: 145.80 (Worldwide)

Voice Uplink: 144.49 for Regions 2 and 3 (The Americas, and the Pacific)

Voice Uplink: 145.20 for Region 1 (Europe, Central Asia and Africa)

Packet Uplink: 145.99 (Worldwide)

Make sure you use the correct channel for your country. Also use the correct channel for transmission mode, do not transmit voice on the packet channel and visa versa.

Good luck all, suggest you get your tape recorders ready and start listening to the ISS channels. Please observer the proper calling procedures.

    Wait for ISS Crew to call CQ or QRZ.

    Send only your call sign and wait for crew to acknowledge your specific call sign.

    Listen closely for the call of the station he/she is talking with.

    If you do not hear your specific call sign, do not transmit again until you hear the ISS crew member say CQ or QRZ

Please be courteous.

ISS Visible:

It is possible to see the Space Station with just your eyes on a good pass. The NASA web pages are a good source of information.  From this web page below you can select your city and find out when the Space Station will be visible near your home.  City visibility page General Tracking information.


The ARISS Europe team has posted a QSL address for ISS.


So spread the world.


73 Miles WF1F MAREX-MG


New MAREX Web pages:

Check out our future ISS Projects and a large list if Mir related links and tips on how to use the Chat room on ISS.

Copyright 2007 Miles Mann, All Rights Reserved. This document may be freely

distributed via the following means - Email (including listservers), Usenet,

and World-Wide-Web. It may not be reproduced for profit including, but not

limited to, CD ROMs, books, and/or other commercial outlets without prior

written consent from the author.

Until we meet again



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