Summary about ISS Radio Communications and crew daily schedule, by ARISS mentor AJ9N via AMSAT-BB
The Kenwood TM-D710GA, located in the Columbus module, is currently off-line due to the coax issue that Frank KA3HDO has written about. This is the newest radio on board and the normal radio for use with the ARISS school contacts, the packet system, and the cross-band repeater. We have had one ARISS school contact fail because of this issue; that school is being rescheduled.
The Kenwood TM-710E, located in the Service module is presently being used for ARISS school contacts only but that could change for special events.
General contacts with the ham public are very very very rare. As has been posted before, give a listen as you will never know if a crew-member has decided to get on the radio. ARISS can not make the crew use the radio.
For those that are interested, the crew operates on this rough daily schedule:
Hours when crew might be available: 08:00 to 19:30 UTC
Wakeup to Workday start=1.5 hours
Workday start to Workday end=12 hours
Workday end to Sleep=2 hours
Sleep to wakeup=8.5 hours
Usually ARISS is off limits to pre and post sleep times as well as sleep time.
I don’t know if people realize how difficult it is sometimes to schedule an ARISS contact. Three things have to line up: The crew has to be awake and available, the school has to be awake and available, and the ISS has to be over the ground station. Many times it is easier said than done, especially with the above listened times when they might be available. The schools receive a list of possible times during a specific week that they prioritize and then we present the prioritized lists to the ISS planners. Since ARISS is a guest on board the ISS, we are always thankful when the ISS planners accept one of the proposed times for a school, schedule the contact, and allow the contact to take place.
And you might want to know that an ARISS contact time slot is literally a scheduled time-off for the crew-member that gets made up somewhere else.
Hope this helps explain things a bit. Frank KA3HDO will keep us all informed on the progress of determining what is happening with the coax issue.
We will be letting everyone know when normal operations return to normal just as soon as that becomes available.
Charlie Sufana AJ9N
One of the ARISS Mentors