ARISS-Europe News Bulletin – 22.07.2006




Saturday 29 July 2006 at 12.27 UTC, ARISS will set up a live space talk for ESA Space Camp in Patras, Greece with German astronaut Thomas Reiter, DF4TR presently onboard the International Space Station.


There are no daylight passes of the ISS over Europe that day. Consequently, the radio contact will be performed by ARISS ground station in Honolulu, Hawaii, operated by Nancy Rocheleau, WH6PN. Signals will be relayed to Greece by telebridge.


The audio of this QSO will be made available real time and worldwide to amateur radio operators by means of EchoLink and IRLP.


For those who are not familiar with these “Voice on Internet Protocol” (VoIP) modes, here is an introduction to both systems.






When conditions do not allow a direct radio contact between the International Space Station and the school or other event location, ARISS provides a so-called “telebridge”.


ARISS counts several dedicated ground stations around the world. When needed, the radio contact is done by one of these ground stations and the audio signals are relayed by telephone line to the location where the event takes place.    


With the audio from the ISS and the event location being available on this telephone line (bridge), ham radio operators from the EchoLink and IRLP ARISS audio feed teams take the audio from the bridge  and feed it into the IRLP and EchoLink ham radio systems, to allow ham radio operators around the world to listen to these contacts live.





The EchoLink system uses VoIP through the Internet to transmit audio between two or more locations.  The in and out of audio at all EchoLink locations (nodes), can be done by connecting ham radio transceivers or repeaters to Windows based computers.  Alternatively, microphones and speakers can be used connected to computers to communicate through this system without ham radio transceivers or repeaters.  In any case, before any node can participate in such transmissions, a verification is made during the installation of the EchoLink program to ensure that only licensed ham radio operators can use this system.


The EchoLink system is designed for easy installation on computers with the Windows operating systems.  It only runs on Windows computers.


The installation program for EchoLink is available free of charge for downloads from with good help file information on the installation and use of this program.


The ARISS EchoLink audio feed team feeds the audio from bridge contacts into the following two servers, called “Conferences” in EchoLink speak:


AMSAT (node 101 377)

JK1ZRW ( node 277 208)


These two servers allow for many EchoLink nodes to connect to them at the same time.  Please give JK1ZRW your preference during such audio feeds to keep the load light on the AMSAT server.


During audio feeds, text messaging can be used during ARISS audio feeds, while all nodes connected to these two servers are being muted (to prevent inadvertent interfering transmissions).  After the completion of ARISS contacts, all connected nodes will be un-muted to allow for comments and information exchanges.






The IRLP system, for licensed hams only just as the EchoLink system, also uses VoIP through the Internet for audio transmissions between different nodes.


The IRLP system can only be used by having ham radio transceivers or repeaters connected to each node.  The IRLP system runs only on computers using the Linux operating system.


To allow for many nodes to participate in round table conversations, servers have been set up, called reflectors in IRLP speak.  Each reflector can handle many simultaneous connections.


To connect a node to a reflector, most nodes are set up so that one only has to key in the number of a reflector, e.g. 9010.


The reflector 9010 has been created to facilitate the distribution of ARISS bridge contact audio.  During such events, simply dial in 9010 using your microphone touch pad while transmitting on the frequency of the IRLP node you are using to connect to the Discovery Reflector 9010.  To disconnect the node you are using from the reflector, dial 73 on your node’s frequency and you should hear a message that you are being disconnected.


Good information on the use of the IRLP system can be found on





We hope that you will find the time to listen in on some of the ARISS telebridge contacts.  If you need more information on how to listen and / or when such contacts take place, feel free to e-mail Dieter with ARISS audio feeds in the message title.


As soon as dates and times for upcoming contacts are known, that information is being posted on the calendar of events on the AMSAT web site


If you want to be notified by e-mail of upcoming ARISS bridge contacts with audio feeds into EchoLink and IRLP, please e-mail a request to Dieter, KX4Y and he will put you on his distribution list of listeners.





ARISS, Amateur Radio on the International Space Station, an international working group of several amateur radio societies from countries participating to the ISS, provides a free educational outreach programme in collaboration with the Space Agencies, involving a team of volunteering amateur radio operators.



Gaston Bertels, ON4WF

ARISS-Europe chairman