ARISSat-1 is still transmitting from space, despite some technical setbacks in recent weeks.
ARISSat was deployed from the International Space Station on August 3rd, and its voice and data transmissions have been received worldwide since.
(See related story: “Ham radio’s newest satellite,” posted August 6th.)
Due to problems with battery voltage, ARISSat-1 is in a weakened state when in darkness.
Unfortunately, almost every pass of ARISSat-1 over Connecticut has been at night, but more daylight passes are expected in the weeks ahead, according to the AMSAT predictions chart.
The odd flight path has even prevented W1AW in Newington CT, the headquarters station of the American Radio Relay League (ARRL), from tuning in so far, says W1AW station manager Joe Carcia.
AMSAT, the organization promoting ham radio satellites, says ARISSat-1’s battery began failing faster than expected after its first week in orbit. That means the satellite is spending more time in low power mode while in daylight, when its solar panels are supposed to allow it to transmit on high power.
While flying in darkness (“eclipse”), ARISSat-1 transmits for just 40 seconds and remains idle for two minutes to conserve power, according to its official website, ARISSat1.org.
For those of us trying to listen at home, the battery issue means the chances of hearing a signal are much better in the daytime, and a real challenge after sunset.
ARISSat-1 also transmits telemetry of all onboard systems, allowing controllers to keep an eye on voltage, current and power.
ARISSat-1 uses the frequency 145.95 FM, and sends voice, data and slow-scan TV pictures from its cameras.
The ARRL, along with NASA and AMSAT, are partners in a program which encourages young people to explore science through ham radio.
The group runs a program that allows teachers and students to speak with astronauts aboard the International Space Station, during a series of prescheduled radio contacts.
The schedule of ISS school contacts for 2012 will be released in September.