Tag Archives: AirScout

Back on Earth…..

June 17th, 2013

….. I worked in the Alpe Adria Contest last Sunday on 23 cm. In parallel there was an activity contest in Czechia. So a lot of stations from east, southeast and south filled the log.

Alpe Adria Contest 2013 on 23 cm

Remarkable was a nice SSB-QSO with Mirek, OK2UYZ in JN99FS over more than 700 km via tropo. Lane, S54AA in JN76EG could be worked, who was beaming into a large valley towards the Alps with mountains of 2.500 m. Another aircraft scatter QSO I had with Walter, IW3SPI in JN66OD, who is very, very close to the Alps.

Pathinfo by AirScout

Path information by AirScout

The reflections were rare and short but enough to complete.

ISS bounce IV

May 10th, 2013

Today Jan, PA3FXB and I used ISS passes to improve doppler compensation.


The first pass of three was disappointing because no reflections could be detected. In the second one I found Jan shortly after his window opened. But it sounded more like a strange kind of music than CW, Jan stated after listening to the audio file, I recorded of his signal. The reason were too long steps in timing for the frequency correction. I reduced it for the last try from 100 ms to 10 ms. After some recalibration of frequency and rotor control I started the system again when the ISS rose.

2013-05-10 13-43

I could hear Jan without any manual corrections immediately after he started transmissions. The frequency tracking worked quite smoothly and reading his CW was possible without any problems.

PA3FXB as received by DJ5AR with QRG tracking every 10 ms

The audio file contains Jan´s signal in three periods. From 0:00 to 1:00 the signal raises while being on the upper flat part of the doppler curve shown above. During the second period from 1:00 to 2:00 the signal passes the steep part and even an adjustment every 10 ms leads to a kind of jumping signal. When receiving the third period, the signal was quite stable again and faded out, while the ISS moved to the eastern horizon.

In between his TX periods Jan tried to catch my signal without doppler compensation, just playing with the RIT. He successfully got a short part of my transmission:

DJ5AR as received by PA3FXB without QRG tracking

Doppler compensation on my TX part did not work. It seems that the SDR does not accept CAT commands for frequency change while transmitting. So we will work on another strategy, where TX frequencies remain fixed and both stations will do full doppler compensation only while receiving.

Aircraft Scatter, AirScout and the ISS

February 23rd, 2013

Frank, DL2ALF has written an amazing tool for aircraft scatter prediction, called AirScout. Positions of planes are shown in a map like at http://planefinder.net or http://www.flightradar24.com, but in addition the path and the part of it, where planes could be seen from both stations will be marked. Frank is using open street map for the maps and an elevation model of NOAA to respect the topography of the path. I made use of a beta version last Tuesday in the NAC on 23 cm and found it extremly helpful.

The latest version can be found here.

Thank you Frank!


Path DJ5AR – IK3HHG with planes and topography

As can be seen in the screenshot, the effective area is excentric to the center of the path. It is displaced southwards because IK3HHGs horizon is limited by the alps.


Eight times IK3HHG shifted by doppler, corresponding to the screenshot above

Last saturday at the GHz meeting in Dorsten Frank told me, that he integrated the groundtrack of the International Space Station to be drawn in the map too. So we have been discussing about the possibility of performing QSOs via reflections at the ISS.


AirScout with groundtrack of ISS

Back home I was very optimistic and used overflights, where the ISS  passed by nort of my location to look out for reflections of GB3MHL on 23 cm, but had no success. There was no trace at all in the waterfall diagram of my SDR. The duration of a pass is only up to 9 minutes and the expected doppler shift is +/- 84 kHz due to the high speed of 28000 km/h. So even if something could be heared or seen, tracking and decoding the signal will be another problem to be resolved.

But anyway: I am looking for somebody to perform tests with me, just to detect reflections at the ISS. Skeds are welcome via chat (ON4KST and HB9Q) or email dj5ar (at) darc.de