Page 1 of 77

ISS voice transmissions

Posted: Wed Apr 11, 2007 11:09 pm
by Davej

Picked up the first voice transmissions from the ISS for over a year.

Around 23.57 (check with Heavens Above for future "passes").

If you have a radio scanner it can be picked up on 145.800 fm.

Can also be observed visually in the late evening now.


Posted: Thu Apr 12, 2007 10:42 am
by robinflegg
Can you tell us what equipment you used to hear voice transmissions on the ISS?

I'd be most interested to try myself.

Posted: Thu Apr 12, 2007 11:23 am
by dazcaz
The majority of scanners will cover 145.800Mhz as that frequency is in the ham radio 2M band and AFIK all scanners cover the 2M band.
Being a ham I have heard the ISS, shuttles, and even Mir many times.

It's quite common for hams to speak to the astro/cosmonauts on the missions. AFIK all manned space missions have a licenced ham on board, and most missions have their own dedicated ham callsign.

You do not need big antennas, usually the built in telescopic is good enough, but bigger better antennas will allow you to listen for longer.

On my chimney I have a weather sat receiving antenna, this is designed for 136Mhz, but it's great for ISS/Shuttle listening is it "points" skywards.

There are other frequencies to listen to, these can be found on Google.
Ususally the 2M frequencies are used for talking to hams or linking up with schools etc. A ham operator will visit a school, set up his station, and wait his turn. Most school hook ups are scheduled, but very often you'll hear the madness that we call a "pile up", as hams all over the footprints area start shouting.
I have never spoken to a mission, but I have had data signals transferred via Mir's packet radio node.
I remeber once when Helen Sharman was aboard Mir, listening on my 2M handeld radio one break time in work. My work mates were amazed that they were listening to the Mir space station!

Maplin sell a wide range of scanners as do Martyn Lynch +sons and Waters and Stanton

Lynch and waters are specialists in the radio comms field, so a phone call to either will get you great info and good prices. I have bought a lot of kit from both of these dealers and can recommend them.

Sadly scanners have lost a lot of their appeal as the police are now digital, and mobile phones are GSM :( ...but the fire service and the utilities are still analogue, as are hams, taxis etc etc etc....
You can also use your scanner to receive the polar orbiting weather sats. This is superb! Live pictures from space as the bird flies overhead. Just listening to the beeps as it goes over is brill!!!! Receiving space transmissions is easy!


Posted: Thu Apr 12, 2007 11:26 am
by 12dstring
You'll need to get a radio scanner, that covers the 145.800 mhz frequency.

Maplin sell quite a few. Most of those should cover that frequency. I have the Alinco DJ-X3 and can use it to listen to air traffic, marine bands, normal radio broadcasts and even download weather satellite pictures - although I've yet to try to recieve ISS transmissions.

It should be noted these are only recievers, and you can't talk with them.

Posted: Thu Apr 12, 2007 11:29 am
by 12dstring
beat me to it :P
with a much better explanation

Posted: Thu Apr 12, 2007 3:54 pm
by dazcaz
12dstring wrote: It should be noted these are only recievers, and you can't talk with them.
Get yerself a ham licence and you can!!!!!

Mir used to be an orbiting ham repeater. If you never got to speak to the occupants, you could work trough the "box" Transmit up on one frequency and listen down on another. Sadly this stopped when they started getting power problems. They needed the power for other stuff like life support :)

This is an interesting link, all about ham radio aboard the ISS.

To listen in you don't need expensive kit. An 80 to 100 quid scanner will do.... But for 80 to 100 quid, you can also get a full on VHF ham tranceiver (Transmitter/receiver) and ham licences have never been easier to get.

Set you uplink (transmit) freq to 145.200 and the downlink (receive) to 145.800 and shout out when ISS is nearby.... You might get lucky!

What are you waiting for????? :)


Posted: Thu Apr 12, 2007 5:10 pm
by dazcaz
This taken from

An Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) contact has been scheduled for Thursday, April 12 at 19:00 UTC with Fairborn High School students in Fairborn, Ohio. Telebridge station VK4KHZ in Australia will assist in the contact. Spaceflight participant Charles Simonyi, KE7KDP, would like to speak to a school related to aviation, and here the connection is to the Wright Brothers, Wilbur and Orville, and the Wright Flyer they designed. Audio from this contact will be fed into the EchoLink AMSAT (101 377) and JK1ZRW (277 208) servers, as well as into the IRLP Discovery Reflector 9010. The event will also be webcast, courtesy of Verizon Conferencing.
To join the event:

It might be possible to hear it over this side of the pond.
There is another "sked" with Hungary at 23:15 UTC which might be more promising.

keep an eye on the link at the top of the page to find out what's happening.


Posted: Thu Apr 12, 2007 9:52 pm
by Davej
robinflegg wrote:Can you tell us what equipment you used to hear voice transmissions on the ISS?

I'd be most interested to try myself.
I use a home base scanner (YAESU VR-5000) with an outdoor ariel but I

have also listened in with an handheld scanner (YUPITERU MVT-7100)

with just a telescopic ariel.


Posted: Fri Apr 13, 2007 7:23 pm
by beamer3.6m
So would this be good enough to here the ISS and how often can you tune in. ... 5&doy=13m4

Posted: Fri Apr 13, 2007 7:33 pm
by beamer3.6m

Posted: Fri Apr 13, 2007 7:34 pm
by 12dstring
They both have the right frequency range to pick up the transmissions so should be fine. I'm guessing the built-in antenna would do the job, so there's no need for an external one.

I love one of the faq's for the PSR282 200:

"Q) Will I B able 2 pick up Alien communications? -
A) yes"

Posted: Fri Apr 13, 2007 7:38 pm
by 12dstring
As for how often, if you check out the Heavens-Above site, you can find out exactly.

From my location it seems to do one or two passes every evening between 8pm and 11pm at the moment. I'm going to try my first attempt at picking up something tonight.

Posted: Fri Apr 13, 2007 7:42 pm
by Davej
Hi beamer3.6m

Yes both scanners would be suitable for listening to ISS transmissions.

Check with Heavens Above for "pass" times. They are favourable late

evenings for now, even if not visible due to the Earths shadow, you can

still listen in if the altitude is favourable.


Posted: Fri Apr 13, 2007 7:48 pm
by beamer3.6m
Stupid question but what do you usually hear...

... Is it interesting or people asking dumb questions to astronaunts like CB radio where there was always some idiot pretending to be the police or the army.

Posted: Fri Apr 13, 2007 7:49 pm
by Davej
Hi 12dstring

You beat me to it :)

I will certainly be listening tonight (friday the 13th)

my first attempt will be around 21.24 BST. Will also be visible :D