Chargement en cours... / Loading...


Amateur Radio (also called HAM Radio) is a scientific activity that enables those who practice it to establish radio links with radio amateurs around the world. It is a way of acquiring technical knowledge in the fields of radio and electronics and developing friendships between amateurs from different countries. A radio amateur is someone who has received official authorization to communicate by radio with other people, who are also legally authorized. This authorization is called a Ham Radio licence.

To obtain their licence, radio amateurs have to pass a technical test as well as a regulatory test. In the past, they also had to satisfy the requirements of a character investigation carried out by the intelligence service, culminating in an interview. This was still the case in 1997 when I obtained my licence. The licence is issued by the Ministry of Post, Telecommunications and Space.

Communications are carried out on the frequency bands allocated by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) to the amateur service and the amateur satellite service. Amateur radio is a technical activity. Their skills are tested and accessible to all. In France, this is the French National Frequencies Agency (ANFR) who deliver an amateur radio operator’s certificate and allocates a call sign authorizing the operator to use the frequencies allocated by the French Regulatory Authority for Electronic Communications and Postal Services (ARCEP).

The French National Frequencies Agency (ANFR) issues each radio amateur with a radio amateur operator certificate and allocates a callsign authorizing him or her to use the frequencies allocated by the French Regulatory Authority for Electronic Communications and Postal Services (ARCEP).

In mainland France, the callsign begins with the prefix “F”, followed by a number and a suffix of two or three letters. In French overseas departments and territories, an additional letter between the “F” and the number indicates the geographical area from which the station is transmitting:

“FG” for Guadeloupe (FG1XY)
“FR” for Reunion Island (FR1XY)
“FO” for French Polynesia (FO1XY)
“FH” for Mayotte
“FJ” for Saint-Barthélémy
“FM” for Martinique island
“FK” for New Caledonia
“FP” for Saint Pierre and Miquelon
“FS” for Saint-Martin
“FT” for the French Antarctic Territories
“FW” for Wallis and Futuna
“FY” for French Guiana
“TK” for Corsica

My callsign is F4BPP.

ISS stands for “International Space Station”. It is a space station in low Earth orbit travelling at a speed of 27,600 km/h. The International Space Station is permanently occupied by an international crew dedicated to scientific research in the space environment.

This programme, launched and piloted by NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration), is being developed jointly with the Russian Federal Space Agency (FKA), with the participation of the European (ESA), Japanese (JAXA) and Canadian (CSA) space agencies.The International Space Station is the largest man-made object placed in Earth orbit. It is 110 m long, 74 m wide and 30 m high, and weighs around 400 tonnes.

The station has a heterogeneous architecture, with a Russian sub-assembly based on the architectural choices made for the Mir station and a much larger sub-assembly developed according to standards defined by NASA. It comprises around fifteen pressurized modules, four of which are dedicated to scientific experiments, representing a pressurized space volume of around 900 m3, 400 m3 of which is habitable.

The solar panels, covering an area of 2,500 m2, provide 110 kW of electricity. The station orbits the Earth at an altitude of around 350-400 kilometers. It has been permanently occupied since 2000. Each of the six astronauts divides his working time between assembly, maintenance and scientific tasks during his 3-6 month stay. Scientific work focuses mainly on biology, in particular human adaptation to the absence of gravity, as well as materials science and astronomy.

ARISS stands for Amateur Radio on International Space Station. It is a worldwide amateur radio organisation that works with space agencies. This association brings together volunteers to organise radio experiments with the ISS from schools, thereby stimulating young people’s interest in technology and science.
ARISS is responsible for managing and improving the amateur radio equipment on board the ISS. This organisation works in collaboration with NASA, ESA (European Space Agency) and the other space agencies involved in the construction of the ISS.
To validate applications from schools wishing to enable their pupils to communicate with astronauts, the ARISS organisation requires them to comply with very strict specifications setting out the constraints to be met. These mainly concern the characteristics of the radio transmitters, the antennae and the rotor that tracks the trajectory of the ISS in the sky for optimum communication.

NOAA stands for National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. This US agency is responsible for studying the ocean and atmosphere. NOAA was founded on 3 October 1970 following a proposal by President Richard Nixon to create a national service to better protect life and homes from natural disasters, to better understand the environment and to manage marine resources more intelligently.

NOAA‘s goal is to inform the public about the role and function of the oceans and atmosphere so that they can make informed choices about their interactions with them. Its mission is to understand and predict environmental change, manage marine and coastal resources and reconcile the economic, social and environmental needs of the United States in these areas.

In each of the sectors in which NOAA operates, it has four aims :

  • To promote sustainable development along America’s coasts and territorial waters by encouraging the balanced use of resources and their renewal in relation to human needs.
  • To understand the climate, climate change and the phenomena that affect the climate so as to be able to plan the State’s action in this area.
  • Collect meteorological and oceanic data to provide weather and hydro-logical forecasts.
  • Distribute oceanographic and ecosystem data to the public to ensure appropriate information for individual, collective and commercial decision-making.

In order to collect meteorological data, a fleet of several satellites has been deployed to photograph the Earth. They make polar orbits at an altitude of between 830 and 870 km, around 14 times a day. They deliver a continuous image in the form of lines transmitted by radio waves of the region they are flying over. Because of the Earth’s rotation, the areas observed change from one orbit to the next. The satellites are equipped with 2 channels for visible light and 3 channels for infrared light.

These satellites are used to measure ground temperature, observe the distribution of ocean currents, volcanic eruptions and forest fires, and study the development of vegetation. The image transmitted comes either from a visible channel and an infrared channel, or from two infrared channels depending on the time of observation.

The images are transmitted using two protocols : HRPT format for very high resolution images and APT format for high resolution images. The latter is used by F4BPP to receive images in real time, which can be accessed via the NOAA section of the site.


SSTV stands for Slow Scan Television. This amateur radio activity consists of transmitting and receiving still images using a reduced bandwidth (frequency range) corresponding to that of speech. There are many different protocols, some of which bear the name of their inventor. The most widely used are the Martin mode, developed by the Englishman Martin Emmerson, and the Scottie mode, developed by the Scotsman Eddie Murphy.

The crew of the International Space Station regularly transmit images from the ISS to commemorate events that have marked the history of the conquest of space and pay tribute to the people who have contributed to it. The protocol used is PD-120, developed by the Englishman Paul Turner. The reception of these images can sometimes be rewarded with a diploma issued by the ARISS organisation.

MAI stands for Moscow Aviation Institute (МАИ in Russian). The MAI is a Russian National Research University. The institute, which was founded in 1930, is one of Moscow’s largest higher engineering education establishments.

Since its inception, MAI has made a significant contribution to advances in aerospace technology in Russia and around the world. The institute has focused on teaching applied sciences and engineering specific to the requirements of the aerospace industry.

The MAI is one of the 12 best universities in the Russian Federation. It is also a major scientific research centre specializing in aeronautical systems, optoelectronics and on-board energy sources.

MAI-75 is the name of the experiment being carried out on board the ISS, which involves exploiting an innovative satellite telecommunications system developed by the Moscow Aviation Institute. The aim of this experiment is to promote the broadcasting of videos from space in real time to a wide range of users, including universities specializing in communications and Russian Internet users.

The Russian crew of the International Space Station regularly transmit SSTV images from the ISS to commemorate the MAI.

Scroll to Top