Ham Radio Operator Communicates with Space Station

[/caption]A Canadian amateur radio operator had an 11 minute opportunity to listen out for the International Space Station (ISS) as it passed overhead on October 20th with space tourist Richard Garriott on board. Garriott was also using ham radio during his stay on board the station to communicate with other ham radio enthusiasts on the ground. Murray Crandon from Saskatchewan heard Garriott seeking contact and they exchanged call signs, but Crandon was aware Garriott had a lot of people to make contact with and kept his communication short…

He just called, ‘CQ, this is Richard Garriott, NA1SS aboard the International Space Station,’ and then I just answered him with my own call sign,” Murray Crandon said.

We didn’t have a lot of time and I wanted to respect everybody else’s opportunity to make a contact as well so we just exchanged our call signs … and we just moved on from there.”

Crandon is an 18-year ham radio veteran, so contacting Garriott was no new thing. He’d also been able to make contact with Charles Simonyi, another US space tourist on board the station, in April last year. He also had the opportunity to contact South Korea’s Antarctic base in the South Shetland Islands in March 2003. Whilst these amateur radio feats are impressive, Crandon wants to receive signals from even farther afield. “I suppose if they ever put a human on Mars, I’ll be listening,” he said.

Whilst ham radio might be considered rather “old fashioned” in the era of email, digital communication and satellite networks, listening out for other radio operators when scouring the radio frequencies remains a very popular hobby. It is also a powerful means for communities to support each other and for reliable emergency/disaster communications should the need arise. It also looks like it may be an efficient means to keep tabs on the space station crew.

It is estimated that six million people around the globe (and occasionally in orbit) are active ham radio operators.

On October 12th, Garriott was launched on board Soyuz TMA-13 with Expedition 18; he returned to Earth on October 24th after 10 days on board the station. During his stay Garriott performed a variety of science, education and commercial tasks including a series of ham radio communication events with students and the public.

Source: CTV

6 Replies to “Ham Radio Operator Communicates with Space Station”

  1. My uncle is an enthusiast.

    I find it more interesting when the ionosphere’s acting up.

    I seem to recall that on one of the Apollo missions they lost contact because of radio-shadow, but a hammer on Thule Airbase got through without trouble. When NASA arrived to have a look at his equipment, they were rather annoyed to see that he was using old coffee tins as cavity resonators.

    How much did the Apollo missions cost again?

  2. Years ago I tried to contact MIR with my 2 meter radio. I was all tuned up, listened at the right time and heard “CQ from U1MIR” – then a blast of ground-based hams calling back including me. I had my radio on the full 25 watts through my Isopole antenna. I should have been fine!
    Then the next day a friend of mine said he got through to them and got a response. He was standing out in the yard with his handheld 2 meter rig and a rubber duck antenna. Probably running 1/2 watt too!
    I was disgusted and jealous.

    Tom KA7VIK

  3. I heard Mir several times in the past as well, mostly at times I knew they’d be above my horizon, and one time without trying, simply from having left their downlink in my hand-held (with mobile antenna), and letting it scan through all its programmed channels while traveling through southernmost Canada once.

    I never could work them either, though…

    But whenever a Lunar base is set up, I have to think there will be one or more hams there, too. Anyone even marginally capable of doing EME (Moonbounce) should have no problem working it.

    Frank KA2WQA

  4. It is just great to see posts like the ones above. Sili, I just love hearing stories like that.

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