Amateur Radio

My amateur radio callsign is N6BIS. Here's some information about my ham activities, including
contacts with astronauts aboard the space shuttle.

Read my tongue-in-cheek article about my Curved Linear Array antenna, which originally appeared in 73 magazine.

See my backup rabbit-ear antenna. (His name was Sebastian, and unfortunately he is no longer with us.)

Related links

American Radio Relay League (ARRL)
The major amateur radio organization in the United States.

Amateur Satellite Corporation (AMSAT)
Amateur radio operators put up the world's third artificial satellite, 'way back in 1961! We're still at it--but now, instead of just beeping, our satellites relay voice, data, and pictures.

U.S. Amateur Radio Database
Search by callsign, name, location, and so on.

You've never seen excitement until you've seen children gathered around a radio talking to an astronaut. The Shuttle Amateur Radio Experiment (SAREX) and Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) programs allow schoolkids and hams to talk with space people. (NASA photo.)

This NASA photo shows Owen Garriott, W5LFL, operating the SAREX radio during the STS-9 mission-- the first manned amateur radio operation in space history.

Here's a photo I took of Owen Garriott getting into the astronaut van on his way to the launch of Columbia for the STS-9 mission. The other STS-9 crewmember in the photo is Byron Lichtenberg.

The STS-64 mission was the first time I actually talked to an astronaut aboard the space shuttle. Listen to an audio file (in au or wav format) of that voice contact. You can also see my confirmation (QSL) card. The operator aboard Discovery (my favorite shuttle) was Susan Helms.

The STS-70 mission brought me another voice contact (au/wav)! Again, my lucky shuttle was Discovery. The operator this time was Don Thomas. Here is my QSL card from that mission.

Here's a transcript of a packet radio contact I had during the STS-59 mission. (Packet radio is communication between computers over radio.)

Related links

The official ARISS web site. Check here for information on how your school's students can talk to astronauts on ISS!

Reference information about amateur radio on ISS.

The American Radio Relay League (ARRL) is another sponsor of the ARISS program. You can find the school application form here, too.

Professional Work | Off Hours

Text and photos (c) 1997-2008 Patricia F. Winter, except as noted.
Last updated 7/25/08

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