Last Minute Downlink

Getting a Picture from the ISS

Earlier this week, I was procrastinating from studying for my Chinese midterm looking for something to occupy the time. I remembered that the ISS was flying over me last weekend, so I thought I'd try my hand at using the SSTV Downlink to get a picture from it. I double-checked the flyover time and got my radio.

Near flyover time, I went outside and started orienting my radio in random directions to catch the signal above. I quickly heard the eerie whirring of the modulated SSTV signal and recorded about a minute's worth of audio before the flyover ended. Then, I went outside to recover the image.

I used Black Cat SSTV on my Mac as the decoding software. It was my first time using it, but after some quick web searches I was able to get it working.

With a couple of passes through Black Cat, I was finally able to get an image that appeared to have correct spacing and coloring.

The decoded image that I received from the ISS. A satellite and a man wearing a red shirt are visible.
The image I got from the station. Notice a man and part of a satellite are visible.

That picture came directly from a giant satellite moving at thousands of miles per hour in space. Next time, I'll have more time for the downlink and a higher quality image. If you want more detail on what I did and how it works, follow this thread. If you have a radio and want to discover interesting stuff that you can receive or transmit, check out my radio frequency reference.