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An amateur radio station on Columbus

November 2002, ARISS Europe extended a request to ESA 
Directorate for Manned Space Flight and Microgravity, 
asking for ham radio facilities on the European ISS module 
Columbus. In 2003 ESA's Columbus division agreed on the 
principle. The project is to install amateur radio 
antennas on the nadir of Columbus, i.e. underneath the 
module, facing the earth. The antennas will be installed 
before launch. Columbus will be transported in the bay of 
an American Shuttle. Therefore, since little room is left 
between the module and the Shuttle bay, the ARISS antennas 
will be patch antennas, flat planes a few millimetres 
thick. The patch antennas will be fixed to the Meteorite 
Debris Panels (MDP) protecting the hull of Columbus . On 
the conical end of the module, where it attaches to the 
ISS main structure, feedthroughs have been installed for 
the ARISS antennas and coax cables are run from the 
feedthroughs to the nadir.

The development of the antennas is presently taken care of 
by the Institute of Telecommunications and Acoustics of 
the Wroclaw University of Technology. The proposed 
Columbus antennas will work on UHF, L-band and S-band. For 
VHF, the surface available on the Meteorite Debris Panels 
is not sufficient.

The construction of Columbus has reached its final stage. 
The ARISS antennas shall be installed in the Autumn 2005. 
A most important aspect has to be solved : funding.

The installation cost of the ARISS antennas on Columbus 
exceeds 100.000 euro (coaxial feedthroughs, coax cables on 
the hull of the module, etc.). ESA initially offered to 
support 50.000 euro of this amount. Presently ESA has 
decided to cover the installation cost completely.

This is most welcome since the development and 
manufacturing of the antennas will cost 80.000 euro. Half 
of this sum has to paid by ARISS in June 2005. The other 
40.000 euro can be paid by the end of the year.

Presently we have collected about 9.000 euro and 20.000 
euro have been pledged. We still need to collect 11.000 
euro in the next few weeks.

Taking into account that time is very short, ARISS-Europe 
extends an urgent call for donations to the IARU and AMSAT 
societies as well as to their members individually. A 
financial account has been opened by AMSAT Belgium. 
Donators within the European Union will not have to pay 
any additional banking costs (beyond the costs of a 
national money transfer) if they use the following 
international banking number (IBAN) and mention the 
international identification code (BIC):

AMSAT Belgium

IBAN BE63 0012 3065 9208

Without any additional cost for international money 
transfer, even the smallest donation is useful and will be 
most appreciated. Please don't forget to reference the 
transfer as  Donation Columbus .

If you have a PayPal account you can easily make a 
donation by using the "Donate" button in the left column 
of the ARISS­Europe Columbus website page 
www.ariss-eu.org/columbus.htm .

Even if you don't have a PayPal account you can use your 
creditcard to make a Paypal donation for the Columbus 
project. Simply click the "Donate" button and follow 

On the ARISS-Europe website a special Columbus page has 
been added. Donations are listed from societies as well as 
from individuals. Taking into account the regulations on 
privacy protection, donations are listed as anonymous, 
unless the donator states his identity as reference for 
the transfer.

This list is permanently updated and distance from the 
target shown.

On behalf of all the volunteering parties involved in the 
project, we extend thanks to all donators.

This is a great goal for amateur radio at its best.

18 May, 2005

Gaston Bertels, ON4WF
ARISS-Europe Chairman

Avenue Paul Hymans 117 B29
B-1200 Brussels, Belgium

Phone : +32.2.771.67.74
Mobile: +32.476.215.124
Fax : +32.2.771.49.89
E-mail : gaston.bertels@skynet.be
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