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Re: ISS crew ham contacts?

On Dec 19, 2007, at 8:34 AM, Joe Fitzgerald wrote:

> Nate Duehr wrote:
>> It seems that during SAREX, more crews were active.  ISS crews seem
>> either a lot busier (less personal time for ham radio?) or are
>> generally a lot less interested --
> I had a chance to speak with our hometown astronaut Suni Williams
> recently, and she indicated that access to other forms of  
> communication,
> specifically e-mail and VoIP phones, have become available to the
> astronauts making radio less interesting to those astronauts not  
> already
> bitten by the ham bug.
> -Joe KM1P

Makes sense, Joe.

The general idea expressed above is a major challenge for getting  
young (new) people into ham radio everywhere where there's decent IP  
network access.

The average Joe, or more importantly, Joe's kids even... can  
communicate with the world, in a multitude of ways now, worldwide,  
easier than operating any modern ham rig, even FM.

A couple of clicks of the mouse, and they're doing videoconferencing  
with $20 webcams -- something that only a few years back was only done  
with multi-thousand-dollar videoconferencing units.  Let alone e-mail,  
IM, chat, and file transfers...

I've shown a few computer-savvy kids (who have their own multi-boot  
computers already set up at home, just for fun) the guts of IRLP on  
Linux systems, and they shrug and think it's pretty boring.  The  
percentage that find radio interesting for radio (instead of the more  
common, "Wow you can talk to someone far away!" astonishment of the  
past), even when invited to a ham shack to see it in person, is  
diminishing, and I'm not sure that trend will slow down anytime soon.   
(Sad, isn't it?)

Kenneth's comment about the VoIP phone even has me more intrigued than  
the ham station, sadly enough.  I want to know how they get the  
bandwidth up and down on the IP network!  (GRIN)  Is that a TDRSS  

Knowing (since I work in telco on VoIP platforms and phones as one  
aspect of my work) what the bandwidth and latency requirements are for  
the IP network for a VoIP phone to work properly -- I now know there's  
"pretty good" data service to the ISS!  (I wonder if it's documented  
anywhere, or if it's all classified...)

(Also makes me wonder who's VoIP phone got space qualified.  GRIN!)

Sometimes it sucks to be overly-curious about these things!  Curiosity  
killed the cat... or at least kept him awake nights Googling for info!

Nate Duehr, WY0X

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