Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Main Ham Station on International Space Station Suffers Antenna Problems


The International Space Station
(NASA photo)

Replacement of a decade-old piece of coax on the outside of the International Space Station apparently resulted in a loss of signals for the amateur station inside the Columbus module used for Amateur Radio on the International Space Station, or ARISS, contacts. 

According to the AMSAT News Service, the ham gear was shut down and disconnected from the interior feedline for safety before crew members conducted a spacewalk on January 27 to install cabling to support the Bartolomeo attached payload capability on the exterior of the module. The work included replacing an old piece of coax used for ARISS and one additional antenna with a new cable for ARISS and three additional antenna connections. 

When the crew reconnected and restarted the radio system the next day, no signals were heard, either on the voice repeater or APRS. A planned school contact was canceled when no signals from the space station were received.

As we went to press, the ARISS team was still trying to determine the source of the problem, which could also be an issue with the internal cable.