Having been busy this fall with work, family, and riding motorcycles, I got caught up on AMSAT launches and saw that FOX-1A, or AO-85 is up and running. I grabbed the trusty tape measure antenna last night and went outside for a pass that went nearly directly overhead. The Android app ISS Detector makes it easy.
I was not geared up to make contact, but really just wanted to see how well I could receive the bird and who was talking. With the correct antenna polarity, the carrier was super strong with clear audio. Here are some of the call signs heard…
KC5QFL – EL09
K4FEG – EM55
WO3T – FN00
W4DGA – FM18
KA4H – FM17
WB3CSY – FN10
AD2KA – FN12
NM3B – FN01
Here’s a condensed recording of the pass. I’ve removed the long portions of dead air and open squelch.
I’ve been using the ISS Detector app for a while now. I started out using it on my Samsung Galaxy S5 and my Galaxy Tab S. I recently dumped the S5 phone for the new LG V10. (Great phone, the V10…) The app runs flawlessly on all of those devices. It just works and it has not, yet, let me down.
You will be able to track the ISS, amateur radio satellites, planets and comets, and “famous objects.” What’s really nice here is that I only wanted to track the ISS, which the app does for everyone, and AMSATs. You can pay for just AMSATs, just comets and planets, or you can pay one price for everything. I opted to just pay for AMSATs and that cost me a whopping $1.40 – a one time price… not a monthly subscription or anything sketchy.
The upcoming passes layout is simple and effective. You get sunrise and sunset times, a simple button for turning notifications on and off, and your current grid location.
When you click on an upcoming pass, you are taken to the radar screen… a screen which will depict the object’s rise, path, and descent, along with a lot of information about the object and that particular pass.
The app will notify you of passes based on your current location, or you can manually set the location. I have it set to notify me of passes that are 10° or higher in elevation. If you only want to track the ISS for viewing purposes, you can set it to notify you of only those passes that are of high viewing quality. The app is very configurable and well designed. You will be able to choose a notification tone, vibrate, and time before pass, among many other options in the settings.
I don’t see how it can be much simpler or better than that. I use this app a lot, even on the road when working. You never know when you’ll be treated to a nice ISS pass or catch an Iridium flare!
*This is not a sponsored or paid-for review. I am posting this review on my own because I simply love the app and hope more folks will discover it.