Status of ARISS Ground Station @ W5RRR

The W5RRR satellite tracking and ARISS capability had been largely unused and requiring updates for quite awhile.  Enter: Keith, KG5HOK, John, AB5SS, Mike, N8MTV, Jeff, AB4ME, and Terry,KG5TJT.  Keith got things rolling by acquiring SW and HW to interface our AZ-EL controller to a computer, but it still had problems. 

Mike then seized the code and debugged the app so that autotracking was solid and dependable.  Mike had further jumped in feet first and is our ARISS JSCARC lead.  In this role, Mike has been working with Ken, N5VHO (the official ISS Ham Coordinator) to begin the “recertification” of W5RRR as an operational ARISS ground station.  To date, W5RRR has successfully tracked and monitored several ARISS downlink events.  In all cases, our W5RRR 24-element 2m cross polarized yagi continue to demonstrate terrific performance.  Audio has been excellent- a precursor for directly supporting ISS crew/ARISS communication exchanges with schools.  In parallel, a portable ARISS station has been developed and under evaluation.  The portable station will allow the JSCARC ARISS team to travel directly to participating schools for direct realtime uplink/downlink with ISS during coordinated schedules.  The permanent ground station in the shack would serve as a remote capability using a telebridge phone connection to link the schools via W5RRR. Jeff AB4ME has now been actively involved in technically and operationally supporting this effort as well as new participation from KG5TJT.  We’re still seeking interested members.  This capability and our participatory role is identified in our charter within our existing Space Act Agreement between the JSCARC and JSC.  Photos in this blog was the 05:12 AM 5 degree pass.  AB4ME and KG5TJT successfully tracked the ISS to K6DUE ARISS session in support of Sndoverken, Sweden school event.  The successful track was conducted inside the shack, while Jeff and Terry tried (but has problems) with the portable setup outside on a tripod and the tailgate of Jeff’s truck.

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