Participating in the ISS SSTV 20th Anniversary Event

Every so often the ISS broadcasts Slow Scan Television (SSTV). There’s a special holiday / 20th anniversary of Amateur Radio on the ISS (ARISS) event happening right now!

On Christmas Day it was raining / snowing and I tried capturing the SSTV signal from inside the house. I had heard that you could literally just play the sounds through your HT speaker and record them on your phone, that’s what I tried the first time. Then you decode the sounds into a picture using software like RX-SSTV. (At some point in the future I’ll have to write about how amateur radio has necessitated me once again using Windows, and the world of “freeware” and late 1990s website designs that make up a big part of the online amateur radio community.)

Here’s my first attempt, just using the stock antenna (rubber ducky) on my Yaesu FT-70DR and the recording app on my Pixel 4. I literally just set them on the table, and you can see the quality degrade as the ISS passes over and I don’t track it with the antenna (bottom of the picture is noise).


ISS Season's Greetings


Today the weather was considerably better and I made it out for another ISS pass. This time I used my tape measure Yagi connected to my laptop via my Nooelec RTL-SDR dongle. This let me record the audio directly via the open source GQRX program (without the loss I got from the radio speaker to the phone mic). I tracked the ISS as it moved across the sky. The results are considerably better!




From the red text at the bottom right, it looks like there are 12 images in all. I’ll do another post to share the ones I manage to collect before the event ends.