This was an amazing reception for a low 15 degree elevation pass. During the whole pass I received the ISS full quieting with S7-S9 signal strength.
I feel like some of my ISS reception videos in the past got a little boring, what with me just standing there, reciting the questions and nothing else really changing on screen or through the course of the video. But this one has received a lot of likes and shares on Facebook, and I think it’s because a lot of things were different about this ISS reception video.
In this one I added some house music in the beginning and end. Instead of leaving the screen capture of my Orbitron tracking software up the whole time I fade it in an out intermittently. I think that variation of what’s on the screen and the music make it more interesting. Also, while the music is playing I start out with a quick succession of textual information explaining what’s going to happen.
Additionally, the video is shorter than normal, only nine minutes and 36 seconds, where some of my ISS reception videos are around 20 minutes long with all the added explanation at the end. I kept this one short and sweet and I think people appreciate that when they have a lot of browsing choices and not a lot of time.
High quality audio and video really help too. Luckily because the signal was so strong the radio audio sounds great. I think I also framed the video well and got the focus tighter than normal. I made sure to orient myself, the picnic table and my bike (yup!) on the left and keep a lot of space open on the right so I could put captions and the Orbitron screen capture over there. As for focus, after taking a weekend workshop on video field production, I learned how to zoom in before setting the focus so now I can see the detail of the shot while I’m focusing. It makes a huge difference. It didn’t hurt that it was a beautiful day. The only thing I was a little concerned about is the exposure changing throughout the video. I was using the automatic exposure setting but I think the clouds coming in an out and the brightness changing with the Sun peaking through those clouds at times caused that.
Normally I use a mobile radio and 12 volt battery to receive the ISS but this time I used an HT in a bag around my waste, and I even carried all my gear up in one bag while riding my bike instead of hiking up the landfill with two bags. I wonder if using a simpler setup, like with an HT instead of a mobile radio, which more people have access to, and which is easier to understand immediately, makes it more compelling. Maybe because it looks easier, if people haven’t done this before, they’ll think they could do it too, which is true! You can do it too!
The next ISS contact is Friday, so give it a shot!
Walter Jackson Elementary, Decatur, Alabama, direct via N8DEU
The ISS callsign is presently scheduled to be NA1SS
The scheduled astronaut is Timothy Peake KG5BVI
Contact is a go for: Fri 2016-03-18 13:53:49 UTC 69 deg