Friday, May 1, 2015 the Ham Video transmitter on board the Columbus module of the International Space Station was powered on and started transmitting in “Blank Transmission” (BT) mode.
In this mode, the transmitter is operated without camera. The digital TV signal is fully formatted, but the content of the video is black and the content of the audio is at zero level. From a technical perspective, the BT signal is all that is needed for testing and fine tuning ground stations.
The European network of chained ground stations is presently nearly complete. Six ground stations span the continent in “X” formation. For each ascending pass over Europe, four stations provide about ten minutes of solid copy and the same is true for descending passes:
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