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marex news, iss voice 9/29/2002

ISS Amateur Radio Status: September 29, 2002

Great ISS evening voice pass.

By Miles Mann WF1F,


Manned Amateur Radio Experiment, North American Division

Great ISS evening voice pass.

On the evening of September 29 2002 at 23:50 UTC the amateur radio
community in the eastern half of the USA were treated to a very rare
space station event.  The ISS was on an orbit which passed over the
states MS, FL, AL, GA,  NC, VA, NH, MD, NJ, NY, RI and Massachusetts. 
Sun set had taken place 90 minutes earlier, which caused ISS to light
up, brighter than any other objet in the sky.  Hundreds of people
watched as ISS flew across the eastern half of the USA.  However what
made this event even more exciting was that commander Valery Korzun was
making random voice contacts on 2-meters while he few across the USA
(145.800 down link, 144.490 uplink).

Being able to see and hear ISS on voice at the same time is rare for
North America.  This is because the ISS crew sleep cycle is normally
aligned with UTC time.  When ISS passes over the USA at night, the ISS
crew is usually in bed sleeping.  Even though it is coming to see ISS in
the sky a week or two every 2 months, it is very rare to hear and see
the ISS at the same time.

On this occasion the ISS crew had adjusted their sleep schedule to match
a sleep schedule for the Shuttle Atlantics STS 112, which was going to
launch on October 2, 2002.  It is normal of the crews of both missions
to find a compromise sleep cycle so that everyone will be on the same

In my 13 years of supporting amateur radio space station operations,
this was the fist time I was every able to see and talk to the space
station crew at the same time.

Personal Observations:
I has home having dinner guests over the house that evening.  I knew
there was going to be an ISS pass around 7:50 PM local time.  I
explained to my guests that ISS would be visible and asked if they
wanted to come out to my front yard and look at ISS  fly over the
house.  They were skeptical that it wold be possible to see ISS from out
side.  I had taken a few notes with compass and elevation headings and a
small red flash light out with us so would know where to look and when. 
I also brought my HT with me so we could hear some packet bursts coming
from ISS (Yeasu VX-5R, stock rubber duck antenna).  My friends were
mildly familiar with my space work, however they have never expired the
action first hand.  Shortly after I turned on the HT, I heard a voice. 
I had assumed it was a local simplex station at first.  Then I heard the
familiar voice of Commander Valery Korzon on board the ISS.  I explained
to my guests that this was a very rare treat to be able to see and hear
ISS at the same time and that the voice they were  hearing was that of
the space stations commander.
Right on schedule the ISS star became visible coming over the trees and
climbing higher into the dark sky.  By now, all 6 guests were standing
in the street starring up into the sky and listening to the commander
make several contacts, mostly in 4 land.  I wish I had my tape recorder
running, darn.  I could tell by the conversations that others were
seeing ISS and talking to the stations at the same time.  I looked at my
HT and wondered if I could make a contact when it was directly over
head.  In theory HT contacts are possible, but only under PERFECT
conditions.  After hearing the commander sign off with another stations,
I rotated the HT antenna horizontal to the ground and said my call sign
The commander responded "Stand by Miles".

My little HT had broken through the pile up.
I knew that I would not be able to carry on a conversation with the
commander with a HT, so I ran into the house and turned on the big radio
and waited for the commander to call me back.  A few minutes later the
commander had finished  small list of contacts and then called me back. 
In the mean time, my guests had found their way to the radio room and
were there to hear the rest of the conversation with commander Korzun on
board the ISS.

During next pass, the commander was in bed, so I send him a nice thank
you note for making my day.

sp rs0iss

Subject:   thank you

Dear: Valery and crew.

September 28, 2002

Thank you very much for a very exciting conversation. 
At  23:57 UTC [7:57 PM], your space station came in view from my house.
I was out side with several friends and I was showing them ISS as it
flew over my house.  
We were listening to my HT/walki-talki Radio with a 10 centimeter
I told my friends that we may see ISS and hear some packet at the same
Instead we heard your voice talking to many stations.
The ISS star was very bright, everyone could see ISS very clearly in the
dark sky.
The radio signal from ISS was so strong, I could not resist calling you
from  my HT.
I was very amazed that you heard my weak signal from the HT and 5 watts.

We could see ISS for over 5 minutes high in the sky.
After you went into the shadow, I went into my house and waited until
you called me and I answered back on my big radio and big antenna.

This is the first time that I have SEEN and Talked to Space at the same
My first contact to space was with Sergej Krikleav in 1990 on Mir.
Today's contact with ISS while seeing you fly over head, was just as

73 my friend  Miles

HT contacts:
HT contacts are possible, however I strongly do not recommend attempting
to contact ISS with a HT and a rubber duck. Its just a waist of time.  I
was successful because of many unique conditions that rarely happen. 
Don't get frustrated using a HT, please use a real radio and real
antenna for ISS connections.  This was my first voice link with a HT
after 13 years.

Shuttle Launch planed:

MISSION STS-112 -- 15TH ISS FLIGHT (9A) - S1 Truss 
VEHICLE: Atlantis/OV-104
CREW: Ashby, Melroy, Wolf, Sellers, Magnus, Yurchikhin
ORBITAL ALTITUDE AND INCLINATION: 122 nautical miles, 51.6 degrees

Take care all and good luck and please be courteous.

73 Miles WF1F MAREX-NA


Until we meet again

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