ISS Voice QSO with 5 watts
I have a 4 element Yagi beam installed on a tripod in my balcony. This is the antenna I use for VHF communications. It's a fix mount, so I can't rotate or elevate the antenna. I have pointed towards North and aproximately about 5 degrees elevation.For the last couple of years I've been using it for voice and packet contacts with ISS and other LEO satellites. One of my goals is to make space contacts with the minimum ERP power possible.
I have an amazing mobile voice QSO with Jean-Pierre Haignere (MIR) with 5 watts and a mag mount antenna, so this is something I've been trying for a long time. Two days ago, during a good pass of ISS over my QTH, I heard a carrier on 145.800 among with packet signals. It was Valery for sure.... I had at the time my TH-D7 attached to the Yagi because I was testing APRS a little while before ISS pass. I thought about changing rig to have a little bit more power but instead I called him. I know it was late in Europe (2330 UTC) but he answered me after my first call. I was amazed because I was able to exchange more than a few words with him. I even told him my ISS fan club number. He seems to be very happy with ISS Fan Club. After that I said goodbye in Russian and he told me to say it in Portuguese. It seems he wants to learn languages :) After this QSO I felt very satisified. Probably if we all try to use a only a few watts many more other hams will have the chance to make low-power qso's with ISS. It would be good to make a hand-held communications day, where all hams would try the contact with han-helds and whip antennas. What a trill it should be ....