Packet Radio Using Remote Control Through SSH Server

Recently I have been messing with APRS and other packet radio transmissions, and I haven’t really found it to be all that enjoyable in its present form. Don’t get me wrong. I have had plenty of fun with it, but it hasn’t been what I want to do. My previous articles about getting Xastir up and running and sending packets through the ISS show that I enjoyed what I was doing, but the problem is that neither situations were very convenient. With APRS, I had to start up a laptop and initialize the TNC or I had to keep it running and risk killing the car battery. With the ISS I had to be ready to go at a moment’s notice, and since many of the passes were during work hours, I was not able to leave and drive to the clearing to make contact. Now, I think I’ve come up with a solution. Continue reading

KK4FGM on the International Space Station (RS0ISS-4)

Screen capture of ariss.netEarlier today I took a shot at communication with the UNPROTO side of the ISS’s amateur radio communication system. I would give myself a C- for operation because I made a few mistakes, but I was brought up on The funny thing is that it put me right in the sea below Iceland. Thanks to my friend Thomas for pointing that out to me. I am not running APRS yet. I haven’t quite figured out if Ubuntu can do that for me.

You can see that my message was longer than my packet length of 72. It was split, and with the busy system it was spread out over several seconds or minutes. I will shorten the message next time.

I issued a public apology on for not using good operating procedures and not knowing what I was doing. I wasn’t intentionally trying to make a mess, but nonetheless I feel awful for tying up the line for longer than I needed.

Once I figure out this stuff good enough, I plan on blogging about the experience so that perhaps the knowledge can be spread. I am using a Yaesu FT-1900, a Kantronics KAM TNC (bought used…I think it’s somewhat old), and an HP laptop running Ubuntu 11.10. I have a cheap USB to serial adapter to connect the TNC to the computer. I didn’t receive any cables with the TNC when  I bought it, and I had to wire all those up, too. That was fun, and it only took two tries to get them right.

I hope to see everyone on the ISS, soon. Not literally everyone, but to those who work it, I’ll be there as much as I can to say hi. Perhaps someday I can get an APRS system going, too.