On June 18th, the AMSAT Board of Directors elected Frank Karnauskas, N1UW, Vice President – Development. This position carries the responsibility for fund raising, marketing and public relations for AMSAT programs. In addition to enhancing the AMSAT and ARISS brands within their traditional spheres, this position is expected to broaden the appeal of its activities to a wider market. This includes the educational, corporate and philanthropic sectors.
AMSAT President Joe Spier explains, “The cost of planning, building and launching satellites has risen exponentially over the past years. It is essential that we not only raise the Amateur Radio community’s financial participation in these programs, we need to enlist the support of outside entities. We can only do this by demonstrating the value that Amateur Radio satellites bring to society’s best interests. This is especially true for youth and educational programs where AMSAT’s and ARISS’s growth lies.”
Frank comes to this position with a forty-five year career as a sales and marketing executive in the consumer and industrial markets. He was first licensed in 1963 and has been a long-term member of AMSAT and the ARRL. Frank also contributes to AMSAT as an AMSAT News Service Rotating Editor.
AMSAT President and ARRL Life Member Joe Spier, K6WAO, has been awarded the Russian E.T. Krenkel Medal, a prestigious award granted to individuals and organizations for outstanding global contributions to Amateur Radio.
Joe Spier, K6WAO is a long time supporter of Amateur Radio in Space and international cooperation. K6WAO is the President of the Radio Amateur Satellite Corporation (AMSAT). He has also served AMSAT as Executive Vice President, and Vice President, Educational Relations.
He is a long term supporter of Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) and scientific, technical, engineering, and mathematics education. Spier is an AMSAT Life Member. He also is a Life Member of American Radio Relay League (ARRL) and the Society of Amateur Radio Astronomers (SARA).
The award’s namesake, Ernst Teodorovich Krenkel, was a radio amateur who, over the years, used the call signs RAEM, U3AA, and UA3AA. Born in Poland, Krenkel was an Arctic explorer who took part in the first Soviet “drifting station,” North Pole-1. He was made a “Hero of the Soviet Union” in 1938 for his exploits.
Krenkel’s son, T.E. Krenkel, is among the four signatories to the award certificate. The younger Krenkel, a professor at the Moscow Technical College of Telecommunication and Informatics, said his father was an avid radio amateur who served as the first chairman of the Central Radio Club in the USSR.
Krenkel’s image appears on postage stamps from the USSR and Russia, and he authored a biography entitled My Callsign is RAEM. In the era when all radio amateurs received QSL cards via Box 88, Moscow, Krenkel was allowed to have his own postal address on his QSLs and was issued the non-standard RAEM call sign.
It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of ARISS team member Keith Pugh, W5IU. Keith spent his life on Earth as a true gentlemen…serving others, enjoying friendship and relationships, and supporting his passions…amateur radio, flying and most importantly his love of God and all the great things on this Earth.
Those that knew Keith considered him a Texan through and through. But truth be told, he was born and raised in Dodge City, Kansas. After college, he left Kansas and settled permanently in the Fort Worth, Texas area where picked up that Texas accent and welcomed us into his world. And it is in Texas where he passed away on May 24, 2019.
Active with AMSAT and Amateur Radio satellites since the 1980’s, Keith jump-started his passion for amateur radio on human spaceflight missions in 1991, when the Space Station Mir was in orbit and Soviet ham radio operators were talking to the world-wide amateur radio community. Keith helped install a Soviet Space Exhibit in Fort Worth in 1991 and he hosted Musa Manarov U2MIR’s visit to the USA. Ultimately, Keith joined the ARISS team in 2004, where he has provided support as one of our operations leaders, technical mentoring numerous schools and ARISS contact organizations and providing his warm friendship and guidance to all in our team. Keith also attended several of our ARISS International meetings, including our 2008 ARISS-I meeting in Moscow and Kaluga.
Many of us were aware of Keith’s cancer. But, Keith being Keith, he kept most of his pain and suffering to himself. He remained joyful and humble until his death. In fact, just a few days before his death–this past Tuesday, Keith signed into the ARISS International teleconference, apologizing that he came in late. None of us knew this would be our last dialog with such a close friend and outstanding member of our team.
As I stated, one of Keith’s passions was flying as a private pilot. In fact for one of his vacations he flew a Cessna aircraft around Australia. As a fellow pilot, I know that Keith must have been an avid fan of the poem “High Flight” written by John Gillespie Magee Jr. Paraphrasing this poem:
While we mourn the loss of our good friend, Keith Pugh, let us joyfully reflect on the fact that Keith has
Slipped the surly bonds of Earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Topped the windswept heights with easy grace
And, while with silent lifting mind, Keith has trod
The high unsurpassed sanctity of Space,
Put out his hand and touched the face of God.
