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Congratulations on the NA1SS voice contacts!

At 11:54 AM 06/12/2003, Berto Willems ON6CAU wrote, in part :
>Hi All,
>I had a great oppertunity to talk with NA1SS (Michael Foale) today
>saturday at 15.32 UTC. The signal went up as much as 9+40
>Micheal worked also several other stations in Europe.
>A last word of apreciation , to all who made this ARISS project come true !!

And at 11:48 AM 06/12/2003, Bas, PE1SCW wrote, in part:
>Hi all,
>Heard Mike talking to several Belgium an UK station on 15:30 UTC pass
>Could sadly not make contact to him, mayby next time!
>Bas de PE1SCW

     Congratulations to everyone who worked the ISS, and to anyone else who 
may do so during the planned attempts this weekend!  This is the result of 
a lot of hard work by many people as well as dedication by the 
astronauts/cosmonauts.  I think it is the greatest thrill in the world to 
have the privilege to make contact with a manned spacecraft, be it MIR, one 
of the Shuttles or the ISS.  It doesn't matter which mode, be it 
digi-peating through a TNC, leaving PBBS email for other Hams or the 
inhabitants of the spacecraft or the "crown jewel", a voice contact.

     I won't be attempting a contact this time because I had my share a 
year or two ago when Valery Korzun was on board.  I will leave the openings 
and bandwidth for those who are still waiting for their first contact.

     You can go to my web site listen to a recording of my conversation 
with the International Space Station, made on 29 September 2002.


     Click on the link below the picture of Commander Valery Korzun (which 
he sent me via email) operating the Amateur Radio Station RS0ISS.  Because 
we were transmitting on different frequencies (duplex operation), you can 
only hear Commander Korzun's portion of the conversation.  During the fall 
of 2002, he also spoke with my 2 youngest children, who were 13 and 14 at 
the time, and they have the RS0ISS QSLs that I expect they will keep forever.

     The point I'm trying to make is that patience will be rewarded.  I 
waited 3 years for a contact, and then there was a 2-3 month period where I 
managed to catch Valery on many orbits that passed over Nova Scotia in the 
early evenings.  And after he left, there was a long period of low to no 
activity.  Apparently it is now picking up, and Michael Foale is doing a 
great job.  I understand the pure joy of hearing your squelch open and 
realising it is from the spacecraft you've been tracking faithfully for 
months or even years.

     Those of us who have been at this for a number of years recall the 
same thing with MIR and the shuttles.  It was hit and miss, and you never 
knew who and when someone would be lucky enough to make a contact.  It's 
like HF DXing . . . everything has to line up right for you to get that 
rare one, and there really is no difference between a CW QSO with a group 
of DXers camped out on some volcanic outcropping halfway around the world, 
or a packet/FM QSO with a spacecraft 400 km overhead.  All take time, 
patience and luck.

     You don't need sophisticated equipment (although I'm sure stacked 
arrays with azimuth/elevation rotators and 500 watts help!)  All I ever 
used was a Comet vertical and 25 watts from a Kenwood TM241A radio.  Years 
ago I worked MIR with a handheld and 2.5 watts.  The key ingredients are 
patience and more patience.

     So, once again, congratulations to those who have made QSOs, and I 
hope many more get in the ISS logs in the near future.

73/DX Paul VE1DX (QSL via VE1YX)


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