ISS sending SSTV 04 Sept 13

The International Space Station has today started sending Slow Scan TV (SSTV) images, and for us in Essex, receiving pictures from space should be fairly easy.

ISS Images 12:27 BST 04 Sept 2013

I was able to get one very clear image on 145.800MHz at lunchtime today, followed by a second image that failed to complete. Here are the images captured from the ISS a little over 30 minutes ago:

SSTV Image received from ISS 12:27BST 04 Sept 2013
SSTV Image received from ISS 12:27BST 04 Sept 2013


These images were sent in the Martin M1 SSTV format, 320×256 pixels

Assuming the team on the ISS leaves the SSTV camera running today, there will be other chances to capture images. Today (Wed 4th Sept 2013), the visible paths are as follows:

  • 13:57 to 14:08 BST approx (Nothing heard on this pass)
  • 15:34 to 15:44 BST approx (Nothing heard on this pass)
  • 17:12 to 17:18 BST approx (Nothing heard on this pass)

Update: Looks like SSTV was disabled after just two passes today.


How to receive SSTV images

You’ll need a 2m radio tuned to 145.800MHz (Standard FM) – On a good overhead pass, even a handheld in the open should be able to get the signal.

You’ll need an SSTV software package to decode the data packet and get the picture.

On a PC – We’d recommend MMSSTV – Ideally you’d connect the audio from your radio to the PC’s soundcard and set MMSSTV to listen for signals. However, sticking a PC mic in front of the radio’s speaker will work too, and you should configure MMSSTV to listen to the PC’s mic. You can also record the audio (on a PC, dictaphone or smartphone) and decode the image later by playing back the recording into MMSSTV.

On a Smartphone – The following image from the last path was captured by simply holding an iPhone in front of my 2m rig, with the mic at the bottom of the phone pointing to the radio’s speaker. The picture builds as the signal is received. Here, I’m using the iOS SSTV app from Black Cat.

Capturing image from ISS with SSTV app on an iPhone
Capturing image from ISS with SSTV app on an iPhone

It’s very rewarding picking up signals from the ISS, and collecting live pictures from space is a good talking point. If you can, give it a go. The team on ISS only have SSTV running very occasionally, so make use of the opportunity to try and decode an image.

Handy links:


  1. M6EDF 4 September 2013 Reply
    • Pete M0PSXAuthor 4 September 2013 Reply

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