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Re: ISS Ham Radio Operations??


The best person to answer this question is Frank Bauer, KA3HDO.  He is one of those who runs the ARISS (Amateur Radio International Space Station program).  His e-mail is ka3hdo@amsat.org.

That aside, here are some basic answers.  

Yes these is a dedicated ham station on the ISS and its scope will be expanded over the coming years.

No, it is not on full time.  It is basically a recreational tool for those astronauts and cosmonauts who are hams, and with the exception of scheduled schoolroom contacts, they come on and off the air at random times -- jsut like all other ham operators.

I assume you refer to "we" in the pajarotive when you ask what "can we do to keep our kids interested."  I would think that this falls to a creative "parent" (also in the pajorative)  

The ARISS Working Group can supply radio gear to the ISS and it can schedule contacts between the ham-astronauts/cosmonauts and schools.  It cannot provide individual hams -- or ham families with a method of entertaining children on an ongoing one-on-one basis.  This is where being a creative parent becomes important.

To digress, my daughter is a 29 year old mother of 3 who is home schooling her children.  She also holds a General class license.  Ham radio -- all aspects -- can come in as an in-home educational tool when integrated into an educational curriculia.  It is a true fun way of teaching geography, earth sciences, physical science and even human interaction.  But she has to be the one creative in using it.  Its just a matter of figuring out how the "pajorative" you/we as a parent can take what is being provided by ARISS and shape it to fit individual needs.  

As to ARISS school days:  If you are referring to the program of having scheduled school contacts with ISS, thats already underway.  Your information source on that would be Rosalie White K1STO, at ARRL-HQ.  (k1sto@arrl.org)  Contacts like this are intrgral to the purpose of the ISS ham station, but are only held when a crew member is available.  Rosalie White  better versed at explaining the perameters of these contacts than am I.

As to APRS or any other "ham radio demonstrations," let me explain ham radio "overall" in a line from the video "The New World of Amateur Radio:

"Ham radio is just like going fishing.  When you call CQ its just like thowing out a hook and line.  You have no idea who will bite."  

As such, your husband is 100% correct.  Hams do have zero control over what happens on-board the ISS.  In fact, we are downright lucky to have been included.  (Note -- there is no CB transceiver on board.  No GMRS transceiver.  No FRS.  Just ham radio.) So it is up to "us" -- again in the pajorarative -- to make the best use we can of the ISS ham radio operations.  Thats the reason for scheduled school contats as it gives the maximum exposure of the ISS and life on it to the greatest number of youngsters -- yet keeping it on a personal level.  Anything else really is up to the individual "family unit" to develop.

There are several educators who might be able to provide input on how best to use ISS ham radio as a home interest tool.  The one that comes to mind is Carole Perry WB2MGP in NYC.  Carole has developed an excellreny in-classroom ham radio curiculia.  Maybe she can be coaxed into doing similar for use in a home environment.

Hope some of this helps,

Bill Pasternak WA6ITF

In a message dated Fri, 20 Apr 2001  7:53:21 PM Eastern Daylight Time, "Mary" <ladym555@hotmail.com> writes:

<< Hello all,

I have a few questions that some of you experts with NASA
or ARISS might be able to answer.

I am currently studying for my Amateur Radio License and have
2 kids that are somewhat interested in the hobby.

My daughter Katy (11) is very interested in the sciences and enjoys
watching the discovery channel very often.
She is a sponge for knowledge but also needs something interactive
to keep her interested.

My husband is a HAM and has been one for 25 years or so.
He was very active with the MIR Space Station packet, and had
talked many times to the crew aboard. This sparked my INTEREST that
there is more to the hobby. We have even viewed MIR and ISS in the skies
after sunset and were amazed that we could see them with the naked eye!

Here is the question(s).

1. Is there going to be a dedicated HAM station aboard ISS?
2. Is it going to be ON all the time? (see below)
3. If the answer to question 2 is NO, How can we keep the kids INTERESTED?
4. Will there be APRS "School Days" like there was on MIR?

The reason why all these questions is because I really want to learn about
this stuff and my daughter Katy does too!

When my husband gets us all together in front of the radio and computer
to "demonstrate" the radio operations from space via APRS, it has ALWAYS
been a bust! That is, ISS radio isn't on or working. This leads a bad
to all those eager to LEARN. My kids now think it is a joke we are playing
on them and have lost interest.

I realize that there are other satellites we can use for demos etc, but it
NOT the same thing as talking or using the ISS that has human life onboard!
My daughter can relate to someone she can talk to or interact with.
She thinks seeing all the stations via ISS appear on the APRS monitor is too
cool!  (Ariss.net) My son thinks we are full of crap because he hears or
sees NOTHING on ISS passes in our area.

Can anyone please help?

My husband says that the HAMS have NO control of what happens on ISS.
NASA seems to say when and if anything happens.

Space Camp is a great way to get kids interested in Space.

Ham Radio is a door opener to get these kids off the streets and
interested in the sciences, and can be done in the classroom!
(Antenna,Scanner/Handheld & computer/TNC)

Thank You in advance!


PS. If Ham Radio will not be ON all the time on ISS, does any other country
have future plans for such a service to help educate our kids?

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