delara news Delaware Amateur Radio Association, Delaware OH   VOL 37 NUMBER 11

More Ham Radio News

...because we don’t live in a vacuum.

Ham Radio In Space

One of the most exciting ham radio partnerships is between amateur radio and NASA.  SAREX - Space Shuttle Amateur Radio Experiment - started in 1983 when Astronaut Owen Garriott, W5LFL, was the first to bring two meters into space aboard STS-9.  I had tried to copy the elusive Space Shuttle, standing in my rainy driveway pointing a borrowed two meter beam somewhere toward the horizon.  I heard nothing, and only got wet. I put the beam away in my basement, and forgot to turn my Icom 2AT off, sitting it beside my chair.  Some time later, there he was!!! His voice clear, sounding like he was standing in my front yard. He mentioned he was coming over the horizon, traveling roughly above the Mississippi.  He remarked how beautiful all the lights were from space. Shortly after, he was out of range. Step forward to June, 1992 and Columbia made its 12th flight for STS-50. Steve, WD8JKX, myself and several others received the OK from SAREX to make contact with Shuttle Columbia’s 12th flight.  We had a large gathering of scouts at the Harlem Township building complete with overhead projection of the flight and more. We were to use the phone patch from the 146.76 repeater to make contact with a land-based amateur tracking station. That way, anyone could listen in on the conversations. It was a tension-filled deal… and it completely flopped!! The land station either couldn’t make contact or wasn’t there. We were very disappointed- the scouts were also and so was NASA. A few days later, we were called to gather the scouts on July 1 very early in the morning. Since it was Wednesday, we only had perhaps a dozen scouts, none of the fanfare, and honestly a little trepidation about the whole thing. If memory serves, this time we made the phone call to Brazil and an amateur with a good track record. It worked! We had about 20 minutes for questions from the scouts and it was exciting!  Our conversation was with Dick Richards, KB5SIW and Ellen Baker, KB5SIX. The audio was clear, the exchanges were flawless, and we had a great time. Now- fast forward to this month in Lancaster, Ohio, where Tallmadge school started the year withi student and staff eyes looking toward space. With great credit to the Lancaster club, it happened!!  (Following video by Scott, N8SY)