Amateur Radio on the International Space Station

Amateur Radio on the International Space Station

Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) is a project sponsored by various entities and carried out by astronauts and cosmonauts on the International Space Station who also have an amateur radio license. The program was previously called SAREX, the Space Amateur Radio Experiment, and before that the Shuttle Amateur Radio Experiment. Kenwood Electronics recently launched an advertising campaign capitalising on the fact that their TM-D700A transceiver is currently in use on the ISS. [ [ Amateur Radio on the International Space Station] ]

Amateur radio operators all over the world are able to speak directly to astronauts/cosmonauts via their handheld, mobile, or home radio stations. Low power radios and small antennae can be used to establish communications. It is also possible to send digital data to the space station via laptop computers hooked up to the same radio and antenna, similar to an email communication, except that it uses radio frequencies instead of telephone or cable connections.

The space station occupants work around the clock in shifts, and also take their breaks in shifts, and while on break, many of them will spend some time communicating with "earthlings" via amateur radio. Since space station sightings are often mistaken for UFO sightings, communicating with the astronauts/cosmonauts as they pass over your location is one way of convincing your friends that the ship is NOT a UFO. On the other hand, your friends might think you are an alien communicating with the mothership coming to pick you up. Either way, it is a lot of fun for ham radio operators to show off their radios and skills in establishing communications with "that UFO" coming over the horizon.


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