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GW/SW-006 Need Spanish? (ISS crossband repeater)

Walking up Fan Gyhirych (GW/SW-006) yesterday at about 1050 I was monitoring 145.500 with my VX7 and helical stick aerial when I heard quite a lot of activity. I couldn’t understand the language but I could recognise parts of the call signs as EA8… and EA4… . There were also words like chincoquente (?) and much speech in neither English nor Welsh. I then realised that I was receiving Spanish transmissions and they didn’t seem to want to QSY from the British calling frequency!! I eventually turned the radio off and hoped that things would have quietened by the time I reached the summit about 15 mins later - which they did. On talking to M0JLA on Fan Nedd (GW/SW-007) on the other side of the valley I found that he was receiving Spain on the top but not on the way up (so I hadn’t imagined it…) On the way down, c1230, Spain came in again and I tried to make contact (with 5w and the stick!) and also heard other British callers probably trying to contact them but with no apparent success. By the time I reached the second summit all was quiet again - and also, apparently, on SW-006. One of my chasers who lived near Swansea said that locals had commented they had heard Spanish calls on 2m fm and wondered what had caused it - so it wasn’t only on the hills!

What areas were also involved and were other countries experiencing similar ‘lifts’ at the time? Incidentally, when doing a late activation of GW/SW-010 above Hirwaun at 1815 the language coming from me was definitely not Spanish when I realised that the local midges were enjoying the low wind speeds. Our thanks to Mal, GW6OVD for answering my call when we needed just one more contact before demolishing the station and hastening back to the car. Now I know whey we always visit the hill in winter. How about a 3-point midge bonus for Scottish summer visits- and some Welsh ones??

Viki M6BWA

3 Likes

On driving out today to chase G4TJC/P on G/SP-002 I also heard some Spanish stations, and also heard an OH call, round about 11:30. Confused! I thought that it might be someone broadcasting, and heard similar QRM about half an hour later lower down the band. Simon has just told me it’s a satellite downlink that has been “mucked up”.

Helen 2E0VMD

I heard it as well (at home), and did a double take. It’s probably this:

https://r4uab.ru/2018/06/24/na-bortu-mks-vklyuchyon-krosbend-repiter/

Google Translate:

On board the International Space Station activated cross band repeater.

Repeater frequency:
Uplink - 437.050 MHz (subton 67 Hz).
Downlink - 145.500 MHz.
OnLine WEBSDR receiver - http://websdr.r4uab.ru/

2 Likes

Same today just after noon. I had left the radio on in the car while I was in Berwick Tesco and came back to hear the radio making lots of scratchy noise clearing periodically to the sound of Spanish call signs and dialogue. Nothing workable.
Jim

I can confirm that this is the ISS. The downlink should be 145.800. Uplink is usually 437.800.

It seems that a few days ago they were testing a couple of new cube sats before launching* them later in the year (Tanusha 3 and 4). From what I can piece together the cube sats send telemetry and voice greetings on 437.050 and the on-station Kenwood D700 was configured as a cross band repeater to relay the tests down on 2m (437.050 to 145.800).

Somewhere along the way, after the tests, the downlink has somehow ended up on 145.500 and the cross-band repeater has been left active, much to the confusion of many people .

I heard the noise on S20 yesterday and first assumed it was someone re-transmitting a pass. About 90 minutes later I heard the same satellite-type QSOs, monitored it on SSB and could see doppler shift. The AOS and LOS coincided with ISS pass predictions.

After trying the 437.800 uplink, I did a bit more digging and found that it’s listening on 437.050. I successfully worked PA and DL through it on the 13:05Z pass earlier today.

The next pass is tomorrow morning about 07:25Z (08:25 BST). Expect another 10 minutes of QRM every 90 minutes after that… until someone schedules some ISS crew time to go and fix it.

If you want to have a try (is it anti-social?) make sure you correct your uplink for doppler or you’ll sound very clipped (437.040 start of pass to 437.060 end of pass) FM with no CTSSS needed. Hope someone finds it useful.

Regards,
Dave.

  • where launch in this case means “open the airlock and throw them out” same as SuitSat-1
7 Likes

Looks like the 145.500 transmitter is now off as I just had an overhead pass and heard nothing on 145.500.

Thanks for the explanation Dave.

73 Ed DD5LP.

I heard it very strong here earlier today, around 11 CET (± an hour or so). I hope this won’t continue too long, that’s the main calling frequency here :confused:

OK I’ll take another listen at 7am CET the next overhead pass here - tomorrow.

145.5 MHz is generally the Mobile FM calling frequency in countries that have 144-146MHz as the 2m band. So here as well.

Not sure why I didn’t hear anything this morning perhaps no one opened it but with all the publicity, that’d surprise me.

73 Ed.

UPDATE: I just listened for the 7am local path here near Munich and heard nothing on 145.500MHz and when I do hear the ISS on school transmissions etc. it’s S9+ so my conclusion is that the offending Tx has now been turned off or moved to another frequency.

Has anyone else heard the cross-band repeater today (26/6/2018)?

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CQ SAT by G0ABI & G0LGS as well as others 145.500 FM S9+ here in IO72 at 14:00 until about 14:09 local welsh time. Also heard other stations calling Sat and working each other late morning but didn’t write down the time.

73’ Don GW0PLP.

I gather something wasn’t quite thought through. I’ve seen at least one plea else-Net for folk to avoid using this accidental ISS repeater, as the kit that’s driving it is not up to the stress it’s being put under. Hopefully, someone up there will get round to turning it off before the magic smoke escapes…

Weird! is it possible it’s getting enabled on some passes and not others - from a technical point of view I mean, not just that no one happens to access it on some passes.

I have listened on one over-head and another close pass of the ISS and on those occasions there was no signal on 145.500MHz. (just for validation, several local (terrestrial) repeaters on 2 metres were booming in, so my receiver was working and I have received the ISS in the past at S9+20).

We are sure this is a problem from the Kenwood in the ISS right? Not one of the satellites that will be launched at some point and not another in-orbit satellite rather than the ISS, right?

73 Ed.

At least one report says they were using the Kenwood as part of a test set-up to test a couple of cubesats they’re planning to launch later in the year. There’s something about the testing here:

Clearly, somewhere, someone got the wrong frequencies in…

Clearly the wrong frequencies Rick. If they’d have been doing that on 145.800 FM passing over here then they could have started WWIII with local 145.800AM guys who haven’t QSY’d since the regional 2m bandplan was obsoleted 45years ago.

Bandplans… who needs them.

There was a local Edinburgh station calling CQ on 145.800 AM at the same time as the satellite was passing overhead transmitting on 145.500 FM !