September 28, 2006
Wednesday morning, 27 September, I decided to listen once more for amateur radio activity from the International Space Station. The ARISS website (Amateur Radio on the International Space Station) indicated that Anousheh Ansari’s amateur radio activities ended on 26 September. There was a pretty good (45 degree above my northwest horizon) ISS pass due at about 15:40 UT (11:40 a.m. EDT) so I decided to catch up on a few chores before heading to the office.
I powered up my VHF ham radio gear and checked to see that the antenna was pointed in the right direction. As I was about to start the digital audio recorder, at 15:39:00 UT, Anousheh’s voice broke through the static. She was in QSO (contact) with amateur station N8MS, Matt Severin, in St. Joseph, MI. Severin is an Earth Sciences teacher and his students were asking Anousheh questions.
Listen to the StarGeezerAstronomy Podcast of Anousheh’s contact with Matt’s students. We only hear Anousheh’s answers from space. The signals from Matt’s station in Michigan cannot be heard on VHF radio here in southern Indiana. Remember the ham station aboard ISS is 200 plus miles up. The breaks for questions from the ground have been edited. Anousheh was using the Russian callsign RS0ISS.
After Anousheh finished with N8MS I tried calling her. I believe she may have heard me but I am sure many other stations were calling and picking one signal out of the crowd is very difficult. She did not answer my call. For about 2 minutes after ISS dropped below my horizon I continued to hear her, but gradually the signal faded.
ISS Expedition crew members Pavel Vinogradov, RV3BS, and Jeff Williams, KD5TVQ, along with Ansari, returned to Earth Friday, September 29th aboard the Soyuz TMA-8 spacecraft.