Our thoughts and prayers are with Keith Pugh, W5IU SK as he touches the face of God.
A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. on Thursday, June 6, in the Sanctuary of First Presbyterian Church with a reception following. First Presbyterian Church is located at 1000 Penn St, Fort Worth, TX 76102.
It is with great sadness that the ARISS team recognizes the passing of our great friend and colleague Astronaut Owen Garriott, W5LFL (SK). Owen Garriott died at his home in Huntsville, Alabama on April 15, 2019.
A passionate amateur radio operator and ionospheric physics researcher, Owen inspired the amateur radio community to reach for the stars. His multi-decade vision to bring amateur radio with him as part of his journey in space was realized in 1983 on the STS-9 Space Shuttle Columbia mission, where hams the world over for the first time heard a fellow ham call CQ from space. As the first to operate ham radio in space, Owen blazed a trail that has enabled countless people from around the world to experience what it is like to journey into space and explore our universe. As a result, he inspired the international amateur radio community to extend his modest ham station on STS-9 into an international human spaceflight ham radio program that has spanned the Space Shuttle, Mir Space Station, and International Space Station.
A member of the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame, Owen Garriott was a pioneer and innovator in all his endeavors…including amateur radio. Selected as a NASA scientist-astronaut in 1965, Garriott was the science-pilot for Skylab 3, the second crewed Skylab mission. Skylab was the first U.S. space station, housing 3 different crew expeditions from May 1973-February 1974. Owen spent approximately 60 days on Skylab, doing solar physics research, human physiological research and conducting 3 spacewalks to repair Skylab and extend its research capabilities.
Owen’s next flight into space, as part of an international crew on the STS-9 Space Shuttle Columbia mission, cemented amateur radio’s future as part of the human spaceflight experience. STS-9 was launched from the Kennedy Space Center, Florida on November 28, 1983. Onboard Columbia was an internationally developed space laboratory, Spacelab-1, which pioneered international spaceflight research with over 70 separate experiments—a precursor to the research currently being accomplished on the International Space Station (ISS). Onboard also was a Motorola 2-meter handheld radio with a window mounted antenna to facilitate ham radio contacts between W5LFL and hams on the ground. On December 1, the third day of his mission, Owen donned his headset and made history by communicating with Lance Collister, WA1JXN, in Frenchtown, Montana. In W5LFL’s own words, here is an excerpt of his first contact: “W5LFL in Columbia is calling CQ and standing by. Go ahead. Hello WA1JXN, WA1 Juliet X‐ray November, this is W5LFL. I picked up your signals fairly weakly. I think our attitude is not really the best as yet, but you’re our first contact from orbit. WA1 Juliet X‐ray November, how do you read? Over.”
Owen’s ham contacts on STS-9 were trailblazing for many reasons. They represented the first ham radio contact from a human in space to someone on Earth. They allowed the general public to directly listen and communicate with an on-orbit crew where, prior to this, only NASA mission control personnel or heads of State (U.S. Presidents, etc.) could talk to astronauts from space. And the mission also demonstrated that a group of volunteers could successfully build a ham radio station for a human spaceflight vehicle and get it formally approved by a space agency.
Owen spent decades attempting to carry out ham radio on one of his missions, employing gentle assertiveness and steadfast patience to realize his dream. In 1965, when NASA was considering Owen for a planned lunar flight on Apollo 18, 19 or 20, Project MOONRAY was proposed by the Project OSCAR team. Project MOONRAY would support amateur radio operations from the surface of the moon. This initiative was scuttled when Apollo lunar expeditions ended at Apollo 17. Prior to his flight on Skylab, AMSAT submitted a proposal to NASA called SKYLARC (Skylab Amateur Radio Communications). Unfortunately, this proposal was turned down. But, as they say, the 3rd time was a charm on STS-9 and ham radio is now a human spaceflight reality. Also, it should be noted that an AMSAT/ARISS International team is pursuing Owen’s plans to fly ham radio to the moon via several lunar proposal initiatives, including the Lunar Gateway.
Owen inspired legions of amateur radio operators, world-wide, to support human spaceflight amateur radio endeavors and for countless individuals to become ham radio operators. This includes his son, Richard, W5KWQ, who together with Owen became the first multi-generational American ham radio operators to communicate from space.
On behalf of the ARISS International Team, we would like to extend our sincere condolences to the Garriott family, including Owen’s son Richard, W5KWQ and Owen’s wife Eve. As Owen has inspired the amateur radio community to reach for the stars may we wish Owen Garriott Godspeed and a wonderful journey amongst the stars.
73, Frank Bauer, KA3HDO
ARISS International Chair
AMSAT V.P. for Human Spaceflight Programs