Reception problems owing to low audio levels plagued a recent round of Amateur Radio on the International Space Station-sponsored (ARISS) slow-scan TV transmissions. Some clever operators on the receiving end were able to use software to bump up the deficient audio so the images would decode properly. But the matter raised questions concerning the ISS crew’s ability to troubleshoot problems and to make adjustments to the Amateur Radio gear on the fly. ARISS-International Chair and AMSAT Vice President for Human Spaceflight Programs Frank Bauer, KA3HDO, subsequently posted an explanation of how Amateur Radio fits into the operation of the ISS and the astronauts’ ability to service and operate it.
“Please remember that ARISS is not the prime activity on ISS,” Bauer said. “There are over 300 international experiments currently operational on ISS on this expedition. I just heard in a teleconference last week that that number will go to about 500 experiments in the next 1 – 2 years.